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.