Dana Point Harbor Welcomes 47th ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF WHALES With Family-Friendly Ocean Activities March 3-4 & 10-11

The County of Orange, OC Parks and Dana Point Harbor invite families to experience the 47th Annual Dana Point Festival of Whales on March 3-4 and 10-11 from 8 a.m. to 4p.m. Visitors can explore Dana Point Harbor during the gray whale’s annual winter migratory ritual, and enjoy exciting activities including whale watching, sand sculpting, live music, the Dinghy Dash, Art in the Park, delicious harbor eats and educational hands-on activities.

“The Festival of Whales is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the majestic marine mammals we share our coast with,” said Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District. “This event combines educational programs about the ocean and environment with fun activities for the entire family.”

The Dana Point Festival of Whales offers two weekends of outdoor fun in the “Whale Capital of the West.” Locals and destination seekers alike can experience the festival on land or by sea to celebrate the migration of California gray whales as they pass through the ocean waters of Dana Point.

Whale watching excursions will depart every hour on the hour from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from the wharf during both festival weekends, offering views of majestic ocean life found off the coast of Dana Point. Prices and trip durations vary.

The Festival of Whales Parade kicks off the festivities on Saturday, March 3 at 10 a.m. Attendees can view the parade from the side of Pacific Coast Highway between Selva Road and Street of the Golden Lantern, where onlookers can enjoy the parade featuring giant helium balloons, community organizations and more.

Marine life enthusiasts of all ages can enjoy Ocean Awareness Day on March 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Baby Beach for free interactive displays, demonstrations, activities and more.

Festival-goers can take part in Westwind Sailing’s Cardboard Classic Dinghy Dash & Expo at Baby Beach on Saturday, March 10 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., when teams of all ages will create cardboard dinghies and compete in a friendly race.

Wrap up the weekend with delicious barbeque and live music at Baby Beach during the Whale of a Concert BBQ on Sunday, March 11 from 12 to 5 p.m. Guests 21 years and older can also enjoy a Spirits Garden as they watch bands perform atop a floating stage.

Parking will be available in different lots throughout the Harbor. All lots are serviced by free shuttles, running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day of the festival with extended service hours the morning of the parade on March 3 and the afternoon of the Whale of a Concert on March 11.

The Ocean Institute will be a stop for the official 2018 Festival of Whales Water Taxi. Daily service will be offered between Dana Wharf and the Ocean Institute from 12 to 5 p.m. on the days of the event. Tickets are $5 per person, available on the taxi or at Dana Wharf.

Enjoy a variety of events and activities during the 47th Annual Festival of Whales including whale watching, classic car display, Rubber Ducky Derby, Diamond Dig, sand sculpting, the Annual Whale of a Clam Chowder Cook Off and more. Activity and event dates vary. For more information visit www.FestivalofWhales.com and www.DanaPointHarbor.com.

Credit: OC Parks.

Meet the Aquarium’s new sea lion, Cain! NEW SEA LION TO MAKE HOME AT THE AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC

A sea lion boarded a plane, leaving the southeast U.S. for his new home in California at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Cain is a high-energy California sea lion, who comes from another Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited facility. He is four years old and weighs nearly 250 pounds. While most of the sea lions and seals at the Aquarium of the Pacific prefer herring and capelin for their meals, Cain prefers to eat squid. On February 8 at 9:00 a.m. members of the media are invited to meet Cain. Cain will be in an introduction area next to the Seal and Sea Lion Habitat at the Aquarium of the Pacific, where staff will be able to gradually introduce him to Parker, Harpo, Ellie, and other sea lion and seal residents. Cain will join the other animals in the larger Seal and Sea Lion Habitat when he is fully accustomed to living with his new family. The public can see Cain when the Aquarium opens that morning at 9:00 a.m.

California sea lions can be found from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to Baja California, Mexico. Sea lions inhabit temperate or subtropical waters. They haul out on land, rocks, or structures such as piers, boats, breakwaters, and buoys. Although hunted in the past, the current sea lion population has increased substantially along the West Coast of the United States since the passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

WHEN:           On exhibit now!  – See all the coverage with the hashtag #AOPCain.

