Tag Archives: #parks

NY, NY Year-Round!

How do you find family fun when it appears to be hidden inside this enormous city!  

Here’s just a glimpse at what is going on at any given time of the year:

January – March:

If snow is not your thing… hit up a museum or a musical!  There are countless options, but the Children’s Museum is in “our backyard” and it’s my son’s favorite!  Aladdin the Broadway Musical, and Lion King tend to be family favorites… we also enjoyed School of Rock!

Ice skate!  …there’s a few spots around town, but of course, most popular is “The Rink”! Clink the link for more information about Rockefeller Center ice skating!

If it’s snowy… sled!  …families walk to various areas of Manhattan parks to slip, slide and sled!

No snow?  No problem… we hit up one of the many playgrounds in Central Park, (they have even been renovated since this photo below)!  Then warm up with some yummy NYC pizza!

Where’s the BEST pizza?  Ray’s used to be THE most talked about pizza, and for good reason!  However we have found that today various Ray’s locations do not live up to the hype.  We love pizza from Patsy’s, Pappardella, and Little Italy Pizza.  There’s also Sabas!  (just a few of my picks on the UWS)!

A brisk winter’s walk across the Brooklyn Bridge on a clear day or a visit to the Freedom Tower (with its incredible views) with take your breath away!

Spectacular!      

 …and every March 17th there is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

…still slushy outside?  Let’s head to Frames Bowling (near Times Square)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring & Summer!

How about a trip on the Staten Island Ferry or a visit to Lady Liberty?

Explore Central Park…. (near the UWS) there’s Turtle Pond, and the Belvedere Castle…. and OH so much more!  Can you see the little turtle swimming below?

We like to go to playgrounds… Adventure Playground (in Central Park at W. 67th Street) is wonderful!  Another favorite is “Elephant” Playground in Riverside Park (at W. 76th and Riverside Dr.)!

Below: A Spring play date on a chilly morning in Adventure Playground, and splashing around in Elephant Playground in June!


My son loves to turn the scorching hot slide (at Elephant Playground) into a thrilling water slide!  …the only way to go down on sizzling days!

Memorial Day & the 4th of July are very crowded in NYC (lots of tourists) so besides visiting friends, or getting a glimpse of the fireworks from our rooftop we didn’t do too much!  My good friend had a GOOD idea for the 4th of July:  #1.  Find out where the fireworks will be set off (locations vary).  #2  Rent a hotel room facing the view and #3 Enjoy!  Her six-year-old and entire family had a BLAST!  I wish I would have thought of that!

Lots of city people head out to The Hampton’s & surrounding beaches.  (but travel to and from can be difficult and pricey).  We have visited Coney Island & Rockaway Beach.  On my last Coney Island trip, I was baffled by the amount of litter in the ocean (and even found myself cleaning up).  Sigh.  Not very relaxing… but I usually fall into the “good samaritan” category!

After a long day at the beach – a hot dog and fries from Nathan’s is always a good idea!  Lines are long, no matter how many employees are working!  It’s definitely a popular attraction!

Ready for a change up?  Then you’re Brooklyn bound!  (below):

We take the subway to the nearest stop, then walk to Pier 6!  Henry loves it, and there are interactive gears, and water sprays and such!  I find it to be a bit loud at times (when you are surrounded by a bounty of screaming kids and screaming parents sometimes screaming at their kids).  One day towards the end of summer I saw two moms drinking Brooklyn Brewery beers… Hells yeah, I walked a few paces and grabbed one myself.  There’s also food, treats, seating, nearby bathrooms, and more!

September – December

There’s all the back-to-school excitement and even meets-ups with friends at the school…. September is quite busy!

Fall Festivals are all around in October (we even have one right at our kiddo’s school).  Some head out to farms to partake in traditional pumpkin & apple picking experiences.  I have never gone to a farm — but I have gone to Sleepy Hollow for Halloween thrills at it’s best!

Find out if the Legend of the Headless Horseman is true!  The NYC metro system can get you there, and for more info — just click here!

Trick-or-treating has its “hot spots” for sure!  In the UWS, it’s on 69th Street!  It is incredibly crowded and can be overstimulating so proceed with caution!

