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  1. #1

    • Nutty guy from Canada
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    Talking Ideas from the Locals

    Hiya.

    This is generally directed at the locals that live in the area or anyone who frequents the areas in and around LA and Anaheim.

    We're going to be at the resort in September. We'll be arriving late morning or very early afternoon on the 16th and leaving early morning on the 23rd. We've already purchased 6 day park hoppers though only plan on spending 4 full days in the parks the other two days will be for the evenings on the 16th and one of the days we plan on primarily spending outside the resort.

    One of those two days will be a day trip down to San Diego to visit the zoo.

    The other day we were kind of thinking of spending in LA. We're passing on Universal this year as our kids or simply too young to enjoy it and when we went last year it proved to be trouble for them. My wife and mother-in-law would like to check out the Santa Monica Pier (though I'm not convinced it will be worth it, so please correct me if I'm wrong) and I'd like to go have a look at the Page museum adjacent the La Brea Tar Pits.

    So my question is are these two places worthwhile for a family with two young kids (3 and 2 at time of trip) or should we be looking to do something else? If so suggestions would be most welcome. Doesn't have to be something typically touristy.

    I look forward to your comments and input.
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  2. #2

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    Re: Ideas from the Locals

    Hi,

    While I lived near Disneyland, one of my favorite "non-touristy" things to do was to go down to Balboa Island, off of Newport Beach.

    This little gem of a place is very low-key and just wonderful. Dotted with lots of little beach houses, it offers a nice promenade along which you can walk and feel like you're rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous (John Wayne once called this area home). But it's not over-the-top.

    It's especially pleasant as the sun is going down, with the scent of jasmine and the soothing lapping of the water nearby.

    Then there's the ferry you can take over to the Balboa Peninsula. The little boats offer an authentic "ride" that's been going for many years. It holds two or three cars, and a handful of pedestrians (last time I "walked on", I think it cost me $1.50) To glide along in the harbor at dusk and watch the lights twinkle in the twilight, while soaking up the sea breeze, is wonderful.

    Once on the "other side", there's the "Fun Zone" (think of DCA's Paradise Pier, scaled down and "real"). An old ferris wheel and bumper cars are some of the attractions. But it's fun to just walk around. And then if you keep going, you can walk out on the Newport Pier, at the end of which is a Ruby's diner ("malt shop" type of place).

    Anyway, I highly recommend this relaxing area, if you're ready to get away from the bustle of the Parks. It's about a 15-minute drive south from Disneyland (at non-commute hours), I believe.

    Whatever your itinerary holds, I hope you have a great trip! Will look forward to hearing all about it!
    Last edited by Werner; 04-15-2012 at 04:08 PM. Reason: grammar

  3. #3

    • Nutty guy from Canada
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    Re: Ideas from the Locals

    Thanks Werner.

    That actually sounds like a lot of fun and possibly a suitable alternative for the Santa Monica Pier. We ate at a Ruby's Diner a couple of years ago for the first time while in San Diego and loved it so I can probably use that as a way of convincing the rest of the gang to try this out.

    Just curious, although it would be considered a tourist trap, is the Discovery Science Center worth a look? It's not all that far from the resort if I recall. I believe we drove by it on the 5 once.

    We took our kids to Science World here in Metro Vancouver and they enjoyed that and if I don't have to drive into LA proper I'd rather not, specially when you consider we'll be driving down to San Diego the next day.
    The Chadwick's Online Photo & Video Galleries
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  4. #4

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    Re: Ideas from the Locals

    In N Out

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  5. #5

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    Re: Ideas from the Locals

    Quote Originally Posted by Asylim View Post
    Thanks Werner.

    That actually sounds like a lot of fun and possibly a suitable alternative for the Santa Monica Pier. We ate at a Ruby's Diner a couple of years ago for the first time while in San Diego and loved it so I can probably use that as a way of convincing the rest of the gang to try this out.

    Just curious, although it would be considered a tourist trap, is the Discovery Science Center worth a look? It's not all that far from the resort if I recall. I believe we drove by it on the 5 once.

    We took our kids to Science World here in Metro Vancouver and they enjoyed that and if I don't have to drive into LA proper I'd rather not, specially when you consider we'll be driving down to San Diego the next day.
    You're welcome, Asylim! I haven't been to the Discovery Science Center, but I'm sure another fellow Micechatter could give you some feedback.

    I do hope Ruby's will give you some "ammo" to sway the rest of your group to give Balboa a try!

  6. #6

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    Re: Ideas from the Locals

    Discovery Science is center is GREAT for kids. There is a Ruby's on the Pier in Huntington Beach - Balboa is also a better substitute for families in my opinion (Santa Monica isn't worth the drive) San Diego is very nice - consider taking Amtrak or Metrolink down from Anaheim for a special treat, a train ride along the coastline - or plan on some traffic heading south on the freeway - There is a place in downtown San Diego called the Corvette Diner that is also a lot of fun with a family!
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  7. #7

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    Re: Ideas from the Locals

    If your kids are 3 and 2 I would wait until they are maybe 5 or 6 to go to the La Brea Tar Pits. They would do fine at their current age but they will probably appreciate it more if they are a bit older. Same thing for the Discovery Science Center but being that it is so close to DL it is definitely a better alternative.

