Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment anaheimer

Los Angeles - Oue SkyspaceSouthern California, often abbreviated as SoCal, is a vibrant cultural hub teeming with entertainment, arts, and sports venues. Unlike New York, where venues are clustered together, SoCal's attractions are more dispersed, making them a bit more challenging to locate.

In this series, I will feature articles highlighting major entertainment complexes, museums, fun centers, and shopping centers in the area. A valuable resource for discovering fun in SoCal is www.socalfunplaces.com. This website categorizes venues into sections like "Amphitheaters and Stadiums," "Drive-in Theaters," and "Family Entertainment."

Feel free to contribute your own articles about places you've visited or comment on existing articles.

Among my favorite spots are The Getty Center and the Getty Villa; Griffith Observatory and Planetarium; Hollywood Bowl; Honda Center; Spreckels Organ Outdoor Pavilion; Garden Walk; Balboa Park; Bowers Museum; Hollywood and Highland; and the California Science Center—just to name a few.

Imaginarium at the Fairplex

Imaginarium at the Fairplex anaheimer

Imaginarium 1 This holiday season, my family and I embarked on an enchanting journey to the heart of the Imaginarium at Pomona Fairplex.

This festive destination transformed the familiar grounds into a luminous wonderland, teeming with spectacular light displays and captivating shows.

As we wandered through the expansive exhibition, the air was filled with popular Christmas songs, and the spirit of the season was palpable among the throngs of families.

Dazzling Displays at the Imaginarium

Imaginarium 1 The Imaginarium's spellbinding allure began with its array of light displays, each with its unique theme and story.

The "Frozen Forest" was a standout, a mesmerizing array of white and blue lights that simulated a winter's walk through a frost-kissed woodland.

The "Candy Cane Lane" featured red and white lights intertwined to create a whimsical path, while the "Dancing Lights Show" was a synchronized light performance set to holiday tunes, creating a dynamic and unforgettable spectacle.

Amidst the cool California night, we encountered a delightful surprise: man-made snow! Though not abundant enough to have a significant impact, it was a thrill to watch kids playing in this rare winter experience.

A central snow-play area could have enhanced this feature considerably.

Captivating Shows and Entertainment

Imaginarium 4 Beyond the lights, the Imaginarium hosted a variety of shows. The "Winter Circus" featured acrobats and performers in glittering costumes, and "Santa's Storytime" was a hit with the younger visitors, where Santa read holiday tales by a cozy fireplace.

Dining at Cruizer's Cafe

Although the event advertised several food options, choices seemed limited. We settled on Cruizer's Café, offering an interesting mix of Asian and Mexican cuisine with dishes like rice bowls, noodle bowls, and loaded nachos.

The food was typical for such events—acceptable but not extraordinary. The main drawback was the lack of seating, resulting in us enjoying our dinner standing up.

Final Impressions and Visitor Tips

Imaginarium 5While we relished the festive atmosphere and dazzling lights, this visit felt like a one-time experience. Improvements, particularly in dining options, could make a significant difference for future visits.

For those planning to visit the Imaginarium, here are some tips:

  • Plan Your Visit in Advance: Visit the website for details on dates, times, and tickets ([Imaginarium Website](https://imaginarium360.com/fairplex/)).
  • Arrive Early: To enjoy the experience fully and find better parking.
  • Restroom Locations: Only available in the parking lots before entering.
  • Dress Appropriately: It's an outdoor event, so dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes.
  • Visit the 'Under-the-Sea' Area: A unique experience with mermaids and sea creatures, located away from the main attractions.
  • Be Prepared for Queues: Expect lines, especially at special display tents.

Overall, the Imaginarium offered a festive and visually stunning experience, with room for improvements in certain areas.

Address:

1101 W McKinley Ave, Gate Number 17, Pomona, CA 91768
 

Jurassic Quest

Jurassic Quest anaheimer

Jurassic Quest - AnaheimWhen I saw the announcement for the Jurassic Quest exhibition, I was excited. We get to see animatronic Dynos in their natural habitat.

I bought tickets for the family and waited anxiously for our allotted day and time – which happened to be the first day of 2022.

On that day, we arrived early at the convention center but got stuck in a long line of cars waiting to enter the car park. We eventually paid the parking fee of $20, parked, and headed to the exhibit.

The entry into the hall was exhilarating, with many types of dinosaurs arrayed on both sides of the pathway.

Jurassic Quest - AnaheimWe saw giant herbivores like the Sauropods and triceratops, and we saw the terrifying T-Rex.

In the ancient oceans exhibit, we gazed upon the behemoth Megalodon and some whale precursors.

The exhibit also had several areas for younger children. In one place, kids can dig for dino fossils. While at another, they can get a temporary tattoo or create some dino art.

If you are brave enough, you can take a ride on a dinosaur. And of course, you can spend your money on souvenirs.

Jurassic Quest - AnaheimWhile this kind of exhibit is a great educational and entertainment idea, it left something to be desired.

Many of the exhibits were so dark you could barely see the dinos, and there was a huge empty area in the middle that could have been used for more exhibits or activities.

To keep the crowd limited due to Covid, we had to select a time slot of about 1 hour and 45 minutes. We were done with the whole exhibit in 45 minutes.

To be fair, families with young children would probably need the whole time to experience the activities and the rides.

The exhibit is traveling around the country. You can see a full schedule here. 

Mission Escape Games

Mission Escape Games anaheimer

Mission Escape - Bank HeistI heard a lot about escape rooms but never participated until recently when I visited the Mission Escape Games location at the Garden Walk, Anaheim.