WHERE:         Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802

Credit: The Aquarium of the Pacific. 

Photo by Robin Riggs.

Ling Ling Asian Food Los Angeles Event with Katie Chin Celebrate Chinese New Year with Ling Ling!

Self Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Ling Ling, all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

   

Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Ling Ling Asian Food Los Angeles Event (at Hipcooks in West L.A.)  with a wonderful group of Bloggers and the amazing Chef Katie Chin. It was an amazing experience and I especially enjoyed learning great cooking tips from Katie Chin and tasting the delicious Ling Ling food products! We were put into small groups and we actually made two recipes: Kale with Ginger, which is a delicious salad and Sweet & Spicy Green Beans. They were simple recipes and Katie Chin made everything seem super easy!

I know that I will be making both of these recipes for my family for Chinese New Year! My favorite was the Sweet & Spicy Green Beans!

    

Besides having so much fun at this event and meeting Katie Chin, my favorite thing was trying the delicious Ling Ling food! I had tried the Fried Rice before but had not tried the Noodles or the Potstickers. So, I was really excited to try both of them!

     

It’s really difficult to just pick one of their products as my ultimate favorite because everything was so good! I loved the delicious Authentic Asian Style Noodles! They were absolutely tasty! I tried the Drunken Noodles and the Yakisoba Noodles and I liked both of them so cannot choose between the two! I am already a big fan of Ling Ling’s Fried Rice so I am planning to make it for Chinese New Year for my family. If I have to choose a favorite though, it would be the Potstickers! I hadn’t tried them before and let’s just say…you can’t just have one! I REALLY can’t wait to find these at my local store and make them for the Chinese New Year! You can check out Ling Ling’s website here!

I also learned so much about Chinese New Year from the knowledgeable Chef Katie Chin and I am truly looking forward to making a celebration for my family this year! I actually am planning to make a feast with Ling Ling Fried Rice, Noodles and Potstickers. I am also on the lookout to find their Spring Rolls!  I will also be buying a few Red & Gold decorations and you can easily use red napkins and Oriental Trading and World Market have some really nice decorations.

I also learned about some Chinese New Year customs and superstitions from Katie Chin. Two of my favorites are the following:

1. Greeting friends with oranges or tangerines during the New Year will ensure that your friendships remain intact.

2. No sweeping on New Year’s Day as you’ll sweep all your good luck out the door. No sweeping for me on February 16th!

Here are a couple more:

Stepping into new shoes on New Year’s morning to start your year off on the right foot (A Personal Favorite of Chef Katie)
Distribution of Red Envelopes (signifying Joy and Luck) filled with money to start the year with prosperity.

So, how do you plan to celebrate Chine New Year this February 16th? Don’t forget to look for the tasty Ling Ling products at your local store! Find out where to buy here!

 

Tickets For DISNEY LIVE! Presents Mickey And Minnie’s Doorway To Magic Coming to the Southland January 18, 2018 – January 21, 2018! Tickets On-Sale Now!

Open the door to reveal mesmerizing worlds of unforgettable Disney moments and grand illusions when Disney Live! Mickey and Minnie’s Doorway to Magic visits Long Beach Terrace Theatre & Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario from January 18-January 21. Tickets are on sale now.

Join Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and the comical duo of Donald and Goofy as 25 of your favorite characters surprise and captivate at every turn of the knob! See the Fairy Godmother transform Cinderella’s rags into a beautiful ball gown in a split second; the Toy Story gang defy the dimensions of Andy’s toy box with the help of the green army men; and the spectacular stage debut of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider as they rise into the sky amidst the floating lanterns. With special appearances by Snow White, Tinker Bell and Aladdin’s Genie, you never know what to expect or who might join in the fun. In Disney Live! Mickey and Minnie’s Doorway to Magic, you hold the ultimate key to unlocking your imagination.

