Monday, May 26, 2014

Birthday party venues in the Temecula, California area

Temecula, known for its wine country and historic downtown, also has an amazing array of birthday party venues for kids.

Temecula Children’s Museum, also known as Pennypickle’s Workshop

The Temecula Children’s Museum is a fun-filled activity on any day but for a birthday, it is a special treat. They have several birthday packages. The least expensive is $100.00 for 8 kids and 2 adults. That includes admission to the museum, invitations, a gift for the birthday child and one hour reserved in the outdoor picnic area. Kids love exploring Professor Pennypickle’s workshop and on a personal note, adults love it too. The museum is located at 42081 Main Street, Old Town Temecula, CA 92590/

This is a birthday party spectacular for the younger crowd. This is an indoor playground especially designed for children from one to six years. Created to provide a safe, kid-friendly environment, it features climbers, slides, tunnels and a dress-up area. Food and drinks are the responsibility of the parents. There are three birthday packages available, each featuring different games but the children are allowed at least 1 ½ hours of play in all the structures. All children must wear socks. Child’s Place is located at 28860 Old Town Front St, Temecula, CA 92590.

This is one of the most interesting birthday venues. Located at 26015 Jefferson Ave, Ste D, Murrieta,  it is a 10,000 square foot indoor playground. Kids can play air hockey, ping pong and shuffleboard. There is a karaoke stage and video arcades. There is a toddler area. There are the all-important jumpers with slides and rock-climbing. They are quick to point out they have Direct TV and so no one will miss the games while the kids play in a secure environment.

The staff will supervise your guests and do the entire cleanup. Their prices start with the “Penny Wise” package for $99.00. It price includes jumping for an hour and 30 minutes in the party room. Bring the cake. Everything else is included

In Murrieta, Chuck-E-Cheese is a place kids love and the freedom that it allows. They can go from game to game, winning tickets, all within the eyesight of their parents. Prices range from $14.00 to $19.00 per child, which includes pizza, drinks and tokens. The party area is reserved for 90-minutes and the birthday child gets a present, a balloon and a birthday show. The Chuck-E-Cheese is located at 25110 Hancock Avenue #101-106, Murrieta, CA 92562


Just down the street from Chuck-E-Cheese is McDonald’s. The birthday package has been around for decades. It is a great way to save money with a party that children will enjoy. There is a play area outside.  McDonald’s is located at 29888 Los Alamos Road, Murrieta, CA 92562.

Not just for birthdays, this is also a family fun day for all ages. Birthdays packages vary but for $8.99 a person, the party area is available for 1 ½ hours. The package includes invitations, balloons, party supplies and 15 tokens per child. Also included are 2 slices of pizza, unlimited drinks and a birthday gift. If that's not enough, party-goers can also add go-karts, miniature golf, bumper boats, rock wall, teacups and the train. Mulligan’s also has laser tag and batting cages for future baseball stars. Note here: we spend a lot of time at the batting cages. Bring your own helmet and bat or rent them there. Mulligan’s is located at 24950 Madison Ave. Murrieta, CA 92562.

Temecula with its antique stores, fine dining, and superior wine can also boast about the fantastic birthday party venues that are guaranteed to delight any youngster.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Helium is closing its doors

I started writing for Helium in 2009. It was a fun place and I met a lot of encouraging people. Over the years it changed and became less user friendly. We recently got a notice that the site would be shutting down and it we wanted, we could move our articles to other sites as we will lose them at the end of the year.

Now, there is a mad scramble to copy and save what we've written. Many of my articles are about camping, grand-parenting, and California. I am in the process of moving them to the blogs I currently have. Some won't be copied but some of them are actually good.

The California articles will be updated because there is information to share that has not already been covered. At least I won't have to think of new posts for awhile.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mono Lake, not what you expect

Mono Lake is not the place to find ski boats or water sports. It is a unique body of water sitting at the base of Yosemite National Park. To the north is the historic ghost town of Bodie and to the south, the high desert town of Bishop, the gateway to Mammoth Lakes.

Mono Lake is unique because it is one of North America's oldest lakes. It has no outlet so as water runs into it; the mineral content raises creating alkaline water. It is too alkaline for fish to survive but supports it own ecosystem for migrating birds. It also has a population of brine shrimp unequaled by no other body of water. It is an active volcanic area with hot springs and steam vents. While all that is impressive, its claim to fame is the tufa. 

Tufa is a Latin word for porous rock. Tufa is formed when fresh water springs containing calcium bubble up through the carbonate rich lake water. As the springs bubble up, it creates deposits that grow upward under water. The lake level has dropped significantly since 1941 when the rivers that feed the lake were diverted for drinking water in Southern California. As the water receded, the tufa was it was exposed leaving towering columns of rock. It has been mandated that the water level of the lake be restored to the level it was in 1951. This will take time as a quick influx of water will change the chemical consistency of the lake, putting the brine shrimp, the alkali fly population and the migratory birds in danger of extinction.

There is a Visitor's Center in the town of Lee Vining. It not only describes the tufa but explains the history of the lake and the species that inhabit it. The museum is free. The lake is managed by the National Park Service and they are very willing to answer any and all questions. There is also a separate site on the south side of the lake known as South Tufa. Here visitors are allowed to walk through the tufa beds. It is a loop trail most people can navigate easily although it is not wheel chair accessible. However, there is a boardwalk reaching  almost to the shore so no one is denied a close-up view of the tufa itself.

Swimming is allowed in the lake at designated beaches. The National Park Service states swimming in the lake “offers a delightfully buoyant swimming experience”. The high salt concentration makes it almost to sink. They do point out that because of the alkaline content, it is important to keep it out of your eyes.

Camping is not permitted at the lake but there are many campgrounds in the general area. There are several picnic areas and restrooms around the lake itself. Each provides a spectacular view of the lake and the volcanic activity. The island in the center of the lake is closed to the public from April 1st through August 1st to protect the seagulls nesting there. Some boating is allowed and permits must be obtained at the Visitor Center.

Visitors come from around the world to visit this unique lake. The lake is flanked by the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Sierra Nevada's to the west. The views are spectacular from any direction. Mono Lake should not be missed. It is an impressive demonstration of nature at its best.

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