Aquarium

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium has the largest collection of Southern California marine life on display in the word with an outdoor touching tank, a teaching laboratory, auditorium, research lab, and gift shop. Can you believe that you can see all this for free? Yes, you read correctly! I said free! Of course it operated on a suggested donations of $5 for adults and $1 for children and seniors. The price is not bad for what you get to see inside! You will get to see incredible marine life such as jellyfishes, sea horses, starfishes, and many more. They do not have large sea mammals, but they do have a whale room where they have skeletal display of all whales. They also have a shark room where they also have skeletal display of how big sharks are. This is a great place for students who are studying for marine biology. I loved this aquarium that I go once a year. It has a lot of resting areas. It may look small, but it has it large collection of marine life.

 

When you go to the aquarium, do not forget to attend their outdoor touching tank. Be sure to check the schedule for their touching tank since it varies by day. You can touch sea urchins, sea anemones, starfishes, etc. It is very nice and definitely worth your donation.

The aquarium is open Tuesday through Sunday, Monday closed. Tuesday to Friday from 12noon to 5 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Parking is $1 per hour ($9 max).

After visiting the aquarium, there are so much you can go see. The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is located on the shore at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro. You may do a picnic or go in the water at the Cabrillo Beach Coastal Park.

I took my grandma to this aquarium. She cannot walk for long periods of time, but this aquarium was perfect because it had seatings where she could rest. She loved the touching tank. She enjoy our small trip to the aquarium. After our visit, we did a picnic at the park nearby and we enjoyed the beach park view. It was relaxing. A perfect date with my grandmother and my boyfriend.

Other places near Carbillo Marine Aquarium:

Port of Los Angeles, Banning Museum, Los Angeles Maritime Museum, Drum Barracks and Civil War Museum, Point Fermin Lighthouse, and Catalina Island.

*Do not forget to have cash before you head over to the aquarium! (For your donations)

Location: 3720 Stephen M. White Drive San Pedro, CA 90731

 

 

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museums

The Broad Museum

What I love about Los Angeles is that most of the museums are free! The Broad museum is a contemporary museum that was opened in September 2015 which offers free general admission. This museum is a new museum here in Los Angeles and is known for many artworks. The museum offers more than 2,000 works of art which consists of postwar and contemporary art worldwide and it has an active program of rotating temporary exhibitions.

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There is a gigantic wood dinning table on display and is very popular, so do not forget to take a picture of yourself with the table. You will feel like an ant compared to the size of the table. Definitely Instagram worthy picture!

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There is also a big metallic “balloon” dog, which brings back memories when clowns would make balloon dogs at parties and carnival. This is also an Instagram worthy picture!

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A must-see is the Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room, which is a mirror-lined chamber housing a dazzling and endless LED light display. This room allows maximum of two people at a time for a minute and it does require a separate free timed same-day reservation. You may make reservations as soon as you enter the museums, since not all visitors are able to experience this room due to popularity. I recommend arriving at the museum early before they open so that it is a guarantee that you can experience the mirror room. Believe me, you will not regret the wait! It is very beautiful.

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The whole museum offers a lot of amazing pieces of work.

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The Broad is free. There are advance free general admission tickets offered, however, they are often booked. There is an on-site standby line at the museum everyday except Mondays, when the museum is closed. The museum hours varies on the day you go. It usually opens from 11am-8pm, but do check their website to get an exact time on when they are open.

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Parking is available at The Broad in the garage underneath the museum. The entrance is on 2nd Street between Hope Street and Grand Avenue. Parking for museum visitors with validation from The Broad is $12 for three hours on weekdays, with maximum of $22. Alternate parking is available at the California Plaza by Olive Street for $8 with validation from the museum. Please make sure you received the correct ticket, which is black and white. If it is incorrect, they will not validate. Another alternate parking is at other adjacent parking lots which are around Grand Avenue.

