Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tournament of Roses Parade Preview

One of the biggest things people from all over the United States looks forward to is the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. Today and tomorrow you can actually go to Pasadena and Irwindale to preview the floats as they're being decorated. You can even volunteer to help decorate the floats. Click here for more information if you're interested.

I went for the first time and had fun taking photos and I'm looking forward to both the parade and going to view the floats after. In case you're interested and don't know, you can also view the floats after the parade. It's the Showcase of Floats and they are on view January 1st through the 3rd and if you haven't gone I'd recommend it. Leave early. There is nothing like seeing these up close and in person.

If you'd like to go see the link above for the locations. It is $7.00 and the ticket is good for entry to all float decorating locations. Parking is free and wear comfortable shoes.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Flower Mart

If you like flowers or have been looking for flowers for someone and you've never been to the Flower Mart near downtown Los Angeles, you don't know what you're missing.

Open for both retail and wholesale business you can find the largest selection of flowers and plants you could ever hope for. It's located on Wall Street between 7th and 8th Street. There are a few individual shops on the street then one open marketplace with numerous vendors with varied flowers and plants for sale.
You can buy individual bunches of flowers to create your own arrangment or purchase one of many bouquets of flowers ready to put in a vase. On my trip I spent $18.00 and had enough flowers to fill two vases. They have everything you need to create the floral arrangement of your choice and at a lower price than buying them from a local flower shop.

The visual allure and the intoxicating aroma will hook you!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ports O'Call Village

Ports O'Call Village is located in San Pedro, CA about 20 miles from Los Angeles depending on what part of L.A. you leave from. When I was younger is was a place we used to visit frequently. It's changed a little, or maybe I'm just seeing it through older eyes. It's definitely aged but still has plenty of places to eat (fast food or restaurants), places to shop, places to sit or stand and watch the boats or people watch. Always a nice place for a date giving you the chance to walk and sit and talk as well as take in the ocean air.

Ports O'Call is just a hop skip and a jump from Cabrillo Beach and The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, both of which I've also posted about in this blog. If planning for a long day you could easily hang out at Cabrillo beach then cross the parking lot (more or less), to hit the Aquarium and then hit Ports O'Call for something to eat. Maybe you'd even like to take a boat ride around the harbor or do a little shopping.

It's straight out the 110 (Harbor) Freeway near the end of the freeway. Parking is free. If you make a day out of it, parking at Cabrillo beach rarely cost me more than $3.00 for a few hours and it covers both the beach and the aquarium and donations for the aquarium is $5.00. It cost more to go to the movies for just an hour and a half entertainment. Get out, get some air, hit the beach.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Auto Show - Los Angeles Convention Center

I can't think of the last time I've been to the Convention Center. My mouth dropped open when I drove by yesterday. They've really expanded and that place is HUGE! In fact, that entire center is going through major changes. It is now right next to the Staples Center, the Nokia Theatre and... well, I have to go back one day just to see all that's going on in that one area.

I went to the Auto Show that is being held there. It started yesterday and will be there through November 30, 2008. The L.A. Convention center is home to many large events and functions such as auto shows, career fairs, home expos, etc. It would be a good idea to check their schedule regularly just to see what's coming up in the future. You never know what you might stumble upon.

I took so many pictures I put some of them in a video for you to view. If you'd like to visit the auto show make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes. I was there three hours and that was without stopping to partake in some of the wonderful food I saw and smelled. Make a day of it. Adults - $10, children under 12 - free. Parking in the convention center lot $12.00 but you may find cheaper parking in the lots around the area.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Autry National Center of the American West

The Autrey National Center is located directly across the street from the Los Angeles Zoo. It's actually a very nice little center with the Museum of the American West, the Wells Fargo theater, museum gift shop and a cafe. It cost $9 for an adult with free parking.

On display at the museum is art, artifacts, old clothing, and lots of clothes, guns and other items used in famous television shows and movies. On display and not pictured here are the costumes from shows like Gunsmoke and The Lone Ranger, and ornate costumes of country western stars and singers.

On the weekend you can even experience panning for gold it the quaint little courtyard made to look like a small mining area complete with waterfall. If you're wondering what to do for the day and don't want to spend a huge chunk of money, this might definitely be worth a trip for you.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Los Angeles County Fair 2008

The Los Angeles County Fair opened this past Friday, September 5, 2008 and will be open until September 28, 2008. Opening day, admission was only $1.00 so I took advantage of it but believe me, what I save in admission I lost in time just sitting in my car waiting to get to the parking lot. I live down the street from the fairgrounds, not even a mile. It opened at 11:00. I left at 11:10 and it was 12:10 when I pulled up to the gate to pay for parking. Parking - General $10.00 (I think it was $10.00), Preferred $15.00 and V.I.P. $20.00).