Cute friends: October 31, and early November at our favorite playground (Metal Park)!

Another advantage of living on the UWS is — it’s the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!  On the Wednesday evening before there’s an organized “walk through the floats” event (and it’s free)!

Talk about being unclose and personal with a lot of hot air!  This November— I am bringing the wide angled camera lens!  Of course some of our friends attend the parade Thursday morning — but we prefer to watch on TV!

     

Make sure to treat your little girl (or boy) to tea at the Alice In Wonderland themed cafe Alice’s Tea Cup any time of the year.  The food is truly amazing, and it’s touted as “New York’s most whimsical tea house”!  My kids love it!

If your kiddo loves dinosaurs, and space and sea life… I have got a place for you!  Oh –  the long awaited Butterfly Conservatory is now open too… I have to go back!  My super lucky son gets to visit this museum on school field trips!  (and in the summer we hit up their splash pad fountains)… really cool.  Have you guessed the place yet?

The Museum of Natural History on the UWS… it’s DYNO-MITE!

You are going to need an entire day for this museum — and at the end of your visit — fatigue may set in!  Many head to SHAKE SHACK (across the street) for dinner– then collapse!

December in NYC — there’s just too much to mention, a link here will give you all the ideas!

Remember this was only a glimpse of family fun!  Whew! 

 

 

Dippy Drippy Pumpkins

From my last post — I mentioned that we had a Soccer ‘N Pumpkins in the Park play day…

I saw a cool idea on Pinterest and wanted to do a test run before-hand!  Hmmmm– Michael’s craft store is up near W. 100th Street, I am at W. 77th…  Maybe I could copy the idea with different paint from a store closer by?  Is that a DIPPY idea?  

paint

We have Flying Tiger (party store) nearby and their stuff is CHEAP!  Let’s see what happens!

Step 1 –    Spray paint your pumpkin so the drizzly paint will adhere to it.  We chose orange: spray    We went up on our roof top for this!  Easy!  Oooo shiny.

spray2dribble not-quite

Step 2  

Place your pumpkin on top of something (I repurposed an old juice box.  The idea is that the paint will drizzle all the way down to the bottom and not create a huge puddle

underneath.  I shook the paint a little, the top flew off and it covered parts of the wall and carpet!  What?!  I didn’t even open the top and peel the foil off yet!  Then we had problems squeezing it out for Step 3.  Arnold Schwarzenegger may not have been able to do it.

Step 3  Hold the paint container upside down and start drizzling paint onto the stem, then let the paint slide down the pumpkin like a waterfall.  Henry & I both squeezed the paint together….. It started to look weird; then I found myself saying, “Henry I think that’s enough paint.  It looks like puke.”

Poor kid — he was so excited.  I wiped off the Flying Tiger paint with paper towels (returned the yucky paint), then got the RIGHT kind of acrylic paint at Michael’s craft store.

Step 3 (again)

Drizzle CRAFT SMART acrylic paint.  Don’t be DIPPY like me and buy the cheap imitation.  I repurposed a used plastic cup for the run-off; (there is still residue from the old paint though).  Step 4: sprinkle with glitter (optional) and let dry.

 paint2    Much better!    again

Henry had so much fun — he wanted to keep going!  I had some foam pumpkin cut-outs (from Michael’s) and foam brushes (from Flying Tiger).  We continued with more creations.  Our cat wanted to check things out too!

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The cute gold party plates are from Flying Tiger.

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We also got the large confetti pieces at Flying Tiger; glue and marker from Michael’s.

img_9590 I don’t know if you can tell — but Louie the cat has a special yellow pumpkin with green paw-print eyes & nose.  Then I clipped two confetti pieces to look more like cat ears (in a triangular shape).

Here is how it looked in the park…  

We brought orange and red spray paint, and ended up using mostly red.  I bought some paper bowls (on clearance at a drug store).  They propped up the pumpkins, and let the paint drizzle down (the lid of the bowl caught the run-off).

colors  The red paint was pretty!  colors5

colors2    colors3    colors4

The pumpkins were a hit!  The washable paint was a relief to all the parents!  Henry’s class of 6-year-olds were able to create some real magic here, but little siblings had a tough time.  I wouldn’t recommend this to kids younger than five.

