February 15, 2013

Seven Super Things at the Aquarium of the Pacifc

I am an aquarium snob.  But who wouldn’t be if  you have the Monterey Bay Aquarium in your backyard?  This means I rarely visit aquariums while traveling, because I worry they will fall short in comparison

But last fall we found ourselves with a full day free in Anaheim with our 12 year old daughter.  Our teen son was hanging out in Disneyland with his hockey team, but my daughter really isn’t into theme parks.  So we decided to check out the aquarium in nearby Long Beach, whose waterfront location was very appealing on this sunny day.
The Aquarium of the Pacific is much smaller than Monterey’s, but that was a good thing, as we only had a few hours.   And I quickly found that though smaller, there were actually many things that Monterey doesn’t have.  You see, the Monterey Bay Aquarium features local marine life, where the Long Beach aquarium has exhibits showcasing the entire Pacific Ocean, from Baja to Australia to The Bering Sea.
Here were our seven favorite exhibits:

The Lorikeet Forest, where you can offer a cup of nectar to the brightly colored birds

The Blue Cavern, where divers hand fed giant fish including sea bass

The touch pond were we could pet jellyfish

The comb jellyfish with their beautiful “Christmas lights”

The shark lagoon, home to a freshwater sawfish

Exotic-looking sea dragons camouflaged as leaves

Cute, though sometimes deadly, frogs including the infamous poison dart variety

(I don't recall if this guy was poisonous, but he had the best smile.)

February 1, 2013

Enchantment Resort– The Perfect Place to Gather the Family

On our way back from the Grand Canyon last February, we spent a night at Enchantment Resort in Sedona, a place that has been on my bucket list for a while.  And I was not disappointed, except that we could only stay 24 hours.

There are so many things to love about Enchantment:

* The stunning location, tucked into a red rock canyon, with its own private and direct access to hiking trails.  It’s just a short walk among cacti & red rock to a pretty spire.

* The destination spa offering everything from traditional skin care & massage treatments to health & wellness consultations. Their menu is fun to read with entries likeFlower Essence Bath, Blue Corn Body Polish, Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultation, and Astrology with Crystals.

* Free onsite activities including pitch & putt golf, tennis, cycling and bocce ball.  

* Organized adult & family activities from yoga and nature walks to stargazing and watercolor painting.  (Check out the calendar!)

 * Camp Coyote to entertain and educate kids age 4-12, with theme days like Earth Friendly Tuesdays and Solar System Saturdays.  

* The cool architecture and authentic Native American decor – terra cotta tiles, adobe style structures, exposed wood beams, woven blankets and pottery.  

This is a fantastic, destination resort for any family, but it’s especially perfect for multi-generational reunions, or families traveling together.  The casitas are a great value, offering plenty of space & privacy, and all the comforts of home.  Ours had a small but fully equipped kitchen with dining table, and a large living room with a fireplace.   The patio had a gas grill, fireplace, and another large table, so guests can enjoy the wonderful mild weather year round.

A 3 bedroom casita can sleep up to 8, with a king bed, 2 queen beds, and a Murphy bed in the living room.  (Casitas can also be locked off to form separate 1 and 2 bedroom units.) And no worries about having enough bathrooms. There's one for each bedroom and another off the living, room, each with a shower & 2 sinks.  
If you are looking for a place to travel with your family, that has spacious accommodations for a group, offers activities for all ages, and is in a beautiful setting, then I highly recommend Enchantment Resort. 

And because they are a Virtuoso partner, my clients receive:

- Upgrade at time of check-in, subject to availability
- Continental breakfast for two daily
- $100 credit for spa services

Combine this with a great deal through April 30, your fourth night free!