Category: Family fun

Storytime in the Garden

Storytime in the Garden-OC Great Park
Storytime in the Garden-OC Great Park

Enjoy a fun-filled, enchanting hour of food related stories, songs, games, and activities designed to help kids build strong language and literacy skills, and lifelong healthy eating habits.

The garden setting stimulates curiosity and imagination, and enables participants to make personal connections with the stories by seeing firsthand how fruits and vegetables are grown.

Structured 30 minute interactive presentation followed by craft activities.
All ages are welcome to attend.

  • Sunday, February 1, 2015 from 10:00 am- 11:00 am

Location:Farm + Food Lab | Map & Directions

This program is produced and presented by the City of Irvine’s Community Services Urban Agricultural Programs Division in collaboration with the University of California Irvine’s Jumpstart Children First program.


Stormy Night Reading

Stromy Night

I just posted about the children’s bookstore, Once upon a Storybook, in Tustin. Well, today, Salina Yoon, author/Illustrator of Stormy Night – as well as over 100 other books and is being considered for the 2015 Caldecott Award, will be in-store for a very special reading today at 11:00 am..

If you have already purchased, bring it in for her to sign. If you need one, Once Upon a Storybook has some in stock.

Once Upon a Storybook is located at 17300 E. 17th Street #C, Tustin, CA


Once Upon a Storybook


I just recently discovered the most amazing children’s bookstore, Once upon a Storybook in Tustin. Apparently, this charming children’s book store opened in October (I don’t how I missed this). Well, as soon as I found out about this place – I had to go and take a look. I found their website and looked up the next scheduled storytime so that my little one & I could go and explore this new spot..


This bookstore is located at the Enderle Shopping Center, a quaint shopping center located in North Tustin. As I drove up to the book store, first thing I saw was a cute storefront with the sweetest pink doors. I was immediately welcomed by Tina as we walked in. She quickly directed us upstairs for one of the best storytime’s we’ve experienced in a while.


The owner, Susie, welcomed each child individually and briefly described the theme of the day. She was entertaining, patient and knew how to “read” her audience. The kids where a little restless, so she stopped at two books and finished up with quick & easy winter craft.


My little one & I were both eager to go back down stairs and take in the book store. The bookstore is well stocked with books for kids ages birth through teens. They have three adorable little reading cubbies and my daughter experienced each one. We sat on floor and read books, we stayed for almost 2 hours after storytime. It was so comfortable. No one was looking at us or quickly gathering up our books – they just let us be and allowed us to feel at home.


 This past weekend, my 8 year daughter needed a book for her book club, so we went in for a visit. Again, we got comfortable and stayed for almost 2 hours. Neither one of my girls wanted to leave. I absolutely “LOVE” this place. It’s warm and welcoming and the Owner Susie is so sweet. Both she and Tina have a deep love for books, children’s literature and children.

Once upon a Storybook has regularly scheduled Preschool storytimes and a “Milk & Cookies” (PJ) storytime every week. They also have special events and/or author’s readings on a monthly basis.

I’ve been to other children’s book stores but this has a different feel to it. There is something special about this place; maybe it’s the friendly and knowledgeable staff or perhaps the fairies who have taken up residency here (be sure to look for the fairy door) – either way this place feels homey and magically. Once upon a Storybook will definitely become one of our “regular” spots.

  • Preschool Storytime: Tuesdays @11:00 or Fridays @11:00   Join us for songs, stories, and surprises at one of these two weekly identical storytimes!  Sometimes we do experiments, sometimes we make crafts–There’s always something fun when we get the preschoolers together!  Perfect for ages 2-5
  • Milk & Cookies Storytime: Thursdays @7:00  Hear some quiet stories to relax you after a busy day.  Milk & cookies provided (if your child has food sensitivities, please bring an appropriate snack.)  Great for ages 3-8.

Once upon a Storybook is located at the Enderle Shopping Center, 17300 E. 17th St, #C Tustin, CA 92780. Call (714) 669-4377 if you have any questions about upcoming events or hours.


