Some of my favorite animals at the Oregon Zoo in Portland are the polar bears, and I love how the exhibit allows you to see the massive beauties up so close – and both above and below water from different viewing areas. As you can see, my daughter was enjoying this, too.
WHOAH! Tidal wave.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the animal-themed posts this past month. We’ll be adding them to our Destinations page, where you’ll find tips, advice, and recommendations for family-friendly outings, attractions, hotels and more.
This post is part of the Photo Friday fun at DeliciousBaby.com. Have a great weekend!
Previous post: Tips for visiting Wildlife Safari in southern Oregon.
If you ever find yourself trying to figure out how to break up your family’s road trip between San Francisco and Portland (as we do on an annual basis), Wildlife Safari in southern Oregon is worth serious consideration as a pit stop on your journey.
Whether or not you opt for the pricey but exciting drive-thru tour that commits your brood to an additional hour in the car (on an otherwise lengthy drive), there is much to see and do at Wildlife Safari without even paying a dime—which is exactly what we did on our last stop there.
The Safari Village itself costs nothing to explore, and is home to more than 100 animals, ranging from exotic snakes and monkeys to a rescued cheetah, plus a petting zoo—and there is a shady playground to conquer as well. Of course, if you want to pay for a train ride around the village and through some of its animals, or a camel ride, or food to hand-feed the goats or pond koi, you are welcome to do that too.
Don’t get me wrong, it can be thrilling to do the drive-thu safari in your own family car as well, driving through herds of Asian deer, contemplating what kind of shaggy beasts you are passing by from the African plains, and playing chicken with… an ostrich. In secured areas, you will also drive past lions and bears – keep those windows up!
Plan your time: If you are up for the drive-thru safari of the 600-acre wildlife park, you may want to save that for last, after you’ve all had a chance to stretch your legs, refuel, and visit the restrooms. That way you will have one more chance to visit the potties (with diaper changing tables) after your 1-hour tour before getting back on the road. The fee for your drive-thru safari is $17.99 per adult, $11.99 per child 4 to 12 years, and free admission for kids 3 years and younger (it entitles you to two trips through if you like).
If you’re looking for a unique overnight stay on your West Coast road trip this summer, Wildlife Safari will be hosting overnight family campouts select dates this summer, for $40 per person (under 3 years camp free). The campout includes a nocturnal animal show in the Dome Theater, a scavenger hunt around the village, campfire with s’mores, continental breakfast, animal enrichment with host, a ride on the Uganda Express Railway, and your drive-thru tour of Wildlife Safari. Tent rental is available if needed. Click here to find out more about family camping at Wildlife Safari.
Driving times to Wildlife Safari
- 8 hours from downtown San Francisco
- 3 hours from Crescent City, CA
- 2 hours from Ashland, OR
- 1.5 hours from Eugene, OR
- 3.5 hours from Portland, OR
In like a lion, out like a lamb – “March of the Animals” is almost over! If you missed any of this month’s features of animal encounters, click here to browse through them all, from donkeys in Spain to sharks in California and beyond!
I thought this Pack This! feature was a perfect companion to our “March of the Animals” features this month. Do you have a favorite night light for travel?
Not everything I pack for our family’s travels is travel-size. One exception is our Cloud b Twilight Constellation night light that has proven so useful at home, it has also accompanied us on overseas travel and camping trips in the tent.
More than a stuffed animal, more than a night light, the turtle’s timed glow casts a pattern of stars and a crescent moon on the ceiling and wall as you tuck in your tot. Our routine is to turn on the turtle to illuminate either crib or travel bed, then look for the moon (I always change the angle to keep us guessing). Once we find it, we tuck in with a poem (often one from Travels with Baby pg. 68).
The light continues to illuminate strange hotel rooms, unfamiliar vacation rentals, or even the tent plenty long for us to get ourselves situated afterward (around 20 minutes). In case of a midnight waking (or feeding, or bad dream, etc.), it’s right there in the travel bed, ready to switch on for comfort – just like at home.
Click here to see more Cloud b Twlight nightlights similar to this.
