Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Enjoy Wildlife at Virginia Lake Park in Reno, NV

1980 Lakeside Dr

Reno, NV 89509

In this 32-acre, beautifully landscaped park that has a man-made lake, you will find tranquility, beautiful houses, and wildlife (Pigeons, Geese, Crows, Double Crested Cormorants, Snowy Egrets, and California Gulls).

Virginia Lake is like a setting you'd find next to a beach, with the plenty scents of nature, sounds of water (from fountains) and activity of birds overhead and all around.

The short, flat loop,1-mile-trail is lined with parking and houses and is a pleasure to walk, with so much scenery and birds to enjoy.

The park offers many amenities: 
-Grassy area with two play structures, swings, and a small stage for play
-rentable pavilion with BBQ (100 person capacity)
-trees lining lake provide partial shade in summer
-restrooms (year round) 
-exercise area
-benches lining the lake
-bird watching
-dog park (all dirt so not ideal in wet conditions)
-picnic areas
-dog waste station

-This is not the park for you if you get bothered by bird droppings- they're everywhere
-ice cream truck parks in front of the playgrounds during summer
-there's multiple areas shaded by trees for picnicking
-there's a giant dragonfly statue on the northside of the lake
-there's a cool island in the center that has tons of birds
-dog friendly but must be kept on leash
-in addition to a paved trail is a concentric dirt trail that goes all around the lake
-stroller and wheelchair friendly
-no bikes and horses allowed on path
-no smoking or vaping
-There's a cool area next to pier that has a cute stone-benched garden
-lots of flora to look at
-there are designated feeding areas for wild birds (one on each end)
-there's a small parking lot next to exercise area
-within walking distance from Peppermill, theater, and restaurants
-people like to picnic in their cars while watching scenery
-not ideal for dogs that tend to eat poop

©Katherine Fung,
All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Adventure Mountain - The Most Popular Tubing/Sledding Destination in South Lake Tahoe

 *Base Elevation:
7,400 Feet at the top of Echo Summit

*40 Acres

*Up to 18 Machine Groomed Sledding/Tubing Lanes
(dependent on snowfall)

Nebelhorn, Hwy 50 Echo Summit 
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96155

(530) 659-7217

I grew up in San Diego and my idea of the perfect winter involved beaches, whale watching, and winter sunsets.  After moving to Reno seven years ago, I found a new way of celebrating winter with another world that opened up- a world of wonder, beauty, fluffy snow, interesting icicles, snowmen & snowballs- and it was only then that I understood what a real winter was about.

Dashing through the snow on a sled with kids screaming with glee is a sight and sound  I could only have imagined in the past while listening to Christmas music.  It was when I first visited Adventure Mountain with my family that I got to truly experience the bliss that is found in snow sledding and tubing. 

Crisp mountain air hitting my face, zooming down on groomed winter slides with the family, while witnessing mother nature's spectacular views, was something I was not accustomed to and me and my family couldn't get enough.

If you haven't been snow tubing and sledding, I think everyone should try it out at least once in their lifetimes and Adventure Mountain is the perfect place for these experiences.  


When to Visit
-Adventure Mountain can get super busy and fill up fast (about 100 parking spots), so getting there super early is crucial in landing a spot.  I got there 20 min before opening and there were 10 cars ahead of me.  

Weekends, and around the time they open for the season (usually when snow arrives) is a really busy time for them.  

If the road is blocked off at their entrance, they are at capacity.  They will then open every hour to let more people in, but access is not guaranteed.  It can be tricky on busy days, as there is nowhere to stand-by if the roads are blocked off.  Highway 50 is a super busy road.  Always have a backup plan if you are unable to get in.  Tube Tahoe is close by, if you're out of luck. 

Weather & Roads
-before making a trip out, check to see that the roads are clear of snow
-I like to check Accuweather to look ahead and make sure the weather is appropriate for outdoor activities.  Generally, me and my family like to go out in 40+weather with no wind.  No freezing on this mom's watch. 
Waterproof snow gear is essential in keeping you dry

Adventure Mountain Details
-they don't have a magic carpet, so be prepared to walk up
-The number of runs depends on availability of snow.  They depend on natural snowfall 
-They have slopes for different skill levels. The runs right next to the cabin are more gentle, suitable for kids.  The ones on the right are more steep
-you assume the risk for injury when paying for entrance to Adventure Mountain.  They will give you a list of rules upon entry.
-Check website for current rates.  They charge per-vehicle fees depending on the time you're visiting (holidays and weekends cost more) and how many people are in the vehicle.
-you can bring your own sleds and tubes (metal and wood not allowed)
-tubes, two person sleds, and helmets available for rent with deposit
-there are plenty of spaces on the side for snow play
-you're free to venture off and snowshoe
Check their site to see current status of lodge
-this is the best deal for what you pay. Other places charge much more per-person fees and only allow their gear (for an extra fee),  though other places might have extra workers to help assist.
-porta potties available. With the amount of people using them, it might not be favorable to use them.  I always bring my own portable potty and liners for my three kids everywhere I go.
-the have a small shop just in case you need essential gear like snow boots, gloves, beanies. 
They have a couple of picnic tables outside the lodge next to the rental area.  Due to the pandemic, most people I see eat in their cars or tailgates with lawn chairs.
-Kids under 42'' and six years old must be accompanied by an adult

Tube or Sled?
-for more control and comfort, the tube is the best option.  You can also swirl down (when spun at the top).  Buying a good quality tube is crucial if you want to avoid popping, which is common with inflatable tubes made from thin plastic.  Tubes are my family's choice due to the ease of use and security when riding with our little ones.
-sleds come in all shapes and sizes.  Adventure Mountain has a two-person sled for rent.  You can really zip down the mountain at fast speeds but have little control with steering. 
-you can only find out what you prefer by trying both. Regardless of what you choose, both are good at helping create fun times down the slopes. 

