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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Spring Cleaning

So, it’s spring. The perfect (and somewhat cliche) time to clean up the house. Spruce it up, declutter, get the screens into the windows- you know, the whole jam. It needs to happen- spring is a good a time as any! Get all that winter “ew” out of the house, too.


There’s never a bad time to clear the clutter out of your home or garage or to do a wardrobe purge. When you donate your stuff to Goodwill, the revenue from the sale of your donations helps fund job training and placement opportunities for people with disabilities and disadvantages directly in your community. That’s cleaning with a purpose.

Have you heard of the the “Donate Stuff. Create Jobs.” campaign? Thanks to the programs and support services made possible by donations of clothes and household items, more than 261,000 people earned jobs in 2013 – that’s one person finding a job every 27 seconds of every business day. So you’re literally donating your stuff AND helping to create jobs.
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Got Bugs? We’ve Got Solutions at the #BackyardBiteback Twitter Party

mrdad - Dynatrap-Twitter-Party_BackyardBiteBack

mrdad - Dynatrap-Twitter-Party_BackyardBiteBack

I love summer, the sports, the time outside, the opportunity fo leave the windows open all day long, and those warm evenings that seem to go on for hours and hours. But I’m not alone. Billions of bugs take advantage of those same things–especialy those open windows–to feast on the blood of the unsuspecting–and unprotected–humans who live in my house.

In most places, window screens do a great job of keeping bugs and thier victims separated. But, as (bad) luck would have it, the people who built my condo complex didn’t install screens. And since the windows are all custom sizes, it would cost about $1500 to have them made. That seemed like overkill (although when it comes to mosquitos, there’s no such thing as overkill).

So to solve this annoying problem, I’m partnering with @BabyCostcutters and @Dynatrap, makers of pesticide-free and environmentally friendly insect traps. On June 14, we are having a fun “Backyard Battle” Twitter party between @BabyCostcutters and @MrDad to see who rules the backyard and to encourage bug-free time spent outdoors. We will discuss what makes a great backyard bash and and how to prevent bugs from crashing the party–even if you happen to be inside.

RSVP to the Twitter Party here.

Life Goals: Major Milestones to Hit by Age 30

Are you approaching the big 3-0? For many people, hitting this adult milestone is a major deal that causes them to pause and ponder their life, past, present – and future. If you are in your late 20’s and have been wondering what life goals you should strive for, here are some achievements you may want to consider.

  • Live independently. If you still live with your parents, now is the time to seriously consider moving out on your own. If an unexpected financial setback has caused you to return home, create an exit plan. Finish your degree, get a job and get out on your own.
  • Establish your credit. While we’re talking about money, it’s important to build your credit. If you haven’t looked at your credit score, take a look at it now. Ignoring it will not make it get better, so pay your bills on time and don’t max out your credit cards.

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Redefine Your Retirement With These Unique Hobbies

Today’s seniors are embracing their retirement like never before – with gusto and imagination. If you’re retired, or nearing retirement, redefine your retirement by focusing on activities that bring out your unique inner qualities. The following is a list of post-retirement hobbies that will have you experiencing life like never before…

Whether you’re visiting distant relatives or planning a trip to Europe, it’s how you get there that supersizes your retirement. Anyone can purchase plane tickets or go on a cruise, but the truly unique find alternative routes.

Imagine touching down in your childhood home at the helm of your own small airplane. It’s not difficult to garner a pilot’s license, and you’ll have all the years of your retirement to fly anywhere you like. Plus, you’ll look chic sporting a pair of aviators and an aviation headset, among the other pilot supplies you’ll need to get you where you’re going.

If soaring through the clouds isn’t your thing, there’s still plenty of interesting travel opportunities on the ground. For domestic travel, a motor home is an excellent way to see the country and still wake up in your own bed. Alternatively, you could fly or sail to a foreign nation and experience backpacking, camping, and more.

“I’m finally going to create my masterpiece,” said nearly every retired person ever…But, how many of them actually moved forward and completed their novels, paintings, or productions? Don’t get caught up in saying you’ll do something. Retirement is a time to actually create something; assuming that creation is your thing.

