Monday, May 2, 2016

Dinosaurs Roar Into the Los Angeles Zoo!

CC and Will check out the Edmontonia.
The kiddos and I stepped back in time a few million years in April while checking out the newest exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo.

"Dinosaurs: Unextinct at the L.A. Zoo," which runs through October 31, features 17 life-like dinos that hissed and even spat at us as we walked by. (Will and CC were both fascinated and a little freaked out by that. Of course, it was the kind of "freaked out" where they kept running back for more!)

We're going in!
For $5 extra per person (in addition to regular Zoo admission), you and your family can check out such realistic-looking dinosaurs as the long-necked Brachiosaurus, a feathered Citipati, a Diabloceratops (with a baby and even a nest of eggs), as well has the spitting Dilophosaurus.

Watch out for the spitting Dilophosaurus!
The movements, noises and the actual bodies of these creatures were so cool and realistic, it was easy to imagine that we were walking through a much safer version of Jurassic Park. I also loved that we got to see dinos that don't usually headline exhibits. (I mean, who's heard of a Utahraptor?)

Of course, we did get to see a T-Rex, which was a little Terrifying.

Someone was hungry!
Parents, just as a precaution, you might need to warn kids that one dino becomes part of the circle of life. Will and CC were more fascinated than anything, but they definitely remarked on the bloody teeth marks.

I don't want to spoil the whole exhibit, which also includes a fun fossil dig, so I'll leave you with just one more photo. The addition, honestly, is perfect for the L.A. Zoo, and I'm wondering if it will become permanent. If not, at least it's open through Halloween.

No doubt the zoo will get super-creative for trick-or-treaters!

The Los Angeles Zoo
5333 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Tickets: $20 (general admission, ages 13-61); $15 (children ages 2-12)
Admission to "Dinosaurs: Unextinct" is $5 per person in addition to regular zoo admission.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Why Discovery Cube Los Angeles Rocked in 2015 + Giveaway!

Will steps inside a tornado at Discovery Cube Los Angeles.

Last year was a big year for the Clark family and Discovery Cube Los Angeles!

The science museum, located on Foothill Boulevard near Hanson Dam, was a welcome outing for both Will and CC, and it became a monthly must-do for the fam. While getting to know the new museum was part of my work as an LA mom ambassador for the Cube, the kids became huge fans and were always asking when we could go back.

Luckily for them, they never had to wait long!

What's great about the interactive museum is that it (along with its sister museum in Orange County) has cool permanent exhibits like the Tornado above, but the Cube also features new, rotating exhibits, such as Thomas & Friends, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Curious George -- all of which Will totally went crazy for!

Our adventures kicked off with Thomas the Tank Engine, where Will had the chance to "explore the rails" and meet Sir Topham Hatt, place foam-rubber coal onto a conveyor belt and climb in and out of Thomas' cab.

Next, we checked out "The Science of Hockey" exhibit, which gave CC and Will the chance to knock a puck into a goal and pretend that they were captains of the Zamboni!

We also had the chance to explore the world of Clifford the Big Red Dog, complete with a little neighborhood set up for the kids to garden and explore. Kids could even push plush dog bones into a seriously oversized feeding dish for Clifford!

And who wouldn't want to meet Curious George?! Will, CC and I had the opportunity to hang (for a little bit) with that famous monkey, as well as get hands on with a rocket slide, a fun faux elevator and an interactive feature that showed kids just how wind affects farm life.

We also can't forget about CC's awesome gingerbread house for the Cube's annual competition, as well as Noon Year's Eve, where kids and parents got to ring in the New Year a little early!

The kiddos were always up for an adventure to Discovery Cube, especially when a new exhibit arrived for them to explore. But no matter which exhibit came to the Cube, Will's first love was -- and still is -- the Helicopter Tour, which simulates a deep dive down into LA's water filtration system or flying over the Sierra Nevadas to check out how our water gets to us. It's pretty amazing!

And we'll definitely be back again -- and again -- in 2016, too!

11800 Foothill Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 91342
Tickets: $10 for adults and kids through April 30. Kids ages 2 and under are free.

*** GIVEAWAY ***

I'm giving away a Family 4 Pack of tickets to Discovery Cube Los Angeles!