We topped off the wet paint with a little glitter (from Flying Tiger). It reminded me of pixie dust;  It’s very fine and stays put (does not rub off and get all over clothes or the home).  Nice!  Once the pumpkins are dry — you can glue on some silly plastic spiders & snakes or bugs.  Again Flying Tiger had plenty of that stuff — even glow-in-the-dark spiders and snakes!

Finishing Up:  I bought medium paper bags with handles (at Michael’s).  The pumpkins were about 1/2 way dry by the time parents were ready to leave.  I used a napkin to pick up the pumpkin by the stem and placed the semi-dry pumpkin in the paper bag; an easy carry home project.  Some of the kids got Autumn leaves stuck in their pumpkins which was really cool… ahhhhh the joys of making a mess outside!

The younger siblings loved painting the foam cut outs… Later when I arrived at home I looked inside my paper bag; Two foam pumpkins accidentally bumped into each other and the result was this:

scary

Yes, scary!  I had Pre-K kids opening everything, messes were made but contained on the huge rectangular plastic table cloth I put down on the grass.  I used small sticks to stake the plastic table cloth down (so the wind didn’t blow it away).  Since no one went home with a painted little sibling or a painted dog I would say it was a good day!

 

Bedtime Blues

The midnight conversation…

Henry:  “Mom, Mom!  ….Mom….Mom… Can you please come up (in my loft)?

Seth: “Henry I’ll come up.  Daddy can come up… Daddy can come up.”

Henry: “Nooooooooo.”

Seth: “Daddy can cuddle.”

Henry: “Ugggggggh.  But I don’t want you.  I just want Mom.”

Seth: “But Daddy can give hugs.”

Henry: “But sometimes I am afraid to cuddle with dad.”  — OK he’s a big liar now!

Seth:  “Why?”

Henry: “Cause sometimes I just like girls.  I’m too hot up here.  I just need to go downstairs.  Downstairs is a perfect temperature.  My knee hurts. I need to go downstairs.  I just need Mom.  I don’t like you.”

Henry repeated this again, and the next thing I knew Seth slept up in the loft and Henry slept with me.   Zzzzzzzzzz.

Have You “Sin” This?

Las Vegas is as an adult HOT SPOT — with plenty of grown up attractions as we all know.  But if you are looking for even more to do — rather than the traditional Sin City stuff — here are some pretty cool “family friendly” activities (even some that we have experienced first hand)!

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-Downtown Container Park

conpark

Above: night picture….the praying mantis shoots fire!  However — we went during the day and Henry LOVED it!  Really cute shops, restaurants and “watering holes” surround this unique KIDS play structure.  Great fun!  Great area in Las Vegas!

-Hash House A Go Go

hash  Serving up more than you can handle…this place is all about presentation!  (Plus they play some awesome 80’s ROCK) …and the food is delish!

 

-Red Rock Canyon (you can drive through areas and just look, or do a gentle walk or more aggressive hike).  We love it here!  Henry thinks it is super fun!

redrock

-Regal Red Rock Stadium 16 and IMAX Movie Theater:  Time to relax after all that climbing and hiking…. Let’s go to the MOVIES!

 

-Red Rock Lanes BOWLING!bowl

 

 

 

-Secret (tiger) Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage  Really NICE!

 

Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay  — Excellent!  Well done!

 

Zarkana by Cirque Du Soleil

IMG_0310    So many shows!   IMG_0331 IMG_0334

We love Zarkana, at Aria Resort.  We even know a cute musician who works there and gives us special backstage privileges.  Fun for all — beautiful show  — great music!

 

 

The Neon Museum looks amazing!neon

-The High Roller   (you can do this with a BAR Cart and make it a day or night out with just the adults too)!  What?!

hr5   hr4   hr2

 

550 feet up! views     hr3

Henry loved it!  He wanted to do it again!  Luckily — kids are free!

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-Sprinkles Cupcakes  “Sinfully sweet treats” ….A very yummy experience!  (it’s near the High Roller); Sprinkles was first opened in Beverly Hills, CA and is an L.A. favorite!

cupcakes Fun fountain next door!  fountain

picvegas  Cute shopping and restaurants all in this area — even a Kitson!

