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Do you have a little one in your life needling you about sewing? The following beginner sewing classes will have them stitching to their hearts’ content with patient instructors, simple projects and working sewing machines. Here are our favorite spots where your young seamstresses can sharpen their sewing skills and those fabric shears.

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Photo: My Little Prints Fabric via Yelp

My Little Prints Fabric

As a mother of three, Jennifer started making things around the home after learning how to sew from her seamstress grandmothers. Jennifer took her background and love for the craft and started My Little Prints Fabrics. Housed in her darling cottage studio in Rancho Penasquios, Jennifer teaches kids, parents, teens and everyone in between how to sew and get creative. You can enroll your mini maker in weekly classes for three months with kids grouped together by age and skill level. New projects are tackled each week and are super creative – cute outfits, fun flags, poufs, dolls dresses and beach bags just to name a few! Fabrics, threads and notions are all provided to students and you can bring your own machine to class, or rent one for $5 per class.

Via Caballo Rojo
San Diego, Ca 92129
617-803-2987
Online: mylittleprintfabrics.com

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Photo: Roselle E. via Yelp

Home Ec Studios
If teaching your wee one how to sew seems overwhelming, Home Ec Studios might just be the place for you. Run by two South Park mamas, Yvonne and Roselle, the shop aims to take the mystery out of sewing. Beginners of any age can register for one off classes from the basic quickie sew series like machine anatomy 101 and sewing 101. Check out their project workshops like a simple tote bag or an easy maxi skirt. Kiddos can take part in their after school workshops with two hour, project based classes, or check out their two-day camp classes for kids during the breaks and holidays. Classes include all materials and while you are encouraged to bring your own sewing machine, there are some to hire for each class. Parking is on street and can be tricky during peak hours so expect that you may need to walk a block or two.

2225 30th St. Ste 3
San Diego, Ca 92104
619-279-6379
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Photo: Elise H. via Yelp

Sew Inspired
Get your wee ones creative with a set of lessons from the fun loving ladies of Sew Inspired. Nestled in Encinitas, this one-stop lesson shop has plenty of options on how your kiddos can learn the basics of sewing and then let their imaginations run wild as they create original pieces like critter dolls, hats and pajamas After school lessons are broken up by school grades and fueled by a mid-lesson healthy snack. Sewing camps are daylong workshops of creative fun. Choose from a Saturday, holiday camp or project-specific camp like their American Girl Doll Sewing workshop. If you feel like some one on one time might be needed, check out Sew Inspired private lessons that take the mystery of sewing and get you set for the right track.

531 Encinitas Blvd. Ste 105
Encinitas, Ca 92024
760-908-7853
Online: sewinspired.biz

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Photo: Platypus Kids

Platypus Kids
If you’ve already got a young seamstress on your hands who knows the basics of making simple creations, you’ll love Platypus Kids sewing classes. This studio is the perfect way to take sewing skills to the next level while still fueling the creative fire. Kiddos aged 10 – 14 can learn about garment construction, from how to work with patterns, choose fabric all the way through to learning about pockets, zippers, sleeve placement and button holes. All sewing machines, fabrics and notions are provided. But if you can’t be without your own trusty machine, you’re welcome to bring it along. This class runs after schools for a four-week period on Tuesdays and Thursdays out of the cool Encinitas resale store of the same name. There are also beginners class to touch up on anything beforehand.

1441 Encinitas Blvd, Suite 126
Encinitas, Ca 92024
760-632-KIDS
Online: platypuskids.com

Do you have a favorite sewing class? Let us know in the comments below!

— Lenya McGrath

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Bedtime at home is so old school. This spring and summer, mix it up the routine and give your tribe an experience they’ll never forget. Some of San Diego’s coolest kid-friendly hot spots are hosting a range of sleepovers that will have your kiddos telling everyone about how they caught some z’s while lions roared or fighter jets sat overhead. Pack the sleeping bags and make a reservation for these fun adventures.

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Photo: Jim Schwartz via Flickr Creative Commons

Roar & Snore Sleepover at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Ready to sleep while hearing lions roar and elephants snore? The San Diego Zoo Safari Park hosts all-ages sleepovers perfect for families to have a night under the stars getting close to their amazing wildlife. As the sun sets, check out an after-hours look at the Safari Park’s animals, take part in a guided tour and then settle back for dinner and chats by the campfire. This sleepover has been rated one of the best zoo experiences around the country, so you know you are in for a good time. You can choose from a standard or glamping tent, and be sure to pack your own sleeping bag, towel and a trusty flashlight. All food and drinks are provided by the Safari Park including dinner, an evening snack and breakfast. Kiddos ages 3 and up are welcome to attend and prices start at $140 per person per night, plus admission costs.

