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It’s June, and you know what that means — it’s time to forget Father’s Day! 

One year, my dad skipped church (I’m kidding, he never went to church) so my mom and my sibling and I went and learned it was Father’s Day. Gah! If it had been at the Baptist Bible school my parents sent us off to in the summer, we could have made something out of glue and macaroni, but this was the Presbyterian church, and they weren’t crafty. It was also the 1960s, and on Sundays nothing was open, so there was no way to remedy the situation. We went home defeated and, I’ll admit, a little nervous.

When we got there, Dad was moving the lawn. One look and we knew that he knew we didn’t know, and then he just wiped his brow and continued riding his mower (we had less than three-quarters of an acre, so that was kinda boujee). I now realize that is exactly what he wanted to be doing on that day, yard work, because it was away from the three females who vexed him 365 days a year. 

I hear they’re making dads a little bit more cuddly these days, so they’ll likely appreciate doing something with their kids, and I’m here to help you out. If you’re grown, you don’t need my help. Everyone knows it’s brunch for mom and dad gets to watch sports and drink beer all day.

For dads who have young’uns and like spending time with them (hopefully all of you!), bring the family down to the most laid back and grooviest little big place in the state of California: Palm Springs.

Quick note: I’ve pre-sorted a list of all of our family-friendly resorts for you here. There’s quite a few, and I’d love to tell you about all the wonderful and unique things offered by each, however this is about what to do once you score your stay. I encourage you to click and peruse, as well as add your own amenity filters. 

Now, if everyone’s gone tinkle and buckled up, let’s get this motor running and get out on the highway, looking for adventure…any more of that and I may have to pay royalties, so away we go:

Edutainment

Museum of Ancient Wonders — Comprised of 375 artifacts and fossils (many are replicas), the Museum of Ancient Wonders provides an opportunity for visitors of all ages to immerse themselves into the mesmerizing life of a pharaoh, the legends of Greek mythology, and ancient African mysticism, and to experience the international fossil record in one of the most comprehensive and diverse fossil collections ever assembled and rarely seen outside of their respective museums.

Windmill Tours — From golf cart tours to self-driving tours, it’s all about the energy of these turbines, how they work, and how much electricity they produce. I hear it’s marvelous. Likely not for toddlers, though. 

Palm Springs Air Museum — Climb aboard old planes, see memorabilia from the flyers, and even ride on an old warbird.

Next year, Discovery Children’s Museum of the Desert will be open again, and it’s full of wonder. They won’t let you in without a kid, but I got a tour once, and I wanted to play with everything.

Fascination

Create Center for the Arts — It’s hard to believe we have a place this special in our little valley, but we do. Formerly a high-end doggie and people spa, it’s been repurposed into a feast for creativity. Please, do yourself and your kids a favor and check out their website and just go. I can’t tell you everything here, but if there’s a smidge of an artist in you and you’ve got imagination, this place is a dreamcatcher. On top of that, one of the best bakeries in the valley, Aspen Mills, has a satellite shop there, and there is an art store. The whole place feels like an elegant castle. Bonus — they kept the salt cave!  

Rancho Mirage Observatory — The witching hour is 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Starts in the lobby of the library. There is no cost and no registration. Tours are limited to about 20 people. Also check out their stargazing at night.

Silly Fun

Cabazon Dinosaurs — Mr. Rex, Dinny, and their more than 50 dinosaur friends provide perfect photo ops. The dinosaur walk features a dino dig and fossil panning that kids will enjoy. 

 Jurassic Wonders — I guess we love dinosaurs? This is a new installation on Highway 111 in the vicinity of the Mary Pickford Theater. They’re pretty ferocious looking — not like Dino from The Flintstones. Great photo ops.

Boomers — Are you a golfing dad? You can scratch a little of that itch at Boomers mini-golf, and maybe hit some video games and the go-carts. They also have a batting cage, but I’ve never seen anyone use it.  

Living Desert — Real live exotic animals doing real life stuff so you may have to explain, “When two lions love each other very much….” Or, you can get them interested in feeding the giraffes instead.

Get Air Trampoline Park — Something for kids of all ages. Seriously, go to their website and check it out and tell them I sent you. They have no idea who I am. It’ll be fun!

Skate Park — If you’re an action parent with an action kid, this is where you want to be.