Weekend Hikes

Image from OC Parks

Image from OC Parks

Rains is on it’s way…at least that’s what the weather prediction is. So just in case it’s true- get out there this weekend and soak up some sunshine on one of these OC Parks Hikes.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Long Distance Hike in the Back Country
OC Parks – Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
Explore the beauty and diversity of Willow Canyon,Bommer Ridge, and Emerald Canyon in the      backcountry of the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. This will be a strenuous, 7.2-mile hike (650-ft. elevation gain) over rocky, steep, and uneven terrain. We will hike through sycamore and oak woodlands, coastal sage scrub, and along ridges with beautiful vistas.

  •  Participants should be fit and able to hike long distances.
  • For you safety and comfort bring 2-3 liters of water, a hat, a hearty snack and proper hiking shoes.
  • Ages 15 and up.
  • Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area (west side of Laguna Canyon Rd/SR-133, just south of El Toro Road).
  • For questions call: 949-497-8324 Mon-Fri & 949-923-2235 Sat/Sun.
  • Parking: $3/vehicle

Online Registration

Date:  1/24/2015
Time:  8:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Moulton Peak Geology Hike
OC Parks – Aliso & Wood Canyons Park
Join LCF volunteer naturalists on this 4-mile geology hike (600-ft. elevation gain) over steep and uneven terrain. Hike through the oak-filled woodland of Wood Canyon and continue to the park’s highest peak. We will pass by rock formations that tell of ancient floods, landslides and the building of a great shell-filled limestone reef. Bring a sense of adventure!

  • This hike is not for beginners!
  • Bring water, hiking shoes (hiking poles suggested), snacks, the field guides of your choice.
  • Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Canyon View Staging Area (from southbound Aliso Creek Road, turn right on Glenwood [turns into Pacific Park] and right on Canyon Vistas, meet at the entrance to Canyon View Park).
  • For questions, call (949) 497-8324 Mon-Fri or (949) 923-2200 Sat/Sun
  • Parking: Free
  • Ages 15 and up
  • Reservations Required Online (link below)

Online Reservations Link

Date:  1/24/2015
Time:  8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Guided Interpretive Hike
OC Parks – Irvine Regional Park
Join our naturalists on a nature walk and learn about the local plants, animals and history of Irvine Park. Light to moderate walking on both paved paths and trails. Meet at the Nature Center near the OC Zoo in parking lot #19.

  • All ages welcome
  • Free
  • Parking: $5 per vehicle
Date:  1/24/2015
Time:  10:00 AM – 11:00 AM


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ranger Led Nature Hike
OC Parks – Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park
Join our Park Rangers Sunday mornings for an easy 1-mile hike on the Nature Trail. The trail takes visitors through grassland, oak woodland, riparian and sandy cactus scrub communities. Meet at Old Corral Day Use area. Rain will cancel hike. 

  • Fee: Free
  • Parking: $5 per vehicle
  • Wear comfortable clothing, hiking shoes.
  • Sunscreen, water and insect repellent are recommended.

 For additional information, please call the park at (949) 923-2210.

Date: 1/25/2015
Time: 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Meditating in Nature
OC Parks – Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Relax in nature.  Enjoy walking meditation, breathing and energization exercises, and sitting meditation. Bring a blanket and a pillow.  No experience necessary.

  • Ages 16 and up.
  • Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area/Nix Nature Center (west side of Laguna Canyon Rd/SR-133, approximately 3.5 miles south of I-5/405).
  • For questions call: 949-497-8324 Mon-Fri & 949-923-2235 Sat/Sun.
  • Parking: $3/vehicle.

Online Registration

Date: 1/25/2015
Time: 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Kids Cooking Club

Come to the Kids Cooking Club at Whole Foods in Tustin where Chef Cintia will be whipping up some kid friendly recipes that are easy, fun and delicious.

If your having a hard time getting your kids to eat healthy, bring them to this hands-on class!  They’ll be talk about why it’s important to color your plate with healthy foods while making some delicious treats.

