It’s Snowing in Los Angeles!

This holiday season if you have a hankering for snow and don’t want to drive to the mountains you can get your cold and snowy fix at Universal Studio’s Grinchmas.  Starting on the weekend of December 11th and then daily on Dec. 18th, Universal Studios will feature fresh snow as part of their Grinchmas attraction.  Be advised this is the real deal, actual snow that is fit for snow ball fights or just a romp through cold powder.  Family members can visit Whoville and enjoy the snow, then be a part of a magical tree lighting ceremony that features a show and a celebrity reading.

Stars currently booked for the nightly celebrity reading include Stephen Moyer, Jeffrey Tambor, Brandy and Fred Willard with more to be announced.  This is a wonderful holiday adventure in our own backyards.  Currently Universal Studios is offering their holiday special, buy a park ticket to visit Universal Studios before the end of the year and get the entire year of 2011 for free!

Universal Studios offers a wide variety of attractions including the newest King Kong 3D attraction, a Shrek 4-D attraction and The Jurassic Park experience.  For more information about Grinchmas or Universal Studios visit www.universalstudioshollywood.com I’m Carol Wolfe and nobody does it better.

Underwood Family Farms

It’s harvest time in Southern California.  Do you ever wonder where your fresh produce comes from?  Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark is fully functioning sustainable family farm that allows visitors, for a small fee, to tour their facilities and even pick and purchase fresh produce directly out of the field.

For parents with small children this is an excellent educational outing.  For the little ones the Underwood Family Farm has animals to pet and view and all of the trappings of the best available pumpkin patches during the fall festival, at other times during the year it also offers an opportunity to ride on a hay wagon into the fields in order to identify and pick their own vegetables.  Children delight in seeing how broccoli actually grows!  There is something magical about tromping through the dirt and discovering various lettuces or pulling leaves up from the ground to discover hidden treasures such as carrots, onions, beets and radishes.  It is a great way to teach children about whole foods and where they come from.  It also makes them interested to taste them.

Underwood Family Farms is a great Fall outing to entertain and educate. Ticket prices Monday through Friday are $3 and weekend tickets during the Fall Festival (Oct. 1-30 are $12, but offer a wide variety of Halloween activities)  Children under the age of 2 are free.  Vegetable picking is not available during the month of October.

I’m Carol Wolfe and nobody does it better.

Castle Park by Carol Wolfe, The Encino Real Estate Report

There are some things that never change.  Thank goodness for that.Castle_Park  Since the 1970’s Castle Park in Sherman Oaks has been providing family fun and entertainment to San Fernando Valley residents.  Located at 4989 Sepulveda Blvd., Castle Park offers miniature golf on a beautifully manicured 18 hole course that is reminiscent of a castle and grounds. 

For those who want to brush up on their baseball game there are baseball and softball batting cages offering speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.  Castle_Park_1If arcade fun is what you are looking for Castle Park has a wide variety of games to satisfy everyone in the family. Tokens can be purchased one at a time or there are discounts for buying larger quantities.

If you’re hungry the Castle Park Concession offers pizza, burgers, sandwiches, fries and salads.  Castle Park is open from 10am to 11pm Sunday thru Thursday and until midnight on Saturday and Sundays.  Visit their website for more info or to find out about parties and group rates. http://www.laparks.org/shermanoaks_castlepk/index.htm

I’m Carol Wolfe and nobody does it better.

Places to Watch Fireworks In LA for the 4th by Carol Wolfe, The Encino Real Estate Report

By Carol Wolfe

This 4th of July there are many fireworks to choose from including some of my favorites:
fireworks_vertical_med11. July 4th Fireworks Hollywood Bowl Spectacular – this year the featured guest is John Fogerty with a special fireworks display afterward
2. The Rose Bowl – AmericaFest 2009
This marks the 83rd annual Rose Bowl July 4th celebration. In addition to spectacular fireworks there will be a performance from the California Philharmonic Orchestra.
3. Marina del Rey July 4 Fireworks Extravaganza
Head down to Marina Del Rey for a beautiful day by the beach. The event will be simulcast on KXLU, 88.9 FM.
4. 10th Annual Fireworks Festival – Journey Through Time
The Studio City Chamber of Commerce hosts this bash on the CBS lot. Great party, family friendly.

iFly!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to jump out of an airplane, but the thought of careening toward the earth gives you weak knees? phpthumb_generated_thumbnailjpgcawxi4mx Well now you can get the entire sensation of sky diving while never going near an airplane.  Only in Los Angeles! 

SkyVenture is an innovative company that has created a vertical wind tunnel that simulates skydiving indoors.  iFLY Hollywood gives you the opportunity to experience the rush and thrill of flying within a safe environment.  Located on Universal Studios City Walk in Los Angeles, iFLY is housed in a clear tube allowing you to see and be seen as you practice your flying maneuvers with the help of a skilled instructor.

