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Weekend Update

Palm Springs at Night; Safari Park; Oatman, Arizona

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by , 05-27-2011 at 08:31 PM
Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer and this three day weekend usually calls for a trip to a theme park for many of us. Be prepared to deal with the crowds, though. We won't be the only ones to have the same idea.

Our Weekend Update reports are close to home this week. My home anyway. The first set of photos was taken in Palm Springs during a mini-vacation that MickeyMaxx and I went on a few weeks ago. Believe it or not, we were there during the very last days of the high season for this desert town. This popular tourist destination will go into semi-hibernation now until the cooler days of fall.

MickeyMaxx contributed a few photos for the second story in our blog this week. We visited the *sigh* Safari Park in Escondido with a group of MiceChatters last weekend. MaryAnninWndrland contributed the majority of the great animal shots. Matt Hammand contributed the *sigh*.

Finally, Techskip and Tink wrangled the kids out on a camping trip recently. Their first stop was Oatman, Arizona. I'll skip the prerequisite donkey jokes here (actually I couldn't think of any). Suffice it to say this little town has a very unique claim to fame.

Be safe. Have fun. See you all next week.

MickeyMaxx visits Downtown Palm Springs at night

Palm Springs, Thursday Night

A few days off, an offer from a friend in Palm Springs to spend a few nights relaxing. Toss in the pool and spa, and who could resist? One thing we wanted to see on our visit was the city's legendary Thursday evening street fair.

Palm Springs is unique in that the local folks don't rush to tear down old buildings to put up new ones. Much of the town makes the visitor feel like you've been transported back in time. Immaculate homes and businesses, updated, but preserved.

The temp was moderate as we headed to our destination.

Our destination on Thursday night was Palm Canyon Drive - the main drag - seven or eight blocks of which becomes a colorful marketplace every Thursday night.

There are dozens of places to eat at the event but our hosts had made reservations at their favorite steakhouse, where we sat above the street fair at our own firepit/table. Amazing meal . . . thanks to our hosts.

On to the street fair.

The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies, featuring a "thousand year old cast" (members range in age from 58 to 82), has been seen by nearly 3 million people.

The Boys & Girls Club of Coachella Valley’s Heatwave Jazz and Show Band held court at one intersection. So professional, they range in age from 9 to 18.

MiceChat goes to the *sigh* Safari Park

Last weekend, a group of MiceChatters descended on the *sigh* San Diego Zoo Safari Park for a day of strolling through its lush trails and spying on some of the 3,000 wild and endangered animals. Oh my. Was our *sigh* showing? Having grown up knowing this wonderful park as the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park (its name since opening in 1964), our group of Southern California locals was working on accepting the new name. But this park, by any name, makes for a fun day for folks of all ages. Our group ranged from 3 to 63 years of age, and walking nearly every trail and getting up close to many of the animals was a snap. We also took the Africa Tram which circles the African section of the park.

MaryAnn in Wndrlnd captured these shots on our stroll and from the tram.

And a few shots by MickeyMaxx

Walking two buddies through the park for a meet and greet with the guests.

Part of the park's old monorail system which was replaced by the trams. I wonder how much our lives depended on our driver's steering skills back in the day.

And the derring do of the Rolling (Segway) Safari on what appears to be a monorail beam.


The TechSkip family visits Oatman, Arizona

-- Stop 1, Oatman AZ --

Oatman has a fun history. The short version is that it was a mining town until the money ran out. When the miners packed up they turned most of the burros loose. Later on someone thought it would be a good tourist spot... sort of a "come feed the burros" stop. It's been there ever since. Clark Gable even honeymooned there. You do want to watch the little ones as the burros can be unpredictable.

In hindsight, it probably was a bad idea using plastic bags full of carrots... but the kids had a blast feeding the burros

You see about 5 or 6 minutes after this shot was taken I had to take something back to the van. Tink handed our oldest kid a bag, and she took the other one... but the burros proved too clever. I came back to a fiasco, and had to "rescue" both bags. So for any tourists heading to Oatman... guard your carrots because the burros will steal them!

