Archives for October 1, 2021

Oct. 2-3: Aquarium’s Baja Splash Festival celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

Photo credit: Aquarium of the Pacific
Please note: This photo was taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Aquarium of the Pacific will host its annual Baja Splash Cultural Festival on Saturday and Sunday, October 2 and 3, 2021, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Last year this celebration was a virtual event, but this year plans are underway for an in-person event for the 20th anniversary of the Aquarium’s first cultural festival. These plans include having bilingual (English/Spanish) environmental educational programs, traditional dance, live music, and booths as part of the celebration.

Folk dancers and musicians representing cultures in Mexico and countries in Central and South America, including Aztec drummers and dancers, will share songs and dances in two locations this year—the Aquarium’s Honda Pacific Visions Theater and in front of the Aquarium’s tallest exhibit, the Honda Blue Cavern. The Aquarium will feature Mexican and Central and South American music programs for all ages. Some of the groups have been involved with this festival since it began two decades ago, including Danza Azteca Cultural Ketzaliztli, Folklorico del Mar, and Martin Espino.

The festival will include an award ceremony in its Honda Pacific Visions Theater on Saturday, October 2. This year the Aquarium will present its Heritage Award to longtime festival participant Martin Espino. Espino is a musician and teaching artist who for more than fifty years has been engaging community members of all ages, including those with disabilities, to explore music, languages, musical instruments, and cultures from ancient Mexico and beyond. To further cultural preservation, he has also worked with directors in incorporating his ancestral instruments in movies. He has led interactive performances at the Baja Splash Festival since it started twenty years ago. Last year for the Aquarium’s first virtual Baja Splash festival, Espino presented a free online workshop to engage children and adults at home during the pandemic by teaching them to create a musical instrument using recycled materials and other household items.

The Aquarium of the Pacific gives special thanks to the Bernadett Family for supporting the Little Ocean Explorers programming for its youngest learners during the festival. This special program will be offered in the Aquarium’s Ocean Theater. Also, as part of the festival, everyone can participate in a bilingual (English/Spanish) seaweed-themed loteria game with prizes in connection with the Aquarium’s Seafood for the Future program in the Ocean Theater on Saturday, October 2, at 3:40 p.m. You can also experience a seaweed touch tank from the California Seaweed Festival and learn more about the importance of sustainable seaweed as a source of food that can also combat climate change. Attendees can stop by the booth to take home recipes when they visit the front plaza of the Aquarium that weekend. Visitors can also explore booths from organizations like Caracol Museo de Ciencias (Science museum in Ensenada), Mujeres de la Tierra (environmental nonprofit), the Museum of Latin American Art, and Girasoles en Marcha (cultural organization for youth).

The name Baja Splash was inspired by Baja California, Mexico’s Gulf of California, which is one of the most important wildlife havens in the world. Visitors can learn more about this important ecosystem and how people can help protect it by exploring the Aquarium’s Gulf of California exhibition created with World Wildlife Fund Mexico. The festival is included with Aquarium admission. General admission is $36.95 per adult (ages 12+), $26.95 per child (ages 3-11), $33.95 per senior (ages 62+), and free for Aquarium members and children under age three. All festival elements are subject to change. Capacity is limited. Advance reservations are required for everyone. No walk-ups. Safety is the Aquarium’s top priority. Masks are required for everyone ages two and older. For the most current safety information, please visit . For more information on the festival and for reservations, please visit  


On Saturday, October 2, at 2:30 p.m. Pacific time, the Aquarium will broadcast a 20-minute presentation by Danza Azteca Cultural Ketzaliztli (Aztec drumming and dance) live on its Facebook page. This Baja Splash Cultural Festival program will be transmitted live from the Aquarium’s Honda Pacific Visions Theater. To view this free virtual program online, please visit this Aquarium webpage:

Credit: The Aquarium of the Pacific.

Jacob, Sept. 30th Pet of the Week

Jacob is a beautiful, 6-year-old brown-and-beige Himalayan kitty, affectionate and chill. Him a-layin’ down at the moment, ready to go to sleep and dream about his forever home with humans who want badly to tend to his every whim and need. One of Jacob’s needs is managing his diabetes, which, with care, can give him good life quality. Adoptions are made through appointment only, so email to meet Jacob. Ask for ID#A658270.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

The Croods: Family Tree * So Fun To Watch Because Of Its Humor

The Croods: Family Tree continues the evolving story of the croods and Bettermans as they learn to live together on the most idle farm in prehistory. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Avalon N. comments, “DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: Family Tree is an amazing and hilarious show. With all the characters from the newest movie, this show is sure to get you laughing.” See her full review below.

The Croods: Family Tree

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: Family Tree is an amazing and hilarious show. With all the characters from the newest movie, this show is sure to get you laughing.

This show is about the prehistoric Croods living with the Bettermans. While the kids get along, the adults have their fair share of mishaps as they learn how to live together on a farm. In one episode they try to capture the punch monkeys; in another they get Dawn’s Grr back.

