The Los Angeles Zoo: Then and Now

The Griffith Park Zoo was originally opened in 1912, amusingly built on the former location of Griffith J. Griffith’s old ostrich farm. It was opened with 15 animals, and due to lack of funding; it opened without any cages, simply stockades to keep the animals in, which were inadequate for several of the species, kept on site.

Stories claim that the history of the zoo was rocky, and it was always struggling. For example, in 1916, the zoo was apparently leaking sewage into the L.A. River, and later during World War I, a meat shortage made it hard to properly care for the animals, forcing the zoo to substitute horse meat for beef, leading to the deaths of many of the meat eating animals, particularly the big cats. Luckily the zoo was free which kept visitors coming.

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Naples Island, Long Beach

This Italian-inspired Long Beach community was developed in the early 1900’s as the “Dreamland of Southern California” and consists of three islands filled with narrow streets and walkways, canals, beautiful houses and boats, a plaza with a water fountain, excellent shopping and restaurants on nearby 2nd Street. This seaside neighborhood boasts picturesque bridges reminiscent of Italy’s Mediterranean shore: Naples.

Today it’s known as 2nd Street in Naples & Belmont Shore, and it has become a thriving shopping and dining district that connects downtown Long Beach with its very own coastal – beach regions to the south.

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Wandering the Bolsa Chica Wetlands

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Trail is a 4.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Huntington Beach, California, that features beautiful wild flowers and many different species of birds! You can also find several species of marine life, reptiles, and mammals while exploring the reserve. Bolsa Chica is also home to Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes and Southern Pacific Rattlesnakes, both of which are venomous. Click here for more information and the Do’s and Don’ts when walking in rattlesnake territory.

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Three Years Later

Three years ago, I decided to sell everything and leave the small river town I called home. I wanted to see the country instead of being stuck in just one part of it. I wanted to feel the energies of new places and different people, and I wanted to experience the glories of history. My adventures are a constant struggle between fear and courage, but we humans are explorers and pioneers, and we find our inner strength when the end state is the absolute unknown.

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Looking for a good hike in OC? Try the scenic coastal wetlands in Newport Beach

Nestled in the center of busy streets, multi-million dollar homes and shopping malls is a small body of water that is teaming with life: the Newport Back Bay. The reserve encompasses the inland delta that connects the Upper Newport Bay and Newport Harbor.

SAM_4745-001The Upper Newport Bay (known by locals as ” The Back Bay”) is a large coastal wetland in Southern California and a major stopover for birds. Dozens of species, including endangered ones, can be observed here. The Preserve is a place that is a scenic way to view the Newport Bay and Newport Dunes away from the hustle and bustle of the Newport beach side resorts.

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The mysterious Ortega Highway: A dumping ground for serial killers

A scenic road winding through mountains, pine forests and pastoral valleys, connecting South County and Lake Elsinore, is a crucial link for commuters, and a weekend thrill ride for motorcyclists, and also a dumping ground used by criminals who wait for the cover of night. It is the stuff of mystery novels, a place where people with secrets push them over steep cliffs or bury them under a thick layer of brush.

The 44-mile Ortega Highway is a twisting two-lane stretch that connects Riverside and Orange counties via the Cleveland National Forest — and it has a killer reputation.

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The Pirate’s Tower

California’s Laguna Beach, usually brings to mind images of modern mansions and sunny, sandy shores, so finding a relatively hidden gem like this was exciting. It is quite hidden and hard to get to. First thing you have to accomplish is finding a parking space, and then you need to locate these isolated stairs that lead down to the secluded beach.

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