Thursday, July 21, 2016

Splash! Buccaneer Bay: La Mirada
Splash! A pirate guards the entrance.
Last week my family spent a day at Buccaneer Bay in the city of La Mirada's Splash! Aquatic Center. I've heard such great things about Splash! from friends and family we decided to give it a try.

In typical MontebelloMom fashion, here are all the details laid out so you know exactly what to expect when visiting Splash! and tips for making the most of your trip.

Splash! is the city of La Mirada's awesome aquatic center that is comprised of three areas:
  • a very large Olympic sized swimming pool reserved for lessons and competitions
  • a smaller lap play pool
  •  Buccaneer Bay water park.
Splash! admission grants access to Buccaneer Bay and the play pool. The lines for entering the park were a bit confusing so let's save you some time and lay it out for you here as there is little signage directing visitors, and there are three lines.
Line #1 Outside the facility: This line is for anyone that does not have a ticket. If the line is very long you can go online and buy tickets with your smart phone.

Line #2 Splash! Lobby: Regular water park guests can ignore this area and walk right through. 
Line #3 Buccaneer Bay: For everyone with tickets in hand or reserved via phone, this is the line you want. Once out of the lobby, turn left. The entrance is past the food lines and on the right.

At the Buccaneer Bay entrance your bag will be checked (no outside food allowed), and staff members will check kids for the slide height requirements.
LOCKERS: The facility has lockers available for a daily $5 rental fee. Pay for the lockers in the Gift Shop, which is adjacent to the lobby.
The locker "key" is a micro-chipped wristband. You put it on and wave it in front of a control panel on the set of lockers you want. An available locker will pop open.

There are three sets of lockers by Line #3, and more inside the locker rooms. The lockers are pretty big and held my family's three drawstring bags, 5 beach towels, sunscreen and water bottles.

Splash! GIFT SHOP: Besides being the place where you can rent a locker, the gift shop also stocks sunscreen, goggles, swimsuits, swim diapers, and water shoes.

LOCKER ROOMS: I arrived at Splash! around 11:30, and the locker rooms were totally empty. The locker room has private curtained showers, private curtained dressing rooms, stalled toilets, a bench by the lockers, and a diaper changing station. The women's locker room is right across from Line #3, the men's locker room is on the other side of the lobby.

LIFEVESTS: Mandatory for kids under 48". Three sizes are available. Free to use with admission.

MAIN WATER PLAY AREA: There are two water slides for little kids with access via a rope-net course, and the other is stairs. The net side gets the splash from the giant bucket overhead about every minute-and-a-half, so kids have to time their climb correctly, or test their bravery if they chose to enter from that side.
There are valves that kids can spin to control some of the water flow, and I saw many little kids gathering their courage and jumping off the edge into the foot-deep water, or practicing their swimming skills in the deeper sections. 
The depth of this water play area ranges from zero to just about 3 feet over by the lazy river, but on average it's 1foot deep. The zero-depth means that there is one side where the entrance is a gentle slope. A lot of parents are camped out on the free Splash! beach chairs surrounding the main water play area and watched their kids play.

LAZY RIVER: Has four entrances; the main entrance is connected to the main water play area, while the other three are stairwells. The depth is 3'6" throughout and there are some fun water features to pass through. There are single & double tubes available to use at no cost. We visited on a weekday and had no trouble getting a tube.

WATER SLIDES: There are three water slides at Buccaneer Bay all of which are accessed by one set of stairs. Riders can chose from the yellow slide which offers the longest ride, the green slide which is all enclosed and not very fast, or the steep blue slide that shoots riders out in a few seconds. My kids rode all three slides, and each time the lines were about 10 minutes long.

TODDLER WATER PLAY AREA: Specifically designed for little ones, this splash pad has a tiny slide, and water play tables with toys.

PLAY POOL:  This area is right outside of Line #2, and separated by a gate from Buccaneer Bay, but is included with Splash! admission. The pool is divided into two sections: the shallow end at 4 feet deep, and the deep end at 6 feet 7 inches. Kids are required to take a swim test to access the deep end. 
This shaded area surrounds the play pool. There were families with coolers set up in this area, which makes it a great area where families with outside food can rest and eat.

ADULT SPA: A fenced in area open to adults 18 years old and older only. There are a few loungers and beach chairs inside. The spa was the least crowded area in all of Splash!


