So we woke up Friday morning and traipsed up to the breakfast room to see what qualified as continental breakfast (it turned out to be English muffins, cheap danish, Cheerios, Raisin Bran, Fuji apples, and orange juice. Adequate but not impressive.) I already missed the TiVo because it meant that we had to tolerate the cartoons that were on when we needed TV that morning, rather than letting the kids watch something we had taped on purpose because it didn't get on our nerves. So spoiled.
Once we were all ready, we set off for stop number 1: a Safeway where we could pick up some items for lunch, rather than buy lunch at the Aquarium. We didn't find a Safeway en route to Monterey, so we ended up at a corner market where I spent too much on a loaf of bread,a jar of peanut butter, dried apricots, and a bottle of honey. So much for saving money! Still, when I saw the long lines for $6 hot dogs at the aquarium's one and only food source, I was glad I didn't have to wait.
OK, we finally made it to the big destination for the day: The Monterey Bay Aquarium. This was something that our kids had been looking forward to for a long time. They have wonderful exhibits, mainly on marine life that is local to the area, but they also have a penguin exhibit and an otter exhibit which includes both sea otters (which are abundant on the rocky shore around the Monterey Peninsula) and river otters. They had a GORGEOUS Jellyfish exhibit which I really enjoyed from an aesthetic standpoint. They are so graceful and colorful and the exhibit was beautifully done. The boys loved petting the bat rays, seeing the sharks in the Outer Bay tank, and the exhibits designed for young children with hands on play (Otters, Splash Zone, and a Fins exhibit). If you have a large family, consider becoming a member of the Aquarium like we did. For $120, two s and their children can come back to the Aquarium for the next year for free, plus you get discounts at the Aquarium and other places around town like whale watching. A portion of that is tax deductible as a donation.
We left the Aquarium around 3:30, planning on returning the next day, and ready for a change of pace. After browsing through a few shops on Cannery Row, we left our parking space ($12 for the day or 75 cents per half hour) and went over to check out the Dennis the Menace Park. It's a free public park designed by Ketcham, the creator of the comic strip. It has lots of fun things to play on including this train engine (that's Jared, Ian, and Henry up on the very top--I got up there myself and it's kinda scary.)The boys loooooved the climbing wall. Henry was like a little spider; it took Kimball longer to get comfortable with it, but he was scaling the wall with ease by the time we left. Bronwen was just happy to get out of the stroller and roll around. When we finally tore them away from the park, everyone was hungry, so we headed over to Rosine's, which had been recommended by a friend. I had their Heavenly Squaw turkey sandwich and it was not only heavenly but enough for two days! Their desserts are amazing and we had a hard time choosing which one we were going to take back to the hotel. Stop on by if you're in Monterey.
Our kids did amazingly well that day, considering how much we did and how stimulating it all was. (Kimball did have a mini meltdown during dinner because he could smell Henry's chicken and it was all too much for him--I'm so grateful that I don't have the sensory issues that he deals with. He was able to finish his dinner in the quiet safety of the hotel room with no chicken around!) Any how, we all slept hard that night and woke up ready to go the next day.
Tune in next time for Day 3!