>>> Want more recommnedations of products and toys to ease travel with your tot? Now you can quickly browse all of the Pack This! recommendations at Amazon – click here. For the best in travel gear for babies and toddlers, head to Great Products & Gear.
Previous post: A visit to Ocean World Aquarium at Crescent City, California
Six hours north of San Francisco on Highway 101, and just 20 miles south of the Oregon border, you’ll find an unusual underwater aquarium called Ocean World (and the answer to yesterday’s post!). I was especially interested to visit the aquarium on our last road trip to the Pacific Northwest because I can remember it distinctly from my childhood when the floating barge-aquarium was docked farther north and was called “Undersea Gardens.”
Today, Ocean World offers guided tours of its half-million gallon aquarium, which begins with an educational stop at the touch-and-feel tide pool and ends with an entertaining seal and sea lion performance. In between, guides lead visitors to the lower level of the barge to share their knowledge and answer questions about the residents in each of its three aquatic environments, which are illuminated solely by natural daylight from above.
In the Rocky Bottom Environment, you’ll see giant sea stars, wolf eels, and more than twenty species of local rockfish—which you might not be able to spot without your guide’s help.
In the Sandy Bottom Environment, we enjoyed watching leopard sharks swim by, and watched for silver and rainbow surfperch.
Finally, the Open Ocean Environment delighted the kids each time an enormous sturgeon or bat ray glided past our windows.
While the highlight for us was definitely the short, but fun seal and sea lion show at the end, the kids (and many of the visiting tourists) were also thrilled by the opportunity to pet real sharks—in this case small, non-threatening sharks kept in a large tub indoors. While watching people of all ages thrill at sticking their hands in at will to stroke the sharks in their small home seemed contrary to the respectful tone set by the earlier parts of the tour, I did enjoy the rest of our visit to Ocean World and think it would make an educational and enjoyable stop for any family road-tripping along the north coast of California.
Ocean World is open 7 days a week year round, except for Christmas Day. Tours are 45 to 50 minutes long (just right for those with a toddler along) and begin each 15 to 20 minutes, as long as daylight allows. For more information, visit the Ocean World website (www.oceanworldonline.com).
Other nearby sights to see: Crescent City is a perfect stopover for road trips through northern California’s spectacular redwoods and along its scenic coastline. Plan a drive down the Avenue of Giants, visit the Trees of Mystery, take in two local lighthouses, and be sure to make a sandcastle on one of the beaches as you pass through!
For more tips and ideas for your family’s West Coast road trip, check out the Destinations Page and Family-Friendly Hotel Reviews covering San Diego to Vancouver, B.C. – and don’t miss many more tips on the Road Trips page and in both Travels with Baby guidebooks.
“March of the Animals” continues next week with more family-friendly animal encounters as the month that came in like a lion, we hope, goes out “like a lamb.” Click here to see earlier posts from the month from Spain, Costa Rica, New York, and more.
If you get here, you’ll definitely have to take this same photo before you’re through. Can you guess where this shark resides?
Watch for tomorrow’s post with the answer and all the details about this quirky tourist draw as “March of the Animals” continues here in the Travels with Baby Tips blog. Did you miss any so far?
- Tips for visiting New York’s Bronx Zoo with small children
- Photo Fave: Blue Macaw by Arenal
- A visit to La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and Wildlife Reserve, Costa Rica
- Photo Fave: My little snake charmer, Jamaica
- A visit to the Nerja Donkey Sanctuary on the Costa del Sol, Spain
This post is part of Photo Friday at Deliciousbaby.com. Have a great weekend!
In like a lion, out like a lamb, our “March of the Animals” continues today with tips for exploring what remains one of our favorite zoos we’ve visited to date: New York’s Bronx Zoo.
With some 4,000 animals awaiting your acquaintance across some 265 acres, the Bronx Zoo is the highlight of many a family vacation inNew York Citywith small children. Since it could easily take those visiting without babies, toddlers, and preschoolers more than a day to see all the sights, here are some tips to help you make the most of your family’s visit.
