This weekend I went to Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary. My daughter, her friend and myself left on Saturday morning and planned a day of it. On the way to the Queen Mary, we stopped in the Funk Zone (its in Santa Barbara). There are a lot of wineries there, so we did some tasting. After wine tasting we headed over to C’est Cheese. C’est Cheese is a cheese shop/cafe. We got amazing grilled cheese sandwiches and salads. It was an adorable cafe with lots of charm. I think I will make it a regular haunt. After our yummy stop in Santa Barbara, we headed towards Long Beach.
We were down south early. We decided to go to the La Brea Tar Pits. I had not been there since I was a kid. It was a pretty day, a very nice day to walk around the park. I remember it much different when I was a child. The 3 of us felt it was a little anti-climatic. We felt it was a little on the pricey side to go into the museum for an hour. We were just killing time until we went to the Queen Mary and wanting to do that frugally. There were a few exhibitions and then there were the ponds with the oil bubbling up. It was free to walk around and look.
We hopped back in the car and headed towards the Queen Mary. We decided we would stop for clam chowder for dinner and then it would be time for Dark Harbor. We did not buy our tickets before we went. I kinda screwed up, I should have bought them the day we confirmed we were going. Instead I waited until the day we left and we could not get the discounted price. We decided to buy them when we got there. Maybe there would be a deal at the door. No deal at the door and they still charge the $2 service fee. It was $36 to get in. If I had bought the Groupon before it would have been $20 but the day before I actually would have paid $19 with the promo code. I am a frugal person, I write about saving money, and I blew that one. I had a hard time with that. We had already gone all that way and thought we were going to have to pay for parking, so I sucked it up and paid it. We decided to go on the Queen Mary and have dinner on the boat. We quickly found out that it was $15 a person to get on the boat. We also found out you got to apply the price of the ticket to the meal. It ended up being not so expensive. We asked about validation at the restaurant, and because of Dark Harbor they opened the gates and we didn’t have to pay for parking. I was beginning to feel better, it didn’t seem so pricey now.
At 7 PM we went to Dark Harbor. It was dia de los muertos (day of the dead), so everyone was dressed in costumes or had their faces painted. It was quite festive. When we first walked in there was bull riding and a huge swing. It was an additional charge. I was quickly discouraged. I was feeling like it was a huge rip off. We started going thru the haunted mazes. I found out there were 6 haunted mazes included in the price of the ticket. They were pretty entertaining. After a few of them, there were parades, costume contests and a sliding shows (the zombies had knee pads on, they would run and slide). All of it was great entertainment. The whole place was decorated perfect for Halloween and dia de los muertos. It ended up being a lot of fun.
We stayed the night at a friend’s house. We did not have to pay for a hotel. All in all it wasn’t that bad. $36 tickets and $15 to get on the boat which paid for my dinner. The parking ended up being free. Lesson learned buy your tickets early, when the deal is there. We had a full day of fun and did it frugally after all. There are fun things to do all around us, if we plan ahead a little, most likely it will save you money.