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Santa’s Village Opening Delayed Until at Least Summer 2015

sv4In May when we posted a story regarding the purchase and planned re-opening of Santa’s Village in the Lake Arrowhead area of the San Bernardino Mountains, we never in a million years would have guessed that it would immediately attract hundreds of thousands of readers to the site, let alone go on to become our single most popular story ever since Theme Park Adventure has been online. It did, however, demonstrating the love and enthusiastic nostalgia people everywhere have for the long-closed little theme park here in Southern California.

To review, in spring of 2014, it was announced that 154 acres of land in Skyforest had been purchased for upward of $6 million by local businessman/realtor Bill Johnson; either in a solo effort, or with silent partners, Mr. Johnson had bought Santa’s Village, a shuttered theme park that had operated near Lake Arrowhead from 1955 to 1998. Soon after the purchase went through, Mr. Johnson went public with news that the theme park would be re-designed and re-opened by Mother’s Day 2015 – a highly-ambitious timeline, given the current state of the property and the fact that Santa’s Village was no longer zoned as an operating attraction. Yet, enthusiasm drowned out doubt for the time being, and TPA just like everyone else, was really excited to see an icon from our childhood come back to life – something that doesn’t happen very often in the theme park world.

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Holiday Food Tips from Epcot’s Chef Charles Dolson

Holiday food tips from Epcot Chef Charles Dolson of The Land Pavilion Whether you’re experiencing the holidays at Walt Disney World Resort, or waiting until after the snow on Main Street U.S.A has passed, Walt Disney World Chef Charles Dolson, area chef of The Land Pavilion at Epcot, shows you how to show your Disney Side at home for your festive food and beverages.

Chef Dolson and team often use fresh produce grown in Epcot’s on-site greenhouses to make thousands of meals each week, but fun touches at home can add magic to your meal, with ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen. “Simply adding one extra ingredient can change a dish completely,” says Chef Dolson.

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Christmas Dining at Universal Orlando Deluxe Hotels

portofino_bay_trattoriaThe deluxe on-site hotels at Universal Orlando Resort are featuring a festive lineup of holiday celebrations for 2014. From tree-lighting ceremonies and ornament decorating to holiday buffets with entertainment, the resorts will sparkle with holiday decorations and the spirit of the season.

Christmas Day Buffets

Loews Royal Pacific Resort – Islands Dining Room
Dine in our tropical paradise on Christmas Day from 11:00 am – 8:00 pm for a holiday buffet featuring sour orange brined turkey with sage and fig-cornbread stuffing, pesto crusted prime rib, apple cider roasted pork loin, pan seared snapper, sushi and stir fry station, omelet station, raw bar and smoked fish display, plus desserts. Entertainment will include a musician, hula dancer, face painter and balloonist. For reservations, call 407-503-DINE (3463) or book on-line for Islands Dining Room.
Adults: $56
Children (ages 3 – 9): $24

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Holiday Wreaths for Meerkats at San Diego Zoo

HolidayMeerkat_002_WebSix meerkats tussled over wreaths placed in their exhibit this week at the San Diego Zoo. The wreaths were part of the regular animal enrichment activities planned by the animal care staff during the Zoo’s annual event Jungle Bells, presented by California Coast Credit Union.

The four wreaths were made from gravura plants grown at the Zoo and were accented with red hibiscus flowers. One wreath also featured a bow created from parts of a palm tree. To encourage the meerkats’ natural behavior of foraging and digging, each wreath was “trimmed” with mealworms, a staple of the meerkats’ diet at the Zoo.

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Monocled Cobra Examined at San Diego Zoo

Monocled Cobra at San Diego Zoo Placed in Protective Tube in Preparation for Medical Exam 	A monocled cobra at the San Diego Zoo is held in a protective tube by reptile keeper, Joey Brown. The cobra, which has been in a 90-day quarantine at the Zoo sinceA monocled cobra at the San Diego Zoo received an extensive medical exam earlier this month in preparation for its release from quarantine. With safety as a main priority, reptile keepers carefully took the venomous animal from its quarantine holding area, placed it in a container, and transported it to the Zoo’s veterinary hospital.

Once at the veterinary hospital, a great example of teamwork was exhibited as keepers diligently worked to place the venomous snake in a plastic tube which immobilized the snake’s head, allowing the medical team to safely work with the animal. While keepers kept a continued, watchful eye on the snake, Dr. Beth Bicknese, San Diego Zoo veterinarian and Marianne Zeitz, senior veterinarian technician, worked to anesthetize and intubate the animal, allowing them to draw blood, take radiographs (x-rays), check its fangs, venom glands, heart and determine its sex.