1. With older babies and toddlers, start with the Children’s Zoo,where tots can burn off much of their energy with more physical exhibits, smile for silly photographs in animal cut outs—or possibly with animals, and enjoy a ride on the Bug Carousel. Once they’ve had their fun here, they’ll be ready to relax in the stroller and enjoy visits to the other animals (and won’t be as likely to climb the railings when you take the Wild Asia Monorail!).
2. With toddlers and preschoolers who like to explore on foot (and not sit in the stroller), buy your family a shuttle pass ($3 each unlimited rides for the day) to use when appropriate. There is a lot of ground to cover at this zoo! Better to put the miles on your tot’s sneakers up close to the animals and inside the exhibits themselves.
3. To get to the Bronx Zoo from Manhattan, take the BxM11 express bus, which stops along Madison Avenue (26th to 99th Streets) before driving directly on to the zoo. It’s a quick and inexpensive way to travel, and with ground-level boarding it’s far simpler than navigating the subway system and corresponding stairs with your stroller. The bus lets you off at the Gate B Bronx River entrance, where it will also pick you up for your return (see bus schedule here).
4. If you don’t want to schlep your stroller to the zoo and back,but you’d like to have the use of one during your tour of Bronx Zoo, stroller rentals are available for $10 single and $15 double. They may not be suitable for newborns and very young babies that need a deeper recline, but can be a convenient option for the sturdier older babies and toddlers visiting here.
5. Use the online trip planner before you go to get a helpful overview of the many exhibits and animals at Bronx Zoo, and make a few strategic decisions on your priority list in case you’ll run out of time before seeing them all (which is likely). The trip planner includes a brief description of each exhibit and an estimated amount of time you’ll want to spend there. For more help planning your Bronx Zoo visit, including the schedule of animal feeding times for the day, click here to visit the website.
Related posts and pages:
- NYC – Tips for taking the New York City subway with a stroller
- NYC – New York City taxi services with car seats and boosters
- NYC – Hire private car service
- NYC – How to get around NYC with a baby
- NYC – Car seats laws and taxis in New York and beyond
- Browse all “March of the Animals” posts
Shelly RivoliCurious about this content? See my editorial content disclosure.
I think it was during a 7-hour layover at Heathrow when I first saw one of these in action, and what I would have given to have one for my toddler that day. The family hailed from Israel and travels constantly between three continents for work projects, so this was just one of many bright ideas they had packed into a tote bag to keep their two kids busy between flights.
As you can see, the Quick-Smart Scuttlebug indeed folds small enough to fit in a simple tote bag, along with a favorite book and a few other travel toys. Made for tots 12 months up to 3 years old (up to 33 lbs.), you can see how this travel-friendly ride-on toy may easily make the rounds:
- at a vacant gate during your next airport layover,
- or around the campground loop this summer,
- or down the halls and around the sun deck during your family cruise.
The QuickSmart Scuttlebug weighs only 4.3 lbs.; has quiet, no-scratch wheels, can be used indoors and out, and folds to 4.7”H x 19.3”L x 9.1”W. And better still, it has front-wheel steering for extra maneuverability.
There are a few different “bugs” to choose from, including the bumblebee, ladybug, and a dragonfly. To find out more about the QuickSmart Scuttlebug or purchase one for your toddler, click here.
To browse all Pack This! posts, click here.
For more recommended products and gear for travel with your child, click here.
If she looks a little nervous, it’s only because this big bird has free reign to fly and land where it likes. And let me tell you, watching this wild blue macaw fly right past the windows of our upper-story chalet at Arenal Lodge one morning was one of the most unexpected highlights of the trip for me. They are beautiful birds, to be sure, but to see this one flying freely with a 2,000-acre backdrop of greenspace and exclamation point of steaming volcano rising in the background was, well … really fun. To read (and see) more about our stay at Arenal Lodge, see the full review here.
“March of the Animals“ continues next week with more fun animal encounters. For more tips and recommendations for family travel to Costa Rica – and beyond, visit our Destinations page. This post is part of Photo Friday at DeliciousBaby.com.
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