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Rock City Climbing Gym

November 18th, 2016

 

Looking for a real rush? The Orange County Rock City Climbing Gym offers short-term and day passes to visitors looking to get in a workout—that doesn’t feel like one! Choose from a variety of pricing options, including the full-day bouldering pass with shoe rentals for just $15. Climbing and bouldering courses/routes are available for all levels from beginners to pros.

Enjoy great flow and learn new techniques from one of the many instructors on hand. Resilience and determination is needed, but the goal of Rock City Climbing is to help everyone become stronger and more assured climbers. Bouldering, or climbing without ropes, means steep overhangs and sometimes vertical climbs. The top-out bouldering space has room for all, although it’s recommended to have a buddy for bouldering.

Climb On

Try out top roping, where you can summit walls with a harness attached to a “belayer” (partner on the ground). You can sign up for belaying classes, or get a quickie lesson for under ten minutes. Climbing shoes are highly recommended, though not required. You can get a day pass with harness and shoe rentals for just $20.

For those ready for the next level, check out lead climbing. A special lead wall gives you the biggest challenges, and you’re required to have a skilled belayer with you (instructors are available!). Belayers will need to pass a fast skills test before being allowed to partner with you. Lead climbing classes are available throughout the week.

 

Your Anaheim Disney Thanksgiving Guide

November 17th, 2016

 

Dine in or get a feast to go; choose traditional or select an innovative spin. Thanksgiving in Anaheim has something for everyone, starting with Disneyland! The Grand Ballroom at the Disneyland Hotel hosts a massive buffet with ham, turkey, roast beef, a myriad of sides and too many desserts for any one guest to handle. Children have their own buffet stations, and of course your fellow guests will include favorite characters.

Head over to The Storytellers Café for an impressive dinner buffet with hand-carved beef and turkey, a variety of stuffings and dressings, candied yams and all your favorite Thanksgiving desserts. For those who prefer an upscale prix fixe, Steakhouse 55 is offering a three-course meal with roasted turkey and brioche stuffing, Swiss chard with mushroom gravy, delectable cranberry sauce and special desserts.

A Feast for All

At Carnation Café, you’ll find a slow roasted turkey smothered in bourbon gravy, cranberry and apple stuffing, roasted veggies, and mashed sweet potatoes. Harbour Galley is dishing up their famous turkey tortilla soup featuring south of the border spices. The French Market is famous for their Thanksgiving turkey breast and Andouille sausage stuffing, artisan bread with house cranberry sauce, and market potatoes.

Try the Carthay Circle Restaurant for free-range turkey served alongside poblano chiles and mushroom tamales. Their creamed corn dipped in turkey jus can’t be missed. The Pacific Wharf Café is crafting their annual turkey pot pie soup served in a bread bowl with pumpkin spice bread pudding for dessert.

Where will your Thanksgiving begin?

What Will You Discover at Discovery Cube?

November 12th, 2016

 

On the hunt for a Disney alternative? Discovery Cube, a product of the Discovery Science Foundation, has parks in Orange County and Los Angeles. Dedicated to inspiring and educating in a fun, thrill-packed environment, it’s the ultimate destination for kids of all ages. Early learning, STEM proficiency, environmental stewardship and healthy living might be their core values, but they have a blast making it happen.

At the nearby Orange County Park, ongoing exhibits include Mission Control, the Helicopter Tour, Water Gallery and much more! Check out the Science of Hockey, where you’ll grab a helmet and hockey stick to experience first-hand the science behind the sport. Be the goalie, the shooter, work the broadcast station or get sent to the penalty box.

Exploration Starts Now

The Planetary Research Station is where you’ll explore weather patterns using real tech, see what a catastrophic earthquake really feels like (in a safe space), and check out flight patterns around the globe. NOAA even uses the PRS as an educational and outreach tool, ensuring the latest data and technology is always on hand.

The Rocket Lab, Discovery Theater and Eco Challenge are all waiting for you, too! Visit the OC Park from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. seven days per week. Tickets are available online or at the ticketing booth for general admission and 4D movies.

 

Joy to the World! Free 26-Piece Brass/Percussion Party

November 9th, 2016

 

Get into the swing of the season on December 11th with the free brass and percussion holiday concert, Joy to the World! Hosted by Justin Rudd, the Bay Shore Church is featuring the massive ensemble at 5100 E. The Toledo in nearby Long Beach. Rudd is the director of the Community Action Team (CAT) non-profit, and each year invites all guests to this 90-minute special at 5 p.m.

