Sunday, July 4, 2010

a little trip up north

We just returned from a little trip up north to visit Ken's parents. It was a very fun and successful family vacation with just Ken, the little boys, and me. The trip up the coast was very slow and fun--maybe one of the best days. I love making frequent stops along the way! First stop was at Crushcakes in Santa Barbara for breakfast. Next stop was in Santa Maria to play and have fun in the children's museum there. It was probably the best children's museum we have visited so far: small, uncrowded, mellow, and fun. I didn't take my camera on the trip at all, but Ken did snap a few photos. Here is Dieter trying out the big piano that you step on.
And here he is in the giant bubble. This was really fun. There was also a shark tank, fish tanks, snakes and lizards, a tar pits area, a ranch area, gears you could arrange and turn, and lots of other things. I couldn't believe how nice and uncrowded it was! Total opposite from when we visited the Kidspace museum in LA.
The next stop up the coast was at Avila beach for lunch. After a hugely overpriced lunch (which the boys ate all of, amazingly), the boys had a blast playing on the toddler playground across from the beach. The fun they had playing for free almost balanced out the price of lunch.
They loved jumping into the sand pit repeatedly. You would think they would have tired themselves out, but even after we got to the hotel they were super hyped up and couldn't fall asleep for hours.
A scene from inside the hotel room. We ended up staying in Sunnyvale to save money. Ken didn't want us to stay in super-pricey Palo Alto. It turned out to be an excellent move. The hotel in Sunnyvale had breakfast, a pool, wide grassy areas, ice, laundry, and free wi-fi. The boys adored it. We don't get out much, so for us it felt like a resort! I always set up a "children's play area" inside any hotel room, but mostly they loved jumping on the beds and making forts.
On one of the days we got to visit Jacob at college (UC Santa Cruz). It was awesome seeing that boy! He is staying up in Santa Cruz for the summer and taking full load of courses. He is growing his hair out, as you can see.
On the last day we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was thoroughly awesome. I could look at the fishes all day, I felt. No pictures of them because it was dark, but here is a little touching pool the boys enjoyed. I highly recommend visiting this aquarium if you are ever in the area. It is totally worth it and just amazing. I've decided I'm an aquarium person because it is just so fascinating to watch the fish. We might visit the Long Beach aquarium later in the summer.
Now we are home and I have to get on with all the unpacking and other unpleasant realities of returning from a trip. Oh well, it was worth it.


Sheila D. said...

What a wonderful little weekend excursion!
During the summer, in New England, even our small uncrowded museums become just as unbearable as the Boston museums! It's nice that you were able to find a little gem.

I've been to both Monterey Bay and Long Beach! Hands down...I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Long Beach...however, in Monterey's defense, they were under a lot of construction when I was there last (my engagement weekend! Yay!).

liz said...

What great photos and what a fun trip! I love the bubble. Kids museums are so great. We just went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium last month and I really loved it. I always feel a bit sad for bigger animals, as they seem like they never have quite enough space. BUT, and this is a big but, I think zoos and aquariums are so important for kids (and adults, too), to expose them to all of the wonderful types of life in our world. The Monterey Bay Aquarium was so kids friendly--I loved that under-the-wave bit. :) Happy times.

Faith said...

hello mother, i thought i ought to leave a comment because yesterday I came to the blog looking for a Jacob hair picture and I was not disappointed! I showed it to everyone here and we all like it, except Gam who nearly had a heart attack.
Lots of love,

melissa s. said...

What a wonderful little family excursion! I used to live in Santa Cruz. I loved the campus so much -- such a beautiful setting. I hope Jacob enjoys his time there!

Carrie said...

OMG. It's a young Brian! That hair really is something. As Faith, says, it is not disappointing. It looks like you had a great trip.

Nancy said...

We love the Monterey Bay Aquarium too! Just went there back in April. I've seen my share of aquariums and it's my favorite by far. Sounds like fun was had by all ~