Did you know? The concept of escape rooms was inspired by "escape-the-room"–style video games. It's a live-action game that brings virtual puzzles to the real world.

I fell in love with the games right away. It is a great way to spend an hour and a half having fun with friends and family and using your brain to solve puzzles.

If you haven’t tried an escape room yet, here is an explanation: It is a game in which a team of players discovers clues, solves puzzles, and accomplishes tasks in one or more rooms to accomplish a specific goal in a limited amount of time.

Tip: Communication is key in escape rooms. Make sure to voice out your thoughts and listen to your teammates to solve puzzles more efficiently.

That was the scientific definition, but basically, you will be running around between two or three rooms, collecting clues, and cooperating (or arguing) with your team to escape the locked rooms.

Mission Escape Games in Anaheim is a perfect place to try the game for the first time.

They always start with detailed instructions and synopses of the story and provide a way to get some clues from the game master in case you get stuck.

Important Note: They ask you to arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled time because you must sign waivers and watch a video and listen to the game synopsis and instructions. 

Mission Escape - End of DaysSo far, we have tried two of their escape rooms, and we plan to return for more.

Interesting Fact: The "Bank Heist" and "End of Days" rooms at Mission Escape Games are known for their immersive storylines and challenging puzzles, making them favorites among enthusiasts.

We started with Bank Heist, where we had to pull the ultimate bank robbery to clear a debt we accumulated with the mob.   

Our second escape was from the End of Days room. We had to put together the final element to save the human race from a failed experiment. Both games were exciting and fun to play.

Please note that  I am not giving away any specifics or pointers about gameplay to avoid spoilers. You must figure it out on your own.

There are a lot of escape room places, so what is so special about this one?

First, I like the convenient location at the Garden Walk, close to Disneyland, with many top-notch restaurants.

Tip: Combine your visit to Mission Escape Games with a trip to Disneyland or Downtown Disney for a full day of adventure and fun. The proximity makes it an ideal pairing.

Second, I like that I can reserve the whole room for my party. You pay around $120 on weekdays or $135 on weekends for a family of four.

And finally, I think the game guides are friendly and funny, making the game more enjoyable.

Fun Fact: The world's largest escape room is located in a castle in Poland, offering an immersive experience that spans over 2,500 square meters.

Escape rooms are not just about solving puzzles; they're about teamwork, communication, and thinking outside the box. Whether you're with friends, family, or coworkers, it's an excellent activity for building relationships and creating memorable experiences.

Tip: If you're new to escape rooms, don't be afraid to ask for hints. Game masters are there to make sure you have a good time, not to watch you struggle indefinitely.

As escape rooms continue to evolve, they incorporate more advanced technology, such as VR and AR, to create even more immersive experiences. This means that even if you've tried escape rooms before, there's always something new to experience.

In conclusion, escape rooms offer a unique blend of entertainment, challenge, and teamwork that you won't find in many other activities. Mission Escape Games in Anaheim is a great starting point for those new to the concept and a worthy challenge for seasoned veterans.

Remember: The goal is to have fun! Whether you escape or not, it's all about the experience and the stories you'll have to share afterwards.

So, why not plan your visit to an escape room today? It's an adventure you won't forget, filled with puzzles to solve, codes to decipher, and secrets to uncover. Who knows? You might just discover a new hobby.

Out Of This World Circus

Out Of This World Circus anaheimer

nullThe circus is in town!

Circus performers and animals have been entertaining audiences for decades. Every circus has acrobats, high wire walkers, aerialists, lion trainers, and clowns – and this show has them all and much more.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey took all those acts and wove them together with a storyline that ignites the audience's imagination and makes every performance much more interesting.

nullThe arena is set up with floating globes and bright LED projections. Images of stars and galaxies flash all around and on the big screens. The ice floor is illuminated with astronomical designs. The whole setup prepares the audience for a trip to outer space.

The ice flooring is a new innovation for circus shows. Many of the acts were performed while skating on the ice. 

nullAs you wait for the show to start, you will be tantalized with appearances by some of the performers and animals. 

The show opens with a countdown, and on lift-off, you see three astronauts balancing on high-wire. With the lighting and special effects, it looks like the moonwalk.

nullThe story is a typical struggle between good and evil. The good ringmaster is on a quest to find the best circus performers in the galaxy and bring them to earth for the greatest show in the universe.  While the evil queen wants the performers for her own show. 

The show featured some returning acts like the Torres family from Paraguay who raced motorcycles in a small (6-foot) globe with speeds up to 60 mph. Up to 6 bikes were cramped in this tiny space while spinning fast. With the stage lights dimmed and the cycle’s lights blasting, it looked like a tornado of light. 

nullAnother popular returning act was big cat trainer Alexander Lacey who brought his well-behaved lions and tigers.

There were also new acts like the Chinese aerobatics team who were tumbling on the ice and the Simet family who presented their new Space Walk at the beginning of the show. 

One of my favorite performances was by the cute domesticated animals. The stage was invaded by every kind of pet you can imagine. There were cats and dogs, donkeys, goats, Lamas, Alpacas, and pigs. 

nullNotably, absent this year were the Asian Elephants. Thankfully they were all retired to a conservation center in Florida. The decision to retire the Elephants was largely driven by new legislation regulating travel and accommodation conditions for the huge animals. 

In general, my family and I loved the show, especially the new innovations and the space theme. I also noticed that the children around us were enthralled by all the acts.