Into The Wild

Lake Arrowhead — Take a ride on the Lake Arrowhead Queen (it’s a boat), and/or take water skiing lessons. Go to Santa’s Village where you can zipline and learn to fly fish. Or just have lunch and an ice cream.

Magic Mountain at Big Bear Lake boasts:

The Alpine Slide, Southern California’s only authentic, year-round bobsled experience. Take a chair lift ride to the top, then control your speed as you twist and turn down a quarter-mile-long track. Check the website for ages/heights. 

The Soaring Eagle, where you whoosh through the air at incredible speeds.

The Mineshaft Coaster is the first and only mountain coaster in California. On the way up, check out the breathtaking views, then you control your speed through thrilling hairpin turns, dips, tunnels, bridges and 360-degree corkscrews on a mile long track.

There’s also go-karts, an 18-hole mini golf course, and … drumroll please … a double water slide!

Whatever you decide to do, can I go with you? Asking for my inner child. And please have a very happy Father’s Day!

When you fly or drive into Palm Springs from the West, you cannot miss the sudden, dramatic appearance of hundreds of windmills. To be exact, 2200 at this writing. Few people know that it is possible to take a tour of this windmill farm. Standing at the bottom of a windmill and looking up is a thrill for even the most skeptical participant.

Windmill Farm Background 

The formation of the windmill farm, as it is now called, began in 1984. The location was chosen because it is consistently the windiest place in the United States. Winds are clocked regularly at 30 mph because air current is trapped and funneled between the two mountain ranges.

With the 1980s oil crisis came the need to increase the development of alternative energy; thus, this area received international attention and became a focus for rapid design and development of more efficient windmills. Today, constant research is done by four companies, including one from Spain.

Public Access 

With changing times, the Windmill Tour Company pivoted. Previously, a bus trip through the area was accompanied by a volunteer narrator for the tour. Now, one can take a vehicle with up to eight people and drive through the farm with a video or audio narration.

Upon arrival, you are handed a sanitized iPad in a plastic bag.  Then you drive through the designated path, which is marked, and look for the blue barrel with a number that matches the narrative on the video. At each stop, there is room to park so that you can get out and take as many pictures as you want.

Highlights of the Tour 

For engineer types, there is a display of the original turbines with detailed descriptions of the design. We learned that the original open-tower design proved noisy and caused the demise of many birds. Thus, it was back to the drawing board for redesign, especially the blades. Today, the fiberglass blades can be 144 feet long, almost the width of a football field.

One of the stops allows you to get right up to the windmill with a column that extends 300 feet into the air. The majesty of this engineering feat is difficult to comprehend.

This approximately 1.5-hour tour is truly a magnificent experience. You learn, take in the fresh desert air, and your appreciation of windmill power will increase tenfold.

 

Helpful Hints: Make reservations on their website. There are no restrooms available. Make sure you take plenty of water and a hat, for there is no shade on this tour. Finally, when you sign up for the tour, be sure to copy the directions. It is handicap accessible. 

Palm Springs Windmill Tours
www.windmilltours.com
62950 20th Avenue
Palm Springs, CA 92262
800-531-5834

 

April is packed with goings on, and with all the rain (now called a hydrologic event on my weather app) we had in March that means color — aka March showers bring April wildflowers!

No superbloom, they say, but the mountains have been celebrating St. Paddy’s Day the entire month of March by turning green! I have lived here for nine years and this is only the second time this has happened. The last time was 2019 and that year we were lousy with wildflowers. We also flooded, but that’s so 2019. Those rains that brought the superbloom came in February. This year they came in March so April should be bursting with color. And pollen. But they have pills for that ish.

Let’s get started on the rest, shall we?

The main events

April 1: Palm Springs Cruisin Association Car Show

April 1: AmDocs Festival at Palm Springs Cultural Center

April 1: Palm Springs International Dance Festival Nickerson Rossi Dance Studio

April 1 – May 7: Desert X. That link describes and shows photos. This link gives you options for a map and an app. (Learn more about a few of the art installations here on our blog.)

April 1: Desert Mountains Art Show. It is art in the mountains, what more can I tell you?

April 2: Palm Springs Vintage Market. Great market for vintage everything. You’d think they’d have run out of clothes by now, but not so much.

