The Mission Galleria Cafe & Hideaway serves savory sandwiches, soups, and salads from its post at Mission Galleria Antique Mall, nestled in downtown Riverside. Classic appetizers such as hot wings and jalapeño poppers give way to café food including a barbecue-chicken salad and a BLT or french dip sandwich. Sweet desserts such as lemon bars, brownies, and slices of blackout cake punctuate meals, reminding guests of a home-cooked meal without having to dance for their food like in their real homes. Evening-time guests can also enjoy a drink of beer or wine, served at the café counter.
At The Living Desert, a dedicated conservation team tends to plants and animals populating more than 1,800 acres of desert—1,000 of which remain in their natural, undisturbed state. In addition to protecting the Colorado Desert's native population of birds, wolves, reptiles, and minotaurs, The Living Desert houses bighorn sheep, cheetahs, striped hyenas, leopards, and parrots from arid regions throughout the globe. Through annual contributions, members of the nonprofit organization help preserve the Colorado Desert and bolster the population of endangered desert species. Members also gain unlimited access to the park, discounts in the gift shop, and invitations to special events, such as the annual member-cheetah race.
The Oceanside Museum of Art displays compelling works of art from local and regional artists as well as traveling national and international exhibitions. Current exhibits include Focus on Oceanside: Lee Peterson, a photographic collection by San Diego aperture enthusiast Lee Peterson. Peterson has courted and captured the spirit of Oceanside, from its ghosts-of-seagulls haunted harbor to the San Luis Mission Rey, in a stunning series of images employing both classically breathtaking and extraordinarily surreal perspectives. The gallery walls are also privileged to carry an impressive exhibition of contemporary Mexican-American art from Einar and Jamex de la Torre, as well as Raul Guerrero, along with myriad works by contemporary Native American artists in San Diego County. The museum's galleries are re-designed for each new exhibition to prevent acute cases of eyeball ennui.
For 30 years, Zoomars' fuzzy and feathered fleet has tickled the fancy of more than 3 million tykes and critter enthusiasts with 16 varieties of animals on hand, ready for petting, riding, and cavorting. The USDA–approved, clean farm facility houses a host of friendly species suited to affectionate coddling, such as sheep, bunnies, and guinea pigs. Zoo staffers supervise kids as they climb into goat pens, or drop snacks into the mouths of zedonks, zebus, and staff members working through lunch.
Additionally, a child-size miniature train chugs a whistling ride around a circular track, and gentle ponies trot along on hand-led trail rides as parents canter along behind. At a re-created Gold Rush–era mine, staffers help small visitors to pan and sift for gemstones, arrowheads, dinosaur fossils, fool’s gold, and long-lost arcade tokens.
Park staff can also connect visitors to the earth and American history through camps led by the camp director, a member of California’s Acjachemen tribe who grew up on the grounds. Campers explore the grounds and Pioneer Town through crafts, free creative play, storytelling, and special activities ranging from Native American dances to soapstone carving to reading excerpts from Lewis and Clark’s middle-school diaries.
The Laguna Art Museum began in 1918 as a small gallery in a converted cottage, where local artists would display and sell their pieces to the public. As the exhibits and collections grew larger over the next several decades, the founders moved the gallery into a larger, custom space, and eventually transformed it into a museum celebrating the development of Californian art from the 19th century to the present. The museum currently boasts a permanent collection of more than 3,500 works, as well as rotating exhibits that track the evolution of artistic expression.
To further its mission of spreading public appreciation for local art, the museum hosts informative lectures and open-house receptions. The museum’s Carole Reynolds Art Research Library also intrigues readers with more than 5,000 books, many of which chronicle the history of Californian art.
It’s not every day that you can witness 30 million dollars all in one room. But at Marconi Automotive Museum & Special Events Venue, visitors move through an extensive array of rare roadsters, muscle cars, and Formula cars valued at eight figures. After a successful, self-made career in business, founder Dick Marconi decided to give back, donating his personal collection of automobiles to create the museum. Each specimen reflects a piece of racing lore; you'll find historic racecars piloted by Keke Rosberg, Mario Andretti, and Michael Schumacher.
The museum serves a multi-purpose—to share Marconi’s glittering display of high-performance vehicles with the public, and to support local charities. Proceeds from admissions and special events at the museum go toward the Marconi Foundation for Kids, which supports Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, among other children's groups. The museum’s yearly Fight Night fundraising event draws stars such as Oscar de la Hoya and the dashboard hula dancer.