The little ones had stickers on their foreheads asking that they be petted but not fed. These wee ones are still nursing so they could potentially choke on carrots or feed. We saw 4 or 5 little ones while walking around town. The burros are so used to people that the mothers didn't mind the little ones being pet.

All 3 kids had a lot of fun going from one burro to another feeding them

It got to the point that the burros followed us!

3 years old and she was giggling, smiling, loved it. She would yell "Carrot, Donkey, Carrot, Donkey" over and over...

She ran out of carrots and they kept following her.

He just stared, taking it all in!

They have a couple gunfighting shows a day

They talk

They fight

They fire blanks

And then they pose

They also collect donations for a local charity (Shriners if I remember). The Oatman Hotel (sign pictured in the gunfight above) is a historic landmark. Sadly the place is currently undergoing renovations so you are unable to stay there. Downstairs is a bar, gift shop, and ice cream bar.

Among other notables... Gable and Lombard honeymooned here to "get away from it all"

a bit of history.

The surrounding area is absolutely beautiful. Desolate... but beautiful. This is also a Route 66 attraction! There are plenty of small shops up and down the street that sell all sorts of souvenirs. Tink picked up her shot glass... and off we went!

This link proved to be a valuable resource.
Oatman-Gold Road Chamber of Commerce in Oatman Arizona on historical Route 66

Visit these MiceChat columns each week:

Every Friday: In the Parks

And that brings us to the end of another week. Our photographers have just enough time to reload their cameras before we see you all again next weekend. Thank you to all of our wonderful readers, and as always, a huge thank you to our amazing team of global photographers, spies, and gossips:

Denise nbodyhome Preskitt (
SummerInFL (
sir clinksalot
Ian Parkinson and Richard Williams
Jack Hollywood 1939 Wixom
Ken Eslick (

Your Editor - Rixter

Our thanks to our special contributors this week, MaryAnninWndrland and TechSkip.

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  1. Fairy Godmother Travel's Avatar
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    Your Weekend updates always make me want to explore!

    Love the burros, Palm Springs and the Wild Animal --err-Safari park
  2. jpg391's Avatar
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    Great pictures of Palm Springs and the San Diego Safari Park.
  3. Athlonacon's Avatar
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    Wild Animal Park, it's what I've known it as all my life and the San Diego Zoo isn't going to change it in my mind. They might be able to change the signs out in front, but they'll never get me to call it that. It would be like Disney renaming Disneyland... there's a LOT in a name, brand recognition that develops over decades and decades.

    The park really lost its soul once it got rid of the monorail. I'll probably still go there and spend money like crazy, but it's more for the animals and their future security more than anything else. If it was a theme park, I would never go there again. But it's important to support the cause, even if the human element has blown it.

    Excellent update btw! I LOVE the cute little burros!!
  4. Koutesu's Avatar
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    This is the segment Arizona Highways TV did on Oatman. Their Youtube channel has a lot of videos, so if you've ever wondered if we have more than just dirt, cactus, and poisonous animals, a good resource to check out!

  5. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Great update!
  6. Eagleman's Avatar
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    Great Picture's...........
    Help me get Ideal's,...get out to Adventure!
    So much to see!
    Thank You for Shareing...........
  7. Incrediboy's Avatar
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    I have friends in the Coachella Valley Heatwave Jazz band! They're great, and I'm glad you got to see them.
  8. MickeyMaxx's Avatar
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    The band could not have been better. Animated, professional performers, spot-on arrangements, and the soloist we saw could hold her own with just about any professional.
  9. BassBone's Avatar
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    No one's life depended on the steering of the driver at the Wild Animal Park back in the day. It was a monorail. On a track. No steering.
  10. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    Arggg! I still don't like the name "Safari Park", I prefer "Wild Animal!" Nice update none the less.