While the rest of the natural world prepares to hibernate for the winter, Enchanted Country Trees & Pumpkins has been at its most active since 1983. Farmers pick the plumpest pumpkins from their patches, displaying them next to bounce houses and trundling John Deere tractors. Barnyard animals deign to be petted in exchange for palmfuls of feed, and ponies accept small riders for afternoon trots. Come winter, the lots fill with Christmas trees.
Las Fajitas Mexican Grill might serve up its Mexican dishes fast, but that's where the similarities between this eatery and typical fast-food places end. Along with the chefs' attention to using the freshest ingredients, from the vegetables to the boneless, skinless chicken breasts and slow-roasted pork, they also remain health conscious. All of the authentic Mexican recipes get their flavors from only fresh vegetables, with no artificial flavors or enhancements. The menu includes everything from burritos and tacos to fresh seafood and breakfast options.
Under strings of lanterns and the night's canopy of stars, kids scamper through a field filled with thousands of pumpkins, each one searching for the biggest, roundest one. Finding it is one thing; lifting it is another. The bountiful Pumpkin City's Pumpkin Farm began a bit by happenstance?the owners originally began selling pumpkins out of the back of their pickup and steadily added on amusements as more people came each year. More than 30 years later, the one-month harvest festival sets up each October with attractions ranging from pony rides to puppet shows. As they explore the area amid bales of hay, teepees, character cutouts, and other props, kids can feed baby goats and sheep at the petting zoo or sit on an authentic tractor from 1932. Once guests have procured the perfect pumpkin to carve into the likeness of their favorite monster, they can get their picture taken with Pumpkin Jack, hop on rides such as the Goliath Slide or Pumpkin City Express Train, or visit Gone Fishing, Knock 'Em Down, and other game booths.
Scenic boat rides to and from Catalina Island pass by stunning vistas of Long Beach Harbor and gamboling dolphin families—but the boat trips' main attraction is the island itself. The clear waves that lap at its shores are ideal for kayaking, scuba diving, or doing an emergency load of laundry. Meanwhile, mainland attractions range from art galleries and shops to winding hiking trails. Armed with a round trip boat ticket, visitors from four mainland California ports can explore the island for anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks.
The Pacific Marine Mammal Center offers its visitors the chance to add a sea lion to their family trees. Through symbolic adoptions, the non-profit organization funds its mission to locate, rehabilitate, and release injured marine mammals?including seals, sea lions, and dolphins?back home in the wild. After admitting one of these animal patients, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center's animal-care director and a veterinary medical director can administer antibiotics, nurse mammals back to health or go through treatment plans for various diseases and illnesses. Aside from adoptions, the center educates the public about these efforts through programs such as field trips and day camps for kids.