Then there is the biggest Bass Pro Shop I have ever seen…

bass pro  

(with free aquarium)!  Henry and Seth are watching the fish in the center of the store; And you can walk right next door to…

 

 

 

The Mermaid Bar & Lounge!  Yes, LIVE mermaids!

 

…drive safe, walk safe, explore, and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Night at the …Zoo

We go to Griffith Park every week… (Sometimes twice a week).  Henry gets “stuck” in the same fun attractions (the teen workers at the merry-go-round may end up in my annual Xmas card this year)!  So…..I wanted to mix things up by going to the Old Zoo.  I learned it was only minutes away from the merry-go-round, and I love discovering new places; so after a quick two spins on the merry-go-round — we were off to an new spot!

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Henry reluctantly followed my instruction, but I reassured him and told him it would be like a new play ground, and he could bring his bike and cruise around.  I told him the Old Zoo was kind of like visiting tunnels and caves!  They are the old pens that still exist and kids usually crawl around in them, climb, roam and explore!

To our surprise there were some young people dressed like as animals in the parking lot.  I thought they were school mascot kids from high schools and maybe there was a pep rally or game.  But I was wrong.

I went on line, and asked my FB friends if they knew what “this” was…. and learned the animals were “Furries” and they were LARPing; the game I was hearing was a battle of some sort – that is LARPing as well.  Live Action Role Playing….the older teens had swords and they seemed to be acting out a fantasy match against one another.  Just my luck, my son has a hard time investigating new areas of Griffith Park and we encounter this!

Furries at Griffith Park?   ride    ride2

 

What the heck?

IMG_0128  So my poor Henry had several mini-tantrums on the trail to the Old Zoo, but ASD aside who could blame him?  I was having trouble comprehending this, myself.

Henry got through the weirdness, then had fun cruising the old caves A.K.A. animal pens.

IMG_0129    IMG_0130

The bars above the staircase and the bars in the monkey bar cage seemed a little unpleasant — I couldn’t imagine being in a cage like the one on the right.  A woman passed by me and said, “I guess they didn’t believe in giving the animals a lot of space back then…”  She seemed a bit disturbed and I could’t blame her.  The old zoo was a bit creepy.

IMG_0127    IMG_0119

old zoo

Cruisin’ the Old Zoo

We stayed up here until the sun went down.  Henry loved it!  Then we went back to the playground in the pitch dark (at 5:00 PM)!  He really can’t get enough of that playground…We love Griffith Park!

 

 

 

12 Ways Growing Up in L.A. is Ruining My Son’s Life

I had a fun childhood growing up on the east coast (big house, huge back yard, swimming pool) and I raised two daughters in WNY with plenty of back yard cook outs, neighborhood kids coming and going, organized sports….and a somewhat big house.  Henry was born in San Diego, and we moved to L.A, before he even turned one year old. Raising my son in the City of Angels will probably come back to haunt me in a few years, right?


1.  Henry’s neighbors, friends and sitters are all different kinds of people.  Mina (Henry’s care-giver pictured below) and her husband immigrated to Los Angeles from Armenia.  Henry hangs out with their entire family, eats Armenian food, and learns their culture.  They even speak Russian.  Mina’s mom lives here too, so it’s like having another grandma visiting sometimes.  He must hate all the attention!

And our neighbors (a mother & daughter in the apartment above us) speak three languages.  Our neighbor right next door is from England.    A lot of Henry’s friends speak Spanish or French…. even Korean.  I’ll be darned…. Henry knows a tiny bit of Spanish, French and Armenian!  Henry has to expand this thinking, and learn tolerance; he must understand that people have different backgrounds, and customs. Some people here have a lot of tattoos, some are homeless, some are celebrities.  How can he comprehend all of this?  Why does his brain have to work so hard?        mina

 


2.  We have a “flat” here in L.A. rather than a BIG house.  It’s hard to store a lot of extra “stuff” too.  We have to make donations regularly to the library, Good Will or other charities.  Henry has to learn that it’s good to let go of things we no longer use; Also — since its small inside —  we go outside.  Every single day (thanks to the wonderful climate) we are active and on the run– outside.

zip

A smaller living space is probably killing him when he eats, and sleeps.


