Your week is over, and now it is time to scoop up the kids and have a little fun. While it is often hard to find venues that are both inexpensive and adventurous, the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific is a perfect place to visit, filled with nature and discovery that the whole family can enjoy!

Including nineteen major habitats and thirty-two exhibits, the Aquarium takes you on a journey through the floor of the Pacific Ocean with close-ups of some of its most feared aquatic predators. The Tropical Reef Habitat in particular features great close-ups of colorful fish, sea turtles, zebra sharks, and best of all, my favorite- the weedy sea dragons and seahorses. Other exhibits include the sea otter habitat, the shark lagoon, and an outdoor aviary, where you can touch and even feed some of the animals.

Teeming with over ten thousand species of marine life from scattered regions of the Pacific Ocean, the Aquarium of the Pacific is the fourth largest in the nation. A non-profit organization founded in 1998, the Aquarium is highly educational, offering hands-on activities, programs, and lectures by leading scientists for people of all ages regarding the sustainability of our oceans and our planet as a whole. As one of the first aquariums to initiate greenhouse gases and practices, the Aquarium is more than just a zoological location. It is dedicated to celebrating the interactions between people, animals, and nature. Adjacent to the beautiful shores of Long Beach, take the whole family and make a day of it!

References:

http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/

While the chances of a pond in Santa Monica freezing over this time of year are slim, the buzzing beach city has opened up its annual ice skating rink on the corner of 5th and Arizona near the Third Street Promenade. What a great way to ring in the holiday season!

The annual return of Santa Monica’s ICE by the sea opened Friday, November 1st, and will be open to ice skaters until February 15th.  That means Valentine’s Day on ice! This year the 8000 square foot rink will also have flowers embellished underneath the ice by artist Ed Massey, who similarly adorned the lifeguard towers on West Side beaches earlier this summer. A 400 square foot rink will also be provided for beginners and little ones.

Festivities at the rink include an opening ceremony on November 10th with California Gold synchronized skaters and a guest appearance by the LA Kings hockey team, who will share the ice with guests.

Entrance to the rink is $10 with skates included. Additionally, the rink provides private cabanas for parties of anywhere from 15-300 people, and stays open from 10am-10pm during the week, and from 10am-12am on the weekends. They’re even open on Thanksgiving and Christmas!

So far, the weather this weekend is predicted to be in the mid 70’s. Where else but in Santa Monica can you wear beach clothes to an ice skating rink?

Address:

1324 5th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(Corner of 5th St. & Arizona Ave.)

References:

http://www.surfsantamonica.com/ssm_site/the_lookout/news/News-2010/October-2010/10_26_2010_Winterlit_Returns_to_Downtown_Santa_Monica.html

http://www.downtownsm.com/about/icerink.html

About 4 miles off the coast of La Paz, Mexico sits a beautiful island in the Sea of Cortez called Espiritu Santo, or “holy spirit”. Espiritu Santo Island is a great trip to escape from the everyday routine. Not only is it the perfect place to clear your head and be in the moment, it’s one of my favorite islands because of all the outdoor activity!

For starters, you can rent out a little boat called the panga for a reasonable price. The island is only about an hour boat ride from La Paz, and from the moment you arrive, you won’t be able to wait to get your feet wet. The clear blue water in Espiritu is teeming with marine life. Swim with the sea lions at Los Islotes, a long distention of gnarled rocks off the tip of the island, or take one of their guided tours to different parts of the island where you can snorkel, hike, camp, or kayak near rocky terrain and breathtaking mountains.

My last trip to Espiritu Island was absolutely majestic. I’ve been there more times than I can count, and I’d certainly recommend it if you’re looking to take a weekend excursion to an adventurous new place. Be sure to pack some sturdy hiking shoes, a camera, and more importantly, don’t forget your snorkel gear!

Halloween HealthFor many of us who have children, Halloween is the big kick-off for fall festivities and happy holidays. I have been looking for a pumpkin patch with organic and sustainable pumpkins and found a great one called Mr. Bones!. Located on N. Doheny Drive just north of Melrose in West Hollywood, Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch is dedicated to preserving the environment and sustainability. Their lot is carbon neutral, solar-powered and portion of their proceeds go to local environmental organizations. After carving a spooky squash, try this recipe I found for Toasted Pumpkin seeds: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/toasted_pumpkin_seeds

Fact: Pumpkins are the most alkaline seed of all seeds nuts and sprouts.

702 North Doheny Drive
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 276-9827
http://www.mrbonespumpkinpatch.com/