While it’s lovely having C home on 9-80 Fridays, this usually means that by Sunday we’re all ready for a break from one another. We all love one another – really, we do! – but there is such a thing as too much togetherness. Luckily, C has been great lately about taking T out for some Father-Son adventures on those weekends at least one of the mornings or afternoons to give me a much-needed break and to give them some additional male bonding time together, too. I don’t say it enough, but thank you, C – very much (and sorry I was such a B the other day about it).
On a recent Sunday afternoon as I wrote a blog post or two (hey, this doesn’t happen in a vacuum!) and watched my horrible-this-year NFL team lose yet another game (I can’t even type their name they’re so bad, and so glad I had something else to occupy my afternoon for sure!), C took T down the road a couple of miles to Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens. Located on a small hilltop just above CSU Long Beach, this Rancho is a 7.5-acre space of land devoted to the history of the once-300,000-acre Los Coyotes land concession given to Manuel Nieto in 1790 for his service on the Gaspar de Portolá expedition to California under the Spanish Crown (read here for more on the history behind the Rancho’s existence).
While we’d visited Rancho Los Alamitos in the past a couple of times, much of it was under construction for a major restoration of its barn areas. Those areas are now complete and open again as of Summer 2012, and this time C and T got to see a lot of animals such as horses, chickens, ducks, and rabbits. There are also many pieces of farm equipment on display showing what the Rancheros would have used to work the land two decades ago.
But probably the best thing about Rancho Los Alamitos – other than its free admission! – is that there’s plenty of room for the kids to roam. The gardens and their paths are lovely, including a small stream that runs through part of the property, but even more lovely for little boys are the open grassy spaces with its huge trees and all of their mature roots to explore. While tree climbing per se is off-limits at Rancho Los Alamitos, the large exposed tree roots simply invite visitors to come and be one with the trees. There’s also plenty of leaves, sticks, and rocks to pick up, and you already know how much T enjoys those free things in life. But please, remember to leave nature behind when departing so that others can enjoy, too.
There are two wonderful holiday events coming up at Rancho Los Alamitos in December, starting off with a lecture by Alice Rumbaugh, a Preview of the Ranch House, and the opening of the “Nacimientos Exhibition” this Saturday, December 1, 2012, at 10a.m. to Noon (reservations required; tickets $10). The Nacimientos (Spanish for “Nativity”) will be on display during regular Rancho hours until December 15. You can read more about this event and these special exhibitions here.
Then on Sunday December 16, Rancho Los Alamitos will present its annual “Traditional Las Posadas” (Procession and Fiesta). Visitors have the choice of two procession times, and before or after each procession time, children and adults are invited to create traditional holiday crafts, enjoy refreshments, tour the ranch house, and visit the Rancho Gift Shop. Your expected stay will be approximately two and one half hours. The Rancho is open from 1:30p.m. to 7p.m., with procession times of 3p.m. and 5p.m. Tickets to this special event are $25/$15 per child (under 5 free).
So if you are going stir-crazy and need to get the kids (and Dad) out of the house, or if you are just looking for an easy outdoor, family-friendly afternoon, one that doesn’t require any planning ahead (even better), and that’s free (the best!), don’t forget about Rancho Los Alamitos. It’s not just a trip back in history but it’s also a nice stroll through nature at its seasonal best. Or better yet, maybe you’ll even start a new holiday tradition!
What are some of your favorite local, family-friendly, and free historical attractions, RMT’ers?
Rancho Los Alamitos is at 6400 Bixby Hill Road, Long Beach, California 90815. Call (562) 431-3541 for any questions regarding your visit or the upcoming holiday or other special events (click here for more on planning your visit). Visit the Rancho anytime Wednesday through Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. General admission is FREE. Parking available on-site when no special events ongoing (see events calendar for details as they apply). Wear comfortable, low-heeled or flat, closed-toed shoes when visiting as there are uneven paths throughout the property inside and out. No pets. Please note that the Rancho will close Mon. Dec. 17, 2012 through Tues. Jan. 8, 2013 for the holiday period.
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