Category Archives: Local Activities

What to Do on a Rainy Day in Auckland

It wasn’t as pretty as usual in Auckland today, so we headed below the deck to the fabulous and interactive Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium. 


Identifying all the different fish was fun, but making them come to life was the highlight of the day. 


First, you color a sea creature. 


Then you scan them and they come to life in the digital aquarium. There are about four coloring stations, each with its own aquarium. 


Then your sea creature joins the rest of the fish in an aquarium of all of the digitized drawings. Kids catch on quickly and make sure to put their names on each creature so they can track their progress on the screen. 

This was truly an ingenious idea and fun for all ages. There were definitely a few grownup fish swimming around in there. 

The Perfect Father’s Day Gift for Dad’s Who Love Road Trips

Looking for the perfect father’s day gift? What about taking dad on a road trip — in his dream car? A car rental may not initially come to your mind when thinking about a gift for dad, but taking advantage of Hertz Dream Car Collection, you’ll be able to give him a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get behind the wheel of a sleek, powerful sports car – such as an Aston Martin, Ferrari or Lamborghini – for a weekend getaway or just the day.

Rent dad his dream car from Hertz for Father's Day.
Rent dad his dream car from Hertz for Father’s Day.

 

The Hertz Dream Car Collection currently includes the following vehicles, which are available at various Hertz locations in the U.S.:

 

·         Aston Martin V8 Vantage (coupe and roadster)

·         Audi (R8, Spyder)

·         BMW (650i Gran Coupe, 650i Convertible, M3 Convertible, M5)

·         Cadillac CTS-V

·         Ferrari (California, F430 Spider)

·         Jaguar XJL (NEW!)

·         Lamborghini Gallardo (Bicolore, LP 550-2)

·         Land Rover Range Rover Sport

·         Mercedes-Benz AMG (C63, E63, SLS, SLS Roadster)

·         Mercedes-Benz (SL550, G550, S550)

·         Nissan GT-R (NEW!)

·         Porsche (911, Cayenne, Boxster, Panamera, Cayman)

·         SRT Viper

·         Tesla Model S

And just in time for Father’s Day, Hertz just added the new Jaguar XJL to its already impressive fleet, offering well-equipped cabin features heated and ventilated seats and a panoramic glass roof while the exterior sheet metal conveys an expressive modern aesthetic.

To get a better sense of which cars are available at the Hertz location(s) closest to you, we recommending giving the location a call to be sure they have the vehicle you want. For detailed pricing, visit http://hertzdreamcars.com/.

 

 

Retreat of the Week: Loews Hollywood Hotel

This week’s escape is a bit of a staycation. The kids are still in school, and it’s that awkward time between spring break and summer vacation where you want to get away but you don’t want to go to far. The recently renovated Loews Hollywood Hotel is the perfect place for some glitz, glamour and nearby escapism.

A staycation at the Loews Hollywood Hotel // (c) Loews
A staycation at the Loews Hollywood Hotel // (c) Loews

Loews Hollywood Hotel offers 628 luxurious guestrooms, including 113 suites, which underwent a redesign completed in October 2013. Towering above the intersection of Hollywood & Highland, and drawing upon the neighborhood’s vitality, the new rooms feature custom-designed furniture and textured fabrics that strike a balance between urban glamour and tranquil sophistication. Completed in March of this year, the vibrant new lobby presents a grand sense of arrival with a new dramatic outdoor curving staircase and sleek, modern materials such as white marble floors, gray agate front desk and marbled-mirrored columns. The new lobby design offers a lobby lounge, a concierge desk, a bell desk, retail space, a Hertz Rental Car office and new bathrooms. The centerpiece of the hotel’s renovation, H2 Kitchen & Bar, opened in February and offers a social and relaxing space to plug in, conduct meetings or grab a cocktail. The innovative small plates from Executive Chef Mark Ching include signature Egg2 dish, Bulgogi Joe’s Sliders and Apple Pie Taco. H2 also boasts an impressive wine list and fresh hand-crafted cocktails from Matt Biancaniello, such as the Blackberry Basil Mojito. The hotel is directly connected to Hollywood & Highland shopping and dining, as well as the Dolby Theatre next door. However, if you are into a more relaxing, energizing escape, the 7,000-square-foot Exhale Spa awaits. The spa therapies and services leverage ancient and new spa practices alike, with signature treatments including the “Illuminate Facial” and “Flow Massage.” What’s not to miss you ask? If you still are looking for a reason to visit Loews Hollywood Hotel, just check out their rooftop yoga…

Rooftop yoga at the Loews Hollywood Hotel is for the adventurous. // (c) 2014 Loews Hollywood Hotel
Rooftop yoga at the Loews Hollywood Hotel is for the adventurous. // (c) 2014 Loews Hollywood Hotel

Mother’s Day Brunch in L.A.

