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Remember those special days in elementary school that happened once or twice a year that you dreamed about? Field Trip Days!! Everyone had to remember to get their permission slip signed by their parents so they could attend. Your mom would pack you a little lunch and send you off on your excursion. The bus was so much cooler because it was taking you on an adventure and away from the school. I think once or twice a year, adults still NEED those field trips. Today, was that day for me!
Recently, I took the course through the Anaheim Visitor & Convention Bureau, to become nationally recognized as a Certified Tourism AmbassadorTM(CTA).
“The Certified Tourism AmbassadorTM(CTA) Program is a ground-breaking, nationwide certification program that serves to increase tourism by training and inspiring front-line hospitality employees and volunteers to work together to turn every visitor encounter into a positive experience. The CTA Program goes well beyond basic customer service training; it gives participants the opportunity to build upon their knowledge of the local region, enhance their skills in serving customers, increase their awareness of information resources and discover the power of tourism!” (www.CTANetwork.com)
Today, a group of 30 CTA’s from all over Orange County, went on a FAM trip to learn more about the amazing county we live in! At 8:30 this morning, we loaded up on a double decker bus, hosted by Southern California Gray Line, to visit some areas that I have never been to before. I actually learned SO much about this bus service. Did you know they offer FREE shuttle service to Sea World AND Knotts Berry Farm? I definitely encourage you to check out some of the great deals on their website, especially if you’re like me and not a fan of driving in traffic. (Unless it is for BASEBALL reasons)
Around 10AM, we arrived at Balboa Fun Zone to set sail on a Harbor Cruise! We took a relaxing 45 minute cruise on the “Showboat,” along lower Newport Bay. This cruise was awesome! It seemed like every other home or yacht we saw belonged to a celebrity! I saw the home that Shirley Temple purchased when she was 12 years old. TWELVE. Apparently, I must be totally slacking in life! Some other homes of the stars included, John Wayne, Buddy Ebsen, “Mrs. Fields,” William Wrigley (gum), and Dean Koontz just to name a few.
I also learned that in the early 1900′s, you could order your home out of a Sears Catalog, which would be delivered by box car and then assembled when it arrived. There are not many of these homes still standing, but you will see one on this cruise! The house was purchased for about $12,000 and now the lot itself would sell for millions! Are you a fan of Gilligan’s Island? Take this cruise to see where the first taping of the shipwreck was filmed.
The Harbor Cruise we took today was $14 for adults, $11 for seniors, and $7 for kids. If you’re looking for a different way to “see the stars,” I highly recommend it. To learn more about this cruise and others, visit them on the web at Balboa Fun Zone!
Next stop of the day, South Coast Plaza! This is without a doubt, the classiest shopping destination I have ever been too! Vacations Magazine said SCP is 1 of the 5 best in North America! If you want to experience a luxury shopping experience with extraordinary designers and personal service, you’ve come to the right place! There are 280 boutiques and luxury retailers including Chanel, Gucci, Rolex, Tiffany & Co., Valentino, and more! It is the Orange County version of Rodeo Drive and collectively, the employees here speak over 40 different languages.
You may have walked through South Coast Plaza and not even noticed the VIP Hospitality Suite called, Access. Walking in this suite, literally blew me away! Access provides guests a place to relax during their shopping experience. (If anyone needs a place to relax here – it is your Credit Card!!) Access is located on Level 2, adjacent to Saks Fifth Avenue. The room is elegantly decorated and features a Sports Lounge and Zen Room. A concierge staff welcomes guests with complimentary champagne, beer, tea, coffee, snacks, and refreshments and attends to personal requests like restaurant and theater reservations. You need a VIP card to get in, but I think if you check with concierge upon arrival, you may get lucky!
Okay, by this point, I was starving! We hopped on our Bus – AWESOME – and headed to The District at Tustin Legacy, where we were invited to enjoy lunch at the Bluewater Grill. I’m not sure if I was more impressed by the food, atmosphere, or staff, but overall, it was a great experience! This would be a great choice for banquets or catering because they can easily accommodate groups of over 100 and the pricing is very reasonable. I will also forever remember the general manager’s name, Chris Rock!
- Hors D’oeuvres
- Pacific Prawns
- Maryland Style Crabcakes
- Ponzu Sashimi Sea Scallops (OMG.. MUST TRY)
- Maine Lobster Bisque
- Simply Grilled Atlantic Salmon
All fueled up and ready for the next stop, Anaheim Farmer’s Market. I have never been before but it was really cool! It is located in Downtown Anaheim at Center Street Promenade and Lemon Street. The market is open every Thursday from 12PM-8PM.
You can shop for items such as farm-fresh produce, bakeries, crafts, or international food. Me… I bought three pairs of shoes at $8 a piece.
Definitely check their website for entertainment schedules because I know they will be having Reggae Festivals every Thursday in July!
Last stop of the day, MUZEO! The MUZEO is also located in Downtown Anaheim and is open daily from 10am-5pm. Every year they host 3 traveling exhibitors and now through September you can see “Frogs: A Chorus of Colors” exhibit.
This exhibit includes over 100 live frogs from around the world! Learn about their evolution, biological importance, various ecosystems and threats they face. It was really fascinating to see so many colorful species!
Admission fees to enter Muzeo are $13 for adults and $9 for children, but it is a totally unique experience!
Whether you are 7, 37, or 92, everyone deserves to go on one or two field trips a year! There is SO much more to do in Orange County then “Disneyland.” This is your backyard… so get out and explore it!