The next Kids Cooking Club is scheduled for January 30th and the theme is: Healthy Desserts


  • When: Friday, January 30, 2015 from 4:00 -5:00 pm
  • Where: Whole Foods at The District, 2847 Park Avenue, Tustin, CA 92782
  • Cost: $5.00 per child

RSVP are required  – Email: to reserve your spot.


Cultural Diversity Day


In Honor of Martin Luther King Day Jr. Day – Kidspace Museum celebrates with Cultural Diversity Day on Monday, January 19, 2015


Martin Luther King Jr.’s mission was to break down the walls of segregation and unite the people of America. This MLK Day, Kidspace will honor the great legacy he left behind by celebrating a variety of cultures with performances and activities from all over the world.

Performances will include Maasai necklace making from East Africa, grape stomping, and an interactive Chinese storytelling experience. In addition, enjoy a special storytelling performance by author Dan Kimber, as he reads “Webster’s World of Friends” and leads children through an interactive sing-along.

Cultural Care Au Pair who will be leading an activity for chilldren to color flags from around the world.

  • When: Monday, January 19, 2015 from 9:30a.m. to 5:00p.m.
  • Where: Kidspace Children’s Museum, 480 North Arroyo Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91103
  • Cost: Adults & Children: $11.00, Infants (under age 1) FREE, Kidspace Members (up to 4 Designated Family Members) FREE, EBT Cardholders–Must have card and valid ID (up to 4 Guests in Party, including adults and children) FREE

See more at:



LACMA Free Days

LACMA/Los Angeles Museum of Art – offers FREE admission on Family Days (held most Sundays) and Target FREE Days on Martin Luther Jr. Day, Presidents Day and Memorial Day. Here’s some details on the upcoming FREE days.

Family Days/Andell Family Sundays

12:30–3:30 pm | Free, see locations below
Join Sunday programs designed especially for families. Make art, explore the museum, or join a bilingual gallery tour. Most of all—have fun!


Plan Your Visit

Samuri – January 18, 25 | 12:30 pm

Samurai were revered and feared warriors of Japan. Check out magnificent swords and images of samurai in the installation of Art of the Samurai: Swords, Paintings, Prints, and Textiles. Then, in artist-led workshops, make your own samurai-inspired helmet and other projects.

While you’re here, visit the Broad Contemporary Art Museum to see more than a thousand miniature cars zooming through Chris Burden’s kinetic sculpture, Metropolis II, in action every Sunday at the following times: 10:30–11:30 am; 12:30–1:30 pm; 2:30–3:30 pm; 4:30–5:30 pm.

Abstract Art

February 1, 8, 15, 22 | 12:30 pm
Experimentation happens in all sorts of ways in art. Artists play with materials, subjects, colors, or sizes. Check out contemporary art by artists such as Mark Bradford, Gerhard Richter, and Analia Saban in the exhibition Variations: Conversations in and around Abstract Painting, then make your own experimental art.
North Piazza | Free and open to the public

Art of Ancient Colombia

March 1, 8, 29 | 12:30 pm
View the special exhibition Ancient Colombia: A Journey through the Cauca Valley for an opportunity to see works of art from an ancient culture. Check out instruments—such as ocarina and flutes and clay vessels—and objects that reflect the lives of the people that made them. Make your own instruments in art workshops.
Los Angeles Times Central Court | Free and open to the public

Be sure to visit BCAM to see more than one thousand miniature cars zooming through Chris Burden’s kinetic sculpture, Metropolis II, which is in action every Sunday at the following times: 10:30–11:30 am; 12:30–1:30 pm; 2:30–3:30 pm; 4:30–5:30 pm.

Family Day are held at LACMA, Los Angeles Times Central Court | from 12:30–3:30 pm

Free with general admission
Tickets: 323-857-6010 or purchase online.
Note: Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Plan Your Visit

Andell Family Sundays is supported by Andrew and Ellen Hauptman and the Hauptman Family Foundation and the John B. and Nelly Llanos Kilroy Foundation. Outreach and transportation for Andell Family Sundays are supported by Tally and Bill Mingst.