San Diego Safari Park
15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd.
Escondido, Ca 92027
619-718-3000
Online: sandiegozoo.org/safari/

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Photo: Carlinellis via Flickr Creative Commons

Catch Some Z’s Under the Sea
Say good night while you sleep with some of the most majestic creatures of the sea at Sea World. The park hosts a range of sleepovers for scouts, school groups and families (including the upcoming Father’s Day event). Sleepovers are held in the Wild Arctic attraction where you’ll get some shut eye while beluga whales and walruses swim right over you. Activities include checking out Sea World’s animals after hours and have a kid-friendly pasta dinner at Shipwreck Jungle. As morning breaks, you’ll be able to have breakfast then take in a full day of fun in the park. Sea lovers ages four and up are welcome to join in the fun. Bring your own sleeping bag or air mattress (you’ll be sleeping on a concrete floor).

Sea World
500 Sea World Dr.
San Diego, Ca 92109
619-226-3901
Online: seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-sandiego

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Photo: Brian Moore via Flickr Creative Commons

Sleep After Dark in the Park at The Serra Museum
Take a journey back in time at the historic site where California began at this “after dark in the park” program. The San Diego History Center offers family groups with 12 or more a fun-filled sleepover at their Serra Museum in Presido Park. You’ll take a special hike learning about the four cultures who lived here centuries ago. There’s a themed meal with storytelling and dress to keep everyone entertained, and then a flashlight tour around the tower will ensure that a good nights sleep is earned. You’ll need to bring a sleeping bag, pillow, flashlight, toothbrush and warm pyjamas. Prices start at $65 per person for San Diego History Center members and $75 for non-members. If you’re thinking of doing this in the summer, it’s best to book now as the warm months fill up quickly.

Serra Museum
2727 Presidio Dr.
San Diego, Ca 92103
619-232-6297
Online: sandiegohistory.org/OvernightAdventures

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Photo: Bennilover via Flickr Creative Commons

Get Ship Shape at a Sleepover on the Star Of India
The Maritime Museum of San Diego lets San Diego sea farers ages 5 and up the chance to have a historical sleep over aboard their 1863 tall ship: the Star of India. You’ll experience what life was really like way back in time. Participate in raising the sails, moving cargo, seeing parts of the ship not open to the public, and eating dinner under the stars. As bedtime nears, you’ll retire to the tween deck (that’s ship speak for the deck just below the upper deck) to catch some shut eye in your sleeping bag. The Maritime Museum host these events only a few times a year, with the next event on June 25. You’ll need to bring a sleeping bag, toothbrush, plastic bowl, knife, fork and a trash bag to take your trash with you.  Dinner and breakfast are included, but you’ll need to bring your own snacks. Prices are $75 per person and this doesn’t include parking, which is metered on street (but is free after 8 p.m.)

The Maritime Museum of San Diego
1492 N Harbor Dr.
San Diego, Ca 92101
(619) 234-9153
Online: sdmaritime.org/visit/public-events/star-of-india-family-overnight/

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Photo: Michael Del La Paz via Flickr Creative Commons

Go On an Overnight Adventure on the USS Midway
Experience life as a Midway sailor aboard one of San Diego’s most famous naval ships, the USS Midway. Open to families with kids ages six and up, this sleepover gives you all-access aboard the ship. You’ll be able to grab a flashlight and go on a behind the scenes tour, then learn how to fly in the Midways Flight Academy, and check out the flight deck under the stars. Mini sailors will sleep in crew beds and eat Navy chow for dinner and breakfast. Prices are $100 per person for USS Midway Museum members and $125 for non-members. Beds are provided, but you’ll need to bring your own sleeping bag and pillow. Outside food is not permitted on the ship unless you have food allergies. Sleep overs for scouts, religious groups and school tours are hosted regularly. Families should take note of the annual family sleep over in July.

USS Midway
910 N Harbor Dr.
San Diego, Ca 92101
619-544-9600
Online: midway.org/family-overnight

Do you have a favorite sleepover event in San Diego?  Let us know in the comments below!

– Lenya McGrath

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Do you have a little one obsessed by all-things princesses? Perhaps gowns on high rotation and Disney classics are playing on repeat on Pandora. Sound familiar? If you’re looking to give your little princess (pun intended) an experience she’ll never forget, we’ve got you covered with these awesome princess experiences here in Southern California. So wave your wand, pop on the tiara and read on!

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Photo: Royal Entertainers via Yelp

Have a Princess at a Birthday Party
Take your little one’s next birthday up a notch with a princess party from Royal Entertainers who are pros at all-things princess. Choose from a wide range of princesses to host the party: Elsa, Anna, Cinderella, Belle, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, Sophia the First, and more. They’ll come to your party and then wow your kiddos by hosting at princess party that includes a coronation ceremony for the birthday girl, story time, face painting, a magic show and song and dance time. Each of the entertainers are pros at handling large groups of kids, ensuring that things run smoothly and captivating every ones attention. Packages start from $225 and parties run for about an hour and a half. For an additional fee you can choose things like a princess trunk for everyone to play dress ups or balloon twisting. Parties are typically done for a maximum of 15 kids, but you can let them know if you are expecting more.

