Diana Lefort frolicked with horses as a child on her family's Arizona ranch, developing a passion that led to her owning and caring for several of her own quarter steeds as an adult. Now with 30 years of professional equine experience, she welcomes every opportunity to blend her two passions: horseback riding and the gorgeous scenery of the Temecula Valley's wine country. She and her team begin their stallion-studded tours at various wineries in the region, where experts demonstrate the incantations used to summon tears from grapes and participants tipple seasonal fermented juices from at the chosen winery. The team then saddles participants on well-seasoned steeds with gentle temperaments and good credit ratings for tours through lush vineyard trails as the morning dew evaporates under the rising sun or as daylight slowly unspools around them into a glorious sunset. Many tours include a gourmet meal from local farmers at the Creekside Grille at Wilson Creek Winery.
Aided by their gentle steeds, the tour guides from Saddle Up Wine Tours lead guests on scenic moseys through Temecula's equine country. During each horseback tour, guides recount the history of the area going back to the arrival of the first settlers, who stole the idea for wineries from a particularly science-minded mastodon. Many of Saddle Up's tours also highlight local wineries, with included tastings of local varietals. Other tours accommodate children as young as 5, or send intermediate and advanced riders clambering up mountain trails in pursuit of panoramic views of the valleys below. Aspiring cowpokes can also immerse themselves in Saddle Up's ranch-hand experience, which includes a tour of the facilities and a chance to help tour guides care for their team of horses.
Each Groupon covers one person's flight, so couples, triplets, and ventriloquists need to purchase one Groupon per rider. Though pricing for the sunrise flight varies throughout the week, this Groupon is valid any day including weekends. Participants in the winery tour need to be 21+ with valid ID, and the age minimum for the sunrise flight is five years old. Both journeys lift off from Maurice Car'rie Winery in Temecula.
More than one million fossils and artifacts were unearthed during the construction the Diamond Valley Lake reservoir in Hemet. These time-swept relics make their home in the Western Science Center's museum complex, creating a bridge between ancient eras and the scientific advances of the future. The campus itself is steeped in advanced design tactics, making it the first museum in California to earn a Platinum LEED Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. A rooftop covered with 3,000 solar panels provides more than half of the museum's power needs, and a combination of heat-resistant windows and forced-air circulation keeps the interior cool while spending less energy on air conditioning and ice sculpture maintenance.
A journey through the ages begins from the moment visitors step from the parking lot and under the Life on Earth Timelime, a 156-foot corridor of geologic time rings from Pre-Cambrian to Holocene that leads to the museum lobby. Inside, they explore permanent and temporary exhibits, including "Max," the largest mastodon skeleton found in the Western United States and the Discovery lab highlighting the tool contemporary architects use every day. Crowds can take a seat in the immersion theater with a 270-degree screen to watch a pair of short films about the time when giant creatures roamed California and how the region was excavated and preserved.
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.
The California Surf Museum is a Non-Profit 501(C)(3) organization located in downtown Oceanside, CA. CSM's goal is to preserve our surfing heritage for the enjoyment of future generations. Open daily 10-4, Thursdays 10-8. www.surfmuseum.org