L O N G   B E A C H

WHEN:                 Thursday, January 18 – Friday, January 19

  • Thursday, January 18 6:30 PM
  • Friday, January 19                 1:00 PM & 6:30 PM

 

WHERE:             Long Beach Terrace Theatre – 300 E. Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802

 

TICKETS:           Ticket prices start at $20

                                 Tickets available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or in-person at the venue Box Office.  *prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

 

O N T A R I O

WHEN:                 Saturday, January 20 – Sunday, January 21

  • Saturday, January 20 1:00 PM & 4:00 PM
  • Sunday, January 21 1:00 PM & 4:00 PM

 

WHERE:             Citizens Business Bank Arena – 4000 Ontario Center Parkway, Ontario, CA 91764

 

TICKETS:           Ticket prices start at $20

                                Tickets available for purchase online at DisneyLive.com or Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or in-person at the venue Box Office.     *prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply.

To learn more about Disney Live!, go to www.DisneyLive.com, visit us on Facebook and YouTube and follow us on Twitter @Disney Live!

Credit: Feld Entertainment.

Looking for a great place to catch a bite to eat this holiday season? Islands is the place to go!

     

Are you out and about still shopping for the holidays? I know I am but only for a few more days…I hope! But, one of my favorite places to go and grab a quick bite is Islands! I had the opportunity to visit one of my favorite Islands locations last week and as usual…the service and the food was great! My husband loves their burgers and he says they really have the freshest hamburger buns around!

I love their tacos! One of my favorites is the Islands’ Yaki Tacos – Flour tortillas stuffed with grilled chicken, teriyaki sauce, cheddar & Jack Cheese, fresh pineapple salsa, lettuce and tomatoes with a side of ranchero beans. But, I opted to try something new! I STILL had tacos but I tried their Northshore Tacos, Limited this time. It’s from their Paradise’s Bikini Beach options which are fewer calories but then I had to get a side of their guacamole…lol..so not sure if it was fewer calories by then but it was delicious!

I always have a wonderful time when I visit Islands! The customer service is amazing and I like that they have a wide variety of food so I always can try something new when I go there! I also tried their Chicken Tortilla Soup and I highly recommend it! If you are looking for an appetizer…you have to try my all time favorite: The Spinach and Artichoke Dip! Honestly, I can not go there and not order it!

     

Islands also offers a Gremmie menu including Li’l Sliders, Half Sandcastle (grilled cheese), Jr. Wave Burger and more.

**Additionally, Islands is giving a $5 bonus card for every $25 gift card purchase through December 31st**  Now, how cool is that?! So, don’t forget to go to Islands this holiday season! 

 

Self Disclosure: I had the opportunity to review Islands to facilitate this post. Photo Credit: SoCal City Kids. 

The Queen Mary’s All-New CHILL Unveils Calendar of International Holiday Celebrations Nightly Entertainment Honors Holidays from Around the Globe

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The world-famous Queen Mary invites guests to embark on an international holiday expedition this winter with the unveiling of the all-new CHILL, open December 13, 2017 through January 7, 2018. Featuring the first-ever Ice Adventure Park in the U.S., the newly-inspired CHILL offers a rush of icy family fun with nightly entertainment throughout the park including international cultural celebrations, live music, Rockettes-style dance performances, fireworks, light shows, DJs, dancing, tasty food, a nightly Christmas Tree lighting ceremony and much more.

Experience the 38,000-square foot ice park honoring international holiday celebrations with one-of-a-kind entertainment and traditions of Germany, Switzerland, China, Russia, Holland, and the North Pole. Embark in traditional Chinese entertainment in CHILL’s version of the Forbidden City with nightly performances by Shaolin Monks and experience first-hand the beautiful rhythmic movements of the traditional Lion Dance. CHILL’s Kung Fu Forest will offer fireworks every Sunday night. Glide through the finish line of Shanghai Speedway nightly ($5 add on) on CHILL’s big wheel ice bikes. Saunter down Lantern Lane into the Lucky Bamboo and meet CHILL’s Panda Character for warm bear-hugs and unique selfie opportunities.