Royal Entertainers
1612 6th Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92101
619-654-9321
Online: royalentertainers.com

kid ventures castle

Photo: Kid Ventures

Play In A Castle at Kid Ventures
No princess (or prince) is complete without their own castle. It’s only fitting that a visit to Kid Ventures, San Diego’s premiere indoor play house, should be put in the diary with a wiggle of a magic wand. Kid Ventures has a whole village of settings for kids to play in ranging from a market, nursery, fire station, art studio and of course – a castle! Inside there are two levels to explore complete with turrets, rounded doorways and mini windows. And there’s no need to rescue your damsel as there are two slides ready for a graceful exit from the castle. Kings and queens (or should we say moms and dads of said royalty) will love the parents cafe which has great coffee and organic snacks plus free WiFi. Kids can stay as long as they like and even take part at the daily scheduled activities lead by Kid Venture team leaders.

Kid Ventures: Point Loma, 4S Ranch and Eastlake
Online: indoorplaysandiego.com/liberty-station

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Photo: Leah Singer

Be a Proper Princess With an Etiquette Class
Princess by Design knows that charm, character and impeccable manners make a proper princess which is why they offer a range of etiquette classes for young girls to develop a life of with integrity, inner beauty and purpose. Girls of any age can enrol for a workshop or a set of classes across topics like first impressions, social graces, dining etiquette and beauty from the inside out. All sessions are run by Christie Alvarado, a California State University graduate and a Miss California Teen title winner with more than ten years experience teaching etiquette. Christie will take your mini princesses through a whole range of skills from proper handshakes and speaking confidently thorough to walking with grace and positive attitudes. Classes are held at a variety of locations and are scheduled based based on bookings.

Princess By Design
Online: princessbydesign.org

sofia the firstPhoto: Highlights Along the Way

The Ultimate Princess Make Over at Disneyland
Get ready for the grand poo-bah of all princess experiences: a makeover at the home of princesses – Disneyland! Kiddos ages 3 – 12 will be transformed from head to toe into little princesses just like their Elsa, Cinderella or Ariel idols at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo salon. Fairy godmothers in-training are on hand to give your little one a special princess hair style, a new make-up look and nail polish. And if you want to go the full force, you can even choose a princess gown from their boutique and then have your portraits taken at Cinderella’s Carriage by Disneyland’s professional photographers. Talk about a make over and a half! Packages range from $59.95 to $194.95. Reservations need to be made with Disneyland. And if you’ve got a little prince who feels like a makeover, check out their knight packages where your young hero can be transformed into a noble gentleman with a new hairstyle, knight outfits and of course a sword and shield.

Disneyland
1313 Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, Ca 92802
714-781-7895
Online: bibbidi-bobbidi-boutique

What is your kiddo’s favorite princess thing to do? Let us know in the comments below!

– Lenya McGrath

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San Diego, known as the birth place of California, has been a historical treasure trove since explorers first stepped foot on the sandy shore close to 500 years ago. From booming bells that celebrate the fair city’s progression after World War II to towns from the 1800s, there’s a range of activities to teach the kiddos about their historical city. Click through the slideshow for a San Diego history lesson worth learning.

Old Town San Diego

Think you know Old Town State Park? Think again! This San Diego treasure isn't just a mecca for Mexican restaurants, it's a historical enclave full of museums and learning centers that that will keep your family busy for hours. With more than 17 institutions to visit, this area recreates Old Town as it existed during the 1800s before downtown took over as San Diego's main hub. There are five original adobes plus a schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, San Diego's first newspaper, and a stable and carriage collection. School the Kids: <ul> <li>The plaza with its large green fig tree was the center of Old Town and still stands in it's original spot since 1820. Meetings, parades, even rodeos and fiestas were held here. If you had a home close to the plaza, you were held in high status in the community.</li> <li>The Cosmopolitan Hotel had a colorful history. It was originally called Bandini House after it's owner, Juan Bandini.This building was the social center of town, the first waltz ever danced in California was danced here and rumor has it, there was a party here that lasted seven days! Since then it has been a hotel, store, boarding house and even a pickle factory before being restored back to its previous life as the Cosmopolitan Hotel as part of the Old Town State Park.</li> <li>Just outside Old Town is Heritage Park Victorian Village, a collection of restored Victorian homes that were moved from various locations around San Diego to this central hub. Check out McConaughy House - originally built in 1887 for the family of John McConaughy - who ran the first horse and carriage transport between San Diego and Julian, now a tea house. It's said to still be haunted by the family who love to move things around in the gift shop and play with the electricity.</li> </ul> Old Town State Park is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Entry is free although some of the museums do charge a small nominal fee. Parking can be tricky during busy periods, so allow a little bit of time to check out one of the free (but small) parking lots. Or grab a spot in a paid parking lot for a $5 fee. There are plenty of meal options for a ice cream snack through to a sit down Mexican fiesta. 4002 Wallace St. San Diego, Ca Online: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.oldtownsandiegoguide.com/&quot; target="_blank">oldtownsandiegoguide.com</a>fuck

Do you have a favorite San Diego historical spot? Let us know in the comments below!