    With kids that young I think the best suggestion has been to go to Balboa. Although the Newport Harbor Nauical Museum is going to be taking over the area soon, and the only ride that is left is the ferris wheel. But there is a little playground on the beach that your kids will love and the ferries still run. And there is a harbor cruise you can take that shows you the homes of ajohn Wayne and Shirley Temple. This also takes you outside of the harbor where you will see sea lions for sure and likely some dolphins as well. And the Ruby's at the end of the pier is in fact the first Ruby's ever. Just so you know.

    Another nice little place for children is Irvine Regional Park. This is a nature park in the city of Orange. It was named Irvine after James Irvine who hunted on the grounds back in the 1800s. Anyway there are pony rides and a little train that goes around the lake. There are playgrounds and even a (very) small and inexpensive zoo that doesn't have a lot of animals you'd see in LA or San Diego but does have a couple of bears and a mountain lion on display.

  8. #8

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    Re: Ideas from the Locals

    I have to make a different note about the Discovery Science Center, I was there recently with a group of kids on a field trip mostly aged (6 - 7) and for a majority of the trip they really enjoyed the center. Talking as an adult, it was great to see their faces light up. However it gets very costly very very fast, there is the admission into the center I really don't recall how much it is is, but if you want to see either of the 3-d movies it is almost the cost of a movie ticket (around 7 or 8 each if I recall correctly) the dinosaur one that they had playing scared several of my kids so I would not recommend it to ages 2 or 3. They also had several different hunting experiences outside where you find dinosaur bones and what not (I don't know if it will be changed or not as this was last some in late july.) The kids I was with really enjoyed that however again, a high additional cost to pay for "wand" or "digging tool" I don't really remember what it was called however it was another additional cost. Also I remember leaving and being surprised that they charged for parking as well.

    I'm not saying don't go and that your kids won't enjoy it, I'm just saying that be prepared for additional costs and it easily adding up to well above 60 for just four of you to walk through the door and then add on any other activity that they might want to enjoy.

    I really do like everybody else's ideas from above about newport and visiting the island those are all very nice places to go as well.

    If your coming back anytime in the next few years I would suggest going to the museums up in LA then such as the natural history museum, as well as the many others on that block (I took almost the same group of kids to the natural history museum earlier this year about a month and a half ago) and it was hard to get them out of there as they were enjoying it so much.

  9. #9

    • Rock Star Minion
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    Re: Ideas from the Locals

    Santa Monica Pier. You should go just to prove yourself right.
    There are way nicer piers. And when I mean nicer, I mean fewer bums, fewer people. Malibu, even Redondo/Manhattan/Hermosa piers would be nicer.

    There is a Hot Dog On A Stick just south of the pier, so it's not all bad.

    I nominate Natural History Museum and California Science Center near USC.

    California Science Center

    Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
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  10. #10

    • Planning my next trip...
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    Re: Ideas from the Locals

    If you live near and enjoy Science World in Vancouver, you might look into getting a membership. I believe it is a part of the ASTC Passport Program, as is the Discovery Science Center, California Science Center,and Natural History Museum. This is an amazing program where affiliated science museums all over the U.S. (and many in Canada) allow free admission to the other locations. So basically, Your family membership to Science World will get you into all the mentioned museums for free!! We continue our membership at a small local museum mainly for this feature, and use it frequently to get into other museums in Portland, Seattle and California while traveling. It's paid for itself many times over On road trips we can find participating locations along our route, as it makes for a great stop for the kids. Definitely worth the price!! Here is the address if you are interested: ASTC - Passport Program


  11. #11

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    Re: Ideas from the Locals

    Not too far from Disneyland is a real "Main Street USA."

    Old Towne Orange, aka The Orange Circle, is the old downtown area of Orange located on Chapman and Glassell Avenues. The area looks much like a small town in the Midwest, so much so that many movies and TV shows have been filmed there.

    It's a wonderful place to spend the day browsing the numerous antique shops there. There's also some great places to eat such as Watson's Drug Store with its lunch counter and cafe. Watson's Drug Store is the oldest business in Orange County in continuous operation (since 1899).

    To get to The Orange Circle from Disneyland go east on Katella past Anaheim Stadium to Glassell and then go south on Glassell to Chapman. Or alternately, take Harbor to Chapman (where the Target store is) and go east on Chapman until you get to Glassell.

    Edit -- One of the antique places in the Circle is called Orange Circle Antique Mall. Dealers 19 and 74 specialize in Disneyana.


    These pics of Orange Circle were taken during the International Street Fair held every Labor Day Weekend.






    Last edited by Victor Brunswick; 07-26-2012 at 08:20 PM.

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