Enter by Thursday, April 21 via the RaffleCopter widget below. The winner will be announced on April 22! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure: I am being compensated for this post in my position as a #DiscoveryCubeMoms LA Ambassador. All opinions, however, are my own.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Unboxing on Check Out the New Bugaboo by Diesel Rock Collection Stroller!

This past month has been pretty surreal, to say the least. As you know, my mother passed away in February, and it's been tricky trying to bounce back to normal life. I've been back to Oklahoma several times to take care of things, but I've also had to "keep on truckin,'" as they say, here at home in Los Angeles.

What's kept my mind busy -- in addition to my hubs and two lovely and rambunctious children -- is my work. At, I'm starting to work on more videos -- a fun, new challenge -- and it's kept me on my toes.

My new video series, Unboxing for Moms, takes a close look at new mom and baby items, from strollers and bouncers to rockers and car seats.

Our first installment went live yesterday, and I featured the new Bugaboo by Diesel Rock Collection Stroller (SRP: $919), which hits stores in April.

Check out the video up top!

And stay tuned for more L.A. stories. I might be a bit slower with my posts, but I still have more stories to tell!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

My Mom

My mom, Carol
You might have noticed that it's been a little quiet around here. The last few weeks have been pretty rough, and I want to explain.

My mom passed away two weeks ago, on February 12, and it's been hard to process. I was able to be by her side in Oklahoma when she passed away, and that brings me some comfort. But my heart hurts deeply, and I still have the feeling that I can to call her and talk about everything. She would know what to say.

I've heard that feeling doesn't go away, or at least that it takes a long time to go away.

Despite the heartache and the whirlwind of decisions that have to be made once someone you love passes away -- namely, the funeral and burial, and what to do with all of their things that also seem to be waiting for their owner to come home -- I have at moments felt a peacefulness and comfort that I can only explain as her spirit helping me through this. (Full disclosure: I'm Catholic and believe in God.)

Some things that otherwise would have seemed too much somehow fell into place, and when I've felt especially down, there has been something about the way the sun was shining or the gentleness of a Southern California breeze in February that told me she was at peace but also that she was still with me -- that she would always be with me.

I was talking to Will about Grandma, and he asked where she was. "In heaven," I said. "We need her back," he responded, which made me smile. (CC has processed this in her own way, keeping a strong face while sometimes allowing herself to cry. She's really into the Beatles right now and wrote a song about her sadness to the tune of "Yesterday.")

You might remember the times she visited -- here, here and here. Her obituary was also picked up by the Cherokee Phoenix. (She was Miss Cherokee Holiday in 1959.)

I will miss her visits out to LA, and I'm sad that my children were only around her for such a short time, but I know she will always be with me. With us.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Must-Do With the Kids: 'Odysseo' by Cavalia

This week, CC has been so excited about knowing how to spell "magnificent." It's a big, grand word and definitely something for a third grader to be proud of spelling.

And when I think of "magnificent" lately, I think of Cavalia and the equestrian performance company's latest show "Odysseo," now playing under the white big top in Irvine through March 27.

Will and I caught the premiere earlier this month, and once again I was blown away by the beauty of unfettered horses and their respectful and ethereal riders. My 3-year-old son, while sometimes fidgety as preschoolers are, was still enthralled by the performances, too.

"Where are the horses? Where are the horses?" he asked when they'd run or trot off stage.

It's such a gorgeous show, and the stage -- a seemingly vast landscape underneath the big white tent -- creates the illusion that the audience is outdoors, watching as artists dance, perform gymnastics and whisper to horses amid thunderous rain storms and beautiful open skies. That's thanks to a talented design team and a huge LED screen behind the main area.

And, of course, the 65 horses.

If you're not familiar with Cavalia, the theatrical and equestrian-centered entertainment company is based in Montreal, Canada, and blends special effects, live performance and high tech to create its unusually magical shows.

CC and I have caught two previous shows when they arrived in Burbank, and I am still blown away by the otherworldly feel of the performances.

Luckily, Cavalia has extended its dates through March 27, and it's definitely a must-see!


Under The White Big Top
16576 Laguna Canyon Rd
Irvine, California, 92603
Tickets: Starting at $44.50 for adults; $39.50 for teens; and $29.50 for kids ages 2-12
Playing through March 27

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Must-Do With the Kids: Tubing at Mountain High

CC, the Mountain High yeti and me
Wow, where does the time go?