— Lenya McGrath (photos too, unless otherwise noted)

Best Indoor Playgrounds for San Diego Kids

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While San Diego isn’t cold-weather capitol of the country, there are plenty of days where it’s a bit too overcast or rainy to play outside. So how’s a kiddo supposed burn off energy when playing outdoors isn’t an option? Thankfully San Diego has several indoor playgrounds designed for even the smallest of kiddos. Click through the slideshow to see these awesome indoor play spaces that will keep your little ones entertained!

Urban Jungle

This East County hotspot has become quite the favorite indoor play space for kids. <a target="_blank" href="https://tinybeans.com/socal/spotlight-on-urban-jungle-fun-park/">Urban Jungle</a> has spaces for kids to climb the walls, bounce on trampolines, race through an obstacle course, slide down a 16-foot slide, and much more. One of the best things about Urban Jungle is it's not built for one age range. There's entertainment for little ones, while tweens and teens can also be entertained. And of course there's plenty of lounging, WiFi and a cafe for parents who prefer to relax while the kiddos are burning off energy. 8711 N. Magnolina Ave. Santee, Ca 619-334-6107 Online: <a target="_blank" href="http://urbanjunglefunpark.com/&quot; target="_blank">urbanjunglefunpark.com</a> <em>Photo: Urban Jungle</em>fuck

Did we miss your favorite indoor playspace? Tell us where you go in the comments below!

– Lenya McGrath

Your Ultimate Day Trip Guide to Carlsbad

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When’s the last time you took a jaunt up the coast to see what’s in store in Carlsbad? If you want a fun day around town, grab the kiddos, hop in the car and see what’s waiting for you in this North County coastal neighborhood. Carlsbad has a mix of beautiful nature, great dining, fun-loving sports, cool culture and some SoCal attitude. We’ve scouted out the best spots and put together your hour-by-hour guide to the ultimate day trip in Carlsbad.

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Photo: Ricardo via Flickr Creative Commons

10 a.m. – A Visit to San Diego Lagoon
Start the day off with a healthy dose of sunshine and water at the San Diego Lagoon. With just over 400 acres, this is Mother Nature’s water park. You’ll find a shore front that’s great for the kids to frolic around. If you want to be more active, take advantage of the volleyball net set up along the nature strip. If getting in the water is your thing, check out the rental shop and get involved in tubing, wake boarding kayaking or paddle boarding. The staff at the shop are very willing to help with equipment guidance and how to’s. While you’re at the rental shop, pick up a snack, drink or even have a play on the ping pong table. There are limited restrooms at the lagoon, so plan your bathroom breaks accordingly and perhaps bring some extra water to rinse off. Parking is available at a small lot, or check out parking on street at Cannon Road or Bayview Drive.

4215 Harrison St.
Carlsbad, Ca 92008
760-434-3089
Online: carlsbadlagoon.com

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Photo: Christina Cross

11.30 a.m. – Get Musical at the Museum of Making Music
Hidden within a non-descriptive office building you’ll find the magical musical emporium that is the Museum of Making Music. Kids will learn a thing or two about the history of American popular music from the swing ear to the Beatles and modern sounds. Musical instruments from saxophones, harps, harmonicas, keyboards and electric guitars cover the walls while exhibits like the power of bass and musical innovations leave everyone with a spring in their step. Speaking of leaving, be sure to allow plenty of time for the kids to get hands-on and make some music of their own. A jam session is definitely in order with keyboards, drum machines and bongos, just to name a few. The museum does get loud, so if your mini Mozart prefer a quieter environment, check out Tuesday and Thursday afternoons after 2.30 pm. Entry is $8 for adults and $5 for kiddos, and keep in mind the museum is closed on Mondays.

5790 Armada Dr.
Carlsbad, Ca 92008
760-438-5996
Online: museumofmakingmusic.org

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Photo: Green Dragon Tavern and Museum Facebook Page

1 p.m. – Lunch at the Green Dragon Tavern and Museum
With tummies starting to grumble, it’s time to think about lunch. Located five minutes south of Carlsbad Village, the Green Tavern and Museum makes for a perfect family lunch spot. Housed in a replica of the Boston’s original Green Dragon Tavern (where history buffs will note that Sam Adams, Paul Revere and other founders met to plan the Boston Tea Party and American Revolution). This place is huge, so save time to visit their dine-in restaurant for a spot of lunch with New England fare like burgers, lobster rolls, BBQ chicken flat breads and a mean set of pretzel bread dippers. Then leave a bit of time and check out their museum, book shop or grounds. Parking is free and plentiful.

