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In the Antelope Valley on the western side of the Mojave Desert, Palmdale is a small city surrounded by a vast arid landscape that evokes the golden age of western movies. For day trip inspiration set off into the Antelope Valley for stark and beautiful desert scenery, or ascend the San Gabriel Mountains, which receive plenty of snowfall in winter. Los Angeles is also within range, with Hollywood around an hour away by car.
Free to the public, the display comprises 21 planes that have come through Plant A newer addition is the state-of-the-art F Raptor, introduced in This was a reconnaissance aircraft introduced in the s after a highly-classified development project. Only 32 were ever built, and the Blackbird Airpark is the only place in the world where you can get up close to one of these spectacular machines.
Also here is an early drone, the D, which operated at high speeds to escape detection in hostile airspace. From May to September this is a fun option for kids, especially when the mercury rises in mid-summer.
Attractions like this can be found in towns across the USA, and wherever they are, young kids and teenagers can spend hours diving into all sorts of activities. A new amusement for smaller children is the Mulligan Ropes Course, a three-storey high safe play area with challenging obstacles like rope bridges. The brewing company comes out with a range of weird and wonderful ales, such as Cumber Some, wheat ale with strong notes of cucumber, of all things.
Filbert meanwhile is brewed with hazelnut and chocolate, and Black Bayou is a dark ale enriched with roasted coffee beans. Throughout the month of August there are also weekly family movie nights, where films like Despicable Me, Harry Potter and Finding Nemo are screened.
The museum dates to when it was set up by a self-sufficient farmer and artist called H. Arden Edwards who made a homestead here. Exhibits include ceramics and textiles to give a glimpse of the norms and lifestyles of both aboriginal and present-day Native American groups.
At Joshua Cottage you can see how Native Americans started fires or processed grains for meals. Poppies are the California state flower and for a few short months whole fields of them are in bloom, adding a Technicolor tint to the otherwise stark desert scenery.
Visitors can stroll along seven miles of trails, a portion of which have been paved to provide access for wheelchair users. The oasis-like greenery of Rancho Vista contrasts perfectly with the vast desert scenery all around, and many tees have inspiring views of the distant mountains. The hole course was deed by Ted Robinson, a golf architect responsible for courses from America to South Korea.
One glimpse of the rugged desertscape of the Antelope Valley may awaken cravings that only a day behaving like a cowboy can quench. Luckily the Rainbow Ridge Ranch is on hand, realising childhood dreams of riding off into the wilderness on horseback. Palmdale is in an elevated region known as the High Desert, so while summers can be fierce, winters are often cold enough to bring snow.
Mountain High is 2, metres up in the San Gabriel Mountains and made up of three ski areas, the headliner of which is the West Resort. This has the highest elevation of the three, giving it the longest season and the best chance of snow.
It brings in both skiers and snowboarders who head for the excellent glade trails, off-piste runs that guide you through picturesque wooded areas. Summers at Mountain High mean hiking and frisbee golf at a stunning course in the Angeles National Forest.
15 best things to do in palmdale (california)
Six Flags Magic Mountain is flagship for the Six Flags brand, and is suitably impressive, packing 19 roller coasters into its acres. In the hills Griffith Park is also a must; this is where the iconic Hollywood looks out over the city and the Griffith Park Observatory provides that legendary vista of the city that has appeared in countless movies.
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