For Kids of All Ages: Visiting the World Famous San Diego Zoo

A guest post from Fiona Moriarty

 

To get the most out your visit to a world famous attraction like the San Diego Zoo, you need to plan ahead and put together a must-see list.

To help you enjoy a fantastic, action-packed day at this iconic zoo, here is a look at what’s available and how to see as many of the attractions as possible.

 

Save Money before You Get There

There are a number of approaches that could help you land your zoo tickets at less than full price.

Once you have found your ideal San Diego hotel through a website line Hipmunk, check with the hotel to see whether they can get you discounted tickets, which you can then pick up after you have checked in.

You might also be able to save by taking advantage of one of the bundle deals available through the zoo’s website. There are also a number of online resources that maintain lists of available discounts and offers. And if you plan to go in October, San Diego Zoo has been offering free entry to kids aged between 3-11 years, as long as they are with a paying adult.

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Coming to a Screen—and Living Room—Near You

This summer, there are so many kid-friendly movies and TV shows out there that you’ll undoubtedly be spending lots of time in theaters. And there are even more movie-themed toys so you can keep the fun going when you’re away from a screen. Here’s some of what’s hot right now.

avengers hulk gloveAvengers
With several superhero movies still in theaters and more to come (Ant Man, for example), there’s no shortage of Marvel characters for you and the kids to “become.” The new Marvel Avengers Age of Ultron line lets you dress up as Hulk, Thor, Captain America, or Iron Man. Gear includes masks (which typically have large eye holes and are big enough for most kids), gloves, and other accessories (one of the Iron Man Arc FX Armor gloves lights up just like the “real” Iron man’s). Unfortunately, there are no Black Widow costumes, which makes it harder to get girls interested in superheroes. Not to worry, ladies, your day is coming soon… In the meantime, the male characters are still a blast. You’ll find everything you could ever want in the aisles of Toys R Us and Target.

paddington plusPaddington Bear
Whether your family are long-time fans or just discovered Paddington thanks to the new movie, your little ones will want a Paddington of their own to snuggle up with.  YoTToy makes an absolutely adorable plush  who comes in several styles and sizes; one even has his own suitcase and marmalade sandwich.  You grab the book, the kids grab their stuffies, and everyone settles in for a nice, long story.  Available at http://www.yottoy.com/home.html or stores like Barnes & Noble.

 

 

sonic hedgehogSonic the Hedgehog
The first generation of Sonic came out when you were a kid, but he’s back with a new TV show (“Sonic Boom”) and a video game of the same name, so your kids can fall in love with him as well.  To get your off-screen hedgehog fix, check out the new Sonic the Hedgehog Tails Plane ($29.99), which comes with a moving propeller, flashing headlights, engine sounds, and an ejector seat to send Tails to safety. It also comes with a Tails figure and the required batteries (which last a really long time). And don’t forget abot the cute Sonic the Hedgehog Interactive Chili Dog Plush ($29.99).  Sonic’s favorite food is chili dogs (you knew that, right?), and he needs to have one with him at all times. This 15″ Sonic the Hedgehog Plush says 10 different phrases and operates in three different modes: talk, run with me, and chili dog. When you (the parent) need a break, you can turn the sound off. Whew.

jurassic legoDinosaurs and All Things Jurassic
If your child is a builder and likes dinosaurs, he or she will love the new Jurassic World LEGOs. Kids can recreate scenes from the new movie or, if they aren’t old enough to be obsessed (yet—but it’ll happen soon), they can always just use their (gasp) imagination. Raptor Rampage is one of our favorite sets, and comes with three mini-figs, two raptors, vehicles, tons of accessories, and more ($50).  Pteranodon Capture is the least expensive set, and comes with helicopter, dinosaur, two mini-figs, and more ($20). http://shop.lego.com

lionel dinosaur dieselWhile it’s not specific to Jurassic World, Lionel’s Dinosaur Diesel Set is a wonderful way to support your child’s dino habit and spark—or deepen—an interest in trains. These ready-to run set comes with a locomotive, LionChief remote, freight cars, a caboose, several colorful dino eggs, dino figures, enough track for a 40”x40” circle, and a power supply. Available everywhere; prices vary widely.

Military Family Friday – Changing Roles after Deployment + Acing Your Performance Review

jacke with medals

Photo credit: Daniel Bendjy/Getty Images

Photo credit: Daniel Bendjy/Getty Images

When mom or dad comes home from a deployment, everything changes. In some cases, families adapt to their role reassignment relatively easily, while for others it can be a little—or a lot—more challenging. Depending on the couple and family dynamic when the soldier deployed, a number of issues may come up when you or a loved one returns. Striking a balance, avoiding power struggles, and learning how to relinquish some of the responsibility can be quite difficult on the military spouse, regardless of gender.
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jacke with medals

Photo credit: Brad Wilson/Getty Images

Each service has its own system for assessing which servicemembers deserve to be promoted and remain in the service. Those who score below average could potentially be involuntarily separated.
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Bumps and Bruises are Normal

Infant Karenni Boy by joeymarasek/via Flickr

Infant Karenni Boy by joeymarasek/via Flickr

Infant Karenni Boy by joeymarasek/via Flickr

Dear Mr. Dad: I’ve got a six-month-old son who doesn’t sleep very well. As part of my calming-him-down-in-the-middle-of-the-night routine, I walk around the house rocking him. A few nights ago, I lay down on the couch with him on my chest. He fell asleep and I didn’t want to wake him by standing up so I fell asleep too. Maybe an hour later I was jolted awake by a thump and crying and I realized that my baby had rolled off of me and had landed on the floor. I picked him up right away and he stopped crying after about 10 minutes. I called our doctor and the advice nurse asked me a bunch of questions and decided that there was no need to come in. That was reassuring and my son is his usual cheerful self. But I still feel like I’ve failed as a dad for being so careless in the first place. Do you think I’ve done any permanent damage to my child?

A: If your doctor didn’t have you come into the office and your son is behaving normally, chances are very slim that he’ll have any long-term effects. I can’t say the same about you. If you were to ask everyone you know who has children whether they’ve ever hand a similar experience, you’ll hear dozens of stories about falls, head-bumps, black eyes, stitches, and broken bones. Babies fall a lot and bumps and bruises are normal. So try to stop torturing yourself. You’re not a bad father—just a human one who’ll be a lot more careful in the future.

That said, I understand your residual fear. When my oldest daughter was about your son’s age, I walked through a doorway with her riding on my shoulders and she smacked her head on the top of the door frame. Our pediatrician reassured me that everything was okay. That didn’t quite do it for me, though. In fact, it wasn’t until she got an A on her AP calculus final that I finally stopped worrying that I’d caused brain damage.
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Solving Your Child’s Allergies, Asthma, Food Sensitivities, and Related Problems

Robert Sears, coauthor of The Allergy Book.
Topic:
Solving your child’s allergies, asthma, food sensitivities, and related problems.
Issues: Allergy testing; nasal allergies and the asthma connection; wheat and gluten sensitivity; the importance of probiotics in a healthy immune system; preventing allergies before they happen.