Temecula ‘Tot Mama’ shares her many family-friendly finds

The McGuigan family shares their many adventurous outings on Temecula Tots. Valley News/Alli Farudi Photography photo

Lisa McGuigan launched “Temecula Tots,” an Instagram digital lifestyle guide after moving to Temecula in June of 2021. The self-described “park-obsessed, animal-loving mama who believes that adventure is everywhere” shares kid-friendly everything while highlighting local and national businesses, supporting nonprofits and connecting like-minded parents.

“Our growth has been organic and very much through word-of-mouth,” she said. “I am a part of a few local mom groups and there are many times people have a question about a park or activity and 9 out of 10 times I have the answer. Over time, people started referring others to my page which is such a nice compliment. I am honored to be a resource for other moms.”

Lisa, her husband Mick and their two “up-for-all” tots have visited and reviewed more than 60 local parks. She said her two young children are very vocal and wonderfully candid.

“At a recent playground that was particularly dangerous, my son told me to add a skeleton in the post,” McGuigan said. “Just when you think they have no idea what’s going on, they amaze you. Sleep with one eye open; kids are smarter than we give them credit for.”

When first starting Temecula Tots, one of her objectives was to provide information that was very easy to digest in under 60 seconds.

“We are all busy and personally, during this very hectic season of life, I rarely find the time to read blogs. I seek quick at-a-glance information that tells me what I need to know without having to click on multiple links. That’s what I’ve tried to do here; I structure my posts like reviews,” she said. “Early on, I knew that I wanted to make Temecula Tots a fun space to get information and connect. In addition to sharing location overviews, I host giveaways and work with businesses interested in extending a discount to our audience. I have a promotion right now with Swimply, which is basically the Airbnb of swimming pools, for 25% off a dip. Anyone is welcome to use my promo code TEMECULATOTS22 for 25% off a swim. For me, this is what it’s about. Sharing information, passing on a deal and supporting our community.”

She shared that while the family has their favorites, they generally try to hit a new park each week.

“Riverton and Vail Ranch, for example, are part of our regular rotation because they are so unique and fun,” McGuigan said. “We are blown away by the parks here. The Temecula Parks and Rec team is truly doing the good work!”

She posts to her social media account about four times a week, mostly about her own family’s experiences but at times will share events in and around Temecula if she feels it is relevant to her audience.

While they enjoy exploring their new hometown, the McGuigans are often visiting and sharing other Southern California destinations.

“Since I have lived in many cities, I enjoy bringing my children to locations that their mom used to frequent,” she said. “Irvine Spectrum, where I spent some of my twenties, was a fun share for me. It was bizarre experiencing my old stomping ground through the eyes of my children.”

The family’s move to Temecula from San Diego was prompted by the onset of COVID-19 when Mick McGuigan’s job for a national Managed Service Provider transitioned to a work-from-home position.

“My husband, a true trooper, worked in our tiny bathroom for 10-plus hours a day,” Lisa McGuigan said. “As the days, weeks and eventually months went on, I decided it was time to expand our horizons. We had been to Temecula once or twice but didn’t know much about living here. When we took the leap and moved here, I soon realized there were many other families who had done the same thing and were also in search of a new beginning.”

The family was always big on exploring and playgrounds so sharing with others came naturally. McGuigan, a former marketing director, currently works as a consultant while home with her children.

“Mick is the hardest worker I have ever met, and I am very happy to have removed him from his bathroom office,” she said.

She also admits that she doesn’t miss regular haunts they had in San Diego as much as she thought she might.

“Whenever I think, ‘gee, I miss this,’ I find it here,” McGuigan said. “We were members at San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, but here we have The Little Red Barn. We don’t have the San Diego Safari Park, but we have Sale Ranch and Viva Global Rescue. No beach, but gorgeous trails and just an abundance of beauty all around us. We feel very lucky to live here.”

McGuigan said a highlight of providing her insights on Temecula Tots has been the genuine appreciation of the work that goes into the posts.

“Our goal is to simplify the experience of taking your littles ones out into the world and as a mom I know what information is needed to have a successful outing,” she said. “I try and go into detail without carrying on, a hard balance that I don’t always hit.”

She likes to include details such as if there is a parking lot or public bathrooms.

“It sounds obvious, but to a mom schlepping her kids on her own, this information is useful,” she said. “I get messages when people experience or visit something we suggested and I am so taken aback, in the best way, when people take timeout of their busy lives to thank me or tell me about their experience.”

McGuigan said there sometimes are challenges but never with what they do as a family. As Temecula Tots has grown, so have partnerships with local and national businesses, which she finds flattering. However, there are times when it simply wouldn’t be a good fit.

“We are intentional in supporting and partnering with those that share in our desire to help animals and people,” she said. “I feel incredibly lucky that we have this platform, and I am grateful that I am 100% empowered to operate in a way that suits us. If I don’t feel good about something, I simply don’t do it.”

McGuigan has a few nonprofit partners that she supported and loved before creating Temecula Tots and she works to highlight them in a way that feels natural and is hopefully beneficial to the cause.

To that end, McGuigan has organized fundraisers to bring awareness and much needed resources to nonprofit groups she works with such as Animal Friends of the Valleys and Viva Ranch global Sanctuary. She is partnering with Pretty Paints Party to benefit EcoVivarium at a fundraiser June 18 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at 41950 6th Street in Old Town Temecula. A $30 ticket will provide attendees with a canvas and paint kit, reptile encounter, opportunity drawings from local merchants and a free kid’s pass to EcoVivarium in Escondido. For more information and tickets, www.prettypaintsparty.com.

“I have been taking my kids to EcoVivarium for years and I wanted to find a greater way to support them,” she said. “For those that aren’t familiar, it is one of the largest reptile, amphibian and arthropod rescues in the United States. Each year hundreds of animals in need come through their doors. Some become Education Ambassadors, some are adopted into private homes and others become Sanctuary Animals at the museum.”

McGuigan said it has been fun sharing her family’s journey with the community and she is grateful that people are enjoying what they do.

“In the beginning, Temecula Tots was just about sharing our personal experiences,” McGuigan said. “As time went on, I started to meet and partner with other moms and even businesses. Natalie Priester, founder of Quail Mail Club, for example, is just an incredible asset to our community and truly runs her family-friendly hiking subscription-based business with a great deal of innovation and gusto. When I see an opportunity to introduce my audience to a product, person, experience or even a restaurant that they may have otherwise missed I consider that a win. I love hearing, ‘I had no idea!’ Adventure is all around us, but I hope we make accessing it just a little bit easier.”

For more information, Instagram and Facebook, @temeculatots or email Lisa at temeculatots@gmail.com.