The Big Exchange: San Diego Museums

Image courtesy of San Diego Museum Council

Are you a current member to a San Diego Museum? If so this month you could benefit from the amazing Big Exchange! Over 30 museums around San Diego will be taking part of this program and what this means is that if you are a current member to a San Diego museum then your membership will let you into any of the other participating museums. Basically you have a membership to all the museums!

The Big Exchange is going on all May from the 1st to the 31st, which is an extension from last years program which only ran for two weeks. This is a whole month to museum hop and explore. The Big Exchange is a wonderful program and the perfect time to check out a new museum or visit an old favorite.

Participating Museums

      • Barona Museum & Cultural Center
      • Birch Aquarium at Scripps
      • Bonita Museum
      • California Surf Museum
      • Coronado Museum of History & Art
      • Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum
      • Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House
      • Heritage of the Americas Museum
      • Japanese Friendship Garden
      • Living Coast Discovery Center
      • Maritime Museum of San Diego
      • Mingei International Museum
      • Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
      • Museum of Making Music
      • Museum of Photographic Arts
      • New Americans Museum
      • Oceanside Museum of Art Women’s Museum of California
      • San Diego Archaeological Center
      • San Diego Art Institute
      • San Diego Automotive Museum
      • San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
      • San Diego Chinese Historical Museum
      • San Diego History Center
      • San Diego Model Railroad Museum
      • San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT)
      • The New Children’s Museum
      • The San Diego Museum of Art
      • The Water Conservation Garden
      • Timken Museum of Art
      • USS Midway Museum
      • Veterans Museum at Balboa Park
      • Visions Art Museum
      • Warner-Carrillo Ranch House Museum
      • Whaley House Museum

 

Visit sandiegomuseumcouncil.org for more information on the Big Exchange and San Diego’s museums.

Have a fun time exploring with the Big Exchange!

Cruzin Mama

Hiking at the Santa Rosa Plateau

Spring time is here and it’s one of the best times to get out for a hike. The much needed rains have let up here in So Cal and that not only means we will see a lot of green but also the vernal pools at the Santa Rosa Plateau have been filled! So it’s no secret that one of my go to hiking spots for my family is the Santa Rosa Plateau, the ecological reserve is located in Murrieta about 4 miles off of the Clinton Keith exit. The Plateau hosts plenty of trail options, a nature center, historic adobes, and of course the vernal pools.

The vernal pools are only really visible after the rainy season. So this year is one of the best times to visit them since California experienced so much rain to help get us out of the long drought we have been under. The vernal pools are a great way to see a lot of the wildlife that the Plateau houses. Just on our visit alone we saw tadpoles, dragonflies, butterflies, ducks, a few different types of birds, grasshoppers, a snake (more about this later!) and the teeny hard to spot fairy shrimp. Plus the rains have brought about a Super Bloom so along the trails you are sure to see beautiful wildflowers.

*A fun game for my kids was to see how many different colors of flowers we could spot.*

For our visit to the Plateau I parked at the trail entrance for the vernal pools which is the last entrance to the Santa Rosa Plateau trails off of Via Volcano Rd. As were not planning on spending the day hiking the trails since we had come off of a little morning adventure I opted on this closer parking location. When you park at this location there is a trail that leads straight to the large vernal pool. You are also able to pay the visit fee at the drop box at the entrance of the trail. If you are up for it from this trail you can head to the historic adobe buildings as well. It all just depends on how much time you want to spend exploring. The trails at the Santa Rosa Plateau are great for beginners in my opinion. My kids have been on several hikes here and have done great. We have hiked just around the nature center, we have taken this trail to the vernal pools (during an off season) and continued down to the adobes. My kids and I on the way back from the pools ventured down a little on the hidden valley trail this visit. I would like to go back and check this trail out a little more.

So a little confession, before I headed down to the Plateau I did a little snooping on Instagram under the Places tab to see if there was any water still at the pools. Since the heavy rain I have been wanting to take the kids to see the vernal pools, but I didn’t want to make the trip only to be disappointed. The last time we hiked this trail was during the off season so while it wasn’t entirely empty it just wasn’t what I was expecting to see. So some of the most recent “posts” were up to days before and I was a little apprehensive that they would still look as full since the weather has begun to heat up. But it was still a chance to see them with water so we loaded up some hiking supplies and made for the pools. I was so glad we went, they were still full and the weather was warm so the muddy trails were dry. The parking lot was pretty full when we arrived and we passed quite a few people on the trails but it was surprisingly not crowded.

There was quite a while that we had the vernal pool all to ourselves. It was so nice to just sit and enjoy the view. Of course the highlight for the kids was seeing all the inhabitants. I mentioned much of what we saw above but the most exciting one we saw was a snake. It wasn’t a very large snake but it was a snake and that was enough to make my kid’s day. We watched the little snake swim around the pool a bit and a fellow hiker informed us about how it was most likely hunting tadpoles. This went along well with what my daughter has been learning in school about food chains.