 3.  Henry’s dad hangs out with too many clowns here in L.A., and in Las Vegas.  That can’t be good.

Iris

 


 

4.  I mean — Henry is starting to hang out with some real characters.

sully

El Capitan in Hollywood


 5.  And what about the children at the public playground?

I am so scared…   DSC_8204       DSC_8210

….and frightened that he will get mixed up in all of their fun.  Their sweet, helpful nature can’t be good for my son, right?  They are just too accepting and too willing to play with him.  He has to learn it’s a “dog eat dog world”….and that people are jerks.  The nerve of the pre-teens helping out and having fun with all the little ones!  They’re forming a line all on their own, and wait their turn with no adult micro-managing.  Call SUBURBIA and get some helicopter moms and dads over here STAT!!!!!  These kids are having their own experiences without any adult shadowing!!

shanes inspiration


6.  There is too much to do here in Los Angeles….so much to learn.  I might teach Henry too much, and kids hate that!  I hope he forgives me some day.

DSC_7960     summer sounds


7.  L.A. gets HOT!  I hope Henry doesn’t resent all of the sunscreen and cool hats!  He always gets complements on his caps too, which probably makes him crazy!  The constant exposure to sun probably has something to do with the Vitamin D  that adds to his health and well being.  He is going to be so angry at me for trying to keep him healthy.  Plus when it’s really hot, he can swim and go to the beach.

I torture him… cool summer    santa monica


 8.  L.A. has graffiti, gangs, and guns.  Doesn’t every major city?  Sadly gun violence is a problem that affects our entire nation.  We and our neighbors are vigilant, but I actually feel safer here in Los Angeles than in other parts of the country.  I can only hope that we as a country do something productive and sensible to protect the lives of innocent children and people.

As for the illicit graffiti….     graffiti   Pity.


 

 9.  Baby, it’s NOT cold outside.  I am spoiling Christmas for my son.  I mean… what would Christmas be without evergreen trees, snow and ice? Now I have to teach my child about the spirit of giving, peace on Earth, and good will towards mankind (and animals).     “Tinsel Town” is going to ruin his holidays.

sled What?   …man-made snow at the winter festival in Silverlake, (LA)?  And ice block sculptures in Long Beach?  ….and Santa Girls and the most amazing lights and decorations I have ever seen?  Despicable.

DSC_7640   DSC_6172  california xmasuniversal studio ca   menora   DSC_6150

 


10.  Spring won’t feel like Spring…. (big sigh).  These two pictures were taken on the exact same day.

spring

Buffalo, NY and Los Angeles


11.  Halloween probably won’t feel like Halloween either….

happyahall 11hallowe

pumpkincart  Pumpkins!  pump

la cars

Ok, that is scary.

 


 

12.  Football (sports) is King in many parts of the U.S   ..but not so much here.  In fact there are fans sporting their teams (on their shirts or cars) from all over the country, and world!  Henry might be confused!  Will he be a Chargers fan?  Maybe.  A Dodgers fan?  Possibly.  My son will be so annoyed with us for not raising him in a city without a proper football team.  What do we do on most Sundays?  The Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round and trains must suffice for now.  (Don’t these nice people know life is serious and they shouldn’t be so laid back and friendly)?  Oh well.

…we probably won’t find anything cool to do when he outgrows this.

griffith park merry go round


 

 

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Ten Things To Know About Henry

10)  He has been classified with ASD — Autism Spectrum Disorder.  One can be anywhere on the spectrum — from very mild to moderate to severe and non-verbal.  Henry’s condition is mild, and he is really smart.  I use many, many strategies to help him, however some days I think he uses his ASD to outsmart me!  ASD also makes him very sensitive to loud noises, crowds, parties, concerts, and certain activities.  He also needs his personal space and may not like it when other people talk to him.  We still enjoy life, but make modifications!

9)  I try to get him to write his name, or color or do crafts but he seems to hate all of that!  If you ever get a craft from Henry — it took a lot of work on my end!   He will write, or color or paint (but his has to be in the mood).  He LOVES these unique color pencils below!  So fun!

coloring

awesome color pencils from friend, Ella

8)  Henry is totally huggable — we call him a teddy bear because he is so snuggly and his hair seems fuzzy to us.  He loves to cuddle (at nap time and bed time and relaxation time).  He is extremely affectionate!