Visiting the county fair is what you make of it. There is definitely something there for everyone and how long you stay depends on what you want from it. Usually, because I live so close, I just visit one section where all the vendors and crafters are, so I go shopping and browsing. There are about 4-5 buildings with vendors from front to back and vendors between each building.

This year my visit lasted six hours and all I did was wander around through the 4 buildings/barns of animals snapping pics to my heart's content. Sheep, cows, horses, turkeys, goats, pigs. The little ones can ride a pony or walk around in a pen and pet the little goats and sheep. There are contests, demonstrations and I even had the opportunity to watch a horseback riding game.

After leaving this area my only other interest this trip was the Home & Garden section where in one building were plants, Hawaiian flowers, floral displays and displays of ideal patio settings. Wandering through the green and shady hills are more varieties of plants and flowers and garden/patio displays to dream about or purchase.

Please click here for all information regarding the fair for complete information on all of the things I left out like the horse racing, carnival rides, game booths, food and entertainment including nightly concerts.

L.A. County Fair
Fairplex in Pomona
September 5-28, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Descanso Gardens

If you're looking for someplace to go, would like to take a walk among beautiful flowers and trees, consider the Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge, just north of Pasadena. Of all of the botanical gardens I've been visiting, to date the Descanso Gardens is my favorite. 160 acres of nature and beautiful landscaping with plenty of ponds, waterfalls big and small, ponds, flowers, trees and more Koi than I've ever seen.

Imagine walking through a forest of trees shading you against the sun. In the midst of this forest you might find a bench to sit and soak in the sound of birds or a waterfall or small pond. Or wander along the grass paths in the five acre International Rose Garden with over 3,000 rose bushes and other plants and flower complete with benches, fountains, a running stream near a bench while dragon flies glide around looking for a spot to land.

What I like about Descanso Gardens is that unlike some of the other botanical gardens you don't have to walk past massive lawns or down long paths before you get to the next garden area. At Descanso Gardens, except for the Camelia Forest, there is a continuous flow of flowers, plants, ponds and water to engage your eyes and interest. For those who have a little problem walking you won't feel the strain of your walk because there are plenty of places to stop to admire flowers or sit and admire a running stream or pond filled with Koi.

Parking is free and admission is $8.00. Not bad for a place that has entertained me for a minimum of three hours per visit.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Walking With Dinosaurs

Image from www.la.com

If you like dinosaurs and want to experience something that seems to take you into the Jurassic Park movie when it comes to life size, moving dinosaurs, look into buying tickets to Walking With Dinosaurs at the Staples Center September 25-28, 2008. Tickets range from $26.00 to $89.00 depending on day, time and seat section. I can't tell you about the show or whether or not it will be worth the price of the ticket but I'll be going. I think that if nothing else, it will be worth it to see these life size dinosaurs walking around and moving.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

African Marketplace & Cultural Affair

The African Marketplace & Cultural Affair is a three week-end event that began the weekend of August 16th, is currently happening this weekend, and will end the weekend of August 30 and 31st plus September 1, 2008. I wish I could cut and paste the information regarding the wide variety of different music from Nigeria, Fiji, Senegal, Ethiopia and more that will take place on seven stages. There is plenty to see, plenty to shop for, beautiful hand-crafted and hand-carved items, and plenty to eat.

I only made a pit stop on my way somewhere else but I wish I could have stayed to hear the music. I did purchase a couple of things and my eyes feasted on all of the wonderful items for sale.

Looking for something to do? Check it out!!

Location: Rancho Cienega Park at Rodeo Dr. just west of La Brea in Los Angeles, California.

Hosted by: African Marketplace, Inc..

Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

I found out that there was an aquarium at the Santa Monica Pier. On my last visit to the pier I didn't even now it was there so I thought, great! I love aquariums so I make a special trip, some 60 miles or so, lug my camera along and finally make it in after waiting for it to open. I paid $10.00 to park and $5.00 to get in. There was one room with two large tanks and three flat ones where you could touch some star fish. I was SOOOO disappointed. I wasn't in there five minutes so I don't even have any pictures to post with this.

Now, I understand that this is an organization dedicated to helping keep our oceans and shores clean and that maybe my $5.00 went towards a very good cause. Heck, I would have given them $10.00 if they'd said it a donation toward keeping our oceans clean. But I don't know what that $5.00 was for, at least not when they took it. The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium only suggests a $3.00 donation.

