I set out to find some great family day trips that will be celebrating Spring and Easter. Here is a sampling of what I found. My encouragement is that you pick one or two and schedule a time, even a school day, to get out and enjoy spring with your kids.
Note: If you are going to one of the flower exhibits, check their websites. It’s been a cold, wet winter and that will affect bloom times.
San Diego Flower displays.
- A spectacular display occurs annually between February and April in San Diego East County’s 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park as colorful wildflowers bejewel the sun-scorched desert landscape. Since the phenomenon depends upon the timing and quantity of winter rains, the blossoms are at their peak for just two weeks. Guests are advised to call the Park’s 24-hour “Wildflower Hotline” at 760-767-4684 before planning a tour of the desert flora. www.parks.ca.gov
- At the Flower Fields of Carlsbad California, a vibrant sea of giant ranunculus flowers transforms 50 acres of hills into rows of brilliant color. During March through May, guests can stroll past oceans of flowers and through beautiful gardens, including a miniature rose garden, fragrant sweet pea maze, a garden featuring more than 50 All American Rose Selection winners and a spectacular display of red, white and blue flowers planted in the shape of a giant American flag. www.theflowerfields.com
- Balboa Park’s Offshoot Tours provides free, one-hour tours that highlight the park’s lush botanical offerings; the tours begin at 10 a.m. on Saturdays in front of the Balboa Park Visitors Center. Must-sees are the beautiful Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, displaying approximately 2,500 roses of nearly 200 varieties, and the award-winning Alcazar Garden, with a floral design patterned after the gardens of Alcazar Castle in Seville, Spain. www.balboapark.org/info/tours.php
- On April 17 – 18, the City of Coronado presents the 85th annual Coronado Flower Show in Spreckels Park. Flower exhibits are displayed under tents and a central gazebo, creating one of the largest flower shows on the U.S. West Coast. Guests also enjoy flower sales, live entertainment, food and a trophy ceremony. www.coronadoflowershow.com
- The San Diego Museum of Art blossoms during Art Alive 2010, April 29 – May 2, an enchanting spring exhibition. Transforming the museum into a colorful display of art and flowers, more than 100 floral designers take inspiration from the museum’s renowned art collection and create floral renditions of famous paintings and sculptures. www.sdmart.org
Long-running musical passion play featuring over 100 actors, soaring angels and special effects.
When: Runs for about 10 days before Easter
Where: Crystal Cathedral, 12141 Lewis St, Garden Grove, CA 92840
Cost: $35-$45, $20 Discount nights available
Parking: Free on site
Note: Not recommended for children under 9 years old due to vivid portrayal of Christ’s death. Dress warmly.
Kids can make bunny ears, pet bunnies and have their photo taken (for a fee) with Big Bunny and other cartoon characters at this three-day event at the LA Zoo. There will be crafts, face painting, music and more.
When: Easter Weekend, 10 am – 4 pm
Where: the LA Zoo, 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA, in Griffith Park, off the I-5 and 134 Freeways
Cost: Check website
Blessing of the Animals at Olvera Street
The Merchants of Olvera Street and a cow decorated with flowers lead a procession of gaily decorated animals past a priest delivering the blessing. The procession with Cardinal Roger Mahoney begins at 2 pm. Animals and their owners assemble on the north side of the Plaza.
When: Saturday before Easter, noon to 5 pm
Where: El Pueblo Historic Park at Olvera Street
Parking: For a fee in area lots
Info: www.cityofla.org/elp/, (213) 625-7074, (213) 485-8372
Activities for children of all ages include nature crafts, games, and photo opportunities. Easter baskets are provided for every paid child; no outside baskets will be allowed.
When: Saturday before Easter, 10 am – 2 pm, Arboretum hours 9 am – 5 pm
Where: LA County Arboretum, 310 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA 91007
Cost: General admission, plus fee per child to participate in the hunt.
Info: www.arboretum.org, 626-821-5897