Category Archives: Featured Staycation Challenge Story

San Diego Calendar of Events

Staycation Challenge Hints and Tips

San Diego Summer FunWhen thinking about your Staycation Challenge commit to doing it and put it on your calendar. If you THINK about doing a Staycation it won’t happen. When you commit to making it happen and put it on your calendar your subconscious will go to work to make it happen. Before you start your Staycation Challenge you will need to do some planning. You are probably thinking where do you start? This is a great question.

The answer is easier than you think. If you have kids get them involved too. Start with Google and find local community event pages to see what events are coming up over the days you have chosen for the challenge. Now you may find an event you would like to go to that doesn’t fall across the dates you want to do the Staycation Challenge. No problem. You can always move the dates to fit the event into the challenge.

Another place you can look is your local newspapers. Usually on the daily paper there is one day a week where they include a calendar of events. This has a wealth of information with events that cover a wide variety of events, activities, etc. Some communities have a local weekly community paper, these always have events and activities too.

Another place to look is calendars of events in your local community center or the newsletter for a club or association you belong to.

What are some of your favorite places to search for events and activities for your Staycation Challenge? Please share your ideas below.

Space Shuttle Endeavor

Staycation Challenge Space Shuttle Endeavor

A few weeks ago as we were starting a road trip around the Southwest we headed to Los Angeles. On the way to our accommodations for the night we swung by the California Science Center and the Space Shuttle Endeavor. Our goal was to just go in and see the Space Shuttle and then depending on time we would then wander around the Science Center.

Tail of Space Shuttle EndeavorBefore we left home we knew that we had to reserve a time slot for the shuttle. We hopped online and made the reservation. There was a $2 per person fee to reserve a time slot. We printed off the tickets and set off to see the space shuttle. When we got there we had to pay for parking which was $10. There were four of us in the car so we were still within our $10 per person per day budget. We were there on a Wednesday in mid-May and thought we had a nice quiet time to visit. We couldn’t have been more wrong!

There were school children EVERYWHERE! It must have been a popular school field trip to the California Science Center day. We got there just before 12noon and our tickets were for 12:15pm. After parking we quickly found where to go to see the shuttle. We were sent first into a room that talked about life onboard the shuttle and showed some of the equipment used onboard for sleeping, eating, keeping fit, personal items, and even saw a space toilet and a video talking about how it is used and how the astronauts are trained to use it.

We then saw a brief film about the space shuttle arriving in Los Angeles and its road journey to the Science Center. Boy were there some VERY tight turns and narrow streets the shuttle had to maneuver through!

After that we then walked down some stairs and through a door over to the temporary building the shuttle is being housed in. It was AWESOME!! We spent just over an hour wandering around and under the shuttle. Around the edge of the building they had a chronological history of the space shuttle program with information on each mission by all the space shuttles. It made fascinating reading.

Space Shuttle EngineOh have to say, they have volunteers who are there to help answer any questions about the shuttle. My husband ended up talking with one of the volunteers who happened to love space stuff as much as my husband does. They had a great conversation. The people who are there to answer your questions have a wealth of knowledge and are only too willing to help with any questions you have about the space shuttle. Yes they will answer your questions in plain English and not in tech talk. The person I spoke with was able to talk to me in a way I could understand but if someone else was more advance on their space knowledge than me they could talk the talk with them. They really do enhance the experience of seeing and learning more about the space shuttle program.

One display was the project they are working on for the final display of the shuttle. It is going to be even better when it is finished. I definitely want to go back and see it again once the project is finished. Although I couldn’t find anything to say when that would be.

After we left the hanger with the shuttle we left the center. There were too many kids running around. What we got to see of the center looked very cool with tons of hands on stations. I love places like this where you get to play with the exhibits. I would definitely like to go back to the Science Center again to look around at the other exhibits they have but that day was way too crowded.

It turned out to be a fascinating time at the California Science Center seeing the Space Shuttle Endeavor. I’m really glad we were able to see it and that my parents were there to see it too. The total experience expense was $18. If you divide that by 4 people it came to $4.50 per person. Well within our budget of $10 per person per day.

Have you been to the California Science Center? Have you seen the Space Shuttle Endeavor? Share your experience and thoughts of the center with us below.

The Gardens at Bellagio Las Vegas

Some Staycation Ideas for Las Vegas

Recently I was in Vegas for a couple of nights with my husband and parents. As we are not gamblers we decided to check out and see what other things were available in the city for the non-gamblers. We found a lot of free entertainment in the city and had a great two nights.