Craft is taking reservations for Mother's Day. // (c) 2014 Craft Los Angeles
Craft is taking reservations for Mother’s Day. // (c) 2014 Craft Los Angeles

Mother’s Day is one of the most popular days of the year to eat out. So finding a place where you can get a reservation is key — especially if you have a large party. Thankfully, Open Table has put together a fantastic list of restaurants that use its service, making it easy to book online, in advance and even from your phone. It includes a wide variety of options from steakhouses to oceanfront dining. A standout for me was Craft Los Angeles, one of my favorite L.A. restaurants. Find the list on Open Table. Is your favorite restaurant on the list? Tell us where your favorite restaurants are for Mother’s Day in the comments.

 

Despicable Me Ride Opens at Universal Studios Hollywood

Fans of the movie “Despicable Me” can now head to Universal Studios Hollywood to get up close and personal with their favorite minions and hang out with Gru and the crew. “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem” officially opens to the public at Universal Studios Hollywood on Saturday, April 12.

Universal Studios Hollywood - Despicable Me Ride
Universal Studios Hollywood – Despicable Me Ride

As if lifted from the world of “Despicable Me” and placed within Universal Studios Hollywood, the “Despicable Me” ride welcomes guests to ‘Minion Mayhem’ via Gru and the girls’ idyllic suburban neighborhood, re-created with precision to mirror their ominous house and Miss Hattie’s Home for Girls. Whimsically themed queues, clever preshow videos and comedic dialogue set up Gru’s nefarious plot: to create an army of Minions from guest recruits.

As guests enter Gru’s living room, they will encounter many memorable artifacts from the series, including his notorious SR6 Shrink Ray and rhinoceros chair, and then make their way into Gru’s super-villain laboratory. The exciting journey will send guests, who wear wearing specially-designed 3D “Minion Goggles,” on an excursion through the humorous Minion training mission. Soon, guests will actually become Minions themselves. A post-show Minion dance party invites everyone to join in the impromptu fun and celebrate the anniversary of Gru and the girls becoming a family.

“Super Silly Fun Land,” an all-new elaborate carnival setting and play zone unique to Universal Studios Hollywood, is just adjacent to “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem”. Who doesn’t remember when Gru took the girls to the seaside resort in the first film and “won” Agnes the iconic fluffy unicorn? Now, guests can win a unicorn of their own and roam this uniquely stylized environment, which until now could only be enjoyed on the big screen.

The cast of "Despicable Me" and Universal Studios executives attended the opening. // (c) Universal Studios
The cast of “Despicable Me” and Universal Studios executives attended the opening. // (c) Universal Studios

The world premiere was attended by many Minions parading along the yellow carpet, who were joined by Chris Meledandri, founder and CEO of Illumination Entertainment; Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal; Tom Williams, Chairman & CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts; and Larry Kurzweil, President of Universal Studios Hollywood. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti made a special guest appearance to show support for the theme park’s newest addition, speaking to an enthusiastic crowd about Universal Studios Hollywood’s long-term impact on tourism in the region.

Also in attendance were “Despicable Me” series stars, including Miranda Cosgrove (Margo), Dana Gaier (Edith) and Elsie Fisher (Agnes), who were joined by versatile entertainer and host of EXTRA, Mario Lopez; the cast from NBC’s “Crisis,” including Stevie Lynn Jones, Lance Gross, Joshua Erenberg, Max Martini and Max Schneider; TGT recording artist, Tank; HBO’s “Band of Brothers” star Neal McDonough; Syfy’s “Face Off” host, McKenzie Westmore; and Ultimate Fighting Champion Chuck Lidell.

www.universalstudioshollywood.com