A rustic Spanish-style farm in the heart of San Juan Capistrano that's been standing since 1890 promises more creatures than just the area's famous swallows. The picturesque estate is part of Zoomars?an all-ages petting zoo that's USDA-approved for cleanliness and the place where more than 200 animals call home. The residents range from the familiar to the exotic: goats, sheep, and kunekune pigs mingle alongside exotic emus, zebus, and zebras that greet visitors for pets and feeding. One of the zoo's most popular areas is the guinea-pig patch, where some of the farm's fuzziest and friendliest creatures reside. Zoomars also features family-friendly attractions ranging from a miniature train and pony rides to the newly installed playground with four slides to the rustic Miner's Gulch, where panning the water reveals rare treasures such as gemstones.
Owner Carolyn Franks started down the path to animal care in college when she created her own line of dog toys. She soon moved from New Jersey to California where her passion snowballed: developing a full line of pet products, hosting an animal show for kids, running a chain of exotic bird stores, and even traveling to Brazil to learn about animal conservation. In 2005, she used her knowledge to take over the Jones Farm petting zoo, expanding its pens and transforming its brand into Zoomars.
Franks is joined by a well-trained staff of zookeepers and wranglers who share her vision in entertaining kids?and teaching them how to interact with the animals?as they are in caring for and shepherding mammals and birds.
Bearing the initials of the Big Apple, NYC Cafe & Catering keeps Southern California bellies full with its expansive spread of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. The family-oriented establishment makes everything from scratch, from its marinara sauce to bread baked fresh every morning. Visitors bask in this freshness while feasting on specialty pastas, sandwiches, or pizzas, including a special New York pie loaded with pepperoni, sausage, and double cheese. They also offer a variety specialty gyros, where meat and pita come together in an effort to learn how to love again. Conveniently, the cafe caters to Orange County, meaning patrons don't have to stuff their cheeks with lasagna if they want to enjoy their meal at an alternate location.
At Bistro K, traditional Italian recipes merge with eclectic New World flavors for a menu that's reflective of the international history of the family behind it. That story starts back in Italy with the four Bagatta brothers, all chefs who later traveled on to France, South Africa, and Southern California. It was during these wanderings that Tony Bagatta met Massimiliana, the woman who would become his wife. Today, Massimiliana and her daughter Katia run Bistro K as a mother-daughter team, serving up hearty plates from traditional Italian gnocchi to gourmet burgers smothered in gruyère.
Cannons Seafood Grill, perched atop a picturesque cliff overlooking the Dana Point Marina, has delighted diners since 1972 with its menu of fresh, savory seafood. Dive into meals such as the signature lobster bruschetta, a layer of melted blue cheese covering fresh tomato, tarragon bruschetta, and pieces of lobster clinging to one another atop a grilled-sourdough-bread dance floor ($12.95). The grilled swordfish steak Mediterranean brandishes red and yellow tomatoes, sweet red peppers, and artichoke hearts ($25.95), and the sizzling New York sirloin arrives tableside ready to be seared and sporting a rakish derby (29.95). A wide selection of cocktails, such as the Thin Mint, made with Absolut Vanilla, Bailey's Irish Cream, and DeKuper Green Crème de Menthe ($11.50), helps ease first-date jitters.
Dedicated to spreading nautical know-how, Aventura Sailing Association has been supplying aspiring seafarers with sailing instruction, boat rentals, and knowledgeable skippers since 1976. Captain Mark Howe helms the association's sailing school, which instills students with safety guidelines and sailing theory in a classroom setting before taking to the waves for hands-on experience with navigation and popular pirate songs. Instead of suffering the expenses of boat ownership, Aventura Sailing Association members are free to rent vessels from the association's stable of well-maintained 30- to 43-foot sailboats, paying only for the time spent atop the waves. Membership ($59 for each additional month) also grants discounted pricing on sailing school, access to various sailing events, and the opportunity to shadow more experienced sailors and glean subtle tricks of the trade.
Affordable Photo Booths makes enhancing any special event easy with rental packages designed to suit the needs of any event, from weddings to birthdays to hamster showers. Booths boast Canon Rebel T3 DSLR cameras and printers that zip out zany pictures in just 10 seconds. They're even capable of recording 10- to 20-second video messages at the touch of a button. The company ensures smooth sailing with a professional assistant, delivery, setup, and breakdown included with each package.