Craving a California road trip? These fourth-graders have you covered

Fourth-grader Jaden Manchanda of San Marino's K.L. Carver Elementary School made this model of the Santa Monica Pier. Says Jaden: "It has many shops, food stands, roller coasters, and an amazing Ferris wheel that is sky-high."
(Jaden Manchanda)

Are you missing California at large, that big, beautiful state of ours that exists outside your own home?

Would you love to be on a road trip right now, visiting some of our most famous spots?

The fourth-graders at K.L. Carver Elementary School in San Marino are happy to help you scratch that itch.


To cap off their study of California history, they’ve created “floats” of some of their favorite California sites. They made them at home on shoeboxes, using whatever materials they had on hand.

Usually, the fourth-graders’ displays go on show with much fanfare in a spring open house at the school. This year, of course, they won’t. So when a mention of them landed in my Twitter feed recently, I thought we really ought to help get them seen.

I fell in love at first sight with this wonderful state tour, created out of cardboard, broccoli, cotton puffs and tin foil. It made me long for our beaches and our big trees and our ballgames. It made me dream of getting in a car and taking off up the coast, of feeling the wind in my hair and breathing the ocean air.

But most of all, it made me smile and remember how lucky we all are to live here and how much awaits us whenever we’re finally safe to roam again.

For now, come along with me on this virtual journey. Let’s head out and celebrate what California has to offer.


Hotel del Coronado

The Hotel del Coronado, by Logan Beck
(Logan Beck )


The Hotel del Coronado, which opened in 1888, “made people come from all over the world,” says Logan Beck. “It had new and exciting things unlike anything ever seen. The hotel had modern technology like phones and electricity. The building had an amazing design that had not been seen before. It was the largest building with electric lights. It even had its own power plant to run the lights.”


Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach, by Ellia Klein
(Ellia Klein)

Laguna Beach, says Ellia Klein, “is a very beautiful beach that I like to go to. It makes me feel relaxed. Laguna Beach is one of the nicest places in California.”


The Hollywood Bowl

(Alison Tam)

Fourth-grader Alison Tam lists “five interesting facts” about the Hollywood Bowl. Among them: It’s 98 years old and can seat up to 17,500 people. “The Hollywood Bowl is an amazing part of California,” she tells us.



Los Angeles International Airport

(Jordan Lee)

Jordan Lee is enthusiastic about LAX. “About 45,000 people work at LAX! The airport is really huge!” he says. “If someone wants to buy LAX, it would cost $3 billion!”


Dodger Stadium

Dodger Stadium, by Alvin Lu
(Alvin Lu)

“On the date Sept. 17, 1959, Dodger Stadium was beginning to be built,” says Alvin Lu. “Dodger Stadium is the oldest stadium on the west side of the Mississippi River.”


The Huntington Library

The Huntington Library, by Teddy Zee
(Teddy Zee)


The Huntington Library in San Marino, says Teddy Zee, is “a well-known public place” that “has many gardens and places where the plants, trees, water and stones are meant to mimic another type of environment.” It’s a big place, he says, “with a lot of effort put into making diverse landscapes.”


La Brea Tar Pits

The La Brea Tar Pits, by Sophia Teh
(Sophia Teh)

“During the 1870s, a few miners found a fossil of a saber-toothed tiger while digging for asphalt in the tar pits,” says Sophia Teh. “These pits are tar, and they are used as asphalt, and it is useful to repair roofs and roads.” She adds, “It is important to study this today because it helps us learn about our past and better understand the impact of climate change, which gives us more ideas on how to prevent it.”


Royce Hall, UCLA

Royce Hall, by Eira Hong
(Eira Hong)

“Many people go to Royce Hall to make movies, films or TV shows,” Eira Hong says. “As you can see, Royce Hall is a very famous structure in UCLA.”



Walt Disney Concert Hall

Walt Disney Concert Hall, by Madison Shen
(Madison Shen)

“The Walt Disney Concert Hall was designed so people seated anywhere in the hall could hear the music really well,” says Madison Shen. “The outside is designed so that all people see is curving stainless-steel skin on the building, and it looks very shiny. Most people who perform at the Walt Disney Concert Hall are musicians.”


California Capitol

California State Capitol, by Raymond Li
(Raymond Li)

The California Capitol in Sacramento “is a museum and a place the California government works,” says Raymond Li. “The museum consists of many artworks that represent the history of California and the capitol building. There are over 50 artworks that consist of landscapes, seascapes and artworks that show what life was back then.”


South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe, by Emily Cheung
(Emily Cheung)


“Lake Tahoe is known for hiking and water activities in the summer and skiing in the winter. My project shows the scenery in the wintertime,” says Emily Cheung. “Half of Lake Tahoe is located in California, and the other half is in Nevada. My project is on the California side.”


Google headquarters

Google headquarters, by Nathan Cheng
(Nathan Cheng)

The Google headquarters in Mountain View “attracts many people every year,” says Nathan Cheng. The complex “has recreation centers such as gyms, swimming pools, volleyball courts, tennis courts, basketball courts, 18 cafeterias and cars in the buildings to move around the campus much easier.”


Lombard Street

Lombard Street, by Sandy Zhang
(Sandy Zhang)

San Francisco’s Lombard Street, says Sandy Zhang, is “known as the crookedest street in the world,” but “is actually the second-crookedest street in the world … Vermont Street [also in San Francisco] is the first-crookedest street in the world because of its 45-degree angle.”




Alcatraz, by Chloe Cristal
(Chloe Cristal)

Alcatraz in San Francisco, notes Chloe Cristal, got its name from a Spaniard named Juan Manuel de Ayala who discovered the island and called it La Isla de los Alcatraces, the island of the pelicans. “It was originally a lighthouse, then became a military fort, and then became a prison,” she says. “Some of the most notorious prisoners were imprisoned at Alcatraz, including mafia boss Al Capone; Robert Franklin Stroud, also known as the Birdman of Alcatraz; and George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly.”


Folsom Rainbow Bridge

Folsom Rainbow Bridge, by Kaitlyn Huynh
(Kaitlyn Huynh)

The Folsom Rainbow Bridge, says Kaitlyn Huynh, “is located in Folsom, Calif., crossing the American River, and is part of a 40-mile area through one of the best agricultural lands in the state.” The bridge, she notes, “is now on many postcards because of its fascinating beauty.”


Redwood National Park

(Aaron Sun)


Redwood National Park, says Aaron Sun, is one of California’s greatest. “Many redwood trees, from the seeds that are no bigger than a tomato seed, can grow up to 367 feet and a width of 22 feet,” he says.