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OC Easter wrap-up

Spring has sprung in Orange County, and we have the beautiful weather to prove it! Kids are enjoying spring break, flowers are in full bloom and Easter is just around the corner. If you’re looking for a fun way to celebrate Easter with little ones, I highly recommend visiting Irvine Park Railroad through April 15 for the “Easter Eggstravaganza.” My family and I look forward to this event each and every year. Not only can your family meet and take pictures with the Easter Bunny, but you can also choose from an assortment of Easter-related activities, from an Easter egg hunt to carnival-style games, cookie decorating, face painting, bounce houses, a coloring station, and of course, a train ride.

Upon arrival, I recommend purchasing a book of tickets. You can purchase activity tickets for $5 each, but they go very quickly here, so I recommend the book of 15 tickets for $60 (a $15 savings) — whichever tickets are left over can be used at any other events at the park, such as Halloween or Christmas. Next, I suggest heading over to the egg hunt booth to get a wristband for an egg hunt. Hunts are divided by age categories, such as 2-4, 2-7 and 2-12. Once you have your wristband, you can relax and enjoy the activities while waiting for your designated egg hunt time. The egg hunts cost two tickets per child.

A visit to Irvine Park Railroad isn’t complete without meeting the Easter Bunny, too! For $10, your family can meet the bunny and have one picture printed. (Sign up for the park’s email list and you can receive coupons, such as an additional free picture from your session!).

Keep in mind that weekends at the park can be extremely busy, so if at all possible, I recommend planning your visit on a weekday. The event runs from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on weekends. For additional information, click here.

If you’re simply looking for an Easter Bunny photo experience, you may want to check out The Shops at Mission Viejo for a hassle-free visit. We all know how hard it can be to wait in a long line with wiggly toddlers in tow, so that’s why I love the online appointment option offered here — sign up for a reserved time slot ahead of time to skip the line! Online scheduling requires a $10 deposit, which will be applied toward your purchase of a bunny photo package.

Have fun, and Happy Easter!

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Festival family fun at Kidchella!

Get ready to move and groove at Pretend City’s Kidchella Festival this week! The festival runs from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. through Saturday, April 8. They’ve got live music from local talent and even a real car kids can paint on! For all your little artists, there are plenty of festival arts and crafts, plus music to dance to. For more information, check out the Pretend City website. I’ll post an update soon after my crew checks it out soon!

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Happy “Noon-Year”!

Happy “Noon-Year”! We had a blast celebrating a family-friendly New Year’s Eve party at Pretend City, where families enjoyed countdowns and confetti every couple of hours to ring in the New Year at the same time it was being celebrated in various spots around the globe.

How did you and your family celebrate the beginning of 2017?

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Conquering fears at Pretend City’s Superhero Summer!

Superhero_Sign

My family has always loved Irvine-based Pretend City, so when we heard about a new exhibit opening, we knew we had to check it out! The newest exhibit, “Super Powers,” from Omaha’s Children’s Museum debuted last month and will continue through September 18, 2016. According to the Pretend City website, the exhibit “introduces children to the mental and physical powers displayed by everyday superheroes and allows them to put these powers to the test through daily educational missions.”

My two toddlers put their powers to the test recently during an action-packed visit to the children’s museum. We began at the Super Powers Headquarters, where we had our choice of masks and capes to play the part. Unfortunately both my kiddos were reluctant to put any capes or masks on, but for any superhero-loving kids, this would be a huge hit.

My four-year-old son was immediately drawn to the Sky Slider zip line, though he was rather intimidated by it once we were in line to actually try it. He finally tried it, but was still unsure. After mini-freakouts and running back and forth around the exhibit, he finally worked up his courage to try it again. This time, he tried the shorter zip line, which helped him build up his confidence more. By the end of our visit, he was literally in tears because he didn’t want to stop! I love that he was able to conquer this fear with the help of the awesome Pretend City staff and volunteers!

Another exhibit fave was the Wind Tunnel, where gusts of wind will flutter your superhero cape as you stand in front of a TV screen and appear to be soaring through the air and saving the day! My two-year-old even got a kick out of this one.

The Super Cycle bikes were another fun challenge for my son, who pedaled as fast as he could to make more energy and charge up the fuel cell. Once again he was challenged by this, but he pushed through until he reached his goal.

Other fabulous features of the exhibit include the Comic Creation Station, Rope Maze, Storm Shooter and Decoding Station. But the fun isn’t just for the big kids — my daughter was thrilled to see Mini Hero Park, where the museum’s littlest guests could take off their shoes and play with blocks and balls and crawl through tunnels. My daughter stayed in here for at least a half hour — she loved it! My favorite part? Toddlers and babies are contained in the park by baby gates, which made it easier for me to watch both kids even though they were in different areas of the museum.

I would definitely recommend Pretend City’s Super Powers exhibit the next time you’re in Irvine. Not only is the exhibit worth the trip, but so are the other fun features of the museum — including the Cafe, the Beach, the Grocery Store, the Marina, the Farm, and so much more!

Click here to learn more about the exhibit and start planning your next visit!

P.S. Don’t forget to check the “Field trip report” on the Pretend City homepage to avoid large groups. (If you’re a mom or dad of toddlers and babies, you know how important crowd-size can be!)

Disclaimer: Pretend City provided me with complimentary attendance, though all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Photos courtesy Pretend City and Kristin Chessman

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Summer fun deal at LEGOLAND California

Are your kids already bored and driving you crazy? I just found an awesome promotion in my email inbox that just may be the perfect cure for summer boredom! If your kids are anything like mine (a.k.a. obsessed with all things Lego) then this is the deal for you. It’s called the LEGOLAND Play Pass, and it costs $95 for kids ages 3 and up. Purchase it today and it’s good until the end of the year! Compare that to the regular one-day admission price of $87, or $93 for ages 13 and up, and you’ve got yourself an amazing deal. Just keep in mind this pass doesn’t include parking and must be redeemed by July 31, 2016.

Click here to check it out!

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If you could give a new mom one thing…

It’s probably not what you’re thinking. It’s not a meal, or a new baby outfit, or even diapers (though those gifts are appreciated, of course!)… But the one thing I value most as a new mom is: a shower! A 15-minute, uninterrupted (i.e. No screaming baby parked right outside the shower in a rocker) blissful shower. Not only is this gift much appreciated by the new mom, but it’s also easy on your wallet!