April 14-17: Coachella (Weekend 1). Waitlisted. Listen, if you don’t know what Coachella is, you’re never going to go. But here is my favorite YouTube clip from Coachella.

April 21-24: Coachella Weekend 2. Tickets still available at the time I am writing this.

April 23: South Palm Canyon Art Collective Sunday Soirée, 1500 South Palm Canyon. Work on display from five resident artists and several guest artists. The soirée is free.

April 28-30: Stagecoach. The country version of Coachella. Less drugs, more booze.

Saturdays and Sundays: College of the Desert Street Fair. If you’re down valley for Desert X or a music festival you have to stop here. It’s huge. I accidentally drove past it one weekend and was blown away by the size of it. I just made a plan to go.

This year’s Coachella lineup.

Repeat contenders

Hockey games and big name performers at Acrisure. April has Reba McIntyre and John Mayer. Concerts are pricey, but the hockey games are affordable.

Dinner and a show

Ticketed 

Oscar’s

Purple Room 

PS Underground 

PS Air Bar

Come On Up at the Palm Springs Cultural Center (Mildred’s small menu)

Come on up to Come On Up!

Reservations

Melvyn’s – Piano man.

Yaas Queen

Mondays: Bella da Ball, Palm Springs’ 6’4” Drag Mother at King’s Highway for Bingo, followed by Trivia in the Amigo Room.

Drag me to brunch

Great drag roundup article here

Roly China Fusion

Oscar’s

Chill Bar

PS Air – Mile High Boozy Brunch 

Reforma (Saturdays) Different date, different show. And in You Need To Calm Down news, the last one was a Taylor Swift drag brunch.

Nightclubs

Reforma (nightlife and dinner)

Toucan’s Tiki Lounge

Hunters

Pretty Faces

Cascade Lounge — Mixed entertainment, all A+, and home of Jazzville.

Sammy G’s Upstairs Bar — Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, The Evaro Brothers. Great pop dance music you can sing along to while dancing.

Theater

Dezart PerformsThe Garbologists

CVRepHand to God

Desert Ensemble TheaterFuture Thinking

Desert TheatricalsJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Musicals Under the Stars). Act fast and you can snag a dinner seat too.

An iconic Palm Springs windmill farm. Photo: Nadine Conger

Just for fun

Windmill Tour — You’re driving, someone else is talking, but they aren’t in your car. How do they do that? 

Desert Tasty Tours — Eat your way through Palm Springs history on a walking food tour.

Red Jeep Tours – San Andreas Fault, Jeep-y stuff 

Celebrity Tours

Cannabis Express Tours – April is National Cannabis Awareness Month. Get yourself educated on everything cannabis. It’s fun and educational too. 

PS Historical Society Walking & Biking Tours — There are 14 to choose from.

MOGO Silent Disco — Their tagline? “Shut up and dance.”

Pro VR — Virtual reality gaming, including escape rooms.

Escape Room — Actual escape rooms.

Movies in the Park — Old-timey movies under the stars.

Hiking: Indian Canyons is closed April 1-8; Tahquitz still open. Here’s a great article from Visit Palm Springs on where to go. Keep in mind numbers 1 and 6 are part of Indian Canyons.

That’s it for me this month. As always, please shop and stay local. And that includes cannabis because it’s National Cannabis Awareness Month. I might have said that already. I’m hungry… 

See you next time!

Dads are notoriously hard to please, even on the gifting front (just mine?). Personally, I was never able to beat anything my sister got him. But then I figured out that I could offer him an experience, so we’d go places together. I wish he was still around so I could show him my Palm Springs. He’d love it. So, if you’ll allow me, I’d love to help you plan that perfect getaway for you and your Dad/Daddy in our little slice of paradise.

Let’s start with accommodations:

Old Ranch Inn: There are eight rooms available at the western-themed, architecturally historic resort. Every room is around the pool, so there’s no long walk like on larger properties. Just steps away from downtown, it’s a great choice.

The Wescott: Art Deco, old Hollywood style with a nice pool for swimming some laps. A top Palm Springs lodging option, it has earned a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence every year since 2013.

The Westcott’s pool area. Photo courtesy of The Westcott

Ingleside Inn: If a hotel could write a book, hoo boy what stories it could tell. Luckily, former owner Mel Haber did write a book, and spills all the secrets. The bar in the on-property restaurant Melvyn’s is so old Hollywood, in your mind’s eye you can see Dean Martin leaning across the bar to talk to Dinah Shore, or Debbie Reynolds laughing with bestie Ruta Lee. The hotel and the restaurant are first class, as is the entertainment.

