My youngest is starting Kindergarten next year and I want to take advantage of my last year with him at home. Once he starts Kindergarten he will be at school everyday most of the day. There are so many things to take advantage while your kids are little and you are home. Thankfully Toyota sent me a 2016 Highlander Hybrid for the week as they would say Let's Go Places!
Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center
The first place pictured above that we went to is the Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center. Kids love dinosaurs and of course collecting rocks and this is an awesome small museum for the little ones. It is FREE entrance and FREE parking. They have special tours that you can pay for, but at this age you will be fine just going through the museum and a small trail to see other dinosaurs and plants. At store you can give your child a $2 budget to purchase their favorite rock.
This can be a long drive for some of you. The 2016 Toyota Highlander has the speakeasy system along with the conversation mirror that makes it easy for you to communicate with your kids in the backseat.
So how does it work? Press on apps and then select the Driver Easy Speak. When you talk it picks up your voice and then your voice is broadcast over the Highlander's rear speakers. The volume could be adjusted also.
Now instead of yelling at the kids I can turn this on and talk to them. If only Toyota will put a screen between them so they can stop touching each other. Wishful thinking.
Other Museums to visit:
- Travel Town - always FREE train museum
- Natural History Museum - FREE every Monday in September and then every first Monday of the month
- La Brea Tar Pits - FREE every Monday in September and then every first Monday of the month
- Alf Museum in Claremont - Dinosaur museum that is small and easy for little ones.
- Kidspace Museum
- Chino Youth Museum
- La Habra Children's Museum
- Discovery Cube OC and LA
- Noah's Ark at Skirball
- Pretend City
Just for their size the Santa Fe Dam Water Park is open during the summer season and is only for size 52" and under. It is located in Santa Fe Dam - Irwindale in Lot #5. Price to get into Santa Fe Dam is $10 and the price to get into the water park is $2 per person per session. What is it? It is a playground with water. Everything is just for their size from the water slides to the pulling and pushing mechanisms. The Santa Fe Dam has bike rentals, parks for kids to play in, swimming area, boat rentals, and fishing. Perfect for the whole family on weekends.
The Toyota Highlander has a third row seat option if you have more guests coming with to the park. The third row seating comes with reclining seats as you know kids tend to fall asleep on the way home from playing all day in the water.
Other Parks to visit:
Descanso Gardens is a great place to get kids outdoors, exploring, and getting tired enough to take a nap! Descanso Gardens is FREE every third Tuesday of the month and they have a train you ride on through the gardens.
In Southern California it can get hot! Getting into your car from a long walk and driving home sitting in traffic the Toyota Highlander's cooled seats is a godsend. Both the front and back seats have their own seat ventilating fans along with the fabric being a porous mesh so that air can flow through it that can cool or warm the seats. This helps us all cool down faster.
- Huntington Library - FREE first Thursday of the month
- LA Arboretum is FREE third Tuesday of the month
- Fullerton Arboretum
- South Coast Botanical Gardens - FREE third Tuesday of the month
- Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens
Join the Young Nature Explorers group which is a meetup group in Southern California that go hiking, field trips, museums, and anything that has to do with exploring nature with your kids. This is a great group as I will not take my son by myself to go hiking as I am paranoid. The meet ups are during the week and some on weekends.
The navigation system comes in handy with the meet ups. You can either use the touch screen navigation before you leave or use the voice activated navigation.
You have two options:
- Enter by address
- Enter by Point of Interest
The best thing is that your navigation is also in front of you at your steering wheel.
Hikes for Kids:
- Monrovia Falls
- Big Dalton Canyon Park
- El Dorado Nature Center
- Marshall Canyon
- Eaton Canyon Falls
- South Hills Trails
- Griffith Park
Other fun places:
- Amy's Farm
- Adventure Playground in Huntington Beach - Summers only
- California Science Center - always FREE
- Big Bear Zoo
- Big Park in Orange County Balloon Ride
- Tanaka Farms
- Olvera Street
- Adventure City
- Columbia Memorial Space Center
- JPL tour - yes they do tours for smaller kids
- Great Wolf Lodge - take advantage of the weekday prices!
- Aquarium of the Pacific
- Reptile Zoo
Let me know if I am missing anything! Thanks Toyota for letting us borrow the awesome Highlander and as they say LET'S GO PLACES!