SPLASH! FOOD:  There are two places to buy food at Splash! Above is Captain Jack's Grille where meals are served, and below is Pirate's Treasure for quick snack items. A full Splash! menu is available here. Only Splash! food can be taken into the Buccaneer Bay gated area.

The website says picnic areas are located outside of the facility, and I think this means the seating area around the Play Pool. Families that want to bring their own food can store it in a locker, or their car and eat outside the gates of Buccaneer Bay.


One thing I noticed about Splash! is that everyone was happy and having fun. I highly recommend purchasing tickets online and heading directly to Line #3. Arrive before the water park opens to claim a table and chairs, or if they are all taken there is a wide grassy slope that surrounds about half of Buccaneer Bay where families can lay blankets and towels.
I think a day at Splash! Buccaneer Bay would be great for all families, but families with toddlers through early teens would have an especially good time.
13806 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada, CA 90638

Open Daily through August 19, 10:30am-5:30pm
Open Weekends from 8/20-9/25
Open Saturdays 10/1, 10/8, & 10/15
General Admission (over 48") $19.95
Junior Admission (under 48") or Seniors $14.95
Monday-Thursday Twilight Swim (3pm-5:30pm) $9.95
Family Friday Nights (3pm-8pm) $14.95

 A special thanks to Splash! for providing my family with complimentary tickets for review purposes.
Although tickets were provided, all opinions and images are my own. 


East L.A. Library Events

4837 E. 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90022
(323) 264-0155
Monday-Thursday, 10am-9pm
Friday 9am-5pm
Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday 1pm-5pm
All event descriptions in italics are transcribed directly from the L.A. County Library website.
All Star Family Story Time
Thursday, July 21, 2pm-3pm
Join us for our summer session of stories, rhymes, music, games and art activities! For children of all ages and their caregivers. Parents: Please be aware that food may be served at this program. A list of ingredients will be available. 

Unplugged Teen Gaming
Friday, July 22, 1pm-3pm
Friday, August 26, 1pm-3pm
Play new and classic games with friends! The 4th Friday of every month!

Teen Volunteer Board
Tuesday, July 26, 5:30pm-6:30pm
Tuesday, August 9, 3pm-4pm
Wednesday, August 24, 5:30pm-6:30pm
Teens! Get involved at the library! Help plan future programs for teens at the library and work on special projects. Teens earn service hours for attending meetings! Light Refreshments will be served, a list of ingredients will be available. ***Pro-Tip: Have a book recommendation ready to share with the group***

Harry Potter's Birthday
Saturday, July 30, 1pm-3pm
Celebrate the birthday of the most famous literary wizarding character of our time! Dress up à la Harry Potter and join in the costume contest or just come for the games, art, and food! Ages 12-17.
Note to Parents: A list of ingredients will be available at the program.

Fresh Fruit Carving Demonstration
Tuesday, August 9, 6pm-7pm
Learn simple techniques on how to carve and decorate with fresh fruit.  Then enjoy a a delicious and healthy summer snack! Fruit tasting while supplies last.

Spoken Word Workshop for Teens
Thursday, August 11, 6pm-7pm
Thursday, September 8, 6pm-7pm
Dare to express yourself! Join us for a series of writer's workshops where you will learn and practice poetry through spoken word and writing. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn key presentation techniques. This program is for Teens, ages 12- 17 years old.

Music & Dance of Peru
Saturday, August 13, 2pm-3pm
INCA, the Peruvian Ensemble, will present a wonderful and colorful array of music and dances from Peru and the Andean region, including music and dances from the native Incas (Andean style), from the Hispanic communities of the coastal areas (Criollo style) and the people of African descent from the villages south of Lima (Afro-Peruvian style). The instrumentation, unique to these areas, woodwinds, strings, percussion and vocals will be featured.

Clothespin Frames for Teens
Thursday, August 18, 6pm-7pm
Make a fun photo frame to hold your pictures and mementos! Light refreshments will be served.
Ages 12-17. Parents: Please note that refreshments will be served. A list of ingredients will be available at the program.


Events at Montebello Library

1550 W. Beverly Blvd., Montebello, CA 90640
(323) 722-6551
Monday-Tuesday, 10am-8pm
Wednesday-Thursday, 10am-6pm
Friday-Saturday, 10am-5pm

All event descriptions in italics are transcribed directly from the L.A. County Library website.

