Archive for the ‘Family Fun’ Category

Aquarium for Two Package

Thursday, March 7th, 2013
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Photograph Monterey Bay Aquarium©

It’s easy to find adventure when you are traveling by yourself, with your significant other or with friends, but finding something exciting to do with your family that keeps your interest can become an adventure in and of itself. That’s why the Monterey Bay Aquarium is such a great choice. Not only is it located right on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, on historic Cannery Row, but it is chalk full of amazing and educational exhibits and interactive activities for kids and adults alike.

The fabulous Jellies Experience is now open and there are countless other interesting this to experience and explore. There is the Splash Zone that allows kids of all ages to engage with ocean inhabitants and feedings at each of the exhibits and countless other things to do. The Portola Hotel & Spa offers a wonderful Aquarium Package for Two. Not only is the Portola within walking distance to the Aquarium, but this package has it all! With the Portola Hotel Aquarium for Two Package, you get a nautically inspired and elegantly appointed guest room of your choice, two adult Aquarium tickets good for two consecutive days and the Portola’s famous warm homemade chocolate chip cookie upon arrival. Additionally, you also receive a delicious breakfast buffet for two at Jacks Restaurant and complimentary use of the fitness center. Guests can also purchase additional tickets right at the front desk and the Portola’s friendly and knowledgeable staff has a host of other activities and family-friendly things to do. It’s important to remember that the Monterey Bay Aquarium is more than just a place to look at the creatures of the ocean. They are one of the foremost research facilities in the world and are the stewards of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch® Program.

So the next time you are looking a fun-filled family getaway that gives back, look no further that the Portola Hotel & Spa’s Aquarium for Two Package. You’ll be glad that you did, and so will the fish!

Holiday Survival Tips from the Portola Hotel & Spa Team

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
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Before you know it those sleigh bells will be ringing and the holidays will be upon us. When searching from some fun, yet useful tips, I decided to look no further then the dynamic team at the Portola Hotel & Spa, so…don’t fret, no need to stress, the team at the Portola has got you covered.

Check out these fun tips from the best of the best to help you survive the hustle and bustle of the season.

  1. Try to avoid peak travel times. The worst are Monday through Fridays between 7am-10am and 4pm-8pm. The best days to travel are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Timo, Sales Manager
  2. Save for the holidays all year long, that way you will have plenty of funds throughout the season! Cristy, Group Rooms Coordinator
  3. Don’t drink and drive. Be safe this holiday season and designate a driver if you plan to go out. Kevin, Brewmaster
  4. Make charitable giving a high priority. Volunteer with your family and clock some quality time together while making a difference. Terri, Director of Sales
  5. Start your holiday shopping months in advance so that you are not cramming in all your last minute shopping with the crowds! Anna, Reservations
  6. A busy kid is a happy kid! Pack your child a fun filled backpack full of exciting, new things to do when traveling. Don’t forget the snacks and juice. Christian, Food & Beverage Coordinator
  7. Do less this holiday season; relax and enjoy more! Jackie, Marketing
  8. Wrap your gifts with newspaper (Sunday comics are great!), cloth that can be reused or wrapping paper made with recycled content – think green. Eddie, Catering Manager
  9. Do your shopping on Christmas Eve. The sales have already started and there are no crowds. Sonny, Director of Food & Beverage
  10. Consider using a smaller airport such as the Monterey Airport. You will be surprised with how many flights the regional airports offer. Janine, General Manager

Kids on the Peninsula

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
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When most people think of the Monterey Peninsula they think of beautiful golf courses, million dollar homes and some of the world’s most famous events. Others think of miles of pristine coastline, romantic walks along the water and shopping and dining. But some do not realize the amount of kid-friendly activities available.  With as many family friendly activities as there are par fours, Mom, Dad and the little ones can have the time of their lives. Oh, and if the “little ones” are actually teenagers…there is plenty for them to do as well.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium on Historic Cannery Row is one of the world’s premiere displays of aquatic marvels. The Splash Zone is entirely devoted to kids and kids of all ages and the aquarium as a whole can keep the family interested for hours, but what about the next day?

How about Dennis the Menace Park located by Lake El Estero in Monterey? Hank Ketchum, the legendary creator of the cartoon icon Dennis the Menace made Carmel his home and this park brings the same smile to all who come. Free and open seven days a week, the park is perfect for families and offers a multitude of play structures, tunnels, bridges and a maze. The cornerstone of the park is an actual Steam Engine that can be climbed and played upon, if you’re looking for something indoors, try the interactive, hands-on Monterey County (MY) Museum.