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Yoga In the Plaza Offered at Monte Carlo Las Vegas

monte-carlo-yogaMonte Carlo Resort and Casino invites guests to start their Saturdays  with stretches and salutations with its newly launched Yoga in the Plaza. The Strip-side location provides a  revitalizing setting for participants to connect with their body and breath while embracing the refreshing morning  air.

Taking place each Saturday at 8 a.m., the hour-long class is designed to accommodate all skill levels and is  complimentary for Monte Carlo hotel guests.

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Christmas with the Chimps at Lion Country Safari

Christmas with the ChimpsOn Thursday, December 18th at 10:30a.m., Lion Country Safari will celebrate the annual Christmas with the Chimps.

For 30 years now, Santa Claus has taken a hiatus from the North Pole to deliver presents to a very special group of chimps. This holiday celebration is open to the public and is the only opportunity where guests are allowed out of their vehicles to observe the chimps while in the Safari Preserve.

Once Santa’s boat/sleigh is loaded with wrapped presents including edible treats, stuffed animals, clothes and enrichment-themed activities, he will make his delivery to the chimps ages 9 and older. Little Mama, who according to Dr. Jane Goodall, is the oldest living chimp estimated to now be in her mid-70s, is always a crowd favorite to watch. “The chimpanzees are as excited as you or I about receiving their Christmas presents. The fact that they are such intelligent primates makes it necessary for us to always go that extra mile to provide them with stimulating environmental enrichments. This is a benefit for the staff and chimps,” says Wildlife Director Terry Wolf.

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Chimpanzee Babies at the Los Angeles Zoo

Baby Oliver Chimp by Tad MotoyamaThe Los Angeles Zoo is extra thankful this holiday season after recently welcoming two male baby chimpanzees to the troop at Chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains, which now includes five endangered chimp babies under the age of three years old.

“It’s pretty rare to have this many babies in one troop at a Zoo,” said Jennie Becker, Curator of Mammals at Los Angeles Zoo. “Our current situation mimics that of the wild which is hard to do in captivity because most Zoos don’t have the space to have this many chimpanzees which allows for this many babies.”

While the two babies were born months apart, their lives and daily experiences up to this point have been drastically different. Johari, whose name means Jewel, was born on Oct. 27 to first time mother Zoe. Currently, he can be seen in the habitat being raised by his mother and the rest of the troop. However, Oliver, born on Aug. 23 to first time mother Julie, is currently off-exhibit being hand-reared by animal care staff.

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TPA Announces Winter Nights at Don’s 2015

TPA Winter 2014 webTheme Park Adventure has announced the date for its first mixer of 2015! TPA’s Winter Nights at Don’s will be held Sunday, January 18th at 7:00 P.M. at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach, California!

Our Winter Nights at Don’s mixer begins our monthly gatherings for 2015; we couldn’t be more excited about what the new year will bring in the way of adventures, friends, and great memories! If you haven’t been to our new digs in Huntington Beach yet, you’re in for a treat; the Hidden Village is an amazingly cool tiki-themed space that is fully covered, and completely private to TPA for the night, with a dedicated bar, dedicated staff, and a great, inexpensive grab-and-go food station!

“January will mark our third month in our new mixer location at Don the Beachcomber,” says Rick West, Founder of Theme Park Adventure. “The new location in Huntington Beach has been a huge success, and our TPAers have expressed how much they like it, and how excited they are about the Hidden Village as well as Don the Beachcomber in general. The new space is more than big enough for our group, and everyone is made to feel welcome and wanted by the great staff at Don’s. We’re completely thrilled with our partnership with Don’s, and look forward to bigger and better TPA mixers throughout 2015 as more people join our community each month!”

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ScotsFestival 2015 at Queen Mary

ScotsFestival, International Highland Games, Queen Mary, Long BeThe Queen Mary is pleased to welcome back the annual ScotsFestival & International Highland Games XXII February 14-15 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Experience the rich culture and history of Scotland first hand through an array of authentic activities, athletics, dancing, entertainment and cuisine in ode to the Queen Mary’s Scottish legacy.

Eighty-four years ago, in the quaint seaside town of Clydebank, Scotland, construction began on the Queen Mary. Exemplifying the finest craftsmanship of the country, the Queen Mary’s legacy is undeniable and today the ship’s heritage is celebrated through the two-day ScotsFestival honoring Scottish culture.

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