The concert is free, but tickets are required to ensure there’s enough seating for all. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for this family-friendly concert, and all proceeds benefit the Long Beach Turkey Trot, also managed by Rudd. You’ll be treated to 26 professional musicians, compliments of the Southern California Brass Consortium.

Spreading Joy and Cheer

Attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for donation. In-demand items include cereal, macaroni and cheese, canned fruit and peanut butter. All donations go to the Long Beach AIDS Food Store food bank. You can also bring toys as well as treats for local shelter pets under the CAT Operation Santa Paws program.

For only $5, you can also attend the tasting reception and Rudd’s Long Beach Christmas Cookie Contest! Meet the performers, give your opinion on the cookies to be judged, or enter the contest yourself here.

Visit Muzeo

November 3rd, 2016

 

This little-known museum and cultural center packs a big punch, offering exhibits, tours and special events year-round. Nestled in Orange County, it’s easily accessible, and they’re committed to celebrating heritage and cultural diversity via the arts. There are three major traveling exhibitions each year, and all are coupled with special activities and programming. All Carnegie Gallery exhibits are free, and various admission fees are assigned to the other exhibits. Visit Muzeo Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

In November, local Anaheim residents enjoy Free First Thursdays. On November 17, join the Open Book Author Series, a free event that brings writers from around the world to Muzeo. This month features Eric Z. Weintraub, author of Dreams of an American Exile and winner of the Plaza Literary Prize. William Brandon III, editor and designer of numerous publications, also takes the stage. Don’t miss Jon-Barrett Ingels, storyteller and screenwriter, who has passed on the craft to his daughter.

A Cultural Exchange

November 12 welcomes the Art Crawl Experience, a special event from 6 – 10 p.m. where museum visitors can walk, imbibe and explore various pop-up exhibits around the area. Any time of year is a great time to check out the permanent exhibits, including Anaheim: A Walk Through Local History, a historical exhibit in the 1908 Carnegie Library building.

You’ll discover artifacts and slices of history, which pair perfectly with a trip to the Anaheim Heritage Center. It’s now a part of the local public library system, and is right beside the Main Gallery. A rich history space, there are nearly one million artifacts catalogued by local scholars.

 

 

The OC’s Best Trick or Treating

October 25th, 2016

 

Halloween in Anaheim is guaranteed to thrill, and when you’re traveling with the kids, it’s all about the trick or treating. Nearby, you’ll find Rustic Cowan Heights in Santa Ana. It’s a favorite neighborhood for locals because the gorgeous homes are known for handing out the best, biggest candies. Here, you’ll find unbelievable costumes, gourmet treats, and a neighborhood that knows they’re the best—and are committed to keeping that reputation.

You’ll also want to check out Anaheim Town Square’s tricks and treats, every Halloween from 3 – 5 p.m. It’s ideal for younger kids or anyone who wants to get a head start on the night’s mission. You’ll also enjoy costume contests, face painting and pumpkin decorating. Most stores participate in the shenanigans, and you can tell by the pumpkin balloons and decals by their entrances.

All Treats, No Tricks

Head to downtown Huntington Beach and start strolling the neighborhoods for some top-notch candy. Main Street shops also participate, and many local families haunt on their porches to give out fistfuls of sweets to those in costumes. You’ll find many haunted houses here and an old-timey Halloween vibe.

Nothing trumps Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland, complete with admission to the park three hours before the party starts! Take advantage of five full hours of trick or treating, haunts, costumes and more at a level that only Disney can pull off! Fireworks, a headless horseman and character greetings are all included.

Go Japanese in Anaheim

October 24th, 2016

 

Japanese cuisine is known for exceptional seafood, and the Los Angeles area is a world-renowned foodie scene. It’s the perfect combination to create a region with famous Japanese cuisine, and it all starts at Sushi Noguchi. Start with the crab ensemble and baked asparagus before choosing one of the many rolls from Anaheim’s top-ranked sushi joints. Full dinners of sea bass, wagyu steak and pork belly are also tempting treats.

Biyako is where you’ll find a number of locals dining, enjoying the beef don and sashimi platters. Hand roll options include albacore, shrimp tempura, salmon, scallop and veggie options. With the classic rolls, you can get soft-shell crab, tuna rolls, salmon skin and, of course, the California roll. For dessert, try the mochi or tempura ice cream.

