Posts Tagged ‘kids’

Winter-time Wonderland at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Saturday, December 6th, 2014
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In case you hadn’t noticed, winter has arrived. Yes, for most of the country, Winter means weather, but in California and specifically on the Monterey Peninsula, Winter is more about the holidays and wondering why scarves and gloves look cool, but are actually uncomfortable in 65 degree weather. Most importantly, however, winter and the holiday season mean family. Whether you are entertaining guests from out of town or spending time with your own, there are many options around the Monterey Bay, but none excite the group as much as the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Beyond the world-wide reputation and overall greatness, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is offering several recently new and exciting exhibits and that are sure to awaken the wonder in everyone. Tentacles, the Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes debuted to much fanfare a few short months ago and has been enchanting guests ever since. Featuring giant rooftop tentacles and multiple tanks filled with 9 types of cephalopods, the exhibit will immerse you into a whole new world of these ever-changing sea creatures.

One of the other recent exhibits is the Jellies Experience. Gain a whole new appreciation of this beautiful mysterious and sometimes dangerous ocean dweller. Eight different types are featured and their graceful water-ballet amidst black-lit rooms is something to truly behold. Their simplicity and complexity are on display all at once in an almost surreal experience.

The Aquarium’s favorites are of course on hand with Penguins, Sea Otters, the Kelp Forrest, the Splash Zone and daily feedings and classes available for everyone’s enjoyment. Most recently, viral videos of rescued sea otters have made the rounds on YouTube and Twitter, but now you can see these cuddly kits in person!

If your guests are from out of town, the Portola Hotel & Spa offers a very special Monterey Bay Aquarium Family Getaway for $199 (now through January 31, 2015). Guests will receive accommodations in a nautically inspired guest room, a warm homemade chocolate chip cookie, 25% Off* on Food & Beverage for Dinner in Jacks Restaurant and two adult tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium which are good for two consecutive days. Book Now!

This winter, if the parkas and scarves have not made it out of the closet, but you are looking for a great experience for the family, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They’ll thank you for the best present of all, quality family time!

 

Book now and stay December 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015.  Terms and conditions apply.  Based on availability. Not applicable to groups. Blackout dates apply.
*Not valid during holidays.

Fun Fall Activities for the Kids

Monday, October 20th, 2014
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Although California’s warm weather continues, there is the unmistakable feeling of Fall in the air. While we don’t have the same explosion of color that the trees in New England have, our incredible growing climate allows the Monterey Peninsula to have Halloween themed farms and events aplenty this time of year. The kids and especially their parents will be especially thrilled to have so many options within such a short distance.

For a good old fashioned Halloween experience, check out Swank Farms in Hollister or Borchard Farms in Salinas. Swank Farms offers an over the top bevy of Halloween activities including a fantastic corn maze that becomes a haunted event at night and a more relaxed pumpkin patch. It also offers an interactive Kiddy Corral as well as a Pumpkin Catapult and Corn Ear Cannon, bouncy elements and a fully stocked snack shack and store. Check the website for the most current schedule of events and tickets and be prepared to be haunted!

Borchard Farms, home of the giant pumpkins also offers a family friendly corn maze, a spooky ghost town, a haunted barn and a petting zoo for kids of all ages. The ghost town is perfect for the little ones as it is 10 and under only and includes pumpkin bounce houses, a haystack maze, a leap the pumpkins game and plenty of Halloween photo op areas.  The haunted barn is a bit scarier and is great for your older ghosts and goblins.  Both Swank and Borchard Farms are also great for picking up pumpkins and decorations for your home or office.

A more relaxed family experience can be found at Earthbound Farms in Carmel Valley. The organic farm offers a wide range of regular and specialty pumpkins amongst a tranquil setting. The farm includes an expansive selection of other organic fruit and vegetables, as well as premade food and other offerings made on site including ice cream, soft serve and other kitchen goodies. The farm stands also include a cut your own herd garden and a walking labyrinth and an interactive kid’s garden with touchable foliage.

If you’ve already got your fill of farm, you can enjoy the thrill of a pirate’s treasure hunt at the Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey. The Portola Hotel’s Pirates Program is a great way to engage your little buccaneer while at the hotel and emerge them into a world of high-seas adventure. Guests of the hotel from 3-12 years old can participate for free and will receive a Portola Pirate Bag and a self-guided treasure map so you can hunt for buried treasure.

Or, you can visit Downtown Pacific Grove on October 25th, 2014 for a free family friendly trick or treating event. Between 10am-4pm costumed kids and a responsible adult are invited to take to the streets of Pacific Grove and enjoy candy and toys given out at participating businesses while being entertained by musicians throughout downtown.

There is no shortage of Halloween events throughout the Monterey Peninsula. On your October visit, don’t have a fright, have fun and enjoy the spooktacular times today!

SCCA National Championships

Monday, October 6th, 2014
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Photo Courtesy of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

While much of the nation’s automotive focus is pointed to the Monterey Peninsula during Car week in August, in recent years the hardcore racing fan’s appetite has been satisfied with a bevy of races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The world famous track has played host to the internationally renowned Red Bull Grand Prix, the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix and from October 10-12, 2014 the raceway will host the Sports Car Club of America’s National Championships.

