Monthly Archives: November, 2014

Ride Swap To The Rescue At Disneyland

Some rides give out a ticket to reenter.

Some rides give out a ticket to reenter.

Do you and your spouse both like to ride the scary or big rides with your older kid, but your little one is too small, young, or scared to ride with you? Ride swap comes to the rescue to allow you both to ride with your older kid who gets to ride twice.

Here is how to work it.

Continue reading →

Right or Left? Getting On Faster ~ Autopia At Disneyland

Pay attention to the loading area.

Pay attention to the loading area.

As some of the other rides at Disneyland, Autopia breaks into two lines — right and left. However, unlike the other rides depending on the day, either right of left will be faster. Follow these tips to know which one to get in on your next trip.

Continue reading →

The NAT ~ A Small Natural History Museum in San Diego

One of two entrances to the NAT.

One of two entrances to the NAT.

Balboa park in sunny San Diego houses a slew of museums. The kids wanted to see dinosaurs this particular day so we decided to see what the San Diego Natural History museum, or NAT for short, had to offer.

This was our first visit to this particular natural hisorty museum. I guess I expected more from San Diego. They are a very populated and well funded city, but it doesn’t seem to be trickling its way to this museum.

I think the much more humble San Bernardino County museum had more displays and artifacts in one display than San Diego had in four floors.

From their website, I didn’t expect a huge museum since the display list was was quite short, and I was right. This is a half day museum at best with a few core bread and butter exhibits and a few rotating displays.

We began on the 2nd floor. There are two entrances to the museum and we just happened to enter here. It seems to be the less busy entrance so we lucked out on that.

2nd Floor

The second floor is where the majority of the displays are located. When you first walk in you are greeted with some impressive dinosaur specimins and well as a time telling giant pendulum.

Dinosaurs greet you at the 2nd floor entrance.

Dinosaurs greet you at the 2nd floor entrance.

Time telling pendulum knows over the dominoes and the Earth rotates.

Time telling pendulum knocks over the dominoes as the Earth rotates.

Cool little prehistoric set up.

Cool little prehistoric set up.

From here you travel around the open center floor seeing stuffed creatures and skeletons of sorts, as well as a few large mineral specimens.

Giant Great White hanging in the center of the museum.

Giant Great White hanging in the center of the museum.

A King Tut exhibit was opening the next weekend so a partial part of the floor was cordoned off. We headed up to the third floor after we got our fill of a roaming docent’s fossil tray.

3rd Floor

Small displays of skulls were located throughout the 3rd floor.

Small displays of skulls were located throughout the 3rd floor. You can see the tops of the photographs on the 4th floor at the top of this picture.

The third floor had a temporary exhibit of skulls. This was my favorite exhibit because they had very interesting species such as the horned lizard to look at (spoiler alert: the horns are built into the skull.)

They kept the antlers on any skulls that normally come with them.

They kept the antlers on any skulls that normally come with them.

The kids liked this exhibit the best as well.

The kids liked this exhibit the best as well.

The exhibit takes up the whole third floor because it is dispersed throughout where offices and labs are located. It’s not huge but has extremely interesting skulls to keep you occupied for a while.

We skipped the 4th floor all together. I could see the photograph display they had set up but knew it wouldn’t interest the kids. Just as the skulls were dispersed, the walls of the 4th floor displayed the California photographs throughout.

1st Floor

Play area as seen from the 2nd floor.

Play area as seen from the 2nd floor.

So we went to the 1st floor. There the museum had a cute play area set up for the kids as well as a small cafe and gift shop.

The Dinosaur Cafe was more of a cart. Don't expect much in variety.

The Dinosaur Cafe was more of a cart. Don’t expect much in variety.

Hands on display in the Water exhibit.

Hands on display in the Water exhibit.

Stuffed birds in the Water exhibit.

Stuffed birds in the Water exhibit.

There is also one last exhibit on the water of California. This housed stuffed native birds, live fish and frogs and some hands on manipulatives to demonstrate energy consumption when water is pumped.

Overall I don’t think this is a museum we will visit again. The exhibits they did have were nice and well kept, but there wasn’t that much to see, so we wouldn’t need a second visit because we saw it all in the first. Unless there was a temporary exhibit that we really wanted to experience, we will check out the other museums in Balboa Park instead the next time we are here.

Homeschoolers

I was impressed with the worksheets available on the NAT website. They have teacher resources for just about every exhibit they house, plus resources for all past and present traveling exhibits. A lot of these worksheet can be used for just about any natural history museum you visit.

Military

The museum offers a military discount. Click here for current prices. They also have a resident free Tuesday each month that includes free admission for active duty military.

Thankfully the tickets weren’t that much, especially with our military discount.

I would definitely recommend if you only have a day to spend in Balboa park, spend it walking around the park. It’s huge and has wonderful buildings and some free museums to check out. Save the paid museums for October when the kids can get in free.

I’m heading back to San Diego in a couple of weeks and plan on spending one the of the days at Balboa just exploring . Stay tuned to get a full recap of all the fun and free (or cheap) things to do there.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Living Desert Zoo ~ A Truly Unique Place

Welcome to the zoo.

Welcome to the zoo.

In the city of Palm Desert (next door to Palm Springs) is a unique zoo like no other I have ever experienced. The Living Desert Zoo is just that, a living natural habitat of native plans and animals you would only find in a desert.

Continue reading →

Right or Left Side? Getting on Faster – It’s a Small World

The key to a short wait lies in what you see here.

The key to a short wait lies in what you see here.

It’s a given. Lines and Disneyland go hand in hand, but some rides offer the opportunity to get on slightly faster if you know the tricks. First up, It’s a Small World.

Continue reading →