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California Living Museum



Bald_Eagle
California's Bald Eagle
As the father of newborn twins I'm accustomed to doing everything in duplicate. Yet, I've found that nothing is ever a true repeat. There's always a new twist or surprise (like: "How did THAT get in your diaper?"). It's often that way with places we visit.

I once wrote about the annual Holiday Lights extravaganza at Bakersfield's incredible California Living Museum. While lights are the attraction during the holidays, nighttime takes large sections of the facility out of play. Under sunlight, a whole new world opens up. That's when CALM lives up to its billing as California's premiere native zoo and garden.

Bent on doing a little field research for this article (a great cover when I just want to play), my wife and I packed the boys into their carriers and decided to give them their first outing. The trail, much of which is paved, can be walked in about an hour if you're in a hurry Ė but don't be. You should only hurry if something is chasing you. And if that's the case, you've got bigger problems than getting home in time for Rachael Ray.

Now this is not your typical museum, so don't go looking for lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Actually, they do have bears, but you don't see them on the nighttime tour. They keep roughly the same hours I do, and by late evening, they're back in the cave watching Stephen Colbert (Col Ė BEAR. Get it?).

Where was I? CALM is unique in that it is populated by indigenous animals, and the gardens represent natural habitat found throughout the state. This a great way to help kids (and their parents) develop an appreciation for these creatures that inhabitant Kern County's ever-shrinking wild lands.

Before this becomes a commercial for Greenpeace, let me add that CALM is also a lot of fun.

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