Friday, June 29, 2018

Patriotic Events 2018

Santa Barbara and Goleta Events
* 4th of July Parade on State Street between Micheltorena Street and Cota Street Free 1pm 
* Elks Lodge of Santa Barbara  Family Fun Fair 11-5 Free Admission 
(Crafts, dime toss, bounce house, rollerball game, and more)
* Girsh Park Fireworks Festival 5pm-9pm $10 entry (kids under 13 free) 
(Concerts, fireworks, and games including water balloon toss, hula hoop contest and sack races)
* Goleta Valley Historical Society at Stow House 11am-4pm $7 entry (kid under 13 free)
(Concerts and tours, $5 Kids Fun Pass includes hay rides, face painting, and games)
* West Beach and the Santa Barbara Waterfront 12-9pm Free admission, activities may cost
(live music, face painting,  water taxi ride, Sea Center, crafts and food for sale) 

Fireworks take place at the festivals but can viewed in the surrounding neighborhoods
9pm Santa Barbara at West Beach 
9pm Goleta at Girsh Park 
9pm Solvang at Mission Santa Ynez

Other Events Nearby
* Carpinteria Independence Parade Saturday 6/30 5-6
* Carpinteria Lions Club hosts and Independence Day BBQ 1-4pm.
* Montecito Association hosts events including a pancake breakfast at Firehouse #1 (7:30), parade (11:30 Manning Park) and festival (12:30-2 Manning Park) 
* Solvang Events include a concert (10am Solvang Park), parade (11am), BBQ ($5-7, Solvang Park 12-2) and festival (2pm-9:30pm, Mission Santa Ynez, $10 Entry, kids under 8 free)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Church in the Park

Santa Barbara City College
My church (Santa Barbara Community Church) loves to do church outdoors at Easter and once in the summer. Since we will be at Santa Barbara City College lawn this Sunday, I thought I would put together a list of things to take to outdoor event/church services. If you haven't guessed, I tend to be an overpacker, so I am sure you don't need all these items! (I packed more of these when my kids were little and bring less now.) 

wagon (ours is from Costco
outdoor blanket (ours is from Bed, Bath and Beyond)
camping chairs (ours are from REI)
books (depends on your kids age and interest, but this was a winner for us)
small animal/people/doll sets
magnet set (like this Curious George)
sticker books (younger or older)
coloring books with colored pencils/pens
nail polish 
snacks (goldfish, raisins, pretzels and crackers)

What about you? What do you take for outdoor events like this?

Monday, June 25, 2018

Santa Barbara Blueberries

Just passed 150 posts, y'all! I had no idea when we started our park quest it would continue on!

Santa Barbara Blueberries at Restoration Oaks Ranch lets you pick your own blueberries and of course some get consumed along the way. Picking is free and the cost for some picked blueberries is reasonable. They are not open year round so check the website or Facebook for the opening each summer.

Cost: $20 for a pail of blueberries and less if you pick less (picking/eating is free)
Hours: 10am-5:30pm
Time: 1-1 1/2 hours
Drive Time: 35 minutes from Goleta
More Information:
Nearby: Nojoqui Falls, the Farmstead, Riverview Park and Ostrichland
Directions: Take the 101N. The farm is 5 miles after the Gaviota tunnel, just past Old Coast Highway/Alisal Rd. You will see a sign that say "Santa Barbara Blueberries" off to the right. 

Stop in at the stand to get pails and directions.

Follow directions to that day's flag.

Pick away!


Friday, June 22, 2018

Circus Vargas

The circus is in town! I haven't been to the circus since I was a kid and that was a long time ago. This new and improved circus does not include animals, but all the classic human acts you remember. We won free tickets through a contest by Macaroni Kid! There are three shows Saturday (1, 4, and 7:30), three Sunday (12:30, 3:30 and 6:30) and one on Monday (6:30), so you still have time to go!

The show was 2 hours with a 15 minute intermission. The preshow started 30 minutes before the circus start time with activities for the kids to learn juggling, balancing and magic. There were all the foods you remember from the circus: popcorn, cotton candy, hotdogs and more.

The main event had a "Dreaming of Pirates" theme and started with music and dancing telling the story of a young man who wants to become a pirate. The storyline continues between acts (for time to set up). Acts included tight rope walkers, acrobats, a choreographed trampoline routine, contortionists, magic acts, juggling, trapeze artists, and motorcycles in a round cage (!). My kids were in awe and I thought it was pretty cool too. 

Prices are Adults: Bleacher $25, Arena $37, Ringside $57 and VIP $72; Kids Bleacher $15, Arena $27, Ringside $47 and VIP $62. I have two free kids passes (with a paid adult) to the first person who asks. 

