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San Diego, California


Long Beach, California


Monterey, California


Dana Point, California




CityPass

National Geographic Traveler — August 2003 dubbed it "The Pass with Class" and added it to their A* List (*A is for affordable).

Now available in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, Hollywood, San Francisco, Southern California and Toronto (includes Art Gallery of Ontario, Casa Loma, CN Tower, Ontario Science Centre, Royal Ontario Museum, and Toronto Zoo).

CityPass is a ticket booklet containing an actual admission ticket to the top attractions in each city.

With CityPass, you pay one substantially reduced price and avoid main entrance ticket lines at most attractions. (No such luck in Southern California — no surprise!)

The number of attractions offered depends on the city's collection, their proximity to one another, and public transportation.


All of their Cities update every April 1.

*Changes and additions valid April 1, 2005 - March 31, 2006:

San Francisco — 5 Famous San Francisco Attractions plus 7-days unlimited transportation on all Cable Cars and MUNI Public Transportation: Asian Art Museum, Exploratorium, Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise, SF Museum of Modern Art, and your choice between California Academy of Sciences & Steinhart Aquarium OR Legion of Honor.

Philadelphia — 6 Famous Philadelphia Attractions: The Franklin Institute Science Museum including Fels Planetarium, Independence Seaport Museum, The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia Zoo, Trolley Tour provided by Philadelphia Trolley Works & The National Constitution Center.

Hollywood Walk of Fame — 4 Famous Hollywood Walk of Fame Attractions: The Hollywood Entertainment Museum, Kodak Theatre, Starline Movie Stars' Homes Tour, and your choice of either The Hollywood Museum in the historic Max Factor Building OR Red Line Behind-the-Scenes Tour.

New York — 6 Famous NY Attractions: Empire State Building Observatory, Newly renovated Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, American Museum of Natural History including the Rose Center for Earth & Space and Hayden Planetarium, Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum & Circle Line 2-hour Harbor Cruise.

Chicago — 6 Famous Chicago Attractions: Shedd Aquarium including Oceanarium, Wild Reef, and Special Exhibit, Museum of Science and Industry including Omnimax, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Field Museum including Underground Adventure, The Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum including one SkyTheater show & The Hancock Observatory including a SkyTour.

Seattle — 6 Famous Seattle Attractions: Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruises 1 Hour Harbor Tour, The Museum of Flight, Woodland Park Zoo & Pacific Science Center including one IMAX.

For more details, click: here



Southern California


Aquarium of The Pacific — Celebrating the planet’s largest and most diverse body of water, this world-class aquarium (not your grandfather's aquarium!) displays its inhabitants afresh through sight, touch and experience.

Three football fields could fit into the Aquarium’s expansive, 156,735 square feet, which features 17 major habitats and 31 focus exhibits. More than 12,000 ocean animals, representing over 550 species, reside in the Aquarium. Exhibits range in size and capacity from about 5,000 to 350,000 gallons.

The scope and grandeur of this aquarium is wonderfully balanced by the sense of "intimacy" it fosters between the public and its residence animals. In the Northern Pacific gallery, puffins (diving birds) make like Mexican jumping beans, while a giant Pacific octopus serenely naps.

New for the Aquarium of the Pacific — a "Lorikeet Forest." Nectar-sippers, these charming little parrots are as fearless as the protected animals of the Galapagos Islands off the shore of Ecuador. They happily perch on the arms of those who purchase a small cup of their favorite libation.


Where: 100 Aquarium Way: Long Beach, California

(The Aquarium is located on a five-acre site on the Rainbow Harbor —across the water from both the Long Beach Convention Center, Shoreline Village and the Queen Mary Hotel and Attraction.)

When: The Aquarium is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., every day of the year, except December 25 and the weekend of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Price:
General Adult Admission — $16.95
Seniors (60 years and older) — $13.95
Children (ages 3-11) — $9.95

Call (or click on hot link above): (562) 437-FISH.

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Monterey, California


"SHARKS: MYTH AND MYSTERY"

The exhibit blends global myths, living shark displays — opening in the aquarium’s 20th anniversary year exactly 30 years after Peter Benchley’s film, Jaws, imprinted the man-eating shark in the Western public’s imagination.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has two new "firsts" among its live exhibits: The worlds' first display of delicate, beautiful spotted comb jellies; and the first display in North America of 300 lb. giant bluefin tuna. (To see a video of the jelly, click: here.)

The new exhibit animals are among more than 250,000 marine plants and animals at the award-winning aquarium.

P.S. the Outer Bay animals consume more than 800 pounds of food a week, divided among four public feeding sessions on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. Aquarium visitors can watch the feedings, and you can to via streaming web cam — click: here.