This show is so fun to watch because of its humor. No matter how many mishaps the make,  they are always back for more and that makes this show engaging. It has an amazing group of voice actors. Tran reprises her role as Dawn; A.J. Locascio reprises his role as Thunk from Dawn of the Croods. The new voice cast features Amy Landecker as Ugga, Kiff VandenHeuvel as Grug, Ally Dixon as Eep, Artemis Pebdani as Gran, Darin Brooks as Guy, Matthew Waterson as Phil, and Amy Rosoff as Hope. All the voice talent excels at making the Croods sound prehistoric and the Bettermans sound “evolved,” as Hope would put it. Another great thing is the design of the farm they live on. It looks so amazing, like something you would want to live in, but if you look closer it is made out of things that were found in prehistoric times. The wall, the house and “The System” are made from bamboo and vines. The house is in a tree; so they live in a tree house. It also credits them with making a lot of things like windows, which are similar to TV and showers.

The message of this show is anyone can get along, no matter how different they are.

I give The Croods: Family Tree 4.5 out of 5 and recommend it for ages 6 to 14, plus adults can watch it with their kids on movie night. This is available on September 23th, 2021 on Hulu and Peacock.

My Little Pony: A New Generation * Modern, Vibrant, Upbeat, Adventure-Filled Reboot Of A Classic

The unimaginable has happened… Equestria has lost its magic! Earth Ponies, Unicorns, and Pegasi are no longer friends and now live separated by species. But idealistic Earth Pony Sunny (Vanessa Hudgens) is determined to find a way to bring enchantment and unity back to their world. Teaming up with open-hearted Unicorn Izzy (Kimiko Glenn), the pair travel to faraway lands where they encounter the likes of charismatic and brave Pegasi Pipp (Sofia Carson) and Zipp (Liza Koshy) and the ever-responsible fellow Earth Pony Hitch (James Marsden). Their mission is full of misadventures, but these new best friends each possess their own unique and special gifts that may be just what this ponyverse needs to restore magic and prove that even little ponies can make a big difference. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Giana N. comments, “My Little Pony: A New Generation is a continuation of the My Little Pony series. It will remind you of the original, but it’s more modern. It is very entertaining and interesting. If you have watched the My Little Pony series before, you will enjoy this.” Maica N. adds, “My Little Pony: A New Generation is a new upbeat, vibrant and adventure-filled movie. If you’ve seen previous My Little Pony shows or movies, you will be pleasantly surprised with this new one. With all different types of ponies coming together, and saving the day with the power of friendship, you will be entertained the whole time.” See their reviews and interviews below.

My Little Pony: A New Generation

By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

My Little Pony: A New Generation is a continuation of the My Little Pony series. It will remind you of the original, but it’s more modern. It is very entertaining and interesting. If you have watched the My Little Pony series before, you will enjoy this.

The storyline follows Sunny (Vanessa Hudgens) who is an Earth pony and she meets a unicorn named Izzy (Kimiko Glenn). Unicorns, Earth ponies and Pegasi aren’t friends anymore and it is unlikely to see them together. Sunny and Izzy realize that all the ponies don’t have any magic and they need to find out why. They travel all through Equestria to find out how to get magic back for everyone.

The songs in this film are very catchy and creative. My favorite song is “Glowin’ Up” performed by Sofia Carson, because it is upbeat, sets the mood and is a good song all around. The storyline is fun and shows us how the times are much more different than it was with the original ponies. My favorite character is Sunny, because she doesn’t believe what others want her to believe and she never gives up. She grew up with people always telling her that the other ponies were bad, but she knows how to see the good in them, so she thinks differently. Also, when times get tough Sunny never gives up.

The message of My Little Pony: A New Generation is friendship is magic. If you have been a My Little Pony fan since earlier shows, this message will pop right into your head. This is a great film to watch with the family. is an awesome film to watch.

I rate My Little Pony: A New Generation 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 11. You can watch this film on Netflix starting September 24, 2021. Be sure to check it out!

My Little Pony: A New Generation

Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Age 14

My Little Pony: A New Generation is a new upbeat, vibrant and adventure-filled movie. If you’ve seen previous My Little Pony shows or movies, you will be pleasantly surprised with this new one. With all different types of ponies coming together, and saving the day with the power of friendship, you will be entertained the whole time.

My Little Pony: A New Generation is about a young Earth pony named Sunny (Vanessa Hudgens) who is set on bringing back the friendship, magic and unity between the Earth ponies, the unicorns, and the Pegasi. Teaming up with a unicorn named Izzy (Kimiko Glenn), which is frowned upon by Sunny’s best friend and sheriff Hitch (James Marsden), Sunny goes on a quest to get the divided crystals that would bring Equestria back to the way it used to be. Along the way she makes new friends, and faces new challenges.