Take in the traditions of Germany with a stroll through CHILL’s Munich Market and raise a stein to the nightly live tunes from the authentic Alpine Band. Meet the ethereal Christkindle, the German gift bringer and bearer of lights, and shop traditional holiday trinkets and souvenirs at the nightly festive market. Cozy up in Switzerland’s Alpine Square by roasting marshmallows and building gooey s’mores at the toasty fire pit. Dine in the Alpine Lodge, open nightly, serving traditional Swiss bites overlooking the Matterhorn Mountain tubing slide and meet the gift bearer of the Alps, Sinterklaas, for photos and celebrations of the Twelfth Night.

Show off your best grooves as the DJ spins today’s top hits at the Russian Disco in CHILL’s Blizzard Boulevard. Experience the magic of the Northern Lights Show offered nightly at the Aurora Borealis Light show and meet the gift bringers of Russia, Father Frost and The Princess. Holland’s Windmill Way will offer nightly performances on the Illumination stage with hourly performances by Rockettes-style dancers and a nightly tree lighting ceremony. Meet the magical Father Time, Holland’s gift bearer who will share interesting facts on stargazing and how the Dutch discovered the telescope. Skate over to America’s North Pole for a visit and photo with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. Visit the Candy Bar to grab sweet treats for the little ones, and liquid candy sips for the adults.

The all-new CHILL also offers an opportunity to experience international fare. Tempt your taste buds with beverages and bites from around the globe including Germany’s Twisted Pretzel and Tasting Tavern and the Brat Haus. Pay tribute to Swiss delicacies with a visit to the Zurich Deli, the Fondue Pot, and the Alpine Lodge’s restaurant: Chateau Bar. Sip on traditional teas in China’s Zen Teahouse and the Hot Pot. Then warm up in the Russian Pierogi Paradise or the Stroganoff and Stew Pot. Curb your sweet tooth with gourmet donuts, make-your-own Gingerbread house or visit the Fire Pit to make holiday s‘mores.

CHILL pricing starts at $29.00 for adults (ages 9+) and $19.00 for kids. VIP Ultimate Expedition tickets are also available starting at $79.00 for adults (ages 9+) and $69.00 for kids. CHILL will run Dec. 13, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018, excluding Dec. 31, 2017. For more information, including an entertainment schedule, hours of operation and to purchase tickets online, visit http://queenmary.com/chill/

Credit: The Queen Mary. 

LA Zoo’s Reindeer Romp Features Live Reindeer, Holiday Crafts, Keeper Talks, Photo Ops

023 ReindeerRompCrop-Jamie Pham

The L.A. Zoo presents the only opportunity in Los Angeles to see a herd of live reindeer at its Reindeer Romp holiday celebration, which debuts Friday, November 17, 2017, and runs through Sunday, January 7, 2018 (except Christmas Day), 10 am to 4 pm. Guests are invited to make the most of the holiday season with a full day of fun and adventure at the Zoo, an especially beautiful and enriching place to spend quality time with kids and extended family during the holidays.

The season is highlighted by a rare chance to visit with reindeer in their charming “Reindeer Village” habitat also featuring fun reindeer facts and holiday photo ops daily. Weekend activities include make-your-own antler crafts, reindeer keeper talks at 11 am and 2 pm and a rotating schedule of animals unwrapping “gifts” of their own. Visits with Santa Claus in a whimsical North Pole setting (for a nominal fee) take place on weekend days, November 18 through December 17, 11 am to 3 pm, with a variety of photo packages available. For a great value, all Reindeer Romp activities, except Santa photos, are free with paid Zoo admission. Also included with paid Zoo admission are daily close-up “Animals & You” encounters, intriguing shows, talks and guided experiences, training demonstrations and more.

