Okay, so before I talk about the actual aquarium part, I should at least mention dinner and hotel, right? So Day One of our little road trip was Mission San Jose, the Dennis the Menace Playground, and Mission Carmel. After we finished those, we went to our hotel, and upon arrival, we were upgraded to a nicer room. So I had this loft:
And the kids had a Murphy bed and a sofa downstairs. It was a nice arrangement. And it totally made up for not being able to stay in the place we usually stay.
After decompressing for a little while (and the kids checking out the downstairs tv), we headed across the way to California Pizza Kitchen. The girls had mac & cheese, and Jack and I split a garlic chicken pizza. I decided I like their tostada pizza better. Live and learn, eh?
Next morning, after breakfast at the hotel, we headed for the aquarium.
Miss Hannah wore her dolphin earrings, of course! (Note, she doesn't have pierced ears. I thought clip ons would be easier for her with only one hand that can reach her ears.)
Gradually, the kids' classmates started arriving.
Catching some "Vitamin Sea" in my fish shirt.
The obligatory "we were there" sign picture. Jack is also wearing a fish shirt.
My sweet little pearls, sitting in the oyster.
The penguins were a favorite. I could have stayed and watched them for much longer.
Jack was anxious to keep moving, though.
Quite a few things have changed in the last 9 years since I've been to the aquarium, but some things were still familiar.
It was awesome to be able to share an old favorite place with Hannah and Katie, who had never been there before.
We used to call the Ocean Sunfish the "ugly fish" because they're so funny looking, and Annaliese had a stuffed animal sunfish years ago.
Eels poking out of the sand. Some were even sparring with each other.
The otters were hard to photograph, sorry. But they were very cute, and again, I could have sat and watched them for ages.
A ray, a shark, and some other fish in one of the massive tanks.
This picture gives you an idea just how close we were to the leopard sharks in this exhibit. The glass ends at Katie and Jack's hands. We could look down on them from above with nothing between us but air and water.
There are several varieties of birds who call the aquarium home as they arrived injured and have been rehabilitated here.
Lots and lots of touch areas. Kelp, starfish, abalone, and more.
Even bat rays. Although they were pretty shy (probably all touched out for the day!) when we got to them.
For Hannah and Katie, this was the closest they've been to the ocean. We ate the lunch we brought with us at the picnic tables across the street from the aquarium. (I remember the food inside being horrifically expensive, so I packed Lunchables, and the kids were thrilled.)
Then it was back inside to see more exhibits.
It was an awesome day. I'm really glad I got to go, and I'm really glad we turned it into a 3 day trip this year, although if the school goes next year, I think I'd be okay with it just being a day trip, as long as Paul does the driving.
We made it out of the aquarium without buying souvenirs (although I did get Eli a shot glass for his collection), and then we walked around the area a little bit.
The kids wanted to get up close and personal with the ocean, so we did.
Hannah got a little surprised by a wave, and got to experience soggy shoes. Jack took his off before wading in. Katie was having nothing to do with the getting wet business. She stayed right by me.
But he too got surprised by a wave, and wore wet jeans back to the hotel. Bleh!
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