Posts Tagged ‘kids’

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!

 

Monterey Museum of Art

Monday, July 16th, 2012
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Photo by Craig Lovell, Eagle Visions Photography©

One of the best things about a visit to the Monterey Peninsula is the variety of things to do and see. Even if you pick just one type of experience, the choices within that experience are extraordinary. Take art for instance. The natural beauty of the area is without question, drawing (no pun intended) artists and photographers of all levels, from the world over. Perpetuating the legacy of the Monterey Peninsula Art Colony that began in the 19th Century, there are traditional galleries with art for purchase as well as artist’s studios where visitors can get a more intimate look at the creative process. There is even a growing modern art scene mixing youth and culture together in a powerful presence.

One of the best places to experience all types of art is the Monterey Museum of Art (MMA). Boasting two locations in Monterey, the MMA presents world-class traveling exhibitions of works by masters such as Rodin Matisse, and Ansel Adams, alongside exhibitions of works by exciting emerging artists of today. The MMA also celebrates local artists and photographers, and features special exhibitions of California art of the 19th and 20th Centuries from its rich permanent collection.

Just blocks from the Portola Hotel & Spa is the MMA La Mirada location, which showcases modern galleries and lush gardens on an historic estate that once hosted Hollywood celebrities.  Both locations have recently debuted new exhibits, with MMA La Mirada featuring, In Sharp Focus: The Legacy of Monterey Photography, including works by Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and other members of Group f/64, now through September 30, 2012, while at MMA Pacific Street, Rodin: Light & Shadow, is an interactive, intimate experience of the world’s greatest sculpture set in the character of Rodin’s Parisian studio, which wraps up on October 21, 2012. Both locations also feature in-gallery activities for the kids.

The Monterey Museum of Art is also active in the community, hosting a number of events and educational classes designed to inspire the community and the next generation of local artists. So, for a break from the outdoor beauty of the Monterey Peninsula, take some time to immerse yourself in another type of local beauty, at the Monterey Museum of Art!