Photography is allowed as long as it is for personal use. Professional photography or photo shoots are not allowed. You are not allowed to touch the art and food and drinks are not allowed in the galleries. It is suggested to no bring large bags, purses or backpacks into the museum, if you do, you will be asked to carry it in front of you where it may be seen by staff and security. Single-wide standard strollers are permitted, but are not allowed on the escalators. Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the museum and talking on your phone is limited to non-gallery spaces at the museum. Children of all ages are welcome to visit the museum, however, those under 13 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

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The Broad museum is a must-go museum in Los Angeles. It is free and has amazing artwork that you do not want to miss! You cannot deny something that is free. Sure, parking is not free, but it is worth it! Go explore Los Angeles and all that it offers. Go explore The Broad!

Location:  221 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Gardens

The Harpers Family Topiary Garden in San Diego

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The Harpers family are happy to show off their topiary free of charge, as long as everyone promises to be careful and not climb on their art, regardless of the temptation (which I had urge to do). The suburban garden museum includes garden art like animals, figure of a gardener, etc.  The Harpers Family continue to come up with new designs and shapes to their landscape, so every months or so there are new garden art.

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The Harpers family welcomes anyone to enjoy their outdoors “museum” or “garden”, but do please remember that this is a private residence and please be respectful. There are signs not to touch or climb, so please follow the guidelines. I believe the best time would be in the evening to take a photo as the sun sets on the garden which would create a great photo! I went during the day, but what ever time you go, it will be a great photo. It is  definitely a hidden gem in San Diego and not a lot people take the time to enjoy this masterpiece. Next time you are in San Diego, go check it out! You wont be disappointed.

It is free. Donations are not required. Parking is open and free since it is a residential area. I would say that you will be there for 5-20 minutes, depending on your pace.

Definitely make this a must-go attraction or hidden gem in San Diego. Spread the word. Spread the love.

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Location: 3549 Union Street San Diego, California, 92103

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museums

Whaley House: “Haunted House of San Diego”

The Whaley House is a world-famous historic house museum.

 

It has been said that a little girl was killed in the backyard when she ran into a clothesline, however, docents have said that there is no historic documentation nor any other evidence that it ever happened.

There were people hanged in the Whaley house yard though. There were public hangings on these trees before Mr. Whaley bought the property.

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Docents who work there have said that the most famous hanging on the property was of Yankee Jim in 1852. It is said that the property is haunted by Yankee Jim which was witnessed by Thomas Whaley. Violet Whaley committed suicide in 1885 and is said that her spirit haunts the house. Both Mr. and Mrs. Whaley are both believed to haunt the house as well as their daughter Violet.

 

There is no guarantee that you will see ghosts or experience something paranormal, but there have been some people who have seen and felt a presence. In the house, there is a binder full of photos and testimonies of paranormal experiences people have had during their self-tour of the Whaley House.

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The tickets are sold at the museum shop which is next to the Whaley House. All tours are self-guided and can last from 30minutes to 1 hour, depending on your pace. Be sure to take a lot of pictures with flash and take your time at each room. You never know if you may experience something.

Admission depends if you go during daytime or evening. They range from $8-$13.

They do offer private after hour tours which happens after 10pm, but you must go to their website for prices and more information about that.

Parking is easy to get to. There are 2 hour parking spaces available.

Have fun at the Whaley House and if you are lucky to experience something or capture something in your camera, please report it to the docents that work at Whaley House. They love to hear your experience and also a copy of the picture of paranormal evidence.

When I entered the Whaley House is experienced nauseous and dizziness. I also experienced some warmness and coldness randomly. I did not think of it as anything paranormal until the docents told me that those are signs of paranormal activity. I wasn’t scared, I was happy that I got to experience it at the Whaley House.

Share your paranormal stories of the Whaley House!

 

Location: 2476 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110

Beaches

Pirate Tower at Laguna Beach

One of Laguna Beach’s hidden gem is the Pirate Tower.

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The castle-inspired tower stands at the base of a cliff and is known as “La Tour”. This tower was a way to get from a house down to the beautiful Victoria Beach. The beach tower has window openings and spiral stairway that can be seen when up close to the tower. It reminded me of the movie, Tangled, Rapunzel’s tower.

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The tower is private property, so we are not allowed to enter or climb it, but you may take pictures and touch it.

