Birthday Celebrations Continue

October is a big month for birthdays in my life. Not only my own, but many of my friends and family. Most importantly, my husband’s birthday falls near the end of October. Because of that, we’ve gotten in the habit of having a little getaway about midway between the two to celebrate both of our birthdays. This may have to be the last time for awhile though, because I really didn’t like leaving my corgi on his own, with only daily check-ins.

Still, we had a great time. We went to the fascinating B&B in California known as Vision Quest B&B at the Monterey Zoo. The Monterey Zoo is an amazing facility that is kind of in the process of being turned into a Zoo. For years it was Wild Things Animal Rentals Inc which hired out exotic animals for photoshoots, movies and television. Now, it is home to many retired show business animals and they are shifting their focus to education and conservation. Although, truth be told, they have been working in animal education for many years. I seem to vaguely recall them coming to my school when I was a kid with a very large boa constrictor.

The B&B portion of the business is great, with safari-like bungalows and a great view of the big elephant playpen outside the window. The playpen is a large enclosure, I think they said 5 acre, where their four African Elephants hang out during the day with their friends who consist of two water buffalos, an ostrich and zebra. I don’t think I’ve ever come across such a unique business and facility. It is owned and operated by some of the most dedicated animal lovers I have ever seen, and it was a great experience to stay with them for two days.

I’ll include a link to their website, although be forewarned, that it is a bit outdated. The very friendly and knowledgeable staff told me that updating it with more current information is in the works, although she had no timeline for that. They also have a Facebook page, which is updated with events, pictures and videos occasionally.

Vision Quest B&B

As always, I will leave you with an AVON coupon code.


Birthdays and Wheelchairs

No, not my birthday. My twin sons turned 7 this week. It started out rough as M. was disappointed that we didn’t have a full blown birthday party complete with streamers and balloons the moment he woke up. ¬†However, it did get better when we moved onto the real birthday adventure.

I don’t really enjoy throwing parties. I have done it but I am often looking for a way out of throwing one. In this case, I had decided to take my children to a semi local theme park called Gilroy Gardens. It has rides, gardens, games, and natural science centers. I felt lucky that I was well enough to join my family, even though I had to do it in a wheelchair.

Touching on that, I have a newly deepened understanding of what it is like to have to navigate a public space in a wheelchair. I only have a transport wheelchair, as this is temporary for me, so I was dependent on my husband or my mother to move me around. Also, I didn’t call ahead or even check the website to enquire about the park’s policies and accommodations about wheelchair users. That was a rookie mistake my Aunt who had polio in the 50s would never have made.

Still, we had a great time, and the employees were nice enough to let me on the one ride I especially wanted to go on, even though I didn’t have a special pass. So, in addition to call ahead if you have any special requirements, I have some other words of advice about Gilroy Gardens. Entry tickets are expensive, so buy them ahead of time online for a nice discount. Food is expensive in the park, so a hearty meal beforehand is a good idea. If you do eat in the park, consider splitting a meal. Gilroy can get hot, so use sunscreen and stay hydrated. Also, there are several water play areas, so a swimsuit and a change of clothes are a good idea. The park closes early, most days at 5pm. There are sometimes special evening events but they are not included in your day pass. They cost extra, as does parking. Right now they have a Chinese cultural event with lights and performers from China going on, and the park is decorated throughout in that theme right now. We did not stay for the event, opting instead to return home for a small family party with presents, ice cream cupcakes from Coldstone and my in-laws.

I heartily recommend the cupcakes.