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Feedback on Palm Springs with Kids Itinerary

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Mar 7th, 2014, 08:16 PM
  #1
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Feedback on Palm Springs with Kids Itinerary

We are going to Palm Springs the first week of April. Kids are 9 and 11. We are staying at the Homewood Suites (I think its in Palm Desert). We obviously have a car. Here is what I have mapped out so far. We are usually good from 9a-3 or 4pm. And then its back to the hotel/ppol and in for the night. We usually get take out and eat in the room--much more relaxing for all involved.

Monday-Desert Museum (outdoors, my kids love animals, should be fun)
Tuesday-Childrens Discovery Museum (indoors, we all love science museums)
Wednesday--Joshua Tree NP. Cannot wait!!!! Will do some short hikes. I am just really excited.
Thursday--Palm Springs Air Museum, Village Green Museums (3 of them, we will see how many we get through), walk around PS maybe??? Don't know if we will make it to the Thursday night street fair. Will have to see.
Friday--Indian Canyons hikes

I think we may need to have some "modular" activities so if the Childrens Discovery Museum is done by noon, we could maybe walk around PS or see the Village Green museums. Have to see how that goes. I am also considering renting some bikes and doing a family bike ride. Are there distinct bike paths vs. roads with cars?

I don't know that we will want to do the tramway--it sounds like it could be chilly in April and we are escaping cold. Thoughts on this??

Anything else I am missing?
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Mar 8th, 2014, 03:13 AM
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I think you will need to add to Tuesday. I may be wrong, but I think your kids are a little old for the children's museum and will get bored. May be okay for two hours or so, but not a destination on its own.

On a side note, 9 and 11 and still done by three? You are crushing my dreams for the future! Mine are four and five and I was hoping in a few years they'd have better stamina!
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Mar 8th, 2014, 03:19 AM
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If you are up for day trip, it's just under two hour to Disneyland. Not sure if you've been before or not.
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Mar 8th, 2014, 10:07 AM
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With regard to the tramway, I recommend that you not pass it up. It's a spectacular ride. As mentioned on the weather section of their web site, the temperature at the top will typically be about 30 degrees cooler than at the bottom. In April at mid day it will be 80-85 F at the bottom, and therefore around 50 at the top. A jacket should suffice for the time you will be up there.

http://www.pstramway.com/
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Mar 8th, 2014, 10:21 AM
  #5
 
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Hello there,

A few thoughts. I think you mean 'Living Desert' and not 'Desert Museum'? The latter is an art museum in PS. Living Desert is in Palm Desert off Portola and I agree, kids enjoy it. The CDMOD is a really fun place. Spent a lot of time there when my daughter was 2-8 years old. The exhibits are very interactive. I agree that your kids might be on the trailing edge of finding it interesting, the 11-y.o. especially.

If your kids like the outdoors and hiking, then Joshua Tree should be really good. It is quite a shlep up there from PD, and the closer alternative is the Indian Canyons, which you mention. In particular, I like Tahquitz, Andreas, or Murray. We have not had a lot of snow in the mountains this year, but there should still be water flowing in the streams. Tahquitz has a visitor's center with a small museum and a movie about the legend of Tahquitz, who was a shaman that turned evil. I don't want to discourage you from JT, which is really amazing, but wanted to offer some closer alternatives. Also, the Mecca Hills/Painted Canyon and especially Ladder Canyon hike is a huge crowd pleaser, especially for kids. Google to see pictures. It is a small haul from PD too, maybe about 45 minutes east. A good place to pick up sandwiches for a picnic hike is Jensen's Express on Cook near the corner of 42nd Street.

The Air Museum is pretty well done. The tram is a great experience, but agree, it could be chilly up there -30 to 40 degrees cooler than the Valley floor. There is a mountain station and you could hang out there and enjoy the view as opposed to hiking. Food is so-so. It is an easy 11 minute ride up, and same down.

Other ideas: there are some great jeep tours, i.e. Desert Adventures or Adventure Hummer. Or, what about a hot air balloon ride?

Your hotel, if it is the Homewood on Cook Street, is near several restaurants. Roc's Firehouse, Pizza Villagio, and Mic n Moe's to name three. I like the last one. Several more choices up the street south on Cook (towards the mtns). Also up that way is the Marriott Desert Springs hotel, with a large atrium lobby. Boats come into the lobby and shuttle people to restaurants. It is a free ride and kids love it. You could do it and not necessarily need to dine there.

The PS Village Fest Thursday night is fun. Lots of good street food, entertainment, crafts, etc. In the past have seen pony rides and face painting for kids too.

Finally, the weather will be great for bike riding. The Bikeman and Big Wheel Bike Tours are the nearest rental places a couple miles south of your hotel off Cook. I haven't used them, but yelp looks ok. There is generally a pretty good network of 'Class 2' on-street and 'Class 1' off-street bike trails.
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Mar 8th, 2014, 12:25 PM
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Thank you for all of your ideas!!! I wondered about the children's museum. I will have to think of what to add on to that.

Yes, by 3 or 4 we are ALL tired and DONE. I just want a glass of wine and the kids want to swim and we all need a break!!! I don't like exhausting myself on vacation though!

