On our second morning in Santa Cruz, we went to a marine conservation and learning center. We got to see (and touch!) a bunch of animals, and got to walk around on the bluff and enjoy the views.
That afternoon we headed back to the beach.
That evening we went to a little place in downtown Santa Cruz for Michael's birthday. I had a delightful drink in a tiki mug and I demanded that (aka asked very politely inquired if) we could get Michael a candle to blow out. :)
The next morning, we packed up the kids, got coffee and drove 45 minutes to get to Monterey to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was so neat - really fun and impressive, and I don't even think we did everything there was to do there.
There was a big area for kids to explore and learn about ocean currents and other marine things.
Lots of huge tanks with different ecosystems inside.
One of several spots for the kids to touch and feel.
This was a tunnel where waves would come crash over it, so you could see what it was like under the waves. As you can see, Bennett was a little unsure so I was trying to sell it on being super fun.
We got just about the best possible table for lunch!
We watched a quick film about deep sea creatures and then packed the kids back in the car. They slept some, and then were surprisingly patient and good the rest of the way home. We really lucked out on this trip with how good the kids were in the car.
Michael and I agreed that this was such a great little trip all around - definitely inspired us to keep exploring all the great things around us.
Two weekends ago, we packed up the kids and went to Santa Cruz for the weekend. We've decided that we need to start really enjoying all of these amazing locations around us. (Still on the bucket list - Yosemite and the Red Woods, not to mention Tahoe in the summer [which I've never seen] and more Napa, Amador county vineyards and San Francisco).
I have to say, the drive to and from Santa Cruz was surprisingly uneventful. I was worried about how the kids would do but they were perfectly fine. Some normal kid bickering and constant snacking, but truly I feel very lucky about how good they were.
We got to our little, cheap motel by the boardwalk and wasted no time in walking down to the ocean. We walked the wharf, ate seafood at the end of it, and listened to the sea lions barking all the while.
I tried asking June to take a picture of me and Michael, and she loved it and it turned out great! Now that I know I have this option, I might actually get semi-regular photos of us together!
Then it was time for ice cream!
The next morning we walked to the little down town area to have breakfast.
Then we headed to the beach! We drove just down the street (to avoid the busy boardwalk beach) and went to a really great spot. It was perfect out, cool when it was breezy, warm in the sun.
Bennett wanted to make about a billion sand castles, just so he could tear them down and hear me say, "OH NOOOOO!" I just love the guttural laugh that he has - "Huhuhuhuh!"
Then it was showers, tacos from the little hut down the street and naps in the hotel room.
That night we walked down to the boardwalk for some rides.
This was the first time June was willing to go on the Ferris Wheel, and she loved it.