This is a great activity to do as a family or as a corporate bonding activity.  It makes a great gift for graduations, birthdays and even retirements.  Still too scared to try?  It’s worth taking a visit to Universal City Walk and watching others as the experience weightlessness!

The Skirball Cultural Center

There are so many things to do in the Los Angeles area, so many museums, cultural events, festivals and celebrations, that you can easily overlook some of the gems that are available.  skirballculturalcenter_jpg_595x325_crop_upscale_q85The Skirball Cultural Center is definitely a gem that should not be overlooked!

Quoted in the The New York Times as “a lesson on how to connect the eye to heart and mind,” the Skirball Cultural Center offers a wide range of exhibits to entertain the entire family.  Right now the Center has several exhibits and events focusing on the theme of comic book heroes.  And of course the acclaimed Noah’s Arc exhibit continues to reside at the Center.

Located at 2701 North Sepulveda Blvd. in Los Angeles, admission to the Skirball Cultural Center is $10 for adults, $7.50 for Seniors and Students, $5 for children 2-12 and children under 2 are free.  Additionally every Thursday the Center is open to public free of charge.  The Museum Hours are Tuesday–Friday, 12:00–5:00 p.m. and Saturday–Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. They are closed on Mondays and most Jewish Holidays.

Whale Watching

If Whales are your thing, Los Angeles is definitely the place to be in May.  The whale watching season is short and by May most of the grey whales have migrated making it difficult although not impossible to see them from a chartered boat.  aquariumofthepacific1But if you want a guaranteed view take a trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.

This is a great day trip that is full of wonder and educational to boot!   The Aquarium of the Pacific features an interactive experience for all ages and features more than 500 species of sea life within 19 different habitats. Its 32 focus exhibits make the Aquarium of the Pacific one of the largest aquariums in the United States.  And right now there are two different exhibits featuring Whales!

The Aquarium of the Pacific is open daily from 9am- 6pm, they encourage you to visit in off peak hours, either during the week or early on weekend days as the aquarium is a popular attraction and crowds are heavy on weekend afternoons.

The Aquarium of the Pacific is located at 100 Aquarium Way Long Beach, CA 90802
Tickets for adults are $23.95, children ages 3-11 are $11.95 and Seniors are $20.95.

Gustavo Dudamel

If you are a classical music fan; or if you watch 60 Minutes religiously then you have heard of Gustavo Dudamel.  If you have not heard of him you are in for a treat.  Later this year this exciting and talented young conductor will become the Music Director of the Los Angles Philharmonic.

Born in 1981 in Venezuela, Dudamel was raised within the Venezuelan music system, dudamela much lauded program that places a musical instrument into any willing child’s hands and offers free after school lessons.  By the age of 14, Dudamel was an award winning violinist and had begun to study conducting.  His passion for music is unparalleled and having come from a system that encourages children to learn and play music, Dudamel has pledged to bring that level of commitment and educational opportunity to the Los Angeles area. 

For the last year Dudamel has been performing periodically as a guest director of the LA Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  This summer he is also slated to conduct at the Hollywood Bowl.  Once you see this spirited conductor in action you will know what all of the fuss is about.  Join all of Los Angeles as we welcome this exciting artist to our home and look forward to the music that he will bring to the next generation!
I’m Carol Wolfe and in the world of classical music nobody does it better than Gustavo Dudamel!

Hanukkah Family Festival

This year Hanukkah will begin at sundown on Sunday Dec.dreamstime_6176350 21st but the annual Hanukkah Family Festival  at the Skirball Center will take place on Sunday Dec. 14th.  This yearly event offers an entire day of activities for the entire family.

For a $10 General admission (children under 12 are Free) the entire family can celebrate the lighting of the candles and remembrance of religious freedom. Activities featured through out the day include Balloon Art, Holiday Storytelling with Bookpals, a Hanukkah Puppet Show and an interactive Hanukkah Play entitled Be A Star!
There will also be workshops on Handmade Hanukkah Lamps and Dreidel Game Making.

Admission to the festival includes entrance into all exhibitions except Noah’s Ark, which will be closed during the festival.

Lake Balboa

By Carol Wolfe

With so many things to see and do in our diverse and amazing corner of the world, it can be overwhelming picking a fun family location for a bit of fun.  I like to keep things simple.  With gas prices so high, why not stay close to home and enjoy all of the benefits of living in our modern day paradise?  One of my favorite destination spots year round is Lake Balboa.

Located in the Anthony C. Beilenson water recreation facility within the Sepulveda Flood Control Basin, Lake Balboa is a 27 acre fun filled lake.  Activities at the lake include fishing, boating, kayaking, jogging, walking and a remote control boating cove.

There are barbeque pits, children’s play areas, picnic tables, pedal boats and much more.  While there is no swimming there are plenty of other activities to keep the whole family happy.  Pets are allowed but must be kept on leash at all times.

Check out the fun at Lake Balboa!