Old Town San Diego
While it’s true that San Diego has tons of kid-friendly activities like SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, and nearby LegoLand, our first stop when we arrived in California was Old Town San Diego - a historic area filled with restaurants, shops, and historic sites which just also happened to be in Frommer’s 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up.
I’ve always been a big fan of these kind of historical areas because they’re an easy way to learn about the past without spending a ton of cash.
Driving the wagon at Old Town San Diego
At Old Town San Diego there was no entrance fee and visits to the historic sites were self-guided, so we were able to peek into the old jail, courthouse, and bank before spending the majority of our time at the Seeley Stables Museum and La Casa de Estudillo, a restored hacienda.
My kids like places like Old Town San Diego because they feel less like a stuffy museum and more like stepping back in time to a different era.
Inside the Seeley Stable Museum
Seventy-four places visited, 426 to go.
Hollywood's Real Red Carpet
It may be hard to believe, but each year the
Kodak Hollywood and Highland Theater, located within a high-end mall, is transformed into the entrance to the Academy Awards. Lined with columns listing the names of the Best Picture winners,
Best Picture-Slumdog Millionaire
Hollywood magic is performed and the names of shops are artfully hidden while the red carpet is installed over the permanent red carpeted grand staircase leading up into the theater. According to our guide, the red tile lining the risers of the staircase came from the Wizard of Oz’s yellow brick road (which in the movie has two spirals – one yellow and one red).
Tiles in the red carpet
Somehow it seems fitting that the tiles leading to the wonderful land of Oz was used to create this ultimate “red carpet.”
Congrats to all this year’s nominees!
Agate Fossil Beds
There are times, such as our visit to Agate Fossil Beds located near (as in 22 miles away) Harrison, Nebraska, when I question the choices the author of Frommer’s 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up made when deciding to select an item for the “500 List.” And while I would agree that for a serious dinosaur-loving/fossil-loving child Agate Fossil Beds might be an interesting stop, I’m not sure it deserved a spot in the “500 List.” But since we had to somehow get from Rapid City, South Dakota to Rocky Mountain National Park – our last stop on our US Western trip, I decided a small detour to Agate Fossil Beds was merited – plus my kids were distracted by watching a movie on our computer during the long drive there.
The fossils on display were those of the Miocene era mammals. Anyone expecting huge T-Rex skeletons will be sorely disappointed.
One interesting exhibit, however, were the fascinating corkscrew burrows (called Daemonelix) that the land beavers of that era built.
And although there are hiking paths that lead you to areas where these burrows were found, you can also take “virtual” hikes . . . which conveniently avoid “real” rattlesnakes.
Also part of the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is a collection of Plains Indians artifacts originally owned by the Cook family – the former owners of Agate Springs Ranch.
Cook Collection of Sioux Artifacts
These artifacts were gifts given by the Lakota Sioux to the Cook family when they left their reservation in South Dakota to visit the Cook family. Outside are reproductions of the tepees the Sioux used when they stayed on the ranch.
Tepees at Agate Fossil Beds
72 places visited – 428 to go!
American flag at Pearl Harbor
Lives lost, battles fought, ships sunk.
Day of infamy.
USS Arizona smokestack
USS Arizona Memorial
Memorial Wall at Pearl Harbor
December 7, 1941 -
No-so scary Salem Witch Museum
To celebrate, I’m revisiting a post I did over a year ago about our visit to the Salem Witch Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Touting itself as “Salem’s Most Visited Museum,” the Salem Witch Museum offers probably the best overview (with only a tiny bit of scary thrills) of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.
Using dramatic lighting, a voiced-over narration, and life-sized figures, the Salem Witch Museum details the events leading up to the summer of 1692 when a group of bored girls accused their servant (and several others) of witchcraft. By the end of the hysteria, 19 men and women were hanged and 1 man, George Corey, was pressed to death.
The reenactment can be a little scary for younger visitors as the presentation/performance is done in dim light so know your kids and whether they can handle this kind of presentation. After the show, visitors are herded into an exhibit detailing the history of witchcraft and the ancient (and more modern) practice of Wicca.
And just to put a little bit of shiver into your Halloween, check out this statue of Roger Conant, the founder of Salem, located just outside the museum in the traffic circle . . .
Roger Conant statue
. . . with his scary Pilgrim dress and stern face, it’s enough to put the “Boo!” in your Halloween.