 Tips for Tubing with Little Ones
-If you're planning a trip with little ones, check out this travel mom's tips for gear, planning, and much more

Covid Safety
-If you're worried about Covid, I would avoid busy days like holidays and weekends.  There are simply lots of people that cannot all be reached with their bullhorn.  You will find some people with their masks not being worn correctly.  Some slopes on the faster side are steep at the top, with little space for social distancing. 

Nearby Trips
-if you're looking for another short road trip nearby, BOA Vista Orchards, a family favorite, is open year-round and all of the other Apple Hill farms open during Fall. One hour away.  An ideal place for picnics, apple goods, and drinks like cider and wine.

-On A Budget?  No Problem.
There are plenty of areas around Lake Tahoe that are open to the public free of charge, and this YouTuber, Gabriella, made a video showing where they're located.
-Tube Tahoe is more kid-friendly, with slopes more on the gentle side.  They don't accommodate as many people as Adventure Mountain, so there will be more space to move around.

Cetegorized Under "Outfoor Winter Activities" and "Lake Tahoe"

©Katherine Fung,
All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Animal Ark- A wildlife Sanctuary with Beautiful Animals and Beautiful Grounds

1265 Deerlodge Rd, Reno, NV 89508

-The Ark has limited hours during winter and opens fully in April–October. 
Call to double-check before making a trip out.


As of 4.2021

• $14.00 for adults
• $12.00 for seniors (62+)
• $9.00 for children (3-12)
• Free for children ages 2 and under

Animal ark is a 38-acre-wildlife sanctuary that shelter animals that may be disadvantaged, disabled, orphaned, or unwanted.  The sanctuary can be found about 30 minutes north from downtown Reno in the beautiful foothills of Red Rock, NV.  

The animals are given plenty of space and, with great care from workers/volunteers, can live their lives in a nice and safe environment surrounded by love.  

During every visit, I came across knowledgeable workers/volunteers that were eager to educate and witnessed their great relationships with the animals.

The ark is active in providing resources and an environment for the community to learn about wildlife, including educational videos and field trip opportunities.

The Ark hosts special events throughout the year that are enjoyed by many, including: the Stampede Mile-Marathon, Cheetah Run, pumpkin treat giving during fall, summer camp for kids, holiday events, and breakfast buffets.

Animal Ark is on my list of top ten places that help make Reno the "Biggest Little City."  I am thankful for their efforts in helping animals, educating the community, & providing beautiful grounds and events for a good time. 

When to Visit
-During summer it can get hot. Visit early morning to beat the heat and see the animals at the most active time of the day.  Animals like to take shelter and sleep during hot parts of the day. 
-you can witness feedings in the morning. Call for schedule. 
-If visiting in the summer, a water bottle, hat and sunscreen is a must
-sometimes you can see baby animals in spring. call to check for details
-on occasion, they have a food truck parked out front (special events and summer)
-The Ark has limited hours during winter and opens fully April–October. Call to double-check before making a trip out

-don't forget to check the weather ahead of time so you can dress accordingly. It can get windy and cold
-pathways can get muddy when wet so don't forget to wear proper footwear

-They are taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of their visitors: one-way flow of traffic, social distancing in lobby, mask-wearing, and enforcement

-I always sign up as a member as I am able to visit the Ark with my family year-round, see & support the animals, and get some exercise and fresh air. 
-You can become a member, adopt an animal, and/or make donations to help with costs to care for and feed the animals. 

-love animals? Want to gain experience for a career working with them? Want to help out the community?  The Ark is a great environment for volunteer opportunities

-They have a nice and open place with more of a natural setting as opposed to a traditional zoo
-about one mile of walkways
-the path leading up to their parking lot is made of dirt
-there's one section with a little hill
-Interpretive signs
-Beautiful grounds with lots of plants to look at
-they have a nice playground next to their parking lot with picnic tables nearby

-they have docents throughout the day if you have any questions about the animals
-animals include but not limited to: bears, wolves, owls, turtles, raccoons, cheetahs, birds of prey.  Check out the Ark website for their stories. 

Getting Around
-before the pandemic, they offered golf carts for those who need more help getting around.  Please call to check for availability
-a jogging stroller does great on their paths

-They have a nice gift shop that has jewelry, clothes, toys, books, various souvenirs, and snacks and drinks.

-no pets allowed. service animals welcome

Categorized Under "Outdoor Attractions" and "Museums & Zoos"

©Katherine Fung,
All Rights Reserved.