Don't get me wrong. I understand that it's non-profit and I'm not telling you not to go. What I'm saying is, don't go unless you're also going to enjoy the pier and you've already spent enough money that another $5.00 is no sweat off your nose. The kids might get a kick out of it and I understand they have events or things that they do for the kids. What I'm saying is don't drive 60 miles to visit, waste all that gas plus $10.00 for parking. You won't be happy.

At one point I nicely asked one of the people if that room was all there was. I wasn't mad and I'm still not mad now, just disappointed. My point in asking was that I just didn't want to miss another room because I didn't see it. I was told that was all there was and though it wasn't the Long Beach aquarium it was local and featured only fish off the local coast. My thought was, "It wasn't local for me."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

I headed out thinking I was going to the same little museum at Cabrillo Beach that I went to as a kid on a field trip. Wrong! The building is still there but it's an office. What is now there in another building is the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and I actually enjoyed it and would recommend it not just for something to do but for the kids.

The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is hardly as big or as pretty as the Long Beach Aquarium but to me it was a more personal experience and not as crowded. You could literally put your nose to the glass and enjoy the different fish and sea life as if they were in a huge aquarium in your house. The plus to visiting this museum is the beach is right there to enjoy so you can really just make a day of it. Another plus is it is there is only a $5.00 donation and parking for the few hours I was there was only about $3.00. For me, someone who enjoys taking pictures, I didn't have to fight or wait to see anything then I got to go outside and take pictures of the beach and birds.

There may not be as many fish as the Long Beach Aquarium but they definitely have a few things the Long Beach Aquarium doesn't have like these beautifully colored sea slugs. Again, the kids there were having a ball and I've never seen so many star fish in my life of all varied colors and sizes.

At scheduled times they open up a section of the aquarium where you and/or the kids can pet the many star fish and anemone. From what I saw, the kids love it. There is also an exploration center.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


The Inland Empire Jazz Festival is coming up August 22-24, 2008. This is the 2nd Annual festival. I missed the first one last year and am hoping the entertainers this year will be just as noteworthy. From looking at the website it appears some of them are still up in the air but if you're looking for a jazz concert in the park you might want to check this one out. Its at Guasti park in Ontario, about 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles off the 10 fwy on Archibald, two exits before Ontario Mills.


The Jazz Fest West, formerly the Old Pasadena Jazz Fest, was hosted by Omega Events, and held this past weekend July 19-20, 2008. If you're familiar with the Old Pasadena Jazz Fest, last year it was moved to Bonelli Park in San Dimas right next to Raging Waters. I didn't attend last year but I did this year and Wow! Judging by the turn-out I can see why they moved it. I'm sure it outgrew the small park in Pasadena.

The section of Bonelli Park where it was held was huge and there were people everywhere and still it wasn't even one tenth of Bonelli Park. From this area you couldn't even see the massive lake which is sectioned off into three sections - beach, boating and fishing.

I didn't attend both days and decided to go at the last minute. I even missed the first few performances but there were plenty the rest of the day to happily entertain me and a large number of vendors for shopping and to supply anyone with hats, umbrellas, concert t-shirts and plenty to eat and drink.

The performers this year included:

The Sax Pack
Gail Johnson
Patti Austin
Lao Tizer Band w/Chieli
Minucci & Karen Briggs
Norman Brown with Chante Moore
Paul Taylor & Alex Bugnon
Pete Escovedo Orchestra
w/Sheila E
Marcus Johnson
Brian Simpson,
Jonathan Butler,
George Duke
Wayman Tisdale
The O'Jays

I had the extreme pleasure of watching and listening to Fourplay.

I had to post the picture below so you could see what I had to work with camera wise. The "priority" section was gated off so there was only so close I could get. This was taken from where I was sitting on the cement edge of the play area in the park. The yellow high-lighted square in the picture is the stage. Believe it or not, the picture above was taken with my zoom through the poles of the tent in the picture.

Next I thoroughly enjoyed getting front row seat at the Garden stage to listen to and watch the Lao Tizer Band and Chieli Minuccia and Karen Briggs:

Then it was back to the main stage for Norman Brown's Summer storm featuring Paul Taylor, Chante Moore and Alex Bugnon.

If you didn't get there this year, you missed out. But there is always next year and rumor has it Maze just might be there. If you go next year I'd highly recommend parking at Fairplex and taking the shuttle that made trips every 15 minutes throughout the day. It was practically car to entrance delivery whereas priority parking in the park still had you walking a ways to get into the fest.