Take a Break from the Ordinary

Jennifer Welch, Staff Writer

   Spring Break is upon us, and everyone wants to enjoy this vacation as much as possible. Instead of enduring yet another trip to the mundane mall, here are some affordable, yet engaging, possibilities to liven up your Spring Break.

   The beach will be crowded this week as many local students are out of school. So if you want to see some gorgeous views, and are up for a drive, visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields just north of downtown San Diego. This landscape consists of fifty acres of millions of flowers. The most popular are the famous Giant Ranaculus flowers. A global tourist attraction, this week the flowers will have finally reached their peak in color and blooms. Tickets are only ten dollars and include tours and many other activities.

   Another unique event occurring now is the annual whale-watching in San Diego. At this time every year, grey whales and their calves migrate north from Mexico. Early April is the best time to see the pods off the coast, and it is certain that whales will be spotted this upcoming week.

   For breathtaking scenery, Yosemite National Park is a perfect candidate. This is a drive, but there are many things to do in the park. Hiking is plentiful, and there are trails of all levels that offer a choice taste of the trees and valleys. Guided tours are also available, and if you want to make more than a day of the trip, lodging is plentiful.

   Another National Park fairly nearby is the Sequoia National Park. In it are also numerous trails, and the lush, quiet trees are the perfect way to relax and unwind. You will also be able to witness the largest living thing on the planet, the Giant Sequoia.

   If you prefer to stay closer to home, downtown Los Angeles offers many opportunities to learn without homework or tests. The La Brea Tar Pits are located in the heart of the city. During the Ice Age, prehistoric animals became trapped in the tar pits, and their bones were perfectly preserved. The museum displays the skeletons of mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and so many more who met their demise in the bubbling pits. All-day tickets sell for fewer than eight dollars. Just a few blocks away from the tar pits is the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA). For any art-lover, and those who may be still skeptical, there are many exhibits to satisfy any taste. Contemporary and classical art combine in this museum to create an atmosphere of culture and refinement. Tickets to this museum are free for those seventeen and under, and only eight dollars for adults.

   In-between the USC campus and the Coliseum is located the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Entrance is only six dollars and fifty cents for students and the experience is worth every penny. A short walk away is the California Science Center. There are many interactive displays that will thrill visitors with the wonders of simple science. In this museum lies many answers to the practicality of high school science concepts. The California Science Center also contains an IMAX theater, where shows play daily. Admission to the museum is free, and IMAX tickets vary in price.

   No matter your budget, there are plenty of ways to avoid the crowds and yet still have fun with family and friends. So avoid the standard teen locations, and broaden your horizons with new experiences sure to provide you with countless hours of amusement.