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Memorable experience gifts near Los Angeles?
December 16, 2011 9:52 AM   Subscribe

GiftFilter: Memorable experiences that are a day trip out of Los Angeles?

My dad's 60th birthday party is coinciding with Christmas/New Years this year, and I'd like to get him some sort of neat, memorable experience. Any suggestions?

He likes things like whale watching, I imagine he'd have a lot of fun with bungee jumping or indoor skydiving, but he might be over the weight limits for those, and I'm looking for something a bit more packaged than "lets go camping".
posted by sdis to Shopping (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, if he likes whale watching and wants a day trip out of Los Angeles, head up to Santa Barbara and go on a Condor Express cruise out in the Santa Barbara Channel. Then celebrate with a nice dinner out on State Street.
posted by Numenius at 10:29 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Perhaps he'd enjoy a drive out to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway? The ride up and down is fun in and of itself, but there's also a nice restaurant at the top and it's a great place to hike.
posted by shesbookish at 11:46 AM on December 16, 2011


Go to Catalina and take a tour on a glass-bottom boat. The trip over will have opportunities to look for whales and dolphins, too. And Catalina is just fun, period, for hiking and messing around.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:48 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's hardly unique or original but there's always Disneyland. YMMV depending on both of your respective attitudes about Disney (and assuming he's not already a season pass holder, etc.) but I have very fond memories of the few times I went when I lived in SoCal.
posted by usonian at 12:15 PM on December 16, 2011


Not sure if the Blue Whales are still offshore, but whale watching would be pretty easy to get to, and if the blues are around, unforgettable!
posted by Danf at 1:39 PM on December 16, 2011


Joshua Tree National Park is awesome. There may be tour packages you can get. (A hotel to stay overnight might be an idea too, since admission to the park is pretty affordable but that would be more of a long weekend.)
posted by ejaned8 at 1:40 PM on December 16, 2011




Joshua Tree National Park is awesome. There may be tour packages you can get. (A hotel to stay overnight might be an idea too, since admission to the park is pretty affordable but that would be more of a long weekend.)


Which would go nicely with the above-mentioned aerial tram.
posted by Danf at 1:49 PM on December 16, 2011


There is also a place out in the desert near Palm Springs and Joshua Tree where (if you give a $100 donation and schedule in advance) you can visit with meerkats - it's called Fellow Earthlings' Wildlife Center.

Also, there are several Channel Islands other than Catalina, which are unpopulated and quite lovely. There are lots of possibilities for day trips with hiking, kayaking, etc., and the boat trips are likely to be good for dolphin spotting etc. I've been with Island Packers before, but there are other companies with similar trips as well.
posted by unsub at 6:06 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Many thanks! These are great. I think we've actually been on the Condor Express (We didn't see any whales, but we did see a megapod of dolphins, which was great), and in looking into additional whale watching options, I found these guys, who take smaller groups out (max 45) and have underwater viewing and hydrophones.

The meerkats idea is wonderful; it seems like they need reservations a long time in advance and are only open May-Sept, but I'm going to keep that in reserve for a future birthday for sure.

(For others searching for similar gifts, there are also some neat-looking zipline tours out by Catalina.)
posted by sdis at 10:46 PM on December 16, 2011


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