4/17/19

Universal Studios Hollywood is a great place to spend your staycation.

We participated in a Staycation this Spring Break. It was so easy and relaxing. It all started one perfect Sunday at 8:00 AM. We drove to Universal Studios Hollywood, about an hour away from our home. The kids had never visited before and they were curiously excited to get on the rides. The minute we arrived and parked the car, it was clear, we would have lots of fun. We could see and feel the excitement of season pass-holders as we watched them running to the front entrance. Once we got inside the park, we immediately headed toward the Kung Fu Panda Adventure ride.  Continue to read this post to find how to get discounts on Universal Studios Hollywood admission prices.
The kids were excited when we used our upgraded Express Pass to enter the Kung Fu Panda multi-sensory attraction. It was our first time visiting Universal Studios and using express passes therefore we did not know what to expect. Quickly, we realized that EXPRESS was the way to go. 
This benefit is well worth the additional ticket price as we were able to save time in line allowing us to enjoy more of the theme park in less time. We highly recommend your family upgrade your ticket(s) to include the Universal Express Ticket. 
The ride invites you into a waiting area where Poe and all of his Kung Fu friends entertain you on screens above the main theater entrance. When we entered into the main theater, sat down and started the ride, we got a case of the giggles. The ride hit our funny bones as our seats swished and swayed along with the movie on the screen. The motion made it feel as though we were on a raft riding over waterfalls and fast moving river rapids. Water droplets sprayed us from the ceiling as Poe was guiding us down the rapid river. It was exhilarating. We laughed the entire time.
We exited the Kung Fu Panda Adventure ride and headed straight to the Harry Potter Wizarding World. There we splurged on candy, shopped the stores and drank Butter Beer. The Harry Potter section of Universal Studios is extraordinary because it makes you feel as though you are inside the movie. You have to see the picture below to understand what we mean. Our boys jumped on the Flight of the Hippogriff, Universals first outdoor roller coaster. We ended our tour with a stop to enjoy the Frog Choir, watching in amazement of some Wand Magic and taking photos in front of the train station. 
After taking in the view of the castle and all other things Harry Potter, we briskly walked to the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride. My husband and I realized we had turned into teenagers as we were pointing and planning the next ride we would all enjoy. Minion Mayhem was my favorite because I really enjoyed the series of Despicable Me Movies. For this ride, we needed 3-D Glasses as we went on another adventure with Gru and his Minions attempt to turn us humans into Minions to help with his new thievery plan. 
Our visit continued with the classic and great experience of the Universal Studios Tour featuring a tram tour of the back lot where you can experience movie making at its finest. From an earthquake simulation to a speed expedition with Fast and the Furious, the Bates Motel of Psycho and Jaws, the tour gives you a detailed experience in movie making. Our day rounded out with taking rides on The Simpsons Ride, joining Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee for a fight against the Decepticons on Transformers the Ride 3D, a thrill ride on Revenge of the Mummy, experiencing movie magic in the Special Effects Show and rounding out our adventure at the highly exhilarating and absolutely adventure show, Waterworld! Unlike any other theme park, Universal Studios brings the fun to you with a completely different and exciting spin to adventure. 
The theme park is spread out over a very large area. We walked over 17,000 steps or the equivalent of 8.7 miles the day we visited. Honestly, there was so much to see and do, we really didn't notice until we looked at our step counter during dinner at Universal City Walk. The City Walk has a huge selection of eateries including Pinks, Panda Express, Pizza, Voo Doo Doughnuts and greats like the Hard Rock Cafe and much more. Retail stores line the City Walk for those that need to get their shopping in. Universal Studios has excellent and abundant parking structures and best of all, you can get a great evenings rest with the nearby Sheraton and Hilton Hotels. Enjoy one of the best vacations ever with a Staycation at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are all our own. Travel, Food and all other incidental items paid by Field Trip Mom. We were invited as part of media. We did not receive any compensation. 

Deals and Discounts:  If you are a Costco member, check out these two amazing ticket discounts for your whole family to enjoy.

https://www.costco.com/Universal-Studios-Hollywood-3-Visit-Ticket,-eTicket.product.100483504.html

https://www.costco.com/Universal-Studios-Hollywood-18-Month-Pass-eTicket,-California.product.100483582.html

4/13/19

Silva's Fresh Eatery & Churrascaria

Are you looking for an amazing Brazilian BBQ Steakhouse, also known as a Churrascaria, that won't break the bank?  If you are a meat eater, you are in luck because we are about to embark on a foodie's dream.  Even if you have a family member or friend who is vegetarian, you can feel good about your restaurant of  choice.  That place is Silva's Fresh Eatery & Churrascaria!  Come one, take a tour with us.
Silva's Fresh Eatery & Churrascaria has been open for about a year and brings fresh and delicious to the table until you throw in the towel.  Let's start with my favorite part of this experience, the Churrascaria.  Behind the buffet counter, you will find the Master Chef awaiting your selection of deliciously cooked meats including sirloin, veal, chicken, ribs and sausage.  The chef pulls the rack of meat off the oven, brushes it with the restaurants secret blend of spices and slices it to perfect right before your eyes.  The juices of the meat are running as the chef carefully slices your serving.  Don't worry, pick 2, or 3, or maybe a sampling of all of their meats because these plates can hold enough for an army.  And for you meat eaters like me, don't worry, there's another fresh plate with your name on it because Silva's Fresh Eatery & Churrascaria is all you can eat.
Now, we can't forget the most important part of the meal because no human can live by meat alone.  Let's talk about the fresh part of this eatery.  Made from 100% Organic, Locally Sourced and Locally Grown vegetables, the side dishes are a meal in itself and will be the delight of your vegetarian family member or friend.  Silva's has everything one could imagine.  As you walk up to the start of the line, there are a host of salad options and ingredients to custom make the salad of your dreams.  From lettuce, broccoli, red onion, hard boiled eggs and more.  This is a salad bar dream.  Next you will round the corner of the buffet to find amazing Brazilian dishes that compliment every plate regardless of your dietary needs.  Cheese rolls, beans, Brazilian beef stew, roasted salmon, curry cauliflower, rice and so much more.  You have to try just a little of everything on the first plate but save room to go back to enjoy your favorites.  For me, it was hard to choose a favorite, I loved everything!

