Monday, August 31, 2015

{California coastin'} Flashback: Day 4

This day was all about the kids. Not that it never wasn't, but I knew visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium was going to be a major highlight for them.

We arrived to the aquarium as the little town of Monterey was beginning to wake up. Trucks loaded with seafood arriving to begin the day by the pier and street sweepers hosing down the sidewalks along the shops made for a quaint atmosphere for this bay city.
I have learned over the years from my early rising husband and from having young kids that it pays to begin the day early for many reasons. First and for most, small crowds. We hit the petting area first so the kids could have a chance to pet the bat rays, play with kelp, seaweed, and sea urchins all without having to fight for a spot. By the end of our time at the aquarium it was packed.

Marisa's favorite thing about the aquarium: Watching the sea otters being fed!
Natalie's favorite thing about the aquarium: Watching the penguins being fed!

The rule for the day was to stay until the kids got tired of it. If we had time to move onto the next thing on our list then we would go do it, but if not, then maybe we could squeeze it in the morning or cross it off all together. We always have a plan when traveling, but it is necessary to keep things open and flexible with littles.

Luckily after Cara woke up from her nap in the stroller around 2 or so we were all done and able to fit in a quick trip to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park to see of course, redwood trees!

I personally enjoyed visiting the Sequoias better {Check it out, here} but I got to cross off one more item on my bucket list and that is always a plus. 

Our attempt at a family photo...

This activity was also meant to allow more time for the kids to get their energy out but they were pretty wiped from the aquarium. At one point I was carrying Darren in a carrier on my back and pushing Cara in a stroller loaded with a big heavy purse and snacks through the dirt while Tim had Marisa on his shoulders because her flip flops suddenly broke during our walk through the trees!

After a quick walk around and exploring inside some of the trees we headed to our final stop of our entire trip, to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk for dinner! We ate a place called The Picnic Basket which looked promising when I scoped them out ahead of time online. It is a quaint beachy small restaurant right there in front of the beach, but when we got there everything we ordered they had ran out of. And it was like not even past 6. Umm, ok? And they didn't seem apologetic or really care to suggest or accommodate us with other items. Our second choices tasted fresh and it was enjoyable to eat until near the end of my salad I found shredded pieces of paper. Awesome. I feel like it was just a bad day for them and I would hope that they would prove me wrong if I ever were to visit again. I wanted to like them!

Luckily we found a surf shop to buy flip flops for Marisa so we can have an evening stroll through the fairground crowds and bright lights. My kids are slightly afraid of unknown rides so it was no temptation for them to beg for rides. ;)

We were all pretty wiped after almost a week of exploring. It was the perfect summer family vacation for this year. Natalie took to drawing her memories in a notebook and we loved hearing all about what stuck with her. It is exactly why we do what we do! Traveling with our kids brings us so much joy! Until next time...!

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