6115 Paseo Del Norte
Carlsbad, Ca 92011
760-918-2421
Online: greendragontavernca.com

Screen shot 2016-01-06 at 8.42.58 PMPhoto: Fanklin Lopez via Flickr Creative Commons

2.30 p.m. – Take in a Carlsbad Gem at the Leo Carillo Ranch
Walk off lunch by checking out Carlsbad’s historic national landmark, the Leo Carrillo Ranch. Hidden away past Palomar Airport, this 27-acre historic park is the former working ranch and home of 1950’s actor Leo Carrillo. You’ll be transported away from modern day life with antique windmills, early California architecture, huge trees on expansive grounds and shimmering peacocks that roam around the ranch. Guided walking tours of the building exteriors and park grounds are available on the weekends for a fee or check out the free self-guided tour brochures if you’d rather do it yourself. Check out the visitors center to learn a little more history at the park, and grab a bathroom break if you need it. Make sure you bring your own food and snacks to the ranch to enjoy on their plentiful picnic tables.

6200 Flying Leo Carillo Ln.
Carlsbad, Ca 92009
760-476-1042
Online: carlsbadca.gov/services

Photo: Mfnure31 via Flickr Creative Commons 

4 p.m. – Stroll Around Carlsbad Village
Covering several blocks along Carlsbad Boulevard, Carlsbad Village Drive, Grand Avenue, State Street and Roosevelt Street, Carlsbad Village is a downtown district with a small town feel. Tree-lined streets where sunshine beams down on pretty boutiques and eateries make this the perfect place to stroll around and window shop. Check out the New Village Fair for a nice range of specialty shops. The kids will love Lollies and Jollies with candy, toys and kids clothing. When shopping’s over, grab an organic juice at Choice Superfood Bar and Juicery on the corner of Carlsbad Village Drive and State Street. They make several healthy juices (and sweet treats) all housed in an outdoor courtyard perfect for letting the kids run around and draw a masterpiece on the over-sized community chalk board.

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Photo: Bryce Bradford via Flickr Creative Commons

5.30 p.m. – Watch the Sunset at Carlsbad Beach
As the day comes to an end, there’s no better way to say farewell to Carlsbad than taking in a sunset at the beach. Head west on Carlsbad Village Drive and you’ll hit the sands of Carlsbad State Beach. There is plenty of sandy shoreline to take a seat on while you watch mother nature do her work. Or if you’d rather stay active, there are some plenty of walkways sitting up on the cliffs for a leisurely stroll. Parking can be a mixed bag of on street and small beach lots, so if it’s looking busy perhaps leave your car in Carlsbad Village and head out on foot. There are public restrooms at the beach as well.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Carlsbad?  Let us know in the comments below!

– Lenya McGrath

Get Sporty! 6 Awesome Indoor Sports Centers

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Southern California can’t seem to make up it’s mind when it comes to the weather these days. Whether you need to escape the sun or take shelter from a rainy day, these San Diego indoor sporting centers will keep cabin fever away and provide much-needed entertainment.

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Photo: Colleen Holt via Flickr Creative Commons

Glide Around at UTC Ice
If you want to combine your sporting activity with a side of shopping, then check out UTC Ice. Nestled within the Westfield UTC food court, this ice skating rink is open for daily public skating sessions. Kiddos glide around the rink while listening to the top tunes. Parents can join in the ice skating fun or watch from the sidelines with a latte in hand. If you have a beginner, there are gliders available to hire. Shaped to look like a seal with handles, they’re the perfect way to get your balance or even take your kids for a spin on the seal seat as you skate your heart out. UTC Ice also offers a free Saturday introductory skating class at 11:15 a.m. This class teaches your little ones the basics of ice skating like balance and movement. Admission for public skating starts at $12 and skates are available for rental for $4. Don’t forget to bring gloves, warm clothes and snug knee high socks with you. Helmets and elbow pads are recommended if you have them.

UTC Ice Town
4545 La Jolla Village Dr.
San Diego, Ca 92122
858-452-9110
Online: utcice.com

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Photo: Kroc Center San Diego

Do Everything at the Kroc Center
When you have a family with a variety of sporting loves, there’s one place in San Diego that can satisfy: The Kroc Center. This huge fitness and cultural center has tons of options to count to get the kiddos moving. Skateboarders will love the indoor skate park with a 8-foot half pipe, banks and quarter pipes. Just bring your boards and pads and start shredding. Swimmers will dig the indoor open swim family hours, plus take advantage of the Tuesday Toddler Splash times where you are welcome to bring down your floaties and toys to have some water fun. If more ice skating is on the cards, check out the family open hours at their ice arena with a skating field of NHL standards. Plus there are hundreds of youth sports leagues, drama classes, music workshops and arts and craft sessions to join. Once your activities are over, check out Mission Brew Coffee for a snack stop with fresh coffee, smoothies and paninis. Memberships are offered at the Kroc Center or bring the family down any time for a day pass starting at $6 for adults and $4 for kids. There is plenty of parking available as well as change rooms and showers.