Finally, let's get to the best part, the price.  Silva's Fresh Eatery & Churrascaria is reasonably priced and nearly half of the other Brazilian BBQ steakhouses in the area.  With a full bar as well as kitchen menu that offers a wide range of alternative meal options in case you don't have a stomach for all you can eat service.  The restaurant has a beautiful dining area and the staff was amazingly nice.  Everyone from the front of the house to the back were focused on the most important piece of the business...their customers.  Great service, excellent food and prices that won't break the bank.  
Silva's Fresh Eatery & Churrascaria is located at 3672 S Bristol St in Santa Ana, CA.  The restaurant is on the north side of the strip mall close to the LA Fitness.  We recommend exiting the 405 Fwy at Bristol, travelling north on Bristol.  At McArthur Blvd, make a U-Turn and pull into the shopping center just past Chase bank.  The restaurant faces McArthur Blvd.  Although a bit hard to find in the shopping center, the food is well worth finding this amazing eatery.  They have plenty of space for large parties however it is recommended you make reservations for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are all my own. We were guests of the restaurant. All travel, tips and additional expenses were covered by Fieldtripmom.com 

4/12/19

Family Trip to the Los Angeles Zoo for Spring Fling!

At the end of March, we visited the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Garden. It is one of our favorite places to visit during Spring because it is peaceful and full of beauty. The first exhibit we saw was a lovable seal named Ziggy and his friend. Their home is right near the Zoo entrance. As we approached the glass the seals began to come closer in our direction. Standing there we could see how playful they were being with one another. It was relaxing to watch them play. For a few moments everything is forgotten and your mind wonders off into the beauty of nature.
After we finished visiting with Ziggy, we ran towards the Flamingo exhibit. There, we all pretended to stand like a flamingo on one leg. It is very funny to  try that pose. These flamingos are, of course, the yoga masters of the zoo and they make it look easy. Next time you visit the zoo try standing  on one leg without falling or  shaking while sticking your head in the ground. Now you see why we call them Yoga Masters

The next adventure was going to visit the American Black Bear who lives in the back of the Zoo. He is an animal that we admire because he is so adorable from far away but very dangerous up close. (Don't ever mess with bears of any kind!!!! ) This time around, the bear was just sleeping, tucked away near by. We could see his paws and the top of his head that stuck out from behind a rock. We said our good-byes and told him we would return soon and waved.
The next place we went was to see the lions. WOW! They were eating lunch when we arrived. The kids were amazed at the powerful jaws they have for eating their food. YIKES! Our boys loved every minute of the visit with the lion.  
Around the corner from the lions was the Giraffe exhibit.  Across the way was a little cafe where you can sit and eat while watching these supermodels of the zoo. The wind picked up a little and it felt like a welcomed hug. We were hot from all the walking so sitting and eating while a gentle wind passed through felt perfect. 
As we made our way back to the front of the zoo, we stopped and visited more animals, birds, reptiles and botanical gardens. We enjoyed the trees and the gentle breeze that flowed through the zoo. It all felt like the perfect day. 
Just around the corner, among zoo visitors a beautiful peacock roamed freely. He loved posing for pictures as long as we kept our distance.  He was the perfect zoo ambassador. The kids named him, "Freebird".  Freebird gave us several picture opportunities before leaving public view.  
As we headed home, we participate in several spring activities while at the zoo: Native wildflower seed giveaway, Honey Tasting (additional fee) and Green-screen photo booth experience. We had fun taking pictures throughout LA Zoo, however because we had (5) people it seems as though every photo has someone closing their eyes. So to be kind to our kids, we can not share any of those pictures. (Imagine (5) people and one person is closing their eyes weirdly. Then all the others can't stop laughing because of it.) 
The LA Zoo is packed with fun activities this time of season because of all the fun activities it offers. Sharing with you a list of activities that you can expect at the LA Zoo this Spring season with the price of admission:
  1. "Pollination Celebration” acrobat show at 1 and 3 p.m. 
  2. Green-screen photo booth experience from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 
  3. Roaming bee and butterfly puppeteers, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
  4. Earth Expo featuring favorite conservation and community organizations 
  5. Planting for Pollinators and Bee & Butterfly crafts 
  6. Native wildflower seed giveaway (while supplies last) 
  7. Two special animal feedings  (see schedule)
  8. Sustainable living 
  9. demonstrations (see schedule) 
  10. Chalk art educational activity 
  11. Honey Tasting from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (for an additional fee)
To get more information on the LA Zoo and Botanical Garden, please visit their website: https://www.lazoo.org/

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are all our own. We were invited as media to visit the zoo. All travel expenses were paid by Field Trip Mom ( meals, gasoline, tips for gratitude and fees for activities that are not included with admission.) No compensation was received.