Archives for August 7, 2013

Squish, Slither and Stomp Through the Muddiest Event in Town: Mud Mania: “A Celebration of Adobe” at Rancho Los Cerritos!

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 Squish some history between your toes at Mud Mania: A Celebration of Adobe! It is the perfect venue for people of all ages who love to get “down and dirty.” Guests will have the opportunity to make real adobe bricks, plaster a wall with mud, construct a mini-adobe home, compete in mud relay races, and much more as they learn about our local adobe soil and its many uses throughout history. This muddy, wacky event will be held on Sunday, August 11 from 12:30-4:30 p.m. Admission is $6 adults, $4 for children 4-12; 3 and under are free.

Adobe is one of the oldest and most common building materials known to man. Traditionally sun-dried, adobe blocks are made of sand, clay, water and straw and were used to construct the home at Rancho Los Cerritos – built 169 years ago in 1844. At Mud Mania, guests young and old can squish and stomp mud in the adobe pit, where they will learn all about building homes with adobe bricks. Digging through the adobe soil in our archaeology lab, they can uncover lost treasures from bygone years – fragments of kitchen pottery, metal cutlery and even bone from the cattle and sheep that once grazed on the 27,000 acre Rancho.  Participants will also have an opportunity to see and touch different insects that live in the soil, make a clay pot, and play mud-related games.  For those who prefer to stay neat and tidy, Mud Mania offers plenty of “clean” activities including cuneiform writing on clay tablets, Mud Mania trivia, and paper crafts. 

The Grasslands Bluegrass band will be performing lively bluegrass music throughout the event. The Mex Express, food truck of Super Mex, will be participating at this year’s Mud Mania event and selling tacos, burritos, taquitos, chicken strips, churros and beverages. In addition to these tasty treats – folks with a sweet tooth will be able to purchase ice-cream at the event!

Guests at Mud Mania are required to park in the overflow lot across from our entrance or on the street; carpooling is desirable.  No more than six children per adult, please.  Shoes are required, except in the mud pit, and guests are encouraged to wear old clothes and bring a towel plus a change of attire for the ride home. “De-mudding” stations will also be available for limited clean up; showers will not be available.

About Rancho Los Cerritos:
Built in 1844, the Rancho Los Cerritos adobe home and grounds echo with the rich history of Spanish, Mexican, and American California and with the families who helped transform Southern California from its ranching beginnings to the modern urban society it is today. The two-story Monterey-style adobe is primarily furnished to reflect occupants and lifestyles from the 1860s-1880s. The site, a National, State and Long Beach Historic Landmark, also includes historic gardens and a research library and archives. It is owned by the City of Long Beach and operated through the Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine. For more information please call (562) 570-1755, or visit the website at and like us on Facebook at


Photos and info provided by Rancho Los Cerritos.

August is Family Fun Month Celebrate with Room on the Broom!

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Family Fun Month just happens to coincide with the August 6th DVD release of the multiple award-winning half-hour animated family film, Room on the Broom, from NCircle Entertainment. Based on the #1 best-selling children’s picture book in America, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler (the same author and illustrator team that created the critically acclaimed The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child), Room on the Broom is filled with humor and adventure, and teaches the importance of family, friends and teamwork!

Why not kick-off Family Fun Month with Family Movie Night? In Room on the Broom, the witch and her cat couldn’t be happier, flying through the sky on their broomstick—until the witch drops her hat, then her bow, then her wand! Luckily, three helpful animals—a dog, a parrot and a frog—find the missing items and all they want in return is a ride on the broomstick. But is there room on the broom for so many new friends? The kindly witch thinks there is—much to the frustration of her cat.  But when disaster strikes, and the witch is about to be eaten by a fearsome dragon, she is saved by the gang of animals, all working together.  The witch’s cat learns the importance of friends and family, and the witch rewards her new friends with a magnificent broom that is big enough for everyone!

Beautiful CGI animation brings the book’s drawings to life under the direction of Max Lang.  Gillian Anderson (The X Files) provides the voice of the witch; while Timothy Spall of Harry Potter fame, lends his voice to the dragon. Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) narrates the story which also features the recognizable voices of Martin Clunes, Rob Brydon and David Walliams portraying the helpful animals that comprise the witch’s family.  Room on the Broom is produced by Magic Light Pictures (the team behind award-winning animations The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child).

Complete Family Movie Night by enjoying together the fun-filled activities available for FREE for download at NCircle Entertainment’s activity site,, including a coloring page featuring all of the endearing characters from the film; the “find the…” challenge that incorporates counting skills; templates for creating your own Room on the Broom finger puppets; and the elements for creating your very own magical wand! There’s also a word search puzzle and a dizzying maze to navigate.

The Room on the Broom has already earned numerous awards and accolades, including Britain’s Royal Television Award for “Best Children’s Program” and France’s Annecy Animation Festival’s Crystal Award for “Best TV Production.” It has been named “Best Animated Short” by the Toronto International Film Festival Kid’s Festival; was the “Audience Choice” at the Cleveland International Film Festival; and was the winner of the Curtinhas Competition for children’s programming at the Curtas Vila do Conde Film Festival in Portugal.

We received the Book and DVD and found it quite enjoyable! Young children will be delighted with both the DVD and the book! It is a delightful story with wonderful, creative illustrations and animations.

Need more Family Fun Ideas for the month of August?  Here are just a few:

August 9 is Book Lovers Day 

Bring the family together and find a shady tree to sit outside and enjoy reading books together, includingRoom on the Broom.  Reading is educational, informative and relaxing and sharing a love of reading with your family and friends makes everyone smarter, too.

August 23 is Ride the Wind Day    

No broom is required as you can catch a ride on a gentle summer breeze by flying a kite, riding a bike, standing on a hill or just driving in the car with the windows down!

 August 26 is National Dog Day

Where would our witch be without the help of a dog?  This day, organized by the National Dog Day Foundation, honors dogs everywhere for all that they do for us – love, companionship, protection, service, safety and so much more.  Get your kids involved by playing a little longer with your family pooch, by volunteering at your local animal shelter, donating unwanted blankets to Operation Blankets of Love or by making a family donation to one of the many worthy animal rescue groups.

 August 27 is Just Because Day

As the final days of summer get swept into the early days of Fall, this holiday gives us all a chance to do something special “just because.”  Replicate the kindness of the witch and the helpfulness of the dog, bird and frog.  Open your heart as the cat ultimately did—and before you know it… iggety, ziggety, zaggety, zoom … you’ll be falling in love with Room on the Broom!

Planning ahead for Halloween gifts?  Although the Room on the Broom book is not a traditional Halloween story, it is Penguin Publishing’s best-selling Halloween title, selling over 500,000 copies in 2011/2012.  So stock up on Room on the Broom to share with your friends and family!  Room on the Broom DVDs are available at Target, Walmart, Toys”R”Us,, Kmart, and many other retailers (SRP $9.99); Room on the Broom books are available everywhere books are sold (SRP: 16.99).

To celebrate Family Fun Month, NCircle Entertainment is offering one of our readers the DVD and Book! 

If you would like to enter the giveaway, you must be a subscriber to SoCal City Kids to enter! Next, “like” the NCircle Entertainment Facebook page and also the Room on the Broom Facebook page:  and you can tell them we sent you! Deadline to enter is August 13th, 2013 at midnight. One winner will randomly be selected from all entries!

Check out the Room on the Broom website: /us!