It was my fifth trip to Vegas and in all my other visits I had NEVER seen the Bellagio Fountains. Well on this trip we certainly made up for it. We all stood there and watch three shows as they were every 15 minutes. They were amazing! Each show was a different piece of music or song. You can check them out on my YouTube Channel.

Next we walked along the strip to the Mirage to watch the Volcano show in front of the hotel. WOW!! Unfortunately I didn’t video this one. Have to leave something to video next time I go back. But it was very impressive. Not only was there flames coming out of the volcano there were flames shooting up from the water and the sides of the volcano. Very cool!Gondola rides on the Grand Canal at The Venetian

On our way back to the car we had left parked at the Bellagio we stopped and watched another two fountain shows. We were a little addicted to them. :)

The next day we walked through the Venetian and window-shopped along the Grand Canal Shoppes. As we strolled along we could hear and see the Gondoliers singing as they were transporting people around the canal in the Gondolas.

We ended up in St Mark’s Square and sat and watched the human “marble” statue on display. It was a few minutes before 12 noon and that is when the Streetmosphere came out and entertained us with music, song and antics. They were wonderful in amazing costumes and incredible classic trained voices.

After the shGardens at the Bellagioow we then went over to the Bellagio and walked through their lobby area where they had the most beautiful garden display. They had a green house was actually an aviary with over 50 birds. There were fountains, giant hand shovels, garden gloves, and watering cans, etc. even Koi ponds. It was amazing!

We were getting a little hungry by this stage so we drove back to where we were staying at the Excalibur and walked across the pedestrian walkway to New York, New York. We walked through the casino to where they had an area set up to look like you were walking through a neighborhood of New York with lots of places to eat and some café tables. You could choose from deli, pastries, bars, pizza, pasta, etc. for your lunch. Loved how this area was setup.


The Boiler Room at Mandalay BayThat evening we walked from the Excalibur through to Luxor, Mandalay Bay and THE Hotel. We checked out the inside of the Luxor pyramid and the statues they had setup in the entryway and atrium. We walked through to Mandalay Bay and got to do some more window-shopping along the way. The Boiler Room entry was VERY cool. Lots of metal bits and pieces were welded together to create an archway over the door. We checked out Peter Lik Gallery…amazing photography art. Beautiful!! Unfortunately I didn’t have any wall space to display the incredible vibrant pieces. Maybe one day after I get one or two Fabian Perez (my favorite artist) pieces of art, then I will look at getting a Peter Lik piece.

We found Mandalay Ba to be very minimalistic compared to what we had seen in other hotels we had visited. But then the Orient theme will explain that. We did see a massive wine tower in the Aureole Restaurant. It was very impressive!

We walked from Mandalay through to THE Hotel. It was very zen-like with the lighting, color scheme and music. I felt like I was walking through a spa rather than a hotel. We finally found the front desk area but by then the spa/zen like atmosphere has disappeared as temporary walls were up as they were renovating the reception area of the hotel.

1924 Ford Model T Roadster at Mandalay BayAs we walked back to the Excalibur we found the 1923 Bourbon & Burlesque Bar near the escalator in Mandalay Bay that takes you up to the shops. There was a 1924 Ford Model T Roadster in front of the bar. It was in great condition. The bar was very cool. It was made to look like it was in a basement and was basically a hole-in-the-wall type place during prohibition. The bartender looked like a gangster from the 1920’s. Very cool! Since we don’t drink we didn’t try out the bar, so can’t give you an opinion on the bourbons and other drinks it offers.

We had a great time in Vegas and the only money we spent was on our rooms for the two nights we were there, food and a couple of souvenirs. For me my souvenirs are always a fridge magnet and a postcard or two. Occasionally I will splurge on something else.  All the entertainment we saw was FREE!! Can’t complain about that. We had a great time in Vegas, tons of walking and we got to see some very cool things at some of the hotels on the strip. It is very easy to find some free things to see and in Vegas especially along the strip by visiting the hotels and seeing how they are decorated to the theme of the hotel. You can find many cheap places to eat. Some hotels offer free entertainment like we saw with the fountains at Bellagio, volcano show at Mirage, Streetmosphere at Venetian along with singing Gondoliers.

What other things can you find to see and do in Las Vegas for no more than $10 per person per day? Please share your stories and ideas below in the form.

Wellington, New Zealand

Why a Staycation Challenge?

If a good friend were to arrive on your doorstep to stay for a few days and see the sights in your area, would you know what to recommend they see and do?

Believe it or not most people will answer NO to that question. They might be able to tell you some of the well-known things to see and do but that would be about it. Most people go to work, come home and that’s it. Some may belong to a networking group, club or association. Some may have kids sports, activities or interests and that is about as much of their local area that they get to see.

Continue reading