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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Exploring the Anza-Borrego Super Bloom with Kids

I managed to talk my husband and some friends to make the trek out to Anza-Borrego State Park over the weekend to check out this year's desert super bloom. In the days leading up to our trip, I hyped myself up looking at photos from the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association's website, the Anza-Borrego Foundation's instagram and talking to friends who have been in the past. I was really pumped to see the super bloom. Little did I know that due to all the press coverage EVERYONE AND THEIR MOM had the same idea. Seriously, EVERYONE. They are expecting the same turn out again this weekend so here are my mom tips for anyone planning to go out there with tots in tow.

Mom tips
1. Get there early and leave early. I cannot stress that enough. We arrived at 9:30 AM and it was already pretty crowded. I would recommended arriving at 8:00 AM if you are going on the weekend. Leave by11:00 AM or earlier to avoid traffic and the harsh mid-day sun. The traffic coming into Anza -Borrego wound around the mountain 6 miles deep as we were leaving. It was INSANE.
2. Apply lots and lots and lots of sunscreen, wear hats and comfortable closed-toed shoes. It's supposed to be hotter this weekend than it was last weekend.
3. Stop to use the restroom before arriving in Anza-Borrego. Bathrooms are limited and lines are long.
4. Do your research before heading out. Cell service out there is poor so don't expect to be able to google map things easily. For more info on where to you spot the blooms and traffic updates see the Anza-Borrego State Park website.
5. Bring along snacks and plenty of water. This seriously felt more like a long day at Disneyland than a peaceful morning in the desert. Every place in town looked crazy busy around lunch time so we opted to try to get out instead of trying to find food. Food options are also limited in this small town.
6. Parker's favorite part of the day was checking out the collection of large metal sculptures strewn throughout the desert.  

I hope the tips above save you a lot of headache! The super bloom was gorgeous and definitely worth seeing but be aware of the horrendous traffic and crowds that you might encounter. Now enjoy some photos of the blooms we spotted. I've tried to identify as many as possible using the flower guide on the ABDHA website.

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[Notch Leaf Phacelia]

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[Hedgehog Cactus. When in bloom the flowers are hot pink!]

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[Arizona Lupine]

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[Nature comes up with the best combos.]

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[Spider burrow that Parker spotted.]

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[Parker is forever 3rd wheeling these two!]

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[Ocotillo]

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[Under the grasshopper's belly.]

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[It's pinching us!]

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[Really though, what is this? A giant rodent?]

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[Serpent sculpture]

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[Desert Dandelion]

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[Field off Henderson Avenue]

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[Desert Chicory]

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[Desert Lily]

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[Desert Sunflower]

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[Brown-Eyed Primrose]

anza-borrego state park, desert, super bloom, desert bloom, san diego
[Thanks to everyone for coming with us to the desert! ]



Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Tidepooling at Shell Beach La Jolla

tidepooling, shell beach, la jolla, san diego 

For P's 4th birthday we told him we can do anything he wants and he chose tidepooling. My kid has a passion for the ocean and all the living critters that inhabit it. We drove to La Jolla on a very foggy day and spent a couple of hours exploring the tidepools at Shell Beach. Scroll down to see all the fun animals we spotted!

Mom tips:
1. The steps down to the beach are a little precarious. There are a lot slippery rocks to climb over in order to get to the tidepools. Watch your step!
2. Wear the right shoes. I recommend water shoes with good grip.
3. Be sure to check the tide chart for the best time to go.
4. Bring a bucket to collect and observe your finds. Make sure to put everything back before you leave the beach.

Here are some additional resources on where to go tidepooling in San Diego.

Tripadvisor
Hidden San Diego
La Jolla Mom

san diego, la jolla, shell beach, tidepooling

[See all that green stuff on the rocks? That's sea grass and it is everywhere. Watch where you step because it's very slippery.]

san diego, la jolla, shell beach, tidepooling

[If this looks familiar, it's because this is where we took those awesome octopus costume photos of Parker last October. We spotted a lot of little fish in some of the deeper pools.]

san diego, la jolla, shell beach, tidepooling

[You can find small crabs tucked in the nooks and crannies of the rocks. They're easy to spot if you sit still and let them come out of hiding.]

san diego, la jolla, shell beach, tidepooling

[Mussels!]

san diego, la jolla, shell beach, tidepooling

[P was one really happy birthday boy.]

san diego, la jolla, shell beach, tidepooling

[Snails were easiest for the kids to find and collect and they were everywhere.]

san diego, la jolla, shell beach, tidepooling

[Our most interesting find of the day were a pair of these crabs sitting in the sea grass. They look like something out of a science fiction movie. Can anyone identify the species?]

san diego, la jolla, shell beach, tidepooling

san diego, la jolla, shell beach, tidepooling

san diego, la jolla, shell beach, tidepooling

[Parker and Kaden with grandma.]

san diego, la jolla, shell beach, tidepooling, birthday

[After tidepooling, we had a feast at Noble Chef and then came back to our house to sing happy birthday to Parker. It took 4 years but he doesn't cry when we sing happy birthday anymore.]

san diego, la jolla, shell beach, tidepooling, birthday

san diego, la jolla, shell beach, tidepooling, birthday

[Congrats to us for killing it at parenting for the last 4 years. *fist bump*]
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