Taking the Catalina Eco Friendly Jeep Tour with Kids

Catalina Island sits off the coast of California, lying within LA County. It was originally settled by the Pimuvit, who called the island Pimu. It has a history of trading ownership between Spain, Mexico, and the United States as well as for its use in illegal trades and activities such as smuggling. William Wrigley Jr turned the island into a tourist destination in the 1920s, and it was later taken over by the Catalina Island Conservancy in the 1970s.

Catalina Eco Friendly jeep tour sky

We’ve lived in the Los Angeles area for over two decades and somehow never made it out to Catalina. Finally this year we went on a day trip with Catalina Express. We got to check out the main attractions on Avalon including Falconry, the Casino, and the Glass Bottom Boat. The second time around we decided to explore the island with the Catalina Island’s Eco Jeep Tour.
Catalina Eco Friendly jeep tour boats

What You See

Catalina Island is most noted for its impressive ecosystem, a mixture of gifts from its various inhabitants over history. The Pimuvit people brought foxes to the island, the Spaniards brought mountain goats, the Wrigley family brought deer, and a movie producer in 1924 brought bison. Naturally, many who visit Catalina want to see this interesting wildlife and plant life.
Catalina Eco Friendly jeep tour ship

We stopped in Catalina during our Carnival cruise. The ship itself doesn’t dock, as it is too large for the harbor, so we went to the island via tenders. We wanted to explore the island’s natural, wild areas. We also wanted to see the spectacular views from the hilltops and observe bison, foxes, and oversized squirrels up close. Therefore, we booked the conservatory’s Eco Jeep Tour.

Catalina Eco Friendly jeep tour restaurant

The two to three-hour tour takes guests through the most remote, natural parts of Catalina Island as a guide discusses fascinating island history. We were dropped off in the same place that the Catalina Express boats dock. From here, our family walked to the offices on Clarissa Street, which took roughly ten minutes. Since we got there early, we stopped by the Lobster Trap Restaurant to sample their delicious lobster roll.

Catalina Eco Friendly jeep tour food

The Jeep Tour starts promptly at 12:30. We were seated with four other passengers in an open jeep with a top cover. At the time, the LA area had just experienced a month of rain. The grounds were covered in lush green which the guide explained would last until the end of May.

Taking the Catalina Eco Friendly Jeep Tour with Kids catalina eco tour pin

 

The tour itself consisted of a leisurely drive up a semi paved road to the local airport, nicknamed Airport in the Sky. Here, visitors can stop for a quick bit at the local DC-3 Restaurant.

Catalina Eco Friendly jeep tour map

Our Takeaway

We loved the beautiful scenery but unfortunately didn’t see much wildlife.
Catalina Eco Friendly jeep tour fox

All we saw was a lone bison in a field and an old fox begging for table scraps outside DC-3. However, this might be due to the fact we took the shorter tour with a condensed route.
Catalina Eco Friendly jeep tour harbor

The jeep ride itself wasn’t too bumpy, especially for us sitting in the middle seat. The narrator was also engaging. However, it was relatively cold and two hours proved a bit too long for our son with autism.
Catalina Eco Friendly jeep tour hills

Overall the trip was entertaining and a decent value for those interested in geology and ecology.

 

Catalina Eco Friendly jeep tour bison

Price

The two-hour tour is seventy dollars, while the three-hour tour is one hundred and nine dollars.

Catalina Eco Friendly jeep tour sand

Autism Travel Tips:

  • We recommend this trip for older kids only. Kids under six years of age are not allowed on the tour.
  • They do offer blankets in the jeep, but these blankets are fuzzy which might cause problems for those sensitive to certain textures.
  • Parents should bring blankets, jackets, hats, and ear muffs for their kids as it does get chilly, especially during winter.

