When in southern California with kids, it's easy to get caught
up in the lure of LEGOLAND and Disneyland. But my daughter and I
discovered several stops worth a visit beyond those two famous
Temecula Children's Museum: This gem of a museum is an hour
north of San Diego but well worth the drive. It's one of the best
kids' museums I have visited. Designed around the fictional
Professor Pennypickle and his amazing workshop, this facility is a
little kids' paradise although there was also plenty to keep me and
my 14-year-old interested and occupied. We could have spent several
hours exploring all the nooks and crannies.
Knott's Berry Farm: I expected quaint but found a terrific
little amusement park that is just the right size to do in a day
without exhausting ourselves. Don't head home without a stop at the
Chicken Dinner Restaurant. There, you'll find comfort food served
with a smile. Order the full chicken dinner and you'll get a meal
just like Mrs. Knott used to serve during the Depression-fried
chicken, biscuits, mashed potatoes and chicken gravy. Order the
cherry rhubarb for your appetizer. Yum.
Catalina Island: There's enough to do on this laid-back island
to keep the kids interested but not so much that the adults end up
exhausted. Skip the scenic bus tour, which wasn't all that scenic,
and opt instead for the Undersea Tour, also operated by Discovery
Tours. The windows are big and clear enough to get a good look at
the huge algae trees, purple plants, neon orange garibaldi fish and
the topsmelt with the electric blue vertical line.
Long Beach Aquarium: There were plenty of interactive things for
kids to open, watch and touch (including sharks), lots of short
video clips that only a parent would recognize as educational and
some of the most interesting fish I've ever seen, from the vibrant
tropical fish to the creepy giant sea bass.
Cindy Richards is the mom of two who gets her muse from traveling the world, usually with kids in tow. She also writes for TravelingMom.com, where she also serves as editor.
See more of Cindy's stories here.
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