January — well, December and January — have flown by so quickly, but I wanted to tell you all about CC's and my day trip to Mountain High Resort for tubing!

It was an early morning (and, truthfully, should have been earlier), but the tubing park is so easy to get to from Los Angeles that you have to try it at least once this winter.

And don't worry. You still have time. While daily hours ended on January 3, the resort's North Pole Tubing Park is open Saturdays, Sundays and holidays through mid-March.

As I said, we headed out early — 7:15 a.m. — on our two-hour drive up through the Valley and desert, then east to Mountain High. The tubing park opens at 8:30 a.m., but I thought we could get there just after 9 a.m. and still have plenty of time to go tubing.

Well, just as a heads up, you should leave earlier.

CC at Mountain High North Pole Tubing Park
There are four sessions: 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. ($20 adults; $15 kids); 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. ($25 adults; $15 kids); 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. ($25/$15); and 2:45 p.m.-4:45 p.m. ($25/$15).

We arrived at about 9:15 a.m., and I was hoping to get tickets for the 10:15 session, but it was already sold out! There were so many people already there! We barely made it into the 12:30 session.

So we hung out in the lodge and snacked on pizza and hot chocolate, moving outside by the pit fire when we wanted a chilly breeze.

Keep in mind that families aren't allowed to play in the snow surrounding the tubing lodge — a liability issue — which bummed out more than a few kids, including my own.

Once it was our time to hit the tubing slopes, we had so much fun sliding down one of the four tracks on sturdy tubes provided by the resort.

There was even a "magic carpet" flat escalator that takes tubers and their tubes back up the hill, so you don't arrive breathless and panting once you reach the top.

Ski slope selfie!
After we exhausted ourselves — and got a cute pic with the Mountain High yeti — we decided to head back home, catching a glimpse of the Mountain High ski slopes on the way.

So if you're looking for a quick glimpse of the snow without making a real road-trip commitment, definitely visit Mountain High for tubing. We were home by dinner time!

Mountain High Resort
24510 Highway 2
Wrightwood, CA 92397

Monday, January 4, 2016

Ringing in the New Year at Noon!

CC and Will make some noise at Discovery Cube Los Angeles!
Who knew a New Year's party could be jam-packed at noon?!

That's what happened last Thursday, Dec. 31 — aka, New Year's Eve, or Noon Year's Eve — at Discovery Cube Los Angeles.

Noon Year's Eve selfie!
CC, Will and I walked into the children's museum to find families packed in tight to join in the hands-on festivities and watch balloons drop at 12 p.m. instead of the not-so-kid-friendly 12 a.m.

Moms, dads and kids dressed as various superheroes were greeted with complimentary New Year's party hats and noise makers and were invited to take a fun photo at the green screen photo booth.

A DJ helps everyone rock out during the Noon Year's Eve party.
While a cool DJ spun some pop tunes, including CC's latest favorite song ("Drag Me Down" by One Direction), families explored everything from the Curious George exhibit to the Santa Ana wind machine and the Science of Hockey.

Not only that, but there were also special New Year's-themed exhibits on display.

There was a sensory experiment, in which kids held their noses while eating a jelly bean and then tried to guess the flavor. (Pretty hard when you clamp your nose!)

By far, CC and Will's favorite activity was the Alka-Seltzer rocket table. And the experiment was super-easy and something you can even do at home.

CC and Will make rockets out of Alka-Seltzer tablets and water.
The kids each received a plastic film container (not sure where you can get those in these digital days), but a little plastic tube with a cap would work. The activity director then poured a little water into the container, gave each child half of an Alka-Seltzer tablet and then asked them to place the cap on the tube and turn it upside down.

In a matter of seconds, each tube popped into the air, sometimes about 7 or so feet high. You can guess why the kiddos kept going back to that table!

And, of course, they loved the biggest highlight of all — the balloon drop and ginger ale toast at noon!

Check out my Instagram video below of the fun!
11800 Foothill Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 91342
Tickets: $17.95 (adults); $12.95 (kids). Children ages 2 and under are free.

(Disclosure: I am being compensated for my position as a #DiscoveryCubeMoms LA Ambassador. All opinions, however, are my own.)


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