Our little friend may be hard to spot but he is located in the center of this photo. He wasn’t a very big snake so he camouflaged well amoung the vegetation.

Another great time exploring the Santa Rosa Plateau. I was almost tempting to go hiking further because of how picturesque the landscape was. In the distance we could even see a little snow caped mountain, this year the rain really brought it.

We only went a little ways down the trail to the Hidden Valley. I would like to go back and explore this area more. What was nice was once we got into a shaded area there was a bench to sit on and just gaze out through a window in the trees to the valley.

Hiking Tips

*Always pack plenty of water
*Bring some snacks
*Wear good comfortable shoes
*Take plenty of breaks
*Use Sunscreen and Wear a Hat

And remember to just enjoy your time outside!

Cruzin Mama

Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve
39400 Clinton Keith Rd
Murrieta Ca 92562
Hours
Sunrise – Sunset
Nature Center โ€ข Tuesday-Sunday 9am to 5pm
Closed Mondays and all major holidays
Fees
Adults $4 Children 3-12 $3

Green Friday at California State Parks

National Parks Free Days 2016

Go Green this Black Friday!

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is here and a day of fresh air could ease the stress of this time of year. California State Parks along with REI are offering just that a day outside away from the shopping crowds with FREE admission to State Parks.

You are being asked to Go Green this Black Friday and Opt Outside and enjoy one of California’s beautiful State Parks. Have you ever visited a State Park before? Well if you haven’t this is a great chance to! Or if you are a regular State Park explorer this is a wonderful opportunity to venture out to a new park. Honestly a great deal on a T.V. is nice or being able to do all your holiday shopping at a discount but with Black Friday now starting earlier and earlier it’s great to see a push for more quality time. Getting out and really seeing the beauty that California has to offer is priceless.

To Go Green is easy just visit greenfriday.org Pick a park you would like to visit and get your ticket for your free entrance. Be sure to hurry as there is a limited number of passes to each park and some a very popular.

Have a great time going green!

Cruzin Mama

California Coastal Cleanup Day

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Grab a bucket and head to the beach this Saturday!

This Saturday September 20th is California Coastal Cleanup Day. This is a day where everyone is invited to do their part and help keep our coastline beautiful. California is famous for its beaches and with thousands of tourist and locals flocking to them year round there can be a build up of forgotten items. ย The trash doesn’t just come from there much of it is from run off from sewers, highways, storm drains, streets and so on. This destroys the environment and is dangerous for sea life. By doing a coastal cleanup day this helps to keep our shores beautiful and to keep animals and sea life safe as well as beach-goers. This is a great opportunity to teach kids to do their part and how to respect our planet.

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Join the Cleanup

To find a beach to volunteer at click here. This link is great for all of California. Below are direct links to San Diego and Orange County Beaches and more information about their volunteer details.

    • San Diego Beaches click here. Beaches that are RED have filled their volunteer quota, BLACK are still open for volunteers and GREEN are in need of volunteers.
    • Orange County Beaches click here.

Most beaches, unless stating otherwise, allow volunteers ages 3 and up. There a specific meet up locations and times so be sure to check when you are signing up.

Cleanup Fun

  • Bling your Bucket – fun contest to encourage volunteers to bring a reusable bucket to cleanup. Decorate your bucket anyway you like. Buckets will be judged by creativity and environmental message in age groups. For rules and more information click here.(This is for San Diego’s Coastal Cleanup, verify with the beach you’re registered at for contests).
  • Scout Patches – can be purchased on the day of cleanup or ordered online for up to two weeks after. Patches will be mailed out in October or can be picked up at ILACSD offices. Click here for ILACSD office hours and location. Email volunteers@cleansd.org if you have questions or for more information.

    2014 Patch, image from cleanupday.org

    2014 Patch, image from cleanupday.org

  • Rubio’s Treat – Rubio’s is a sponsor and is offering volunteers a FREE Taco! Click here for more info.

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Beyond Cleanup Day

Event after Cleanup Day anyone can help keep our beaches pristine. Everyone can do their part when they visit a beach by making sure to clean up after themselves and making sure all waste goes into proper bins. Another great way is to pick up extra trash you see. A big step would to Adopt-a-Beach. So if you can’t make it out this Saturday there are still many ways you can be involved.

I love to go to the beach with my little family. So in order to be able to enjoy beach trips for years to come we always pick up after ourselves. I want my kids to grow up seeing all the beauty California has to offer. So it’s my part to teach them about respecting nature so others can enjoy it too.

Cruzin Mama