My favorite thing about this movie is the music. Beautiful harmony is one of my favorite things, and every song in this movie has that element. My favorite song is “Fit Right In” performed by Vanessa Hudgens, Kimiko Glenn, James Marsden, Liza Koshy and Sofia Carson. The different parts that everyone sings and the visuals that accompany it make it a stand-out scene that audiences will remember. The whole vibe of this song matches the tone of the movie extremely well. My Little Pony: A New Generation is a movie targeted towards younger audiences, so naturally they aren’t going to explicitly refer to the more mature morals. However, within the plot of the film, it’s evident that one of the messages is that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from or what you look like, you shouldn’t be judged by someone before they get to know you. Everyone should be included, and treated with kindness. The Earth ponies, Unicorns and Pegasi were taught to be afraid of each other. But, once they meet and hear the other sides of their stories, they become friends and realize that it doesn’t matter what anyone else says, they make their own decisions about the others. My favorite characters in this show are Sunny and Hitch. They’re definitely an example of a dynamic duo. Even though they are different, with Hitch being professional and overprotective and Sunny being adventurous and a risk-taker, they make a great team.

The message of My Little Pony: A New Generation is something that all of the ponies can agree on no matter where they’re from – friendship is magic. No matter what they are told about each other, they will always come together for friendship.

I rate My Little Pony: A New Generation 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. No matter how different the ponies look, you will feel the nostalgia from the relationships between them. My Little Pony: A New Generation comes out on Netflix September 24, 2021. Make sure you check it out!

My Name is Pauli Murray * Amplifies The Story Of An African American Activist Who Challenged Society In Multiple Ways

Fifteen years before Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat, a full decade before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned separate-but-equal legislation, Pauli Murray was already knee-deep fighting for social justice. A pioneering attorney, activist, priest and dedicated memoirist, Murray shaped landmark litigation—and consciousness— around race and gender equity. As an African American youth raised in the segregated South—who was also wrestling with broader notions of gender identity—Pauli understood, intrinsically, what it was to exist beyond previously accepted categories and cultural norms. Both Pauli’s personal path and tireless advocacy foreshadowed some of the most politically consequential issues of our time. Told largely in Pauli’s own words, My Name is Pauli Murray is a candid recounting of that unique and extraordinary journey.

My Name is Pauli Murray
By Ashleigh Clyde, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, 17

The documentary My Name is Pauli Murray is a missing piece of history that has not been taught in our classrooms. It amplifies the life of an African American female whose struggles pushed her to create everlasting change in our modern society.

My Name is Pauli Murray shares the life of Pauli Murray, an African American queer woman, who shattered the status quo by fighting for women’s and civil rights. She was a student, lawyer, minister and a heroine in many aspects. This documentary sheds light on all of her societal triumphs and personal defeats.

As an African American female, I felt a great sense of sadness after watching this documentary. This film shows that the society I currently live in is a direct result of Pauli Murray’s impact and yet, I never learned about her in school. Directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen, producers and directors of the documentary RBG bring to live the legacy of a woman unknown to most people. There are little questions the audience has about her life after the film’s completion. One aspect I did not like is how the film breaks her life into phases of her career paths. This set-up hampers us from seeing the connection between her personal life and her careers. However, that may be due to my curiosity about knowing more about her and her life. My favorite part of this film is the repetition of the quote, “She was ahead of her time.” Pauli Murray refused to move to the back of a segregated bus 15 years before Rosa Parks did. Many people think that certain historical events, radical ideals, and justice comes with a timeframe when, in actuality it does not. That is what this film teaches us.

The message of this film is that you are not ahead of your time; it’s just that the world may not be ready for you. Yet, soon enough, they will be. This film does contain violent scenes showing racial injustice.

I give My Name is Pauli Murray 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. My Name is Pauli Murray opens in theatres September 17 and streams on Prime Video October 1, 2021.

My Name is Pauli Murray
By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

My Name is Pauli Murray is a documentary about Pauli Murray, a civil rights activist, women’s rights activists, lawyer and poet and non-binary advocate for LGBTQ rights. It goes into detail about Pauli’s life, as well as the many great things Pauli accomplished and the impact they left on the future. This film is very informative and overall a well-structured documentary. It was an enjoyable viewing experience.

It was really interesting to learn about Pauli Murray, because before watching this film, I had no idea who they were. And Pauli was definitely a person who deserves to be remembered—not just for their legacy and cultural impact but also for who they were as a person. My Name is Pauli Murray does take time to discuss Pauli’s personal life and hardships, and that is one way in which this film makes Pauli relatable to  people of this generation. I was particularly interested in the discussions of gender identity and presentation. It was heartbreaking to hear about Pauli’s difficulties being non-binary, because nowadays we do have words to describe what Pauli felt. .

I also really enjoyed the editing and presentation of this documentary. Not only was this film extremely educational and thought provoking, but it was also fun to watch. There were many instances where quotes from Pauli would appear on screen to drive the point of a specific section, which was very effective. My Name is Pauli Murray has a unique visual style, and the pacing is excellent.

I definitely think My Name is Pauli Murray is crucial viewing for anyone who is interested in civil rights and gender equality. The film tells a very inspirational story about an unsung hero who was before their time and who deserves to be heard. However, it should be known that this film includes graphic depictions, as well as descriptions, of racist hate crimes. There are many moments that showcase photos and footage of these events, and this could be potentially triggering.

I give My Name is Pauli Murray 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. This film comes out in theaters September 17, 2021 and will be released on Prime Video on October 1, 2021.