I am including some of my photos, but there are better ones on the Circus Vargas website





Tightrope Walker

Flying Trapeze




Grand Finale

Monday, June 18, 2018

Carpinteria Bluff Nature Preserve

The 110 acre Carpinteria Salt Marsh Preserve is broken into two parts. This larger section is on a bluff overlooking the ocean close to the seal rookery. There are many paths to explore. One possible path leads across the train tracks and to an area that overlooks the ocean. The beach is closed December through May, but you can view the seals from above all year round. When you enter the seal preserve, you will need to choose trails to the right to get to the seal rookery, then cross the rail road tracks at a gap in the fence. You do walk along the tracks (to the right) for a bit to get to the seal viewing.

Disclaimer: Only you know the conditions when you are there. Cross safely and walk cautiously. If walking near the tracks concerns you, skip this one.

Directions: Take the 101S to the Highway 150 exit (84). Turn right onto Rincon Road and head into the preserve parking lot.

Trail Rating: Easy
Distance: 1.2 roundtrip to the seal rookery and back
Time: 45 minutes
Nearby attractions: Carpinteria State Beach, Tomol Interpretive Play Area and Carpinteria Marsh Preserve
More information:

Miles of walking paths

Railroad Cross to see the seals

Seal Viewing

Hundreds of Seals

Cross at a gap in the railing 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park

The Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park is 110 acres of ocean front prime real estate saved as open space for walking trails and preservation. One end of it is a small park with walking trails that is adjacent to the UC Reserve that can only be accessed with permission. There are public tours currently on Saturdays at 10am. The other end is a larger set of walking trails I will review separately.

Directions: Take the 101S to the Linden exit. Turn right onto Linden Ave and follow it through the downtown area. Just past the Spot burger stand, turn right onto 3rd St. Turn left onto Ash Ave an park along the road there. There are several entrances.

Trail Rating: Easy
Distance: .9 miles to do the whole trail and back
Time: 1/2 hour with exploring time
Nearby Attractions: Carpinteria State Beach, Tomol Interpretive Play Area and Carpinteria Nature Park (Part 2)

More information:

Friday, June 1, 2018

Truly Toddler Friendly Parks

Bath Street Pocket Park
When I first started my park quest, I had a 1.5 year old climber. When she learned to walk, she went from walking to running to climbing faster than her coordination could keep up. So there were certain parks we went to and left very quickly for my sanity. Eventually as an off site PEP coordinator, I learned which parks were good for my kid and early toddlers in general. Here are some I would recommend for those early walking days.

Santa Barbara
Bath Street Pocket Park
Eastside Neighborhood Park
Elings Park (Upper)
Escondido Park
Hidden Valley Park
Hilda McIntyre Ray Park
Los Baños del Mar
Mackenzie Park
Shoreline Park
Willowglen Park

Santa Barbara County
Manning Park (Montecito)
Rhoads Open Space

Evergreen Open Space
Tierra de Fortuna

Summer 2018 Quest

Summer approaches, y'all. It is time to share my 2018 quest. (Drum roll, please.)

This summer I will be sharing easy day trip activities from Santa Barbara. This is one I have wanted to do for years, but since I have no nappers, this feels like the summer for it. But this summer I am also moving and so I don't expect this to go smoothly. I like my quests now though so I have a fun goal and I will share what I have time to find. There is some overlap with previous posts on parks and hikes too. Here are my ideas:

Tarpits Beach (tidepools)
Carpinteria Salt Marsh
Carpinteria Nature Preserve (Seal Viewing)
Tomol Park
Carpinteria State Beach
Canzelle Alpacas
Padaro Beach Grill (Summerland)

Beyond Carpinteria
Lake Casitas Water Park (Ojai)
Sky Zone
Golf N Stuff
Pump It Up
Playplace Pacific View Mall (Ventura)
Splash Pad at the Collection (Oxnard)
Chuck E Cheese (Ventura or Santa Maria)
Marina Park (Ventura)
Kellogg Park (Ventura)
Ventura Aquatic Center

Santa Ynez Valley
Knapp's Castle (off 154)
Riverview Park (Buellton)
Sunnyfields Park (Solvang)
Ostrichland (Buellton)
Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch
Santa Barbara Blueberries (Buellton)
The Farmstead (Buellton)
Noquoi Falls (Buellton)
La Purissima Mission
Seein Spots Farm

Beyond the Valley 
Lompoc Aquatic Center
Santa Maria Discovery Museum
Avila Farm
SLO Creek Farms
Chuck E Cheese (Ventura or Santa Maria)

Did I miss anything? What would you add to my list of ideas?

Related posts: 2017 Summer of Hikes, 2016 Summer of the Beaches, 2015 Summer of the Parks,