7)  He loves to “spin his wheels”.  He rides his two-wheel bike like a pro — then when he is done using up all that energy — he puts his bike on its side and spins one tire round and round.  Some specialists will say don’t let him do that.  It’s non-functional.  I will let him do it for just a few minutes because it seems to calm him down before we go into the house.  (helps with his transition from back yard into the house).

6)  Henry doesn’t like transitions.  Any kind of transition is really, really hard for him.  Going to school on Tuesday after being away since last Thursday is really hard.  Transitions from the backyard into the house, stopping one activity and starting another….and of course the transition of starting our bedtime routine (but going to bed is usually tough for any kiddo)!

5)  He LOVES lights!  Play lights, flash lights, light lights….Yup!

4)  Henry loves trains, drumming, movies, and minions (Despicable Me)….but his latest obsession is ceiling fans.  I got him his own little fan (at The Disney Store) for when he has a fan “fit”.  He seems to have a fan fit when we are walking toward the office where his speech therapy is.  He sees a nearby office (with a ceiling fan), and wants to go in there instead of the Briggs & Associates (speech) office.  If you buy your kiddo a mini fan for any reason, keep it away from long hair.  Mama got an instant “ouchie” and a hair cut one morning due to the  proximity of Henry’s fan.

fan

3)  Henry can have aggressive behaviors, and tantrums.  This usually happens when he has a fear, or needs to do something he doesn’t want to do:  ex. leave the playground (transition).  It is usually time to leave the playground because he is getting tired, and he needs his nap.  So the combination of tired, cranky Henry leaving a fun activity spells trouble for mama.  Also– something unknown can trigger a tantrum.  I put (3) autism awareness stickers on my car so people staring at me (like I am a horrible mom) know what I am dealing with.  In addition — I bought Henry autism awareness t-shirts for the playground.  Strangers used to think it was the terrible two’s, or a three year old tantrum, but Henry is four (and looks like he is five); it’s a little intense to onlookers.  If you ever see these puzzle-type of shirts or bumper stickers that is the symbol for autism.

ribbon                    puzzle

 

2)  Henry is very physical.  He is very strong and fit!  He has incredible muscle tone and loves to  run, bike, and work his muscles in OT and on the playground!  He can do an awesome zip-line, and he also loves to climb.  He likes to go up and down the slide….no matter how steep or wavy a slide is, he will make his way up as well as down.  He doesn’t know his own strength, and this stresses me out at the playground.  Once he grabbed a girl by her shirt and threw her down three huge steps and off the play structure at Griffith Park.  She was ok, just a bit scared.  Luckily she landed on the soft sand.  It was scary though.  She provoked him by grabbing the steering wheel he was playing with.  Henry would never harm anyone unprovoked.  We take turns with the wheel, and I limit his time with it too.  He just doesn’t like other kids in his personal space, and he doesn’t like it when kids insert themselves in something he is playing with.…. we usually find trouble with that darn wheel.  I guess children see him enjoying it so much — it makes them want it too.  And all kids have a tough time taking turns.  It takes practice, and a mediator.  I watch him like a hawk — and mediate as well.  But sometimes a parent will strike up a conversation with me.   That makes me lose my focus — so I have to be careful!

1)  Henry is funny!  He jokes around with us, talks in silly voices,  goofs off, and loves life.  He is also extremely connected to me.  If I am in a good mood — he is in a great mood, if I am in a bad mood, he is in a bad mood.  He seems to want to do everything with me.  It’s a relief to take him to school some days!  His teacher (Mina) and her husband (Armen) tell me almost every school day, “He is such a sweet boy!  We love him!”  It’s a good thing he’s so darn cute too.  He is truly one of a kind!

 

 

Los Angeles Zoo

The L.A. Zoo is very cool!  Our past few visits happened to be on super hot days, and when the SoCal temps are scorching — the animals seek shelter and stay inside to cool off.  Today was perfect though….with the leaves changing colors, and cooler outdoor temps…we had a great November visit!

look tiger

Let’s see what the animals are up to!