The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing nearly 1.8 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered, as well as a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife. Its responsibility toward wildlife conservation not only encompasses safeguarding the animals in its care but also actively participating in the preservation of some of the world’s most critically endangered species and their habitats. Its many conservation successes include having led the charge in saving California condors from extinction and restoring populations of these critically endangered animals to their native habitats. The Zoo’s lush grounds on 113 acres feature Rainforest of the Americas, an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that exemplify their natural habitat in the rainforest biosphere; Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest troops of chimpanzees in the United States; Red Ape Rain Forest, where visitors can walk among orangutans; the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles); Elephants of Asia; Campo Gorilla Reserve; and one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world. Among other highlights are an extraordinary, hands-on Hippo Encounter and face-to-face Giraffe Feedings; the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo and Muriel’s Ranch animal contact area; the Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel; a variety of daily opportunities to learn more about animals, including close-up visits, special feedings and intriguing talks; and much more. The private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), which has supported the Zoo in partnership with the City of Los Angeles for more than five decades and provides funding for and operates seven essential Zoo departments, has 60,000 member households representing more than 240,000 adults and children. As evidence of the Zoo’s popularity, GLAZA attracts one of the largest membership bases of any cultural organization in Los Angeles.

Zoo admission, which includes all Reindeer Romp activities except Santa photos, is $21 for general admission (ages 13 to 61); $18 for seniors (ages 62+), and $16 for children (ages 2 to 12). No ticket is required for children under age two. Admission for Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association members is free.

The Los Angeles Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways.  5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA  90027. Free parking is available.  For additional information, contact (323) 644-4200 or visit www.lazoo.org/reindeerromp.

Credit: The Los Angeles Zoo. Photo Credit: Jamie Pham.

Visit Santa, see him SCUBA dive, see the Penguin Walk, enjoy a snow play area, and a variety of festivities during the holiday season at the Aquarium of the Pacific Aquarium Holidays Ticket Giveaway, plus coupon for Free Child Admission with Paid Adult.

Otter & Snowman

Get into the holiday spirit each weekend from December 2 through 24, 2017 at the Aquarium with a snow play area and photo opportunities with Santa in his traditional attire. Every day from December 2 to 24, Aquarium guests can also see Santa Diver giving “fishmas” gifts to the animals, watch the 10:00 a.m. Penguin Walk, take photos with Aquarium costumed characters in their holiday outfits, witness snow fall in the Great Hall, see the original cartoon Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, view a gingerbread house display, enjoy a special holiday menu at Café Scuba, and explore the gift stores for unique holiday shopping. A toy drive runs daily December 2 through 24 and supports the Long Beach Fire Department Spark of Love Toy Drive. Hanukkah storytelling with opportunities to play dreidel will also be presented weekends December 2 through 17.

 

The festivities include the annual Holiday Treats for the Animals event on the weekend of December 2-3. During this event, the sea otter exhibit will be decked out for the “sea”son with “fishmas” treats and a real snowman, and visitors can watch the otters savor candy cane-shaped lobster treats. Aquarium staff will also give special gift delicacies to penguins, sea lions, and other animals. Children can enjoy holiday crafts along with appearances by Santa Diver, photo opportunities with Santa and holiday characters, and all the Aquarium holiday festivities.

WHEN:           Aquarium Holidays: December 2-24, 2017

Holiday Treats for the Animals Festival: December 2-3, 2017

Hanukkah Storytelling and Dreidel Activity: December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, and 17, 2017

 

WHERE:         Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA  90802

 

INFO:              (562) 590-3100 or www.aquariumofpacific.org

 

COST:            Included with general admission–$29.95 adult (12+), $26.95 senior (62+), $17.95 child (3-11), and free for children under age three and Aquarium members.

 

 

With coupon receive FREE CHILD ADMISSION with paid adult admission. $17.95 savings!

Mobile-device and printable coupon valid Dec 2-24, 2017:

http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/aquarium_holidays

Here is the Aquarium Holidays web page with the full event schedule

http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/aquarium_holidays/

We have teamed up for a Family 4-pack for a day at Aquarium Holidays, December 2-24, 2017! Aquarium Holidays giveaway tickets can only be picked up by the winner between Dec 2 and 24. To enter, leave a comment below telling us your favorite thing about the Aquarium or the holidays! Deadline to enter is December 1st, 2017 at noon PST. 

Credit: The Aquarium of the Pacific. Photo Credit: Otter (real otter) & Snowman Photo by Hugh Ryono.