Target Free Holiday Mondays

Martin Luther King, Jr Day
Monday, January 19, 2015 | 11 am–5 pm | *Free, tickets required
Visitors of all ages are invited to a free day at the museum, with bilingual tours, free programs, art-making activities, and live music by Minyo Station at 12:30 and 2:45 pm.

Minyo Station is at the forefront of a movement to infuse a new sound into traditional Japanese folk music. Unique yet familiar, their sound is a multicultural twist melding elements of Western music genres such as rock, R&B, and jazz with the melodies and structure of Minyo, Japanese folk music that has been passed down for generations through the many villages of Japan. Minyo Station has performed extensive throughout Southern California and in San Francisco to multicultural, enthusiastic audiences both young and old. They offer their unique sound to share Minyo in a different style, while keeping the traditional music.

Presidents’ Day
Monday, February 16, 2015 | 11 am–5 pm | *Free, tickets required
Visitors of all ages are invited to a free day at the museum, with bilingual tours, free programs, art-making activities, and live music by Chuck and Yolanda Kaimikaua at 12:30 and 2:45 pm.

Chuck and Yolanda Kaimikaua, award-winning ukelele player and hula dancer, celebrate Presidents’ Day with Hawaiian music. Ukelele master Chuck Kaimikaua has toured the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He was awarded the Durfee Foundation’s Master Musicians Fellowship and the California Traditional Music Society’s L.A. Treasures Award for Hawaiian Music. Yolanda is a professional hula dancer and teacher who earned many awards locally, nationally, and internationally, including the 2008 California Traditional Music Society’s Elaine Weissman Award for the Hula and Hawaiian Music.

There will an additional FREE day on  Memorial Day – details of that days events will follow.

*Does not include admission to Samurai: Japanese Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection and Nature and The American Vision: The Hudson River School.
* To ensure a safe and pleasant visitor experience, tickets to the Boone Children’s Gallery on Target Free Holiday Monday will be timed and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Pick up your free timed ticket in the Boone Children’s Gallery on the day of the event. Timed tickets allow for a thirty minute visit.


Are you the Ultimate Family?


Think you and your family could survive out in the wilderness? You can put it to the test! You and your family will compete against other families in the Wilderness Survival Game Show.

Join Environmental Nature Center and host/naturalist, Sama Wareh, as your family will get to bond over completing challenges and answering questions that could potentially save your lives someday.

So go ahead and challenge some other families! The winning family receives a wilderness survival related prize.

  • When: January 27, 2015 from 6:00 – 7:00 pm
  • Where: Environmental Nature Center, 1601 E. 16th Street, Newport Beach, CA, 92663
    Map and Directions
  • Cost: $20.00 per family (up of 5)
  • Register for the event here

Ocean Institute

OceanInstitute1The Ocean Institute opens up to the public on select weekends in an effort to educate and inspire people of all ages to participate in their community and learn how to become involved in the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative.

The Ocean Institute will be open this weekend and features a number of hands-on activities, presentations, tidepool walks and educational cruises.This Saturday admission also includes the Underwater Parks Day celebrations.

  • Saturday, January 17, 2015 from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Sunday, January 18, 2015 from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Ocean Institute, 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr., Dana Point, CA 92629
  • Admission: $6.50 for Adults, $4.50 for Children (age 3-12), Member are Free.

The Brig Pilgrim is open most Sundays. The Pilgrim is a full size replica of the hide brig immortalized by Richard Henry Dana, Jr. in his American seafaring classic novel Two Years Before the Mast. Dana said of the Pilgrim , “The vessel I am going on is small, but strong and a remarkably fast sailer having been built for the smuggling trade.”


Explore on a Budget


Explore_on_budgetYes, like many other families – we are on a tight budget but even on a budget you can find ways to have fun, explore and present your children with opportunities to learn while having fun as a family.