As with any zoo, you are going to walk a lot!  I rented a stroller for $7.00, and I didn’t even have to give them my drivers license (to ensure I would bring it back).  I couldn’t help but think of Henry’s grandparents — when they took him to the Buffalo Zoo they had to leave their license!  Nuts!  Henry loved his L.A. Zoo stroller, it was new to him and just fun!  I didn’t want to bring my BIG Bob-jogger stroller because it’s just….big.  Also – its hard to maneuver into those tight spaces (especially when you want to squeeze in to see the tiger)!  But it wasn’t crowded today — even for a Saturday.  Love that!

purr

“Oh, Wow,” Henry said, when we encountered this beautiful kitty!  The tiger exhibit was refurbished in 1993, and included the addition of a waterfall!  Who’s to thank for such a wonderful gift?   …Purina!

 

Same spot (a year apart) in front of the giraffes!  …such majestic creatures!

Sept., 2012 DSC_5896   Nov., 2013  giraffe

 

gcollageI LOVE the new faces he is making when visiting the animals this time!

 

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The Asian elephants have over 6 acres of land.  It’s the zoo’s largest exhibit!

  DSC_5842The meerkats are always a favorite!  “These charming creatures would later provide inspiration for the animators of Disney’s The Lion King.”  source: lazoo.org

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Hot, hot day, and pink cheeks a year ago!

What a difference a year has made.  We hit up the fun playground this time, talked about the animals we saw, and both of us got scared by the chimpanzees.  It all started when one chimp was making silly sounds with his lips.  Henry laughed and said, “again”…so I made the sound with my lips, and the chimp echoed back.  Then all three chimps started to make those LOUD (Tarzan-like) noises!  Whoa!  Henry wanted to get away as fast as possible…he shouted, “you’re scared, you’re scared!”

Henry had a lot to say about the animals– and with his ever improving speech and language — he even spoke to the ostrich. “Don’t bite, don’t bite!” he yelled at it from about seven feet away!

There is so much more to see and do than what I have pictured here.  Pack your own drinks, snacks or lunch to save a buck or two…and enjoy!  It’s a fun zoo for sure!

For information on becoming a zoo member, click here!  Membership sounds like a good deal!

Peek Inside the Observatory!

 Many L.A. peeps are actually guilty of going to Griffith Observatory and NEVER GOING INSIDE, OR checking out the PLANETARIUM SHOW!

SHAME, shame, I know your name!

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Samuel Oschin Planetarium

Children under 5 can only attend the first show of the day.  Henry loves it, “Water Is Life” has been the first one each time we have visited!  You can buy one ticket if your little one sits on your lap.  That’s bonus cuddling time if you ask me and the Mr.!

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It’s electric (and kinda scary to my 3 yr. old)…

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 The TESLA exhibit is NOT an 80’s metal band?  I def was not paying attention to my science classes.

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The Foucault Pendulum demonstrates the Earth’s rotation, and is downright mesmerizing.  The brass ball weighs 240 pounds!  Heavy!

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The Hugo Ballin Murals in the main entrance ceiling and upper walls are absolutely spectacular (first painted in 1934-35).  They are truly a gift, truly a treasure, truly magical!

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Outside the gift shop / downstairs cafe, grab a snack, grab a seat & table, grab a view!

 

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The real deal…                            …and a sneaky back drop downstairs!

 

Little Boys, Big City

One of our favorite spots in sunny L.A. is….

DSC_4867  The Griffith Observatory!

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When we first moved to L.A. (for the second time) in 2011, we found that the observatory was just a hop, skip and a jump away from our home in nearby Los Feliz.  So lucky!  We frequented this spot almost on a weekly basis!  Now that we moved to mid-city, it’s about a 20 minute drive — I think we make it here about once every two weeks!  This amazing landmark first  opened it’s doors to the public on May 14, 1935, and wins my heart every time I return!

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      Just another day in Hollywood for these little boys….Henry and Apollo (at 2 yrs) on the move…

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Taking in the views!

DSC_4635  Making the rounds….

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                 Imagine growing up here…  What a dream!