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Old 04-21-2009, 07:17 PM   #1
Saskiwi
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Kiwis Palm Springs Break Post Dis-Binge!

Hi - we just did 9 days in Anaheim with a 6-day Park Hopper, which was great. We are a family of 4 from New Zealand - mum, dad and two boys aged 9 and 6.

We then drove out to Palm Springs for 3 nights. We had never been there and wanted to check out some of the desert scenery and the cool old mid-century architecture.

We stayed at the revamped TravelLodge - which was a good deal - not the flashest hotel, but just fine for a family of 4 - two pools - both kind of old but they were cool and wet which was what we needed, and never very crowded.

En route we stopped at Cabazon to visit the Wheel Inn diner and the huge dinosaurs (being fans of the movie "Pee Wee's Big Adventure", we had to stop in and tell them Large Marge sent us! - a line from the movie) We had biscuits and sausage gravy at the Wheel Inn, which is still exactly as it was in the movie and seems a pretty authentic diner still - wonderful!
We didn't pay to go into the dinosaurs, which are now a creationist museum (!) but the kids enjoyed the photo opps they provided!

We also did some shopping at the giant Desert Hills and Cabazon outlet malls - or, as much as you can with two young boys in tow!
The sight of all the wind turbines as you enter Palm Springs is also amazing, if you haven't seen that sort of thing before.

We spent a day exploring Joshua Tree National Park, about 45 minutes drive from Palm Springs. Lots of good nature walks, and we had fun exploring the crazy rock features and seeing all the different cactus and wildlife - we even saw a snake, which was fantastic. We got a Junior Ranger worksheet from the visitors center which the kids enjoyed filling out. The peace and quiet and amazing scenery was a good change from the craziness of Disneyland (not that we don't love the craziness, but after 6 days...)

On the way back to Palm Springs, we detoured to Pioneertown (from Yucca Valley) and had a look around the old western town built as a movie set in the 1940s. Nothing was open - apparently it only really comes alive on Saturdays when they have a wild west show. The old bowling alley looks great though - worth checking out. Still, we had fun staging our own little pretend-gunfight in the main street - all that was missing was some tumbleweed!

We bought the self-drive touring map of the town's architecture from the visitors center and did a drive-around one morning - some amazing homes built in the 1940s and 50s, including the house where Elvis and Priscilla honeymooned, if you are interested in that kind of thing (we were!)

We skipped the Aerial Tramway - it seems very expensive and we had heard a couple of complaints that you are packed into cars with about 80 other people, so it's not such a great experience. We have tramways and big views back home in NZ, also, at Joshua Tree we went up to Key's View and had a great view of the Coachella Valley for free!

Dining: we had dinner at Ruby's Diner one night, which was fun and catered to kids well, also tried Don and Sweet Sue's Cafe, which we had to visit for the name alone! It was a great local diner - good food, nice people and lots of elderly locals for us to people-watch! For breakfast we tried Elmer's Diner - also good food and nice service. Travel Lodge provides a fairly decent free breakfast so we used that 2 mornings.

We really enjoyed our Palm Springs break and will go there again some day!
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Old 06-19-2009, 06:45 PM   #2
Judy from Boise
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thanks for the report, did you stop at Hadleys in Cabazon? they have great snacks and dried fruit.
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