Kroc Center
6845 University Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92115
619-287-5762
Online: sd.kroccenter.org

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Photo: Lou Oms via Flickr Creative Commons

Batter up at JP Longball
Swing batter batter, swing! JP Longball is THE place to check out if you have a baseball lover in your tribe. This indoor batting practice mecca includes five batting cages, curve ball and arm-pitching machines, all open seven days a week. You’ll find a range of cages for all styles: three serve-up fast pitches, another takes the tempo down with slow pitch soft balls (perfect for kiddos) and for full authenticity the last cage has a dirt surface so you can dig in and use your spikes. You can purchase timed increments ranging from 15 minutes (about 150 pitches) all the way to a 60-minute session (a whopping 600 pitches). Be sure to check out their happy hour between 12  and 4 p.m. where all cage time is half priced. Kiddos aged 5 and up are best suited for the action at JP Longball. Prices start at $12 and bats and helmets are provided in the price of admission. It’s worth calling ahead for reservations or pop past and try your luck.

JP Longball
5232 Riley St.
San Diego, Ca 92110
619-299-4487
Online: jplongball.com

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Photo: One Industries via Flickr Creative Commons

Zoom Away at K1 Speedway
Drivers ready! Start your engines at Carlsbad’s K1 Speedway, a 60,000-square-foot electric go-cart racing track open rain or shine. Either call ahead for a reservation or take up their junior arrive and drive package where you can set down tracks at this first come first serve basis with other junior riders on their junior go carts – especially made with seat belts, roll bars and automatic shut off. It makes for a safe way to get a driving thrill for the youngest. A 12-lap race runs about $19.95 plus $6 for an annual registration fee that includes free use of a helmet and helmet sock. If you have a Go Pro, bring that along as some of the helmets have a mount so you can record all your action. After your race. check out the snack bar and games area. It’s worth noting that it gets busy for junior carters on the weekend so perhaps prepare for a wait.

K1 Speedway
6212 Corte Del Abeto
Carlsbad, Ca 92011
760-929-2225
Online: k1speed.com

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Photo: Aimee Giese via Flickr Creative Commons

Swim it up at McGrath Pool at the Toby Wells YMCA
Get splashy at the Toby Wells YMCA swimming pool. Located in Mission Valley, this 25-yard indoor swimming pool is the perfect way to get wet. Every day from 12 – 6 p.m., the YMCA hosts family swim time where kids, moms, dads and grandparents can take over the pool. They open up their awesome two-story winding thrill-grabbing water slide for some extra fun on Saturdays. It’s worth noting this pool is basic, so you’ll need to enjoy some good old fashioned Marco Polo or jumping in from the edge. There is not a splash area, so be prepared to bring floaties and get in the pool with younger kids that can’t swim comfortably at a 3-foot depth. Drop the kiddos off at the child watch center for a supervised kids club while you take up a pew at the grandstand to supervise the older kiddos. It’s heated to a toasty 86 degrees so you won’t need to worry about getting chilly and you can take advantage of their heated indoor showers to rinse off afterwards.

Toby Wells YMCA
5105 Overland Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92123
858-496-9622
Online: missionvalley.ymca.org

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Photo: Lenya McGrath

Jump Around at Rockin Jump San Diego
Enter the doorway of Rockin Jump San Diego and watch as the family are transported into a world of jumping and bouncing. This trampoline house is located in Miramar and welcomes all kiddos, young and old, to take on some jumping fun at one of the five trampoline fields that are covered in bouncy pads that cover the floor and even the walls. Plus, they have a huge stunt air bag for you to do flips into, a foam pit perfect to do x-beam battles and a huge indoor rock wall for climbing fanatics. Prices start at $10 per hour, and you’ll need to sign a waiver and pick up a pair of rockin socks before you bounce off. Parents will love the cafe, comfy couches throughout and free WiFi. Parking is limited, so be prepared that you might need to park on street and put that umbrella up to get inside.

Rockin Jump San Diego
8190 Miralani Dr.
San Diego, Ca 92126
858-693-5867
Online: sandiego.rockinjump.com

Do you have a favorite indoor sporting center?  Let us know in the comments below!

