Families camp out at Aviara Park for annual event

CARLSBAD — North County residents were “snug as a bug” as they spent a night under stars for the annual Snores and S’mores family camping event at Carlsbad’s Aviara Park on Aug. 21.
For the seventh year, families bid farewell to summer with one last campout and an evening of bug activities, s’mores and a showing of Disney’s popular “A Bug’s Life.”
“It’s really fun to pick a movie and build off of it,” Rachael Shay, city recreation supervisor, said. “We try to pick movies that are older so the kids aren’t burnt out on it.”
The bug-themed event also included face painting and a bug show, where everyone was invited to get a close look at a tarantula and various lizards. The Fun Zone attracted kids with a caterpillar obstacle course and a Velcro “Fly Wall.”
“It’s a great family event; they do a such a good job of putting everything together,” said Carlsbad resident Kelly Terry-Lloyd, who attended the event with her family for the second summer.
Guests were treated to dinner catered by Pat and Oscar’s and the quintessential bug dessert — “Dirt Cups” made with pudding, Oreo cookies and gummy worms. Later, everyone participated in a family scavenger hunt and relay races.
When the sun went down, event attendees bundled up for popcorn, s’mores and “A Bug’s Life” played on an outdoor screen at the park. After the movie, families turned in for the night at the untraditional campground set up on the baseball field.
“We’ve wanted to take the kids camping outside of the backyard, so this is a test run,” said Corinna Ryan, who recently moved to Carlsbad with her family. “Everything’s going great so far — there was nothing like this for the kids in Vegas.”
In the morning, everyone perked up with a coffee, orange juice and bagels before heading out onto a nearby trail. Trail guides led a walking tour and introduced their fellow hikers to a number of bug species found in Carlsbad.
“It is so fun,” Shay said. “It’s a great opportunity if you’re not a camper — you get the whole experience in a safe and protected park.”
Although attendance was down from previous years due to school starting earlier, those in attendance at this summer’s event were enthusiastic as ever about spending quality time with family and friends.
“They had so much fun, they recruited more families to come this year,” said Kim Schneider, of the Terry-Lloyd group. “It’s the perfect stay-cation; it’s as easy as camping in our own backyard.”


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