Nix the Disney--been there, done that. shudder. We are not a jeep tour type of family but the hot air balloon ride could be interesting--but you don't have to "launch" at like 6 am or something??? Or I wonder if they do evening flights??? (I am obviously clueless about balloons)

I will have to poll the family on the tramway. We are in Salt Lake City and we take the tram in the summer here to the top of the ski hills to lookout as well going to the top of the lifts during the ski season. So they are used to the experience. It might be a good thing to add to Tuesday though.

PSLocal--thanks for the info on restaurants and biking. The Mecca Hills info looks very interesting. I really want to see Tahquitz Canyon etc because it looks interesting. If you had to pick between the 2, which would you pick? Or could we possibly do Tahquitz in the afternoon after the science museum? I am the one who is dying to see JT so they will have to suffer with me for one day

My kids like street fairs. Maybe I will be able to drag them back out in the evening. Do people bring their dogs? My kids looooooooove dogs. We actually joke that they get "dog-starved" on vacation. They actually pull up the pix of our dog on the phone just so they can connect with him. So if there were dogs at the street fair, that would be a big draw.
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Mar 8th, 2014, 01:33 PM
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Wow, hard choice. Ladder canyon is probably a 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hour commitment between the trip there and back and the hike. Several choices in the hike, as short as an hour and a half to 3 hours, depending on the loop. See http://www.hiking-in-ps.com/meccahills.php. Pay attention to the security. I have not had any problems, but it sure p**ses me off that is going on. The Living Desert is in PD and about 20-25 min. from there to the Indian Canyons. If it's warm, consider the hike in the morning and the LD in the afternoon. LD is maybe 10-15 min from your hotel. You could do Tahquitz in a couple hours or less and LD in 2-3.

Balloon rides are sunrise and late afternoon, weather and winds permitting. Launches are in the east valley about 25 min from where you're staying.

The Village Fest is dog-friendly! Usually lots of dogs there.

Other good family restaurants in the area: Sherman's Deli in PD (breakfast); Keedy's Cafe, PD (breakfast, lunch);Thai Smile or Blue Orchid (both Thai) RM and PD; Fisherman's Market, at the mall in PD; Tyler's Burgers in downtown PS; if you want a good breakfast or lunch at a very old, authentic desert icon, Shield's Cafe in Indio (like a time warp). Try a date shake.

There is an interesting restaurant across the street called Jackalope Ranch. It was the swan song dream of restaurateur Don Callender (Marie Callender's) and opened a few year ago, sadly as he was dying of cancer. Huge place, great outdoor setting, supposedly the most expensive restaurant ever built in the US on a per-sf basis. Not expensive.

If you are a wine lover, wine heaven is Total Wine in PD, Hwy 111 at Desert Crossing. They do wine tastings there in a nice setting. This place makes Bev-Mo look like amateur hour. Good wine bar w restaurant is Third Corner Bistro in PD. Other really savvy small retail wine store (e.g. the $20 dollar cab that drinks like a $75) is Dan's Wine Shop, PD. Lots of good daily drinkers for $10-15/bottle, all the way up to the usual Napa suspects that are $150+. Dan won't steer you wrong.

I think all of the above are search and yelp-able.
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Mar 8th, 2014, 01:41 PM
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There is also a really good trip report on another forum called "Joshua Tree NP - 2 day trip report". Hopefully Fodors won't get bent out of shape if I provide the link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic....html#56640222
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Mar 8th, 2014, 05:27 PM
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PSLocal---I was going to ask about beverage provisions!!! Can you buy wine on Sunday in CA?? I assume so but I never know. Is there a good grocery store near our hotel? Doesn't have to be Trader Joes--just the local Safeway or Vons or whatever. That way we can stock up on breakfast stuff, snack stuff, and ice cream (I love vacation. I let myself have all sorts of stuff I don't normally eat!) Thanks!!
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Mar 8th, 2014, 05:29 PM
  #10
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oh--and how long does it take to drive from our hotel in Palm Desert to PS?? I know I can MapQuest it, etc but I appreciate the locals' view on traffic!!
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Mar 8th, 2014, 06:32 PM
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Yes, liquor can be purchased from 6 AM to 2 AM, 7 days/week. The closest market is right up the street, a Ralph's on the NW corner of Cook Street and Country Club Drive. Trader Joe's is about 10 min away on Fred Waring Drive between Monterey and Town Center Drive. I heartily recommend Dan's Wine Shop for best wine bargains, but Ralph's should have a good selection.

Drive to PS is about 15-20 min depending on route. I'd try to avoid using Hwy 111 to traverse the Valley between cities---gets pretty slow. To get from your hotel to the edge of downtown PS, take Cook south (away from the I-10 toward the mtns) and turn right on Frank Sinatra Drive; after abt 2-3 miles, turn right on Da Vall, another couple miles, then left on Ramon Road. Ramon goes through Cathedral City into PS. Ramon intersects Palm and Indian Canyon Drives. Downtown is to the right from there.

On Frank Sinatra you will pass a couple local landmarks. First, Sunnylands where Obama recently met with the King of Jordan. Look for the pink wall. After that you will pass Frank Sinatra's old estate.
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Mar 9th, 2014, 07:20 AM
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(I love vacation. I let myself have all sorts of stuff I don't normally eat!)

I used to buy Pop tarts whenever we took a road trip.

Have fun in Palm Springs. My kids enjoy Living Desert when we visit, though sometimes we just like hanging out by the pool.
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