Aug 21, 2012

Ostrichland & Solvang

Need a pit stop for your kids if you are heading towards Santa Barbara or San Francisco?? then Ostrichland USA in Solvang, CA is your best bet.

A herd of ostriches.


On the right, you will see a vast open area with these birds almost as tall as the trees. It was a nice break from our long drive onwards to Santa Barbara. The entrance is via the gift shop. You will be able to have some fun seeing the ostriches up close, feeding them, and viewing the emus. For an additional amount, you can purchase a tray to feed the birds. 

Feeding the birds

The birds are large and greedy to finish the food from the tray. The ostriches are great to introduce to kids and to spend some time before heading to Solvang.

How much do you know about Ostriches??

These are some facts taken from the Kids National Geographic Website.

1. It is the tallest and the heaviest of all birds.
2. An ostrich stands up to 9 feet and can weigh as much as 350 pounds
3. One ostrich egg is about as big as 24 chicken eggs. An average ostrich egg is six inches (15 centimeters) long, five inches (13 centimeters) wide, and weighs about three pounds (1.5 kilograms).
4. While the huge ostrich is a bird—with wings and feathers—it does not fly. Instead it runs.
5. It has long, strong legs. One stride can cover up to 16 feet (4.9 meters)—about the length of a mid-size family car! The bird is speedy, too. It can run just over 40 miles (64 kilometers) an hour for a short distance, and can keep up a speed of more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) an hour over longer distances.


@ Ostrichland USA

Click here for more information OstrichLand USA

Nearby places to visit are Solvang, Santa Barbara, Malibu and a few hours away Los Angeles. More on Solvang below..



About 10 minutes away is a small Danish community that is famous for its Danish cookies, sweets, windmills and very pretty town with streets featuring Danish styled architecture. Within a couple of hours you would be able to complete a walking tour of downtown, down a steaming cup of coffee on a cool evening with some delicious Danish cookies. Enjoy a ride on a street car pulled by 4 charming horses.

This year in September 2012 the Annual Danish days will be held from September 14-16. Mark your calendars! Click here for more details. A great website to refer for wine tasting and for a walking tour is available. Click here to access it.




San Francisco

Are you planning a weekend trip to San Francisco soon? Its a challenge when you have little time and so many places to see on your list. Sounds familiar? Well we always land in this situation. So without any further ado, here are some of the best that you can plan in a short time.

Golden Gate view looking north from the visitor centre


1. GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE:

A walk on the bridge is what will make you appreciate the bridge even more than the views. 1.7 miles each way. From the visitor centre you can take pictures with the span and of the SFO skyline in the backdrop. Parking is limited here and coin operated. Just a few feet away towards Crissy Field, there is a parking lot, usually full but if you wait for sometime you can get free parking.

You will also get sweeping views from Battery Spencer on Conzelman Road \ Kirby cove road.


Walking on the bridge is a wonderful experience.

View of the length
Crissy field, view from the bridge


View from BATTERY SPENCER

2.) PIER 39:

Pier 39 has so much of energy anytime you go there. You will be one amongst thousands walking along. Parking is available at many places and is the most convenient way to see the area. The most convenient parking garage is at 2350 Stockton Street ( located between Beach ad North Point )
There is another beside Joe's Crab shack ( approx 30 for the maximum # of hours )
Photo Opportunity: Take a pic with the humongous crab in front of Pier 39. The Fisherman's Wharf sign board is at Jefferson and Taylor Street.


Fisherman's Wharf sign board 

At Pier 39, you can enjoy the aromas of fresh sourdough bread at Boudin San Francisco and the making of fresh bread in different shapes!.  

A large crocodile shaped bread on display
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3.)  Crooked Street:

Known for its narrow and the most crooked road in San Francisco yet another attraction. This is located on Lombard Street between Hyde and Leavenworth Sts. The road climbing up Lombard Street is tough. If you are a first time, look back when climbing. Its not for those who are afraid of heights and for the giddy headed. It is definitely a very steep climb up. There are many stop signs on the way up. So be cautious as stopping on a steep hill with cars behind you can be cumbersome. The views are worth it once you are on top. You can also make a stop by taking a cable car.

View of Crooked Street

3.) PAINTED LADIES \ Postcard Row:

If you are a " FULL HOUSE " sitcom fan, then you should not miss this place. Painted Ladies is a row of Victorian houses that has featured in many panoramic pictures and in the opening sequence of Full House. It is located in between Grove and Hayes St on Steiner St.

Painted Ladies with SFO skyline at sunset.

4.) CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES:

Located at 55 Music Concourse Drive Golden Gate Park, it is one of a kind in San Francisco. Located beneath a Living roof ! Click here for more details. It has an Aquarium, a Planetarium, Rain forest, Museum and Living animals all under one roof.
The Planetarium Show is a highly recommended show and it is advisable to go early to get free show pass as they are available on a first come first serve basis. Children below 3 are not allowed and ages 6 and not recommended. No cameras or videos are allowed inside the theatre. It is a MUST SEE, but plan for a full day. 

5.) CONSERVATORY OF FLOWERS:
This is a great places to bring out the botanist in you. Rare flowers, plants and endangered species are seen here. Allow 1-2 hours viewing here. Strollers, food and drink are not permitted inside.  There is an area where strollers can be parked. 

Orchids

Orchids


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