Although billed as an amateur event, these competitors are far from Sunday drivers. The top drivers from each of the SCCA’s 115 national regions are invited with drivers slotted in 27 different car classes. Throughout the week, drivers will get plenty of practice time on Mazda Raceway’s famous twists and turns before qualifying begins. Friday through Sunday the drivers and their teams rev up the fun with three days of competition.

Some of the more popular classes include Production, which allows for performance modifications to an existing design, Formula which are single seat, open-wheel race cars and Sedan which include American muscle cars like the Camaro, Mustang or GTO. Unique to this type of competition is the vast number of different cars all racing against comparable models. Universal, however, is the skill and passion that every driver shows and the dedication to the performance of their cars.

The races will be broadcast live and on demand at www.speedcasttv.com, but if you’d rather get up close and personal to the action, Advanced General Admission tickets are available for $25 per day or $60 for a three day pass. Children under 12 are free with a paying adult and parking is also free with preferred parking only $25.

So if you’re in the mood for some high performance speed from a driver that might just live around the corner, check out the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Drivers, start your engines!

Best Beaches on the Monterey Peninsula

Friday, July 11th, 2014
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It’s common knowledge that the Monterey Bay has one of the most beautiful coastlines on the entire planet. But with all those miles of photo-worthy shore, how can you tell which beach is right for you? Central Coast Living’s team has visited them all and here are a few of our favorites!

Located off of Highway 1, just south of Carmel is Carmel River State Beach.  With a lagoon formed by the Carmel River, this California State Park attracts a large number of migratory birds, making it a great place for birders.  Also providing access to notable kelp forests in the area, the beach is a hotspot for scuba divers and kayakers as well.  Not the best place for swimming due to its strong currents, beautiful Carmel River State Beach is better suited for a day in the sand or cozying up to warm fire for s’mores in the evening.

Just a mile north of Carmel River Beach, within charming Carmel-By-The-Sea, is Carmel Beach. Renowned for good surf, soft sand and excellent dog-walking conditions Carmel Beach is a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike.  Perfect for sandcastle building, it’s no wonder that Carmel Beach annually hosts a beloved sandcastle contest as well as the Sunshine Freestyle Surfabout, one of California’s longest running surf contests.  Even better than the sand under your feet are the evening sunsets painted where the sky meets the sea. Carmel Beach is also an ideal spot for bonfires and evening picnics.

Spanning from Monterey to Seaside, the Monterey State Beach offers a long uninterrupted stretch of sand and surf beginning next to historic Fisherman’s Wharf and ending in Seaside. This popular beach is the perfect place for many outdoor activities, such as surfing, kayaking, swimming, kite flying and even fishing. Look toward the sea and you’ll spot scuba divers emerging from the depths.  Look toward the sky and you’ll find hang gliders soaring over the dunes. Perfect for everyone, Monterey State Beach is a great place for a true California beach experience.

This next beach packs a whole lot of beautiful views and natural diversity into a single mile of coastline.  Providing public access to the Monterey Peninsula’s rocky coastline and dune habitat, Asilomar State Beach is a popular spot for every beach activity from nature walks and surfing to a romantic date night. With a quarter-mile long trail running through the dunes, Asilomar is the perfect place to take in breathtaking views or go for a morning jog.  Explore the little worlds hiding within Asilomar’s many tide pools or set up shop for an evening bonfire.  A fully accessible beach, Asilomar State Park features beach wheelchairs to allow full access to those with limited mobility.  Dog friendly and child-friendly alike, Asilomar is a great family beach.

One of Pacific Grove’s most beloved landmarks, Lovers Point Beach is a favorite for both P.G. natives and visitors alike.  With a safely protected seashore perfect for children, a rec trail wrapping around the iconic coastline, and lovely Lovers Point Park overlooking the rugged Pacific, Lovers Point is the perfect beach destination for families and visitors of all ages.  Enjoy a game of volleyball while overlooking the water, or bring your children to play in the Lovers Point Children’s Pool.  Enjoy a run on the rec trail or take your dog for a walk with a view.  Featuring bike, surrey and kayak rentals during the high season, Lovers Point has been named Best Place for a Wedding for several years running. So if you are looking for the perfect blend of romance and family fun, look no further than Lovers Point Beach and Park.

From small hidden beaches and long stretches of shoreline to rocky points and quiet tide pools, Monterey Peninsula’s cost offers something for everyone. The next time you visit Monterey, discover how many things there are to do at the beach!

Kids on the Peninsula

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014
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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 as a mom of two, the Monterey Peninsula is one of the best family-friendly travel destinations around!  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 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 visit. Free and open seven days a week, (click here for more information) the park is perfect for families and offers a multitude of play structures, tunnels, bridges and a maze. Looking for something indoors in downtown Monterey? Try the Monterey County Youth Museum (MY Museum), a hands-on interactive children’s museum, perfect for the busiest of toddlers and young kids.

If you are traveling with kids that are a bit 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.

All of these activities are within walking distance of the Portola Hotel & Spa making a trip to the complex that much more appealing. 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 of family fun!