Hot Off the Grill

Yosuke Sushi offers fatty tuna sashimi, yellow tail sashimi and thinly sliced salmon for starters. A variety of teriyaki options from veggie to salmon, shrimp and beef helped put this little restaurant on the map. You’ll also want to try the sushi combination deluxe with nine pieces of sushi and one roll—perfect for sharing!

The Kagura Restaurant is known for their fried Japanese chili, fresh calamari and boiled asparagus for starters. Grilled free-range chicken, assorted sushi or sashimi and seafood tempura are top picks for lunch. Check out the Kagura special rolls for innovative options like tuna and smelt egg, lobster tempura with avocado, and deep-fried soft shelled crab.

 

Visit Prado Dam and Reservoir

October 14th, 2016

 

This earth-filled dam near the Santa Ana River was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and management of the river. It’s located just over 30 miles from the ocean and has been a staple of the Chino Hills area since 1936. It’s also a key source for water storage and a landmark for some of the best outdoor recreation around.

Families flock to Prado Regional Park to get a slice of paradise without the need for the golden coast. “Prado” means meadow in Spanish, and it’s a hot spot for camping, hiking, nature trails, fishing, picnicking and disc golf. There’s even a meeting room seating up to 80 people and is a popular spot for parties, receptions and meetings.

Explore Prado

You can easily spend a day exploring the gorgeous meadow, or head over to one of the two 18-hole golf courses on site. There’s an Olympic shooting range, ideal for a little stress relief for business travelers, and an archery range. Pedal boat rentals are available May – October, so take advantage of this final month on the water. Rowboats, kayaks and canoes are also allowed.

Bring the little ones to explore the Universal Playground, horseshoe pits and Zero Depth Water Play Park. The 60-acre lake is rich with catfish, trout and bass for those wanting to fish, and campgrounds feature 75 full hookups. Who knew Anaheim had such a beautiful, semi-secret getaway?

Are You Tough (Mudder) Enough?

October 9th, 2016

 

Ready for the ultimate Anaheim challenge? Tough Mudder comes to town October 15, and this is the craziest, muddiest, and truly the toughest event yet! Located at nearby Vail Lake, you can sign up as an individual or a team. Corporate packages are available for business travelers who want to take on the challenge as a team—and you may want that camaraderie for 2016!

There are some brand new obstacles waiting.The Block Ness Monster is the latest addition to the notorious mud run. You’ll have to roll, push and pull through 60 feet of muddy, slippery rotating barriers. Teamwork is great here, letting you rock and roll en masse through this monstrous feat. However, the most hardcore of mudders can beat the beast solo!

Ready, Steady …

King of the Swingers is also a big feature, offering the kind of rope swing challenge you wished was at the lake when you were a kid. Only a few will have what it takes to ring the bell, but many will try. Will you be one of the elite to succeed?

Choose from a variety of course options including the original Tough Mudder, Tough Mudder Half, and even the World’s Toughest Mudder Challenge. Engineers are always working to come up with even more creative and intense challenges, but safety remains a priority. Completing a Tough Mudder calls for some serious bragging rights, and it’s the perfect way to liven up your Anaheim getaway.

Are you up for it?

Head to Soak City!

September 17th, 2016

 

It might be nearly autumn, but the Southern California heat sticks around! Cool off at Knott’s Soak City Water Park where you can rent a semi-private cabin complete with food and drink service, rent any gear you need, and make your adrenaline spike with some of the zaniest water park rides in the world! It’s ideal for families and “big kids” of all ages who are looking for a fresh new adventure.

There are rides and experiences for all ages and degrees of adrenaline junkies. Banzai Falls features six multi-lane slides where you fall over 41-feet headfirst into the turquoise waters below. Try out the Laguna Storm Water Tower, a tube slide monstrosity that’s 43-feet high. At Gremmie Lagoon, the littlest swimmers get a water playground with an interactive octopus and impressive submarine.

Wild Rides

Malibu Run offers four inner tube slides with open flumes, dark flumes, and a drop-off height peaking at 36-feet. Old Man Falls is the biggest of all, 63-feet tall, and it’s where you can really let ‘er rip-feet first or head first! However, Pacific Spin is a real contender—though it’s not a slide! A multi-person thrill ride spins you along a six-story funnel with swirling water.

These rides can really rev up your appetite, and there are many choices on deck. Try Longboard’s Grill for classic American fare from burgers to dogs, or go to Portside Pizza for wedge slices and refreshing salads. At Surf Daddy’s Food Hut, you have icees, pretzels, churros and more treats. Ready to dive in?