Many of the events I blog about are held at our beautiful O.C. Parks, local museums and science centers. One of the ways we save money on parking and admission to these events is by investing in memberships and passes to our favorite places. As a member, you get discounts on food (but we always pack a lunch – one more way to save money), gift shops, special workshops and member only events.

We’ve had a pass to the Magic Kingdom (and yes, we packed our lunch to go here too) and it was great but within just 3.5 months of paying for a deluxe passport for a family of 4 to the Magic Kingdom – I can buy all of the memberships mentioned on this post.

By simply putting some money aside each month, you can easily buy your memberships one by one throughout the year. Another benefit of spacing out the purchases of your memberships is that you always have at least one you can utilize.

Another way of saving money is taking advantage of FREE events and FREE days by sponsors such as Target. If you bank with Bank of America, they have some great free day offers nationwide. We’ve had many great afternoons visiting Bowers Museum, Children’s Museum at La Habra and Orange County Museum of Art during Target’s sponsored programs.

You can visit museums like California Science Center and The Getty Center & The Getty Villa for free, you just have to cover the parking fee.

I’m always on the lookout for FREE days and events that are reasonably priced and will share whatever fits within “Project Refined Life’s” criteria.

Be sure not to miss out my posts like FREE Days at our National ParksFREE days at Autry National Center of the American West and Museums Free-For-All Day.

Here’s a list of the local membership opportunities and discounts for some of the places we love to visit.

 OC Parks Parking Passes

OC Parks offers parking passes that are good for one year from date of purchase. I broke down and bought one mid year last year and I absolutely love it. This parking pass has made it possible for me and my family to experience FREE events such as guided hiking events, Prehistoric OC, Irvine Railroad Pumpkin Patch & Christmas Events and on and on. I love this pass.

2015-01-02_00.13.11The newly revised OC Parks parking passes allow visitors to use a single card to park at all County regional and wilderness parks and/or beaches. The new “smart cards” replace last years entry cards and stickers that were previously used for annual parking. These smart cards are valid for 12 months from issue date and can be renewed annually. Moreover, for wilderness and beach locations which previously required a sticker affixed to a visitor’s windshield, these passes can be used with any vehicle. The price for the new cards remains the same as 2014.


Three types of cards are available:

  • County Regional and Wilderness Parks Parking Pass for $55 ($35 for seniors/disabled)
  • County Beach Parking Pass with Pay and Display Machines for $55 ($35 for seniors, disabled park free)
  • All County Parks and Beaches Parking Pass for $80 ($50 for seniors)

Distinguished Veterans (per California State Parks) are eligible for a no-fee pass. This applies to veterans with a 50% or higher service-connected disability, or who were held as prisoners of war, or who are recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

OC Parks Parking Passes are available for purchase at an OC Parks facility near you. Visit OC Parks online at our Annual Parking Pass page for more information and a list of convenient locations.

If your visiting Irvine Regional park be sure to use these coupons.

State of California Parks & Beaches

CrystalCoveTidePoolsOne of my favorite places in the O.C. is Crystal Cove State Beach but with parking at $15.00 a day – a pass is definitely the way to go. There is currently a fantastic introductory offer good for 4 days worth parking passes and all state beaches and parks for the low price of $25.00. The “sampler” pass also includes 5% off camping reservations and a one year subscription to Sunset Magazine. For a complete list of parks click here or visit to get your parking pass.

 Discovery Cube

They are currently offering a fantastic deal on their membership. You can purchase a 1 year Family membership for $99.00…..and you can purchase the second year for just $25.00 more!  This membership will get you and your family into Discovery Cube OC and Discovery Cube LA for just $124.00 for 2 years!!!

Discovery_cubeThe Family membership  is good for 1 or 2 named adults, plus up to 4 named children living in the same household (age 17 and under). Up to (2) additional named siblings living in the same household (ages 3-17) for $20 each.

They do offer movies at the Discovery Theater and hold several special exhibits each year that do require an additional fee however members get special pricing. Click here for membership options and details.