Science Workshop: Airplane Project
Saturday, July 23, 2pm-3pm
A hands-on airplane project with engineer Swapna Kulkarni.
For ages 5 & up.  Sign-ups required.

Tuesday, July 26, 3pm-4pm
Decorate note cards in a fun retro style.

Dance & Drum Around the World
Tuesday, July 26, 4pm-5pm

Join Chazz & Teresa in a great celebration of world music.  Dance around the world and join an African drum circle.  A fun, high energy children's show that the whole family will enjoy! Includes lots of audience participation!

Toddler Story Time
Wednesday, July 27, 10:30am-11:30am
Wednesday, August 3, 10:30am-11:30am
Wednesday, August 10, 10:30am-11:30am
Wednesday, August 17, 10:30am-11:30am
Join us for stories, rhymes, and music, followed by art and play time. For ages 1 -3 years.

Live Music Concert: De'Anza
Saturday, July 30, 2pm-4pm
Enjoy the music of De'Anza as she blends tradional mariachi and modern sounds to create an eclectic mix of music that crosses borders and boundaries.

Craig Newton Half-Time Music Show
Tuesday, August 9, 4pm-5pm
Enjoy songs from marching bands to rock & roll at Craig's special Half-time Music show.
Musician Craig Newton brings a wide variety of instruments and encourages audience participation.  Join us for a fun, educational program the whole family will enjoy.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Why "Don't be Afraid" is the Wrong Thing to Say

Several kids are in line behind the high dive ladder, all hopping from foot to foot to minimize the burn from the hot cement. At the top of the ladder is a 6-year-old kid biting his nails on one hand and clutching the hand rail with the other.
The lifeguards in the water, and his parents in the bleachers all shout up to the child, "Don't be afraid!"

Why do we say that? When someone tells you, "C'mon don't be mad," does your anger suddenly turn off? No, of course not! We all feel what we feel, and we have emotions for a reason.

Instead of dismissing your child's feelings when facing a new task validate the fear and say, "It's okay to be afraid, but don't let it stop you!"

Depending on the child's age and mental capacity you can give more of an explanation, share your own experiences, or try to diffuse their fear with a bit of humor.

It may also help to prepare your child in advance. Give them as much information about what they will be going through as possible, but also let them know not everything always goes as planned.

Regardless of the experience, your child needs you are there to support them. They need to know it's okay to be afraid, but they also need to have courage, and being courageous means doing something even when it's scary. Encourage your child to take chances, because they are much too young to have regrets.

1. A super-tall rock wall. 2. Riding a horse for the first time. 3. Meeting the cast of Wicked. 4. The tall slide at the fair.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

LA County Museum of Art: Free Family Sunday Events!

Most Sundays 12:30 - 3:30

Free hands-on art activities for families most every Sunday at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art!

Families can visit three art stations at their leisure and use a variety of supplies to create their own works of art. Each month features a new theme so be sure to visit at least once a month. I love taking my kids to this event because the art supplies are exactly what a real artist would use and some of the station assistants are real artists!
Visit the NexGen booth and all children 17 and under children can sign up for a free LACMA Membership. The child will get a lanyard and membership card on the spot which serves as a ticket for the child and one adult to visit the museum anytime for free!

This event is outdoors. Dress comfortably, you may have to kneel or sit on the grass or in the sun at some point. Try to arrive early, the stations tend to run out of the more popular crafts in the last hour. Every month features a different theme, so try to visit at least once a month.

LACMA parking is $14, or you can try your luck at finding metered or free street parking.

The NEXGEN booth.
Look for a canopy with these happy people when you visit LACMA for the family art day.
They will issue free NEXGEN passes to your children and give you passes that allow for access to the museum.

After making having fun at Andell Family Art Sunday, visit the LACMA exhibits!

Metropolis II, a moving kinetic sculpture involving hundreds of hot wheel type cars.

Walk under and around Levitated Mass.

Walk through the yellow tubing of the Penetrable exhibit.
Create your own work of art in the Boone Children's Gallery.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Orange County Fair: Costa Mesa, 7/15-8/14

I love taking my family to the O.C. Fair! I grew up only going to the fair in Pomona, but once I heard about the Orange County Fair, I gave it a try, and it's awesome!

It's about a third of the size of the L.A. County Fair which means parking is closer & the kids don't get as tired. The O.C. Fair also offers lots of promotions for free rides and admission, making it so affordable  & fun it's well worth the trip to Costa Mesa!