— Lenya McGrath

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Oh chocolate cake, how we love thee! Flourless, layer cake, black forest, ganache, fudge, devil’s food, chocolate souffle – San Diego has some of the most delicious chocolate cakes southern California has to offer. And to celebrate National Chocolate Cake Day on Jan. 27 (yes, there is an actual day), we’ve researched the best out there, just for you! Now you can have your cake and eat it too!

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Photo: Sherry Aikens via Flickr Creative Commons

Chocolate Buttercream Cupcake at Babycakes
If you like your cake in mini sizes then Babycakes in Hillcrest is for you. This cafe celebrates all-things mini so you can get a hit of chocolate cake in cupcake style. Their ever-so-popular chocolate buttercream is a delicious combination of a light and fluffy chocolate cake with a rich chocolate buttercream. It flies out the door and is the perfect hit of chocolate without being too rich or too big. Babycakes has plenty of areas for you to savor your treat. There is a 1,000-square-foot patio out front with plenty of seating and a garden courtyard out back. And there are more than 25 cup cake flavors, plus cakes, cookies, cheesecakes and tarts to choose. Parking is on street, so be prepared to walk a few blocks.

Insider’s Tip: There’s full bar service starting at 4 p.m. and all day on the weekends. So if you prefer a more family-friendly vibe, come on weekdays and earlier in the day.

3766 Fifth Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92103
619-296-4173
Online: babycakessandiego.com

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Photo: Michael Seachang via Flickr Creative Commons

Extraordinary Desserts
A visit to Extraordinary Desserts is a must for any chocolate cake connoisseur. A wall length counter that’s filled with cakes, cupcakes and other sweet treats await you. Innovative flavors and cakes decorated to look like works of art really make this place extraordinary. Regulars swear by the the Viking, chocolate crème brulee and milk chocolate cremeuse are hidden between chocolate cake layers. And to up the ante crushed chocolate almond pralines are sprinkled all around. There are two locations to check out: a cozy cafe in Hillcrest and a larger cafe in Little Italy. Be prepared that there will be a queue to order your treats at the counter. But as long as you nab a table, most of your party can hang out. The pricing can be a bit indulgent, but it’s worth it for an occasional treat.

Hillcrest
2929 Fifth Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92103
619-294-2132

Little Italy
1430 Union St.
San Diego, Ca 92101
619-294-7001

Online: extraordinarydesserts.com

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Photo: Chris Hui via Flickr Creative Commons 

Linda’s Fudge Cake at The Cheesecake Factory
Don’t be deterred by the name Cheesecake Factory. While you’ll find more than 30 delicious cheesecakes to tempt, hidden away and just waiting for you to devour is Linda’s fudge cake. This is a mix of chocolate goodness — seven tiers of chocolate cake, covered in a rich fudge topping and then dropped and rolled in chocolate chips for as far as the eye can see. It’s so big and so good that one piece could easily be shared. And of course while you are here you can grab a meal, a drink or a coffee. There can be a wait during peak periods, so prep some entertainment options for the kiddos if you need to hang for twenty minutes of so to be seated.

Otay Ranch Town Center
2015 Birch Rd.
Chula Vista, Ca 91915

Fashion Valley Mall
7067 Friars Rd.
San Diego, Ca 92108

The Headquarters at Seaport District
789 W. Harbor Dr.
San Diego, CA 92101

Westfield North County Mall
200 E. Via Rancho Parkway
Escondido, Ca 92025

Online: thecheesecakefactory.com

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Photo: Cheri T via Yelp

The Elby at Sage French Cake
Head to Kearny Mesa to the Sage French Cake and you’ll start to hear whispers of “The Elby.” This famed cake is layers made up of chocolate ganache, followed by chocolate cake, white chocolate mousse, more chocolate cake, chocolate mousse then one last glorious layer of chocolate cake. As decedent as it sounds, Sage French Cake is a Japanese-French fusion bakery known for lighter and less sugary styles of cake, so while it will be rich it won’t be an overload! The bakery itself is straightforward — you can pick up a tea or coffee and grab a small table outside to enjoy our slice of goodness. Hot Tip: The cakes are made later in the morning, so we recommend arriving after 1 p.m. to make sure you have maximum choices!

3860 Convoy St.
San Diego, Ca 92111
858-571-3484

Where’s your favorite chocolate cake in San Diego? Let us know in the comments below!

– Lenya McGrath

Winter Theater Preview: Best Shows for Kids

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Keep the winter blues away by taking the kiddos out for some theatrical fun. San Diego is bursting with spectacular shows from Frozen fun to classics like The Wizard of Oz and Clifford the Big Red Dog. See what’s in store for young thespians and theater-goers in San Diego that will leave your family standing in their seats shouting “Bravo!”

