Tag Archives: travel

Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens

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I would like the Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens to be in my backyard. But since I don’t live on 240 acres of oceanfront land in the tropical isle of Kauai, I’m going to settle for a visit from time to time.

Na Aina Kai was a private garden until it was opened to the public, this includes the Under the Rainbow Children’s Garden which was created for the owner’s grandchildren. This children’s garden is kiddie heaven: with water features, a maze, and super-cool play structures. I picked this as the one garden I was going to visit with my son (you have to tour a garden while in the Garden Isle, after all), and booked the Children’s Garden Family Tour. You can only visit the garden with a tour, and the family tour is the only one you can book with children who are under the age of 13.

During the first hour of the tour, we were guided through the formal gardens and the children were handed a paper bag to put any garden treasures they found along the way. They filled their bags as we walked through a hedge maze, under the rainbow shower trees, and around the beautiful green orchid hanging from a tree. The children were also given the opportunity to feed the poi fish. Oh, and we saw teeny, weeny frogs too.

The second half of the tour was spent in the Under the Rainbow Children’s Garden. Here the kids got to roam free. They played in the water around the 16-foot bronze Jack and the Beanstalk water fountain (bring the swimsuits). Then they wandered through the Gecko-shaped hedge maze, climbed and slid from the treehouse play structures, and played in the covered wagon and railroad train. The adults, well, they sat back and wished they were five years old again.

Useful Tidbits:

Book these popular tours ahead of time, since days and times are limited. The family tours are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 9:30 and 1:30; Fridays at 9:30. Admission prices are currently $30 for adults and $20 for children. Yes, it’s pricey but it was well worth it. The tour groups are small and your kids will have access to their own private kiddie heaven. Check the website for current information.

Today’s Tip: I Love TripTik®

img_2120Some of you have used TripTik® before, so you may already feel the same way I do. You know that if you go to the AAA website, you will find a great online mapping tool to help you plan your road trips.  And if you don’t feel the same love as I do for TripTik®, then you are free to leave your critical comments down below. I doubt you’ll be able to sway my love though. Why am I gushing? Let me count the ways.

  1. You don’t need to type in exact addresses to get directions to a destination. Say you want to make a quick estimate of how long it will take you to get to Joshua Tree National Park from your home, you just find it by clicking to on National Park category under California. I love this feature because I’m always trying to give myself a quick reality check for all the vacation ideas I have swimming around in my head.
  2. You can save all your trips when you log in as an AAA member. This comes in handy when you have a million possible road trips you are planning. I currently have over 20 future trips saved. Did I mention I just got a new car this year?
  3. You can check hotel rate and availability from your trip map. When I’m checking out hotels in an area, it’s nice to see those on a map and be able to click right on the icon to check for rates. Of course, I would check other sources for hotels and rates, but it’s a nice feature to use when you are in the preliminary stages of planning your trip.

There are all sorts of nifty, little features that I’m still finding every time I add a trip. Even if you can’t list planning road trips as one of your hobbies, you’ll find this mapping tool pretty darn useful.

Taking a Break in the Tiki Room

Tiki Room Dole WhipI love Dole Whips. So I did a little research on Dole Whips, and found that there are plenty of people out there who share my love for this pineapple-flavored frozen delicacy. There are even videos on how to make this ice cream at home. I’m not even going to make fun of it, because I’m very likely to buy a Dole Whip kit. 

I wrote about one place where they have a magical soft-serve machine that whips them out: the Dole Plantation. But where else can you get one? Please refer to the photo evidence: Dole Whip Float inside the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland.

This is as close to paradise as Disneyland gets. In the Tiki Room, you will not only get treated to air-conditioning, a seat, and vintage tropical birds that sing catchy tunes, but you will also get a cup with an umbrella in it. The only thing the Disney imagineers need to add is a sandy floor, because I like sand between my toes when I sip my umbrella drinks.  

While I’m waiting for the UPS guy to bring me my Dole Whip kit, I’m going over to Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday to check out the other photos linked up there this week. See you there. DOLE whip

Video: Eating Burritos on the Beach

If you caught my family travel tip on Tuesday, then you know it was the first installment of: Kids Go West Guide to Saving While on Your Family Vacation…phew, that’s a mouthful. So here’s a short video of our experience on the beach in Maui. I was all set to narrate, but then I heard all the wonderful commentary and narration already on the video. I decided to keep it just as is. I want you to get a real feel for the moment. 

Money-Saving Travel Rule #1: Eat Burritos on the Beach

Red Dawn on I-5

Red Dawn

It was Saturday, and I had been up since 4:30 in the morning. After a long week at work, I was bit grouchy about the whole getting-in-the-car-for-a-seven-hour-drive thing. Looking ahead to a long, uneventful stretch of road between the Bay Area and Los Angeles, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. 

Then the sun rose up through the haze, and I got a bit of the sublime on that early morning drive. It made me forget I wanted a second cup of coffee. Well…almost.

This bit of road trip magic is linked up at Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday. Go check out some more photo magic.

One Month Down, Eleven More to Go

It’s been one month since the creation of Kids Go West. 

Like all newborns, my blog is still a little red in the face and needing a lot of attention. What keeps me going through all those midnight postings is the support that I get from my readers, my family, and the constant stream of caffeine running through my system. 

It seems like I wrote these posts just yesterday. But since many of my readers just discovered the blog yesterday, here’s a review of January’s posts.

  • I wrote about my unfortunate attempt at visiting the reopened California Academy of Sciences. I hope to actually get there this year and write about it.
  • If you are looking for a nice way to sneak a little learning into your next vacation to Maui, read my post about the Hawaii Nature Center at Iao Valley.
  • I dole out my family travel tips on my weekly installments of Tipsy Tuesday. Check out why you shouldn’t drive at night while exhausted, how to tote a camera, and how to teach your kids some geography skills.
  • I seem to be drawn to writing about my favorite places to eat while on vacation. I eat the pies and chicken curry soup, so I can give you the heads up about them. I take my job seriously.

I’m just getting warmed up, the best is yet to come.