Catalina Eco Friendly jeep tour mirror

  • They offer the tour no matter what weather conditions. Parents should check the weather report before booking to avoid prices.
  • The restrooms at Lobster Trap and DC3 were both incredibly clean.
  • At the Airport in the Sky, kids can have fun watching small plans land and take off on the short runway.
  • Catalina Eco Friendly jeep tour airpot
  • The Jeep Tour is offered in a three hour and two-hour version. The three-hour version is best to take for those who want to see a lot of wildlife up close. However, for those who might get antsy, the two-hour version would work best.
  • The tour runs on an unpredictable bumpy road. Those who might have problems with this fact should probably not book the tour.
  • Everyone on tour needs to be able to walk independently.Catalina Eco Friendly jeep tour homes

Celebrating Dr. Seuss at Sea aboard the Carnival Imagination

Celebrating Dr. Seuss at Sea aboard the Carnival Imagination pin

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Suess, was a man of many talents. He was a writer, artist, cartoonist, animator, and publisher who took on the “Dr. Seuss” pen name during his college years at Dartmouth and Oxford. Though he started his career as a scathing political cartoonist and illustrator for advertisements, he is best remembered today for his children’s book series, which include The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Horton Hears a Who. Suess always highlighted the important of everyone’s unique traits, and his stories have inspired kids to read and create for generations.


Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination decorated room

When we went on our last cruise aboard the Carnival Imagination, we were delighted to discover that Carnival Cruise Lines possessed the rights to use Dr. Suess’s iconic characters and imagery in their Seuss at Sea events for kids. Kids and parents can make memories with a character breakfast, an interactive storytelling activity, a character parade, and various artistic activities. This event is perfect for younger kids who love the stories of Dr. Suess and the art of reading.
Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination menu

 

The Character Breakfast

We enjoyed the character breakfast in the Spirit Dining Room at the back of the ship. Dining started at nine AM but families were lining up by eight thirty, and the venue was seating people half an hour early. The room for the breakfast was small, so parents should get a reservation ahead of time to guarantee a good table.

Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination dinning

The venue played various songs from the Suess musical. While these songs added to the ambiance, they were rather loud. Parents who require a table away from the music amplifiers should arrive early and talk to the host.

Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination yogurt

The decor of the dining area was detailed and whimsical, perfectly in theme for Dr. Suess. The entire eating experience was five bucks total, and the food was delicious. Kids could order from a Suess booklet many interestingly colored items and foods lifted directly from the Suess universe.

Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination pancakesThese items included “Moose Juice n Goose Juice,” funky colored french toast, pancakes, and waffles, and the famous Green Eggs and Ham. Many of the items were ladened with sugar, so parents should be careful and watch what their kids consume. In our opinion, the best item on the menu was the sunny side up green eggs and steak. The green eggs were delicious, well cooked, and soft. The menu also featured plenty of standard items for those who might be picky about the wacky colored foods.

Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination waffle

As other character breakfasts, this one too had guest appearances by Thing One and two, Sam I am and the Cat in the Hat.While the two ‘Things’ did walk around, Sam and the Cat stand in one spot and guests are expected to line up to get a selfie with them.

Character Parade and Story Reading

Kids could also enjoy the onboard character parade, walking alongside familiar Suess characters. The Suess-a-Palooza started at the Xanadu Lounge on the ship’s ninth deck at two PM. Excited passengers, staff, and various Seuss characters walked from here to the casino. Other passengers stood to side cheering. This event can be a lot of fun, especially for smaller kids, but some kids might get overwhelmed by the crowds and sounds. What is nice about this event is the fact that kids can choose to either participate in the parade or stand off to the side, able to leave at any time.
Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination eggs

The Story Reading took place in the Dynasty  Theater. We liked the decor, as the stage was decorated like an open tent. The concept is for fellow passengers to play read the Cat in the Hat, bringing it to life with props.The staff selects both kids and parents to play the different characters, so if you feel up to it, you can choose to volunteer. This fact makes for hilarious and memorable improv moments, especially from younger kids.

Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination table

Our Takeaway

All events are fantastic for families cruising with small children. It can sometimes be difficult to find something on a cruise line that will entertain kids who might not be old enough to participate in or enjoy typical cruise activities. Seuss at Sea entertains children while also encouraging reading and storytelling.Our son with autism brought up how incredible it was that Dr. Suess had this entire world of characters in his head, and compared him to Belgium’s Herge.
Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination things

Autism Travel Tips

  • The ship typically schedules the popular breakfast on sea days. Make sure you book it in advance.
  • If your child is noise sensitive you may want to pack earplugs or headphones. They play loud music at the breakfast on multiple loudspeakers.
  • Most tables seat eight to ten people. Should you wish to sit at a smaller table, mention it to the hostess that seats you.
  • The venue accommodates special diets. Make sure you notify the Maitre D’  the night before.
  • There is no restriction on the number of items you can order. If your kid is a picky eater you can order several items for him or her to try.

Celebrating Dr Suess at sea aboard Carnival Imagination ice

 

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