All posts by Papa Bear

Papa Bear is constantly trying to keep his family entertained. He loves sports, martial arts, and any physical activity. Always looking for an opportunity to take his family on a road trip and build bonds through shared experiences.

Bonelli Park and Puddingstone Lake

As a child my parents had taken me to Bonelli park and Puddingstone lake a couple of times. I had a chance to take my kids there recently and there was some good and some bad. First we went there to see how the fishing would be, though they had fishing docks it wasn’t a good sign when we noticed signs posted that said do not eat the fish as they are not safe to eat…ewww.

However, we were able to spend the rest of the morning exploring the wonderful hikes they have in the hills alongside and within the park territories. We took a short hike up the top of the hill with a gorgeous view of Puddingstone lake. Horseriding rentals are also nearby for longer trails around the surrounding mountainside.

For the kids, the playgrounds were impressive, they had a variety of them for different age levels and interaction. An interesting one was a playground that featured rope bridges that kids can traverse across or climb with playground-like bouldering.

There is a $10 entrance fee at the gates. They no longer offer boat or jet skis rentals on site, but they do allow you to bring your own watercraft for a launching fee. In the summer, a part of the lake is open for beach swimming but it can get extremely crowded.

Tip: Go early and avoid the crowds during the summer times. Even if you choose not to walk the mountain trails, the park is huge and offer nice walking/jogging along the lake that is flat and easily accessible.

More info:

Creativity with Thomas the Tank Engine


My sister’s kids had out grown there Thomas the Tank Engine wooden train set and have passed it on to me for my kids. I never had a chance to play with these growing up, but my youngest son at the age of 2-3 at the time was immediately drawn to it. Initially he would build simple configurations, but as we began to add more pieces he would build more interesting formations.

It was great to see him develop, everyday I would come home from work and he would have a new layout with some creative solutions. I can clearly see his problem solving and even engineering skills develop. This was at an age when Lego pieces were too small for him as he did get a piece stuck up his nose once before. So one way to stimulate your young child’s mind can be with Thomas the Tank engine wooden train sets.

Tip: Definitely get the wooden sets for your kid. They cost more but the quality and compatibility will get more uses out of it. Many of the Thomas plastic set toys utilize smaller trains/tracks and are not always compatible with different sets.

Llama Chase Set to Yakety Saks

How do you explain the hilarity of the Llama chase to your kids? Easy, watch this video set to the famous “Yakety Saks” music that will entertain you and your bored family. We find watching together in the living room is great “family-time” and allows us to have a shared experience. So hookup that Smart TV, Xbox, Chromecast, etc and watch this clip on your big screen. Run free Llamas!!!

Lego Travel Adventures is Worth the Visit at Discovery Cube

The Discovery museum  in Orange County is a fantastic place to get a family membership to keep the kids entertained.  They have new exhibits every 2-3 months and definitely worth considering the membership.  As with most kid-crazy place you want to get there early in the morning to avoid parking and crowd headaches.

Currently they have a Lego Travel Adventures exhibit that runs through May 2, and if your kids need to get their Lego fix, or secretly you need a Lego fix, this is a average size exhibit that will eat up about 30-45 min of your visit.  The theme is traveling and most of the displays are of popular transportation methods set across different cities throughout America.

Lego by land, sea, and air

There are a couple of interactive areas where you can build cars and race them down a track similar to what is found outside many Lego stores.  These however, use Duplo blocks so they are bigger and more friendly to younger audience.  Most of the other Lego displays are mainly used for photo opportunities.

The rest of the time can be spent exploring the myriad of learning and discovery exhibits and can take hours of your time. My kids really enjoy the upstairs grocery shopping experience and the recycling contest. The Dino discovery outdoors is decent but you will need to pay an additional fee.  We go every couple of months so I like to spend about 2-3 hours there and then head home with plenty of time left in the day for myself or the fam.

Tip: Construction is still in progress as they are expanding and parking lot is limited. Save yourself some time and money and just park at the Santa Ana mall across the street and walk over.