Location: 2713 Victoria Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

*There are tide pools and small caves that can be explored here as well. Enjoy the sunset and all that Victoria Beach has for us.

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*Please do not graffiti the tower or leave trash behind. Explorers and nature will greatly appreciate it.

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Happy exploring!

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museums

Marconi Automotive Museum

Attention car lovers and street racers, this is a hidden gem located in Orange County that has from classic cars to race cars from Mustang’s to Ferrari’s.

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Marconi automotive museum is not only a museum, but also a foundation for kids and also available as an event venue. This place is free, but $5 donation is strongly recommended. I gave $5 because the cars and motorcycles were incredible. Photos are allowed, however, you may not touch. If you use this place for a private event, they do allow a few cars to be touched and you can even take pictures with yourself inside the car. Imagine yourself seated in a Ferrari, unless you already have experienced that or own a Ferrari, then never mind. I was in awe when I saw how many cars there were inside this small museum. It may seem like a small place, but it sure does have its space.

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“The Marconi Automotive Museum is all about style, and class, with a touch of adrenaline.” The museum was purchased by founder, Dick Marconi and opened to the public in 1994. Initially the museum building was purchased to house Marconi’s open wheel race team. Later on, he moved his entire car collection in to the building and the Marconi Automotive Museum was born. They house a collection of high performance street cars and race cars, among which are Lamborghini’s, Ferrari’s, American muscle cars, some of which are one of a kind. Additionally, there are many famous cars driven by famous drivers. A collection you won’t want to miss.

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Dick Marconi founded the Marconi Foundation for Kids because he is a big advocate for children. With his vision in mind they continue to raise money for children organizations such as Olive Crest, Drug Use is Life Abuse, and many many more. The Foundation consists of many things. The staff visit a variety of children’s charities in Orange County.  For them, it is very important to stay engaged with their mission “helping at-risk children in our local community”. So there you have it, the $5 donation goes to help charities and the community.

The only bummer about this place is that it is very popular for the usage for private parties and events. I suggest that before you head to the museum, please visit their website and see their museum tour hours and museum schedule.

http://marconimuseum.org/museum-hours-admission/

They are normally open Monday thru Friday 9am-5pm.

The address is 1302 Industrial Dr, Tustin, CA 92780.

*Do not forget to take out cash so you may make a donation and also please check their website given above to see if they are open to public.

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Hikes

Hollywood Sign Hike

Hollywood is full of fun activities for all ages. One of the most popular thing to do in Hollywood is to hike up to the Hollywood sign. Of course we cannot experience the whole Hollywood sign like in the movie Friends with Benefits starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake, but we are allowed to get a little close to the sign.

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The Hollywood sign trail is short and takes about 40 minutes to 1 hour, depending on you pace. It does have its inclines, but I would rate this trail easy to moderate. It is about 3.5 miles round trip. The Hollywood sign is breathtaking when you get up close.

An interesting fact is that the sign is not really in Hollywood, it is in Los Angeles, but it is located on the Santa Monica Mountains on Mount Lee in Griffith Park.

 

The hike is using Hollyridge trail. You may enter “Hollyridge trail” on your navigation system and it will take you directly to the parking spaces. You are going the right way if you pass a Sunset Ranch Horse Rental sign. Once you have reached the Hollyridge trail sign, you will see parking on the right side of the road. Parking spaces are limited, so I highly recommend that you arrive early. I suggest bringing plenty of water, sunblock, and a sweatband especially during the Summer, since it gets very hot.

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When you are hiking the Hollyridge trail, the trail will slit in two. If you go left, it will take you to a shorter trail where you can view the Hollywood sign from the front, but you will not get close to it. If you go right, it will take you all the way up to the actual Hollywood sign. You will be above and slightly behind the sign.

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You may chose which trail to take. They both give out beautiful views of the sign, just with different vantage points.

Location: 3400 N. Beachwood Drive, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA 90068

*If you do not want to hike up to the Hollywood sign, you may see it from the Griffith Park Observatory or the Hollywood & Highland shopping mall.