Benefits of membership include:

  • Unlimited admission* for one full year! No blackout dates!
  • Get two Cubes for the price of one – your membership works at both the OC and LA location.
  • Invitations to members-only events & previews
  • Priority registration and discounts on Camp Discovery and other fun activities
  • FREE or discounted admission to over 300 other ASTC Science Centers around the world
  • Subscription to our monthly e-newsletter and Discoveries Magazine
  • 10% off Science Store & Taco Bell purchases**
  • $10 discounted admission tickets for your guests (4 per visit)
  • Discounts on Discovery Theater tickets

Santa Ana residents receive up to 4 free admissions per address with valid ID (proof of residency) on the first Tuesday of every month. Cannot be combined with any other discount or offer. Excludes special events and ticketed exhibitions or shows.

Bank of America Free Day – Bank of America cardholders receive free admission on the first Sunday of each month. Photo ID and any valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card must be presented. One free general admission limited to cardholder only. Cannot be combined with any other discount or offer. Excludes special events and ticketed exhibitions or shows.

Here’s a coupon for a free child’s admission with a paying adult.

 Santa Ana Zoo

Santa Ana Zoo is a great little zoo and if you like Monkey – you’ll love this zoo. Joseph Prentice, the founder of the Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park, stated that in order for the Zoo to exist, Mr. Prentice required that there be 50 monkeys on the grounds at all times.

This charming Zoo features over 80 species of animals, including the smallest monkeys in the world, the Pygmy Marmosets. The Zoo is a place to play, a place to learn and a place to spend time with your family.When visiting the Zoo, children and adults can share time together learning about animals, plants and the environment. There is also a children’s farm, train ride and carousel featuring endangered species.


Membership benefits include:

  • Unlimited FREE admission for 12 full months!
  • 10% discount on the “Treetop Toys” Gift Shop and Snack Bar, 20% discount for birthday parties.
  • Newsletter filled with animal facts, event schedules, and other interesting Zoo stories.
  • Member Appreciation Days with free train rides, and discounts for other events and programs, such as Sunset at the Zoo and Boo at the Zoo.
  • Visit over 50 Zoo’s – Los Angeles, The Living Desert Zoo, Santa Barbara, Fresno Chaffee and Sacramento Zoo, as well as over 150 zoos around the United States are FREE or discounted to our members. 

A Family Club membership is $70.00this includes unlimited admission for 2 adults (named on the card) and their children and/or grandchildren (under the age of 18) for 12 months, maximum of 4 children per visit.

On Resident Free Day, the third Sunday of each month, residents of Santa Ana may visit the Zoo for free. Proof of residency (driver’s license, utility bill) will be required upon arrival. Not valid to schools or business addresses.

Although the OC Zoo doesn’t advertise it, you can use your Santa Ana at the OC Zoo for free admission to the OC Zoo as well.

 Aquarium of the Pacific 

2014-08-20_12.07.20Membership at the Aquarium of the Pacific for a family of four can be quickly covered by your second visit. They have a great learning opportunities, family friendly festivals, member only events and discounts. Your membership also helps protect the Pacific Ocean, its inhabitants, and ecosystems.

Benefits of membership:

  • 50% of prepaid parking
  • 10% off at the Gift Shop
  • Member Appreciation events and Special Event Festivals
  • Discounts on private birthday parties, animal encounters, behind the scene tours, day camps, Junior Biologist , Aqua tots and more.

You can get a family membership for $125.00, for more details click here. if a membership here is out of the question at this time, take advantage of their FREE Shark Lagoon Nights.

For a limited time only, you can get discounts from:

  • Gelson’s Markets in Los Angeles and Orange Counties are now offering a coupon valid for $8 off adult admission—that’s just $20.95! Offer available in stores through 1/31/15 or while supplies last.
  • Southern California Smart & Final locations are now offering a coupon valid for $8 off adult admission and $2 off child admission (ages 3-11). Offer available in participating stores through 2/24/15 or while supplies last.

For annual Discounts use your AAA Discount to receive 10 percent off adult, child, and senior admission when you present your AAA member card at Aquarium ticket windows. Valid for up to four discounts. Or, save up to 25% when you purchase tickets at any Southern California Auto Club branch.