Monterey Bay Aquarium
886 Cannery Row
Monterey, California

When: Open every day except December 25

Price:
$19.95 adult; $17.95 senior (65 and over); $15.95 student (13-17 or with college ID); and $8.95 child (3-12) and disabled. (Rates are for 2005.)

Call (or click on hot link above): 24 Hour Info Line: (831) 678-4888
Main Number: (831) 648-4800

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San Diego, California

Have you ever fed a giraffe?

"Pretend you're a tree. Hold the food high above your head. Don't try to pet it, no matter how much you want to!" admonished my informative and enthusiastic San Diego Wild Animal Park guide.

How about a rhinoceros? Have you fed a big one? A baby one?

I fed both! I behaved appropriately, too, by following the guide's instructions — even though I very much wanted to touch the giraffe (Its eyelashes put Elizabeth Taylor's to shame!) as it swiped its long, purple tongue across my hand. However, when I had a chance to drop large chunks of fresh apple into the vast, open maws of a mama rhinoceros and her baby, I didn't hesitate. I rubbed their skin (with the guide's permission). It was like stroking an old tree stump.

I discovered the next best thing to taking a safari in Africa. I joined seven others in a photo caravan in an open-air safari truck (12 maximum on an outing).

On past visits to the park, I had taken the popular approach and jumped on the Wgasa Bush Line Railway that hugs the five-mile long perimeter high above the park, offering a scenic overview of much of the 18,000 acre wild animal preserve. This time, I wanted to be among the fortunate few (Last year, 18,000 people among the park's 1.5 million guests took these daily outings.) who were right down there among these spectacular creatures.

I chose the 1 ¾ hour Caravan Tour No. 1(Choose among three tours.), which exposed us to the sights and sounds of East Africa and the Asian Plains.

No lines, just TLC and up-close-and-personal. I LOVED the experience and am already planning my return! (Maybe I'll surprise a friend and introduce him or her to this special pleasure! Your editor/publisher, Marya Charles Alexander)

Elephant Cam
Follow the daily activities of eight African elephants (including a male calf born February 23, 2003 — the first African elephant born at the park in over 20 years) — eating, roaming around (at last viewing, one of the elephants was playing with a ball!) and interacting with each other and keepers.
To view the elephants' activities (9am - 4pm), click: elephant cam


San Diego Wild Animal Park
15500 San Pasqual Valley Road
Escondido, California

When: Open 365 days a year. When Fall hours are in effect: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.(grounds close at 5 p.m.). Note: Caravans are by reservation, only!

Price:
Prices for the caravans range from $98.95 to $145 per person, depending upon the length of the tour (Parking and admittance to the park are included in the price.)

Call (or click on hot link above): (619) 718-3050





Fielday - San Diego specialists in soft-adventure tours that take visitors beyond the beach, the zoo and Shamu — Cruise ships docking in San Diego have long kept news of this niche tour group to themselves. No longer. Soon, their guests will have to compete with other visitors who want to sample tours showcasing San Diego county's best-kept secrets, including wineries, gardens, towns, farms, the coast and nature trails.

Your editor recently returned from a Fielday hosted day-trip to the spectacular Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The carefully choreographed outing drew a convivial group of 40. Everyone appeared to enjoy the mix — a bakery stop-over enroute, an alfresco lunch under the palms, plenty of time for photographing the renown flora and fauna of the area and a surprise snack on the return trip.

Sharing the duty with E'Louise Ondash, tour leader and one of the organization's principals, were two crack selections — the bus driver and a naturalist. The former showed unflagging good humor and helpfulness; the latter, a raconteur and Borrego Springs resident since the 70s, mesmerized everyone with tales of fact and fiction.

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Capt. Dave's Dolphin Safari — a special safari on dolphin-seeking/magnet catamaran. 17 feet across, spanning a double hull, its cockpit accommodates 28 people, but the skipper prefers to keep it to 15.

This magical experience is all about people — young and old, fat and thin, solos, couples and groups, locals and out-of-towners — getting close to dolphins.

("Glued to the bow, transfixed by the swarm of playful creatures, I completely missed out on several high-tech elements of this high-seas, intimate adventure — including a hydrophone (an underwater microphone, able to pick up the sounds of dolphins/whales), an underwater camera (wired to a monitor on the boat) and a transducer (transforming each hull into an underwater speaker to communicate with the dolphins).

I'll 'do' them next time — if I can tear myself away from the bow!") Your editor/publisher, Marya Charles Alexander



Where: 34675 Golden Lantern; Dana Point, California

When: Departures 9:00 and 11:30am, Thursday through Sunday, year-round (two hour excursion)

Price: $40-general, $35-kids 12 and under (includes Gisele Anderson's — "Mrs. Capt. Dave" — Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownies!)

Call (or click on hot link above): (949) 488-2828



Orange County Area Driving Guide — for details, click: OC Driving Guide

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