If you are traveling with kids a little older, check out the paddle boats available for rent on Lake El Estero directly behind the park. It’s a great time and you can get up close and personal with the ducks, Canadian Geese and swans that make the lake their home (don’t forget the breadcrumbs!) Or, for a more radical departure, make a visit to the free skate park also adjacent to Dennis the Menace. With exciting elements to challenge the skills of skateboarders and in-line skaters, this park was created with input from community skaters resulting in a fantastic design overlooking the lake. Between glow-in-the-dark mini golf on Cannery Row, hiking at Point Lobos to kayaking on the Bay, an activity for every member of the family awaits!

Most all of these activities are within walking distance of the Portola Hotel & Spa making a trip to the Peninsula one of ease and most importantly fun! With green grass, picnic benches and the beach just across the street, why not order a delicious lunch to go from Peter B’s Brewpub and enjoy a wonderful day!

 

Top 10 Picnic Spots

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
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It’s summertime, and with all the vacations, camps, games and other activities, we sometimes forget that this time of the year is supposed to be relaxing.  Even mealtime seems hurried as we try to fit one last thing into the longer summer days. So why not downshift and spend a little quality time with the family (and don’t forget to bring the dog) while taking in the beautiful scenery of the Monterey Peninsula? Food, family and fun are always a recipe for relaxation so here is our unofficial Top 10 (in random order) picnic spots on the Peninsula and a little beyond.

1. The nearest park or open-space or enchanted garden. Keep it simple and enjoy each other’s company, explore the Custom House Plaza and nearby Memory Garden/Pacific House or Old Whaling Station Garden.

2. Lovers Point Beach: What’s better than a lush park right next to a beach, with a view of Monterey Bay?

3. Dennis the Menace Park: Picnic tables and grills behind the park overlook Lake El Estero and a skate park. Perfect for kids of all ages (dogs not allowed in the park gates).

4. Marina State Beach: Miles of beach are perfect for flying kites and the occasional hang glider make for great entertainment; make sure to bring a windbreaker, as that’s why this is the best place for kite flying!

5. Colton Hall: Revel in the beauty downtown Monterey and sit among shady trees, beautiful architecture and a lush lawn.

6. Garland Ranch: Work up an appetite with a hike before sitting down to drink in the beauty of Carmel Valley.

7. 17-mile Drive: Beach, forest, golf or all of the above are offered along this famous stretch of road. The views aren’t half bad either!

8. Asilomar State Beach: Catch one of the area’s great sunset spots and white sand beaches, build a small bonfire, go tide-pooling and a walk amongst the dunes.

9. Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail: By bike, foot or surrey rental you can take-in the views and stop at any of the numerous benches and open spaces along the route for a meal.

10. Pfeiffer Beach State Park: This State Park offers it all and is a wonderful way to explore nature with your family and enjoy the majestic views and tranquility of Big Sur.

If you are looking for the perfect culinary compliment to this family fun, why not stop off at Peter B’s Brewpub or Jacks Restaurant at the Portola Hotel & Spa and pick up a delicious lunch for your group. With choices galore, your family and your taste buds will thank you!

California Rodeo Salinas

Friday, July 20th, 2012
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Photography Richard Field Levine ©

Since 1910, the California Rodeo held annually in Salinas, California has grown from a small Wild West Show with some bucking bronco riding to a full-fledged week-long celebration of the history of the Salinas Valley.  Complete with a full slate of officially sanctioned professional rodeo events, the event features concerts, carnival games and enough down-home cowboy fun to fill a 10 gallon hat!

The rodeo or “Big Week” as it was coined in 1911 kicks-off on Friday July 13th and runs through Sunday, July 22nd. On Friday the 13th, the carnival will open at 4pm with games for kids of all ages and on Saturday the 14th Kiddie Kapers and the annual Colmo del Rodeo Parade in Downtown Salinas rev up the fun even more.

Photography Richard Field Levine ©

The professional rodeo cowboys start their competition on Wednesday the 18th with the preliminary rounds of their specialty. The early rounds continue on Thursday and Friday evenings featuring the Tough Enough to Wear Pink event on the 19th and the Fight Hunger event on the 20th.

On Saturday and Sunday the action switches to the daytime with the semi-final and final rounds of competition. Saturday is Salute to the Military Day and the fun continues into the evening with the week’s biggest performance, when Country Music legend Alan Jackson and friends take the stage at 6:30pm.

Sunday is the Crown Royal Day of Champions featuring the finals of the professional events including: Bull Riding, Tie Down Roping, Bareback Riding, Team Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding and Steer Wrestling. Tickets are available at the box office or online at www.carodeo.com.

So if you want to learn about the rich history of Salinas and take in some of the best live action around, go big at Big Week and the California Rodeo – Salinas!