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Photo: Feld Entertainment

Disney On Ice: Frozen
For the first time in forever you can catch Elsa, Anna, Ofaf, Kristoff and his trusty reindeer Sven as they bring to life the smash hit Frozen. Watch the sisters battle with Elsa’s secret powers of creating ice and snow and prove that family sticks together and there is nothing better than believing in who you really are. The show is expected to be Disney’s biggest production on ice to date with 20 huge snow machines that will transform the Valley View Casino Center into a winter wonderland. The show is suitable for all ages, but it will run for 2.5 hours with an intermission. So wiggle worms may want to sit this show out. Kiddos ages two and under are free and can sit on mom or dads lap (but the seats at the Center are a wee bit small).

Jan. 20 – 24
Ticket Prices: $20 and up

Valley View Casino Center
3500 Sports Arena Blvd.
San Diego, Ca 92110
844-854-1450
Online: centersandiego.com

6626173869_905d30d949_zPhoto: Creative Commons Flickr

Annie Warbucks
Ever wonder what happens to Orphan Annie after she’s adopted by Daddy Warbucks? This play offers a story in that vein. All the ingredients that made Annie so successful are here once again, with an old-fashioned romance thrown in for good measure in Annie Warbucks. The cast and story offers new laughs, romance and unforgettable songs. Annie Warbucks is the new classic family-friendly musical that’s recommended for kids ages 6 and older, so best leave toddlers with a sitter.

Feb. 26 – Mar. 13
Ticket Prices: $18

David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre
Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center
4126 Executive Dr.
La Jolla, Ca 92122
858-362-1348
Online: sdcjc.org/jc

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Photo: Millenium Forum via Flickr Creative Commons

Peppa Pig Live – Peppa’s Big Splash
Join Peppa, George, Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig and their friends and family for their first ever U.S. theatrical tour, Peppa Pig’s Big Splash! This live production features life sized puppets who sing, dance and jump in muddy puddles. This show is not a direct replica of a Peppa television episode, so while you’ll find the characters you love expect to see some new songs and story lines. It’s best suited for kiddos aged 3 – 6 who love to sing and dance along to catchy songs (a Mr. Potato solo anyone?), and get into audience participation (Shout as loud as you can! Grrrrr Dinosaur!) It’s good to note kids under a year are free to sit on mom or dads lap, but any other Peppa lover 12 months and over must have their own ticket.

February 20
Ticket Prices: $44.50 and up

Balboa Theatre
868 Fourth Ave. and E St.
San Diego, Ca 92101
(619-570-1100
Online: sandiegotheatres.org

Photo: Len Radin via Flickr Creative Commons

The Wizard of Oz
Tell the kids they are off to see the Wizard this March at the Broadway San Diego production of The Wizard of Oz. This classic musical follow’s Dorothy down the yellow brick road as she searches for the only man who can send her back home to Kansas. Along the way she makes pals with a scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion who together learn about love, bravery and what home is really all about. The kiddos will be introduced to feel good songs like Over the Rainbow and We’re Off To See The Wizard, as well as some newer numbers from musical duo Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. All kids are welcome to attend, but younger ones may need an extra cuddle if the Wicked Witch of the West gets too scary.

March 15 – 20
Ticket Prices: Varies by subscription

Civic Theatre
1100 3rd Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92101
619-570-1100
Online: sandiegotheatres.org

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Photo: MVK Photos via Flickr Creative Commons

Clifford The Big Red Dog Live
The story of Clifford the Big Red Dog comes alive this March at the Balboa Theatre. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, this musical brings to the stage the story of Emily Elizabeth, her dog Clifford and their friends as they go to put on their own play on Birdwell Island all about their favorite red dog. Young theater-goers will learn about the themes of friendship and the value of teamwork when it comes to getting something done. With lots of fun dancing and songs to sing along to it will be sure to be a fun outing. It’s probably suited to kiddos five and over who can sit through 2-hour running time (which includes intermission).

March 20
Ticket Prices: $18

Balboa Theatre
868 Fourth Ave. and E St.
San Diego, Ca 92101
619-570-1100
Online: sandiegotheatres.org

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Photo: Peter Lee via Flickr Creative Commons

Disney’s The Little Mermaid
Get ready to go under the sea with STAR repertory’s performance of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. The well-loved classic tale is adapted from the story and film of the same name and follows the adventures of a little mermaid named Ariel who finds love in a world (or perhaps we should we say, an under water world) of prejudice and fear. Your wee ones will love to sing along with classic songs like Kiss the Girl, Under the Sea and Part of Your World. They’ll laugh at Sebastian the Crab, cheer along with Prince Eric and shudder when Ursula takes the stage. This high seas adventure runs for close to 2.5 hours so we’d suggest older kiddos (or patient younger kiddos) are the best audience material.

March 24 – 27
Ticket Prices: TBD

Lyceum Theatre
79 Horton Plaza
San Diego, Ca 92101
760-751-3035
Online: starrepertorytheatre.com

What are you looking forward to seeing this winter? Let us know in the comments!

— Lenya McGrath