The Three-Fifty Hotel: Sweet 10-suite hotel with fabulous poolside views of the mountains.

Once you’ve got your hotel locked down, it’s time to figure out the rest of the experience. If Dad is a golfer, there are SO many options, you can read all about them here.

There’s nothing like the feeling of being behind the wheel of a sporty car on a racetrack, so if Dad’s into cars (and I’m going to pull a statistic right out of thin air and say 95% of all men love cars), book the ultimate driving experience at the BMW Performance Track. He’ll be talking about it for years to come.

The Palm Springs Air Museum is pretty cool. Even cooler? You can ride in an old war bird in the sky.

The Palm Springs Air Museum. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Windmill Tours: From golf cart tours to self-driving tours, it’s all about the energy of these turbines, how they work, and how much electricity they produce. I hear it’s marvelous. Likely not for toddlers, though.

June 16 and 17: Baseball with Palm Springs Power. 7 p.m.

If Dad’s into art, take him to the Palm Springs Art Museum, and to one of the many galleries around town.

A nice spot to have a coffee is in the Corridor Courtyard. Choose from Ernest Coffee or Koffi (both local coffee shops) and Mod Cafe (all vegan, breakfast, and lunch) then go behind the buildings into a magical little garden away from the hubbub of Palm Canyon.

Sports bars — there’s The Village (they have a Father’s Day luncheon), Shamrock’s Irish Pub, and Hair of the Dog (pool, darts, and, you know, booze).

Small batch brewers: Las Palmas Brewers, La Quinta Brewery Tap Room

Happy Hour: Las Casuelas, Lulu (at the bar)

Lulu California Bistro in downtown Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Dinner:

Spencer’s: Book the Bougainvillea Room.

The Purple Room Supper Club: Check the lineup and check with Dad. They have a lot of great jazz singers, and Sundays is the fabulous The Judy Show.

Johnny Costa’s: Old school Italian fine dining. The chicken parm and eggplant parm are delicioso!

Del Rey: Great drinks and tapas in the Villa Royale. Small space makes great memories.

After dinner:

V Wine Lounge and Martini Bar has a great selection of wines and fun cocktails, including martinis. It’s got a cool, retro vibe with its mid-century modern decor. Sometimes there’s karaoke and sometimes there’s other forms of entertainment. But even on a quiet night, you’ll enjoy the ambiance, and the staff is helpful and friendly, too.

Breakfast: 

Bit O’Country: Locally owned, great American and Mexican cuisine.

Elmer’s: My favorite breakfast, because hash browns.

Billy Reed’s: It’s the most old school, Midwest spot in Palm Springs.

Pinocchio’s: The home fries are made with baked potatoes, and they have free flowing champagne and Bloody Marys. It’s a party.

For something different, on the South Course in the south end of Palm Springs is Indian Canyons Golf. The link I’m giving you indicates both restaurants are open, which is news to me. Go here.

Indian Canyons South. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

And now for the Daddies.

Clothing-optional resorts for men:

The Hacienda at Warm Sands

Santiago Resort

Desert Paradise Resort

Vista Grande

El Mirasol Villas

^^all of these are great options for couples

The relaxing Hacienda at Warm Sands pool. Photo courtesy of The Hacienda at Warm Sands

Brunch/Dinner: 

Blackbook

Tropicale

Trio (Saturdays and Sundays)

To get the full Palm Springs experience, head on down to Arenas Road (Blackbook is there) and check out all of the clubs. Gay Desert Guide will be a big help.

For the Sugar Daddy — you’re footing the tab, go to Paris! Looking for romance not requiring a passport? Try these resorts on for size: L’Horizon (swanky beyond swank), Smoke Tree Ranch (so exclusive most locals have never been), and Casa Cody (the romance of old Palm Springs) in downtown.

Spend one entire day in the Spa at Séc-he. If you book a service over $200 you get access to all of the pools, baths, salt caves, etc. Several spots to lunch inside. I hear it’s worth every penny.

Wishing a Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there in the wild. I hope you get to spend some quality time with your kids, and that they like you. In which case, see you in Palm Springs soon!