Posts Tagged With: travel with kids


After taking the kids to Columbia to pan for non-existent gold, I took them to see the biggest nugget in the United States, this 44 pound gold nugget at Kautz Winery in Murphys.  I’ve been there many times with out-of-town visitors but not with young kids. They were impressed,  but more impressed with the sensitivity of an assay scale where they could put a single penny on the scale and watch it re-balance.

They liked the life-like sculpture of a California black bear, a critter they are familiar with. Bears are common in Alaska and to their culture, which is Inupiat. When the kids recently moved to Colorado, some of their new found friends didn’t know what an Eskimo was. And the kids are still unfamiliar with some fruits, as in:  “I thought cherries were red?”   They were eating St. Anne’s. And an apricot, they were unsure if it was a small,  un-fuzzy peach or a plum. Nome, where they lived,  is very isolated. Their mother is always amazed by the plethora of flowers in California, and Kautz’s Winery is a treat for the eyes with lavish gardens.

Our next stop was Stories And Stones, a store in Angels Camp that carries huge geodes, jewelry, bones, arrowheads and  all manner of gem stones and shells from around the world. They also have a skeleton of a grizzly bear. Stories and Stones is a wonderful, educational place to take children. Their small allowance goes a long way. They can  pick out pretty polished stones for twenty-five cents, or fifty cents and up,  and get a bag with a tag of their little treasures. Alyssa and Amanda chose mood rings and a couple of small gem stones. Angelo, chose magnetic rocks, an arrowhead, and shells. Selection is so much fun here.

Part of the day was spent working puzzles, learning Mexican Train Dominoes and playing cards. At age five, Angelo needed some help with the puzzle. They spent most of the afternoon playing in Murphys Creek and listening to the music in the park. Kids instantly make friends with other kids.

They compete to help out with table-setting and emptying the dishwasher. I told them they did a perfect job and they hammed it up for a  picture. I look at the paltry pictures I took and think to myself, how many opportunities  do I have to take cute kid pictures?  Kids are such hams and I’ve not taken many  of them as we go about our day. But, maybe that’s  a good thing. After all, it isn’t about pictures, it is about enjoying their visit. (Note:  kids move FAST.)



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From Mary’s Desk:

The cube is the clue that you are about to enter a very different place, the Science Discovery Center in Irvine. Kids and adults of all ages were challenged and entertained by the hands on exhibits, be it computerized earthquakes, radio broadcasting, playing virtual hockey or the science of flowing water. With three adults and three kids we each took a kid and went separate ways.

Theo practiced on the climbing wall. He attached appendages that represent ailerons to his arms and experienced the forces of wind in a wind tunnel. He lived through 3 major earthquakes in a shaking machine while watching video of Kobe, Japan, Lomo Prieta, California, and another major quake from Santiago, Chili.

His favorite activity was making a short movie with three plastic animals as the participants. I didn’t count, but I’d guesstimate there were 80 to 100 hands-on encounters on two floors. What you didn’t know amazes.
In the afternoon  a Science of Bubbles show, fascinating and entertaining, resembled magic. Who would have thought bubbles are studied for their scientific properties of value?

Later in the day, Owen was quite impressed that his younger cousin uses a skate board park. Austin is 7 and Owen is 10, a good reason to think he could try it.The beauty of this Etnie’s Park is the management. Lessons are given, kids are watched and coached. They must wear protective gear and so on. Nicely done.

Austin’s lessons show to good advantage, back foot in maneuverable position, wide, strongly balanced stance. He is undaunted by deep bowls and up-hill runs and small jumps. He knows how to go over the side of a deep bowl.

Owen, without ever a lesson, tackled hills and bowls as well, and learned gobs. Nicely done.

Theo enjoyed rolling down the grassy hill and playing about the grounds while we adults played Bananagrams at a table.
Montana parents told us that this Portola Hills Etnie’s is considered the best skate board park in the world and folks come from all over to use it, which is why they brought their son. Quite an accolade. If you are in Southern California, a great place to take your kids.

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