OC Fair guests can cool off in a large ground level fountain.
Friday, July 15: Opening Day. Free Admission & Free Parking from Noon - 1pm.
Active & Retired Military w/ ID: Free fair admission & up to six half price tickets per admission.

Read & Ride Program: Kids ages 5-11 can read 2 books, fill in a form, and get 3 free carnival rides! Parents must download the form and have their children fill it out prior to visiting the fair.

 We Care Wednesdays:
  • Wednesday, July 20:  Food Drive.  Donate five cans of food for free fair admission and a free carnival ride. Noon-3pm.
  • Wednesday, July 27: Children's Book Drive. Donate one new children's book or three gently used children's book and receive free fair admission and a free carnival ride. Noon-3pm.
  • Wednesday, August 3: Clothing Drive. Donate five gently used clothing items for free fair admission and a free carnival ride.
  • Wednesday, August 10: School Supply Drive. Donate new school supply items valued at $5 or more in exchange for free fair admission and a free carnival ride. Accepted items: pens, pencils, crayons, notebooks, notebook paper and school backpacks. Receipt Required. Noon-3pm.
Thursdays: Kids 12 and under get into the fair for FREE!

Wednesdays & Thursdays: Unlimited ride wristband + 2 games for $30.

Fridays: $2 Rides & $2 Games from Noon-4pm. Seniors get $2 admission & free merry-go-round & ferris wheel rides all day.
Saturdays & Sundays: $3 admission from 10am-11am. Free off-site parking with shuttle service.

General (13-59) $12, Seniors (60+) $7, Youth (6-12) $7, Children under 5 are free. Fair parking is $10, cash only. The Fair is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Orange County Fair
88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

TIPS for Visiting the OC FAIR
  1. If the Fair Drive exit off the 55 South is congested, take the following exit at 22nd Street. Make a right at the signal then follow the signs leading to the fair gates.
  2. The fair grounds are 4 miles from the ocean. When the sun sets it gets downright chilly. My husband and I felt okay, but 71 degrees for a toddler is cold. Bring sweaters if you plan to stay the evening.
  3. Ride tickets are 50 cents each at the fair. There is no quantity discount. Rides require 6-12 tickets. For your convenience there are strolling vendors wearing flags in the ride area selling tickets.
  4. Kiddie rides have a 36" height requirement and some ride don't allow kids to ride alone unless they are 42" tall.
  5. Combine any of the promotions above and save big at the OC Fair.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Thank You Thursdays: Shops at Montebello

To celebrate its loyal shoppers and the Montebello community, The Shops at Montebello is hosting “Thank You Thursdays” this summer on July 14, 21, and 28.
Beginning at 6 PM in Center Court, on July 14, 21 and 28, the first 100 shoppers will receive swag bags full of gift cards and other fun surprises and discount coupons provided by center retailers, including Claire's, Papaya, Fanzz, The Disney Store, Steve Madden, Forever XXI, Starbucks, Express and Gap. Additionally, each week one lucky gift bag will have a $100 Old Navy gift card.
For more information, visit The Shops at Montebello on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at, or

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

MontebelloMom Gives Pokemon Go a go

I downloaded the Pokemon Go! to my phone yesterday, and I've got to say the app gives a whole new purpose to summer vacation.

The app is free to download and offers in-app purchases at the PokeShop, but purchases are not necessary to play and the game is free of pop-up ads.

I really like the game, it's similar to finding real-life hidden Geocaches with GPS, but a lot easier. To play the game simply open the app on your phone and walk. You can walk anywhere, but it's best to be in a public place, like a park or mall. As you walk poke-things will pop up on the screen for you to gather.

Looking back I wish I had all my kids around me when I first opened the app, because playing the game is a family affair and the background story, choosing an avatar, and name are only available at the initial opening of the app.

Pokemon on th
After googling, "How to Play Pokemon Go!" I came across this Pokemon 101 article that was very helpful in learning how to catch the pokemon and get more poke-stuff.

If you are worried about your children becoming obsessed with the game you can use the game as a reward to be earned. Know that kids should not venture out on their own, parental supervision is required since the game requires walking over great distances.

Right now I'm off to the mall with my kids. We have to walk 5km before one of our poke-eggs will hatch.

When you get close to a local landmark spin the image to collect poke-supplies.