Original article at www.gonomad.com
These destinations make great, unique alternatives to your typical trip to California
Heading to California? Tired of Disney, Hollywood and Knott’s Berry Farm? The following are ten brand new attractions that have opened up in the state as of 2013. If you are looking for something more than the glamor (and politics) of movie sets, celebrities and roadside attractions give any of these alternative activities a shot. You may see California in an entirely different light.
Fun for all ages
Lands End Lookout
This helpful spot is the visitor center of Northwestern San Francisco. As the name implies it offers a great view of the town as well as lovely nature trails like the Coastal Trail along the edge of the city and grassy picnic parks.
If you get the chance to explore these natural settings see what the Sutro Baths ruins are all about. There is also a garden adjacent to the ruins part of the Sutro Historic District. By stopping at the center and traveling through the some of the guided landscape (take the Palace of the Legion of Honor, for instance) visitors get to learn about the natural and cultural history of San Francisco. Other sites include El Camino Del Mar Trail, USS San Francisco Memorial (a World War II cruiser used in the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942) and the West Fort Miley.
Once a parking lot this restored ecosystem is now home to many gardens, plant sanctuaries, rolling hills and fun paths to explore this vast park located in Santa Monica. Discovery Hill is a playground and learning center for kids to “discover” preserved and maintained exotic plants and rare flowers. This section also boasts more trees than any other part of Tongva Park.
Live performances such as concerts and speeches are often held here usually at the Kenser Grove Square. This beautiful and very large park is free and open to the public from 6a to11p. Dogs are welcome and encouraged. Many benches line the paths for a nice break and the park is not without public restrooms in discrete areas to maintain the natural beauty of Tongva.
Attractions for Kids
Monterey Mirror Mazes and Lazer Challenge
Found in Cannery Row this kid friendly pit stop is basically a psychedelic house of mirrors. They offer a “Lazer Challenge” to speed through the mirrors without blocking any laser beams set up through out the hall. During the Halloween season Monterey Mirrors presents a haunted mirror house to keep things interesting.
The company provides a “team building” package where customers can help tailor their own event with applicable trophies and strategically chosen groups or teams. The Mirror house is also marketed as a great facility for kids’ birthday parties. This could be a nice alternative to birthdays at Chuck E. Cheese or a skating rink (or the bowling alley if you come from a very small town like I do.)
Highway 1 Golf, Games and Grub Center
In league with the Monterey house of Mirrors Highway 1 is a glow in the dark miniature golf course. Options include 3D glasses, more team building packages, and an arcade to win prizes. The food served here, geared more to kids, is the equivalent of concession food or a state fair.
Hot dogs, French fries, fountain drinks, and sizable fried pastries are the commonplace menu items (my parents would feel right at home with all that food reminiscent of quaint Southern carnivals.) Like its sister attraction Highway 1 is also accommodating for children’s birthday parties.