Natural History Museum, Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits & William S. Hart Museum

This is an awesome deal!!! Your interest can range from dinosaurs, nature lovers, gardens, Los Angeles history, Gems and minerals, mammals, birds, shells, art….these museums have you covered!

NHMMembership benefits include:

Family membership costs $89 – what a deal! The membership is good for two adults and up to four children (age 17 and under).

If you have a AAA membership, use that card! You can get admission discounts, wejust recently used it for discount on admission to Columbia Memorial Space Center. In addition to admission discounts, they offer discounts to at museum gift shops and restaurants. Wherever your at – ask them if they offer AAA discounts.

Bank of America has a program called Museums on Us, I’m considering a opening up an account at Bank of America for this benefit alone. They offer just FREE admission to museums throughout the county. In the Southern California area some the museums include: .

  • Discovery Cube
  • Orange County Museum of Art
  • Riverside Art Museum
  • San Diego Art Museum
  • The Living Desert Zoo
  • The Autry
  • Skirball Cultral Center



What are your families favorite places that offer some great membership options?


Free Days at the Autry

 AutryNationalCenterI’m always looking for FREE things to do with my family that also offers some sort of educational value. Since we have a few days off school coming up within the next month or so, I’m trying to pre-plan some activities.

Here’s an option for an upcoming day off – The Autry National Center of the American West. The Autry offers FREE days on the second Tuesday of every month as well as on New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and Presidents’ Day.

The Autry inhabits a unique niche of Western history and culture. Although there are exemplary art museums and many historic sites in our region, there is only one museum devoted to Western history and culture. The Autry is the only museum of its kind located in a major metropolitan center and the only museum that combines multiple Native American perspectives with Western histories and cultures in such a profoundly interconnected and multifaceted way. No place welcomes so many traditions, ideas, cultures, and people as the Autry. As a museum-plus-education-plus-research institution, the Autry brings together the diverse experiences, collections, and creativity that symbolize the West.

The Autry is located in Griffith Park (another family friendly spot with affordable fun) at 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Museum Hours are Tuesday–Friday: 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., Saturday–Sunday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.



Underwater Parks Day

Underwater Parks Day is Saturday, January 17, 2015. Underwater Parks Day is a celebration of Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s).

Join the Ocean Institute, Aquarium of the Pacific, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and other partners, to celebrate recreation and conservation along Southern California’s coast.

 Ocean Institute

OceanInstituteCome to Ocean Institute to learn about and explore the species, habitats, and resources that make our ocean exceptional.


Guests can learn about up-cycling during craft time, find out more ways to explore the beauty of our oceans with our SCUBA display, understand the importance of MPAs with games and a Citizen Science tour through our new learning center, and discover the wonderful ways the ocean helps heal us.

  • When: Saturday, January 17, 2015 from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • Where: Ocean Institute – Ocean Education Center – 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr. Dana Point, CA 92629
  • Cost: Admission price is $6.50 for adults (13 yrs+) and $4.50 for children (3 -12 yrs); Children 2 and under are free.  Members are free.

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

CabrillologoTo celebrate MPAs and ocean conservation, CMA is participating in the 7th Annual Underwater Parks Day. There will be speakers, presentations, interactive activities and handouts for visitors so they can learn more about MPAs, how MPAs work, and where MPAs are located in Southern California.


  • When: Saturday, January 17, 2015 from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Where: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro, CA 90731 
  • Cost: FREE.

Aquarium of the Pacific

aquarium_of_the_pacific_logoLearn more about Southern California’s network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Guests will be able to learn about the commercial and recreational activities permitted. MPA stories will be told using film, lectures, and interactive exhibits. The event will also feature educational booths and activities in the Great Hall.


  • When: Saturday, January 17, 2015 from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Where: Aquarium of the Pacific 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802
  • Cost: Children (3-11) $14.95, Adults $28.95, members are free

Shipley Nature Center-Parent & Me Time

Shipley Nature Center’s Parent and Me Time January calendar is out. Parent and Me Time takes place on Wednesdays at 11:00 am. and the cost is $3.00.