If you’re a writer, why not start a blog? You can’t write a novel in a single day, but you can create a blog in less than an hour. If you’d like to begin painting, but don’t know where to start, there are classes and YouTube instructional videos for every class of artist. Go there, and Do. Other creative pursuits include:

  • Interior design
  • Landscaping
  • Sculpting
  • Woodworking
  • Restoring vintage cars, boats and planes

In order to live the fullest life, you’re going to want to stay healthy. Diet and exercise are crucial during this stage of life, but diet and exercise can be monotonous. In order to keep your retirement fun, don’t spend your early mornings walking around the mall.

Instead, learn a new sport, and then join a sports or fitness team. Swim with sharks! Go scuba diving! Kitesurf! Fitness can be fun, and it doesn’t have to be stressful. If you’re looking to get moving closer to home, why not try geocashing? It’s fun, local, and a great way to connect with your inner explorer.

There’s this stigma that retired people are unexciting, and often lead slow, lonely lives. Grandma has her knitting needles, and grandpa has baseball on the television – the kids sometimes visit on the weekends…These are the stigmas of old. This biggest myth of retirement is that it’s lonely and boring. Though depression is a reality for all age groups, retirement can be just as exciting as college–seriously. You can socialize, and it doesn’t have to be over a game of shuffleboard on a cruise for seniors (although that does sound interesting).

In your supercharged retirement, you can socialize in new and exciting ways. If you miss the popularity of your formative years, go ahead and throw an epic house party. If that sounds a bit too loud for your tastes, why not take a cooking class, try speed dating, download Tinder, or put yourself out there in a way you always dreamed, such as joining a performing arts troupe?

Live the life you dream, and be as adventurous, socially and otherwise, as you want!

Set a Good Example by Staying Stylish

A post from our regular contributor, Jane Brown

When I was a kid, my dad wore thick white socks with sandals. He pulled those socks halfway up his calves, and they stayed there, whether he was coming out to watch my Little League game or posing with my mom and my sister and me in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland. 

The socks and sandals combination was only one of my dad’s many sartorial flaws; he, like many men, was a great dad but a man who had never really figured out fashion. That means that as I grew up, I didn’t either. I still remember one of my first job interviews, in college: I wore a “Dad-approved” combo of pleated khaki pants, a baggy polo shirt, black sneakers, and those ubiquitous white socks.

It took me a long time — and a lot of help — to learn how to wear stylish clothing, how to buy clothing that fit my body type, and how to match the right socks with the right shoes. But this is important to me, and it’s actually part of my parenting philosophy.

My dad never looked stylish. His clothing never fit right. And yes, both of his kids noticed. I knew that some of the other kids’ dads looked better than mine, and I saw how that filtered down. I remember, in my first jobs after college, looking at some of my entry-level peers and noticing that their suits fit differently than mine did; that they were wearing different ties and different shoes altogether. Did they grow up with a dad who wore white socks with sandals? Probably not.

So now that I’m a parent, I want to make sure that I always look stylish and set a good example for my kids. Appearance is important; it helps you get everything from better jobs to that all-important first date. I want my son and my daughter both to understand how to choose clothing that fits, no matter what your budget is, and how to take pride in your appearance.

Here are a few tips for other dads hoping to do the same:

1. Choose high-quality materials

Is it better to have a drawer full of cheap ties, or a handful of high-quality ties? The age-old question.The answer is simple: always choose quality over quantity. Investing in quality silk ties for men is one of the best ways to add a sense of style to your look, and you only need a few good ties to make all of your suits look great.

2. Fit is everything

We’ve all seen the men who wear khaki shorts that billow out like tents around their legs; the men who wear jeans that bunch and sag around the rear; the men who wear suit jackets that form boxy rectangles around their body.

Learn how clothing should fit. For example: jeans should fit closely to the rear without being too tight, then fall straight down the thigh and leg. Suits are more complicated; start with this Esquire guide and learn the seven different ways that your suit should fit. Chances are, none of your current suits fit correctly.

3. Avoid looking like an unmade bed

Leave the house in wrinkled or stained clothes, or in old T-shirts with holes under the arms, and your kids will think it’s okay to do the same. (And later, when they’re teenagers, they will avoid being seen with you.) No matter what you wear, it’s your job to make sure that it is clean, wrinkle-free, and in good condition. This philosophy also passes down to your children: if you fold and iron your clothes, they’ll learn how to fold and iron theirs.

If you stay stylish, you’ll teach your children many important lessons about taking care of their clothing and appearance. Don’t be the dad in the thick white socks. Learn how to dress, and make dressing well one of your family values.