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Exploring your Neighborhood

We love going to the beach whenever we have a free day. Our kids all have wetsuits and boogie boards and can spend the whole day in the surf. Since we had President’s Day off we did a spur of the moment overnight with cousins at the beach. We spent the day going on rides at the Boardwalk. The Santa Cruz Boardwalk is a great place to visit. Most of the time we park up the hill to save on the parking fees ($10). It can be a bit expensive between rides, parking and food, but in the summer there are great discounts, $1 rides and hot dogs plus bands, circus performers and movies that are free depending on the day. Check their website for deals and calendar info. You can also eat cheaper and better across the street so don’t hesitate to try something there or on the wharf. We stayed at a really nice hotel that just opened up, Hotel Paradox. It’s kind of got a hipster vibe, lots of natural wood and cool nature photography. The kids spent all their free time in the pool and hot tub and we enjoyed Happy Hour appetizers. The next day we decided to go the The Mystery Spot. I think the last time I visited was 30 years ago. There used to be a similar attraction at Frontier Village in San Jose. It’s a lot of fun and I thought pretty reasonably priced. $5 admission per person and $5 for parking. It’s about a 45 minute tour and you can also go on hiking trails to explore the redwoods....

Exploring your Neighborhood

Last week my kids had the week off. My son did several college tours and I took Friday off for some fun family time. Most of our weekends are taken up driving to soccer games all over town so it was nice to have a free Friday to explore our nearby parks and recreation. We often head to the beach but this time we went to Wilder Ranch in Santa Cruz. I’d never been even though it is so close to us. It is a historic state park with a farm and houses that have been preserved. The day we were there they were doing living history demonstrations for elementary school classes so we got to tag along. We then had lunch swung by the The Seymour Marine Discovery Center and then headed over to the new Sanctuary Exploratory Center near the boardwalk. It’s small, free and easy to visit on your way to somewhere else, like dessert on the wharf. We visited for 30 minutes, the most entertaining part was the movie they play about the area. We then visited a great home store in Aptos called the Warmth Company. I loved everything there and if I win the lottery I’m heading over for a shopping spree ASAP. We decided to take the scenic route home and found a super cute farmstand. It works on the honor system. There were prices for everything and a place to put your money. The whole day was awesome and it was great not to have to rush from one field to the next. What hidden gems are in your neighborhood waiting...