Themes for the rest of the month are:

  • Wednesday, January 14, 2015 – Fish
  • Wednesday, January 21, 2015 – Beavers
  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015 – Snacks


Shipley Nature Center is located at 17851 Goldenwest Street, Huntington Beach, CA 92647

The primary parking lot is accessible from the south-bound side of Goldenwest, between Slater and Talbert. Additional parking is located in Central Park.


Museums Free-For-All


Over 20 museums— presenting art, cultural heritage, natural history, and science—will open their doors and invite visitors free of charge. This offer is for general museum admission only and does not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions. Regular parking fees apply. Consult individual museum websites for hours and other visitor information.

“Museums Free-For-All” partners with Metro, encouraging visitors to Go Metro to explore the participating museums, many of which are a short walk away from Metro Bus or Rail. Go Metro to more museum destinations at

Participating Museums:

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Annenberg Space for Photography

Armory Center for the Arts

California African American Museum

California Science Center

Craft Folk & Art Museum

Fowler Museum at UCLA

The Getty Center

The Getty Villa
(Timed tickets are required.)

Hammer Museum

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
(Offer valid for general admission only. Does not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions.)

Los Angeles Fire Department Museum and Memorial
(Hollywood and San Pedro)

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA)

Museum of Latin American Art

Museum of Tolerance*

The Paley Center for Media

The Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits

Pasadena Museum of California Art

Santa Monica Museum of Art

Skirball Cultural Center

The Torrance Art Museum

USC Pacific Asia Museum

William S. Hart Museum

Zimmer Children’s Museum*

*Closed on Saturdays, offering free admission on Sunday, February 1, 2015 as part of Museums Free-for-All

This offer is for general museum admission only and does not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions. Regular parking fees apply. Consult individual museum websites for hours and other visitor information.


Animal Art II

2014-11-13_15.43.41There’s still space available at OC Zoo’s Animal Art II preschool program on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 from 10:15 – 11:15 am.

This preschool program comes loaded with an hour of creativity and fun with an animal theme! So come ready to get a little messy! My daughter is 4 and loves the program. The class includes hands-on learning, fun crafts, and meeting zoo animals up close! The class is best suited for preschoolers ages 3-4 years old and parents must accompany their child for duration of program.


Pack your lunch and snack as after the program you can stroll through the zoo, pet the goats and enjoy an afternoon story time under the trees.

  • Orange County Zoo, 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869
  • Wednesday, January 14, 2015 from 10:15 – 11:15 am.
  • Fee: $5 per child (includes one adult).
  • Parking fee: $3
  • Registration is required! Call 714-973-6846 to register

Weekend Roundup – January 9 – 16, 2015


January 9-16, 2015

Be sure to check back as this list is updated through out the week.

nixon library

Friday, January 9, 2015

Free Day at Nixon Library in Yorba Linda

Night Hike at Peters Canyon in Orange

Free Shark Lagoon Nights at Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach

 Laguna-Beach- west_ridge

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Jr. Chef Classes at Williams-Sonoma locations nationwide

OC Parks Weekend Hike & Bikes  at O’Neill Regional Park, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve & Irvine Regional Park

2nd Saturday at Shipley Nature Center in Huntington Beach

2nd Saturday at Ameal Moore Nature Center in Riverside

Drop In and Draw at Chuck Jones Center for Creativity in Costa Mesa

Discover Nature Family Program at Oak Canyon Nature Center in Anaheim

Campfire Program at Caspers Wilderness Park in San Juan Capistrano


Sunday, January 11, 2015

OC Parks Weekend Hike & Bikes at Caspers Wilderness Park & Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Free Technique Classes  at Williams-Sonoma locations nationwide

Discover Nature Family Program at Oak Canyon Nature Center in Anaheim

Centennial Farm

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Discovery Days at Centennial Farms in Costa Mesa