Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunny San Diego! (cont.)

The beach in La Jolla
Day five of our trip was all about La Jolla. After a quick breakfast, we were in the car and off to check it out.

After parking, we walked the promenade and explored the beach a bit before showing up at La Jolla Sea Cave Kayaks for our tour. They provided us with helmets and life vests, then we all trooped back down to the beach for a short kayaking lesson. Then, we were off! We paddled all along the caves. Our guide, Sam, stopped to point out interesting houses, marine plant and animal life, etc. The water was a little rough, so we didn't actually go into the caves, but we got close enough to small the sea lions! (Lawdhavemercy!) We paddled back and, starved, ferreted out George's Ocean Terrace for lunch.

Sea kayaking!
It's hard to think of a more picturesque spot. You are on the top of the building, facing the ocean. Blue stretches out around you. Clay and hubs both had burgers, while I chose the clam spaghetti. Everything was delicious! Prices are spendy here, but what you're really paying for is the excellent view. Service is impeccable.

After lunch, we walked the promenade a bit more. Since we didn't get to paddle into any caves, we decided to take the walk down to Sunny Jim's Cave, the only cave accessible via land. You pay a small fee, then take a short, easy walk down to the inside of the cave. Though we hadn't really planned this ahead of time, this activity ended up being one of my favorite of the trip! I loved standing inside the cave and watching the waves come rushing in!

Jellyfish at Birch Aquarium
After Sunny Jim's and a bit of relaxing on the promenade, we asked Google Maps to point us toward the Birch Aquarium. This place was fascinating. Clay loved the jellyfish (lit dramatically from above so they glow in the water), as well as the tropical seas exhibits. The seahorses were also a big hit. But perhaps the spot we had the most fun was at the tide pool plaza, where you can put your hand into the water and touch some of the sea creatures. We also really enjoyed the education classrooms and exhibit court, where you can learn about currents and energy through hands on activities.

On the way back home, we saw Mission Bay Park from the road and couldn't resist making a stop. Tons of playgrounds, a calm bay to play in and swaying palm trees. We dipped our feet in the water, had a lie-down on the soft grass, and watched as the sun began to set.

Completely pooped by this time, we decided to head back to the apartment. On the way, our stomachs started growling. We saw an In-N-Out Burger joint. None of us had ever had an In-N-Out burger, so we figured we'd try some. OMG! They were so good! Bellies full and heads drowsing, it was off to bed for some rest.

We'd been looking forward to day five of our trip for a long time. I have an 8-year-old little boy, and he loves Legos. He has tons of them. We went to see the Lego movie. We sang the "Everything Is Awesome" song ad nauseum.

LegoLand - where everything really IS awesome!
So, you can imagine the fever-pitch-level of excitement with which we approached LegoLand. We arrived before it opened, showed our tickets, and went in as far as they'll let you before the park is technically open. Then, we counted down the time, and we were off!

On the way to the two big roller coasters, we stopped to sign my son up for one of the very latest slots for MindStorms, where the kids get to program a Lego robot to perform tasks. (We'd heard these fill up fast.) Once we'd done that, it was off to the coasters!

After that, we had the time of our lives riding rides, looking at all the cool Lego creations, playing in the intricate playground (We loved the Hideaway.), and eating apple fries (OMG). We LOVED Mindstorms (I was really glad I'd reserved ahead.), and we finished out the day at Pirate Shores. Throughout the day, we traded the mini figures we'd bought earlier in the week at Geppetto's for new ones, mixing and matching until Clay got some he really liked.

Modigliani's Blue-Eyed Boy
If you have a young child, this park is made for them. There was nothing that my son was too short or too light to ride. He was the perfect age to enjoy every facet of the park. We left, exhausted and sopping wet from the water rides, when they kicked us out. Needless to say, we slept like rocks that evening.

On our last full day in San Diego, I slipped away from Clay and hubs for the morning to visit the San Diego Museum of Art. The museum is sizable, but perfectly do-able in a long morning. Permanent collections are impressive, and I also loved a temporary exhibit featuring haunting, narrative photos by Gregory Crewdson. I enjoyed a quiet morning before stopping back by the apartment to pick up Clay and hubs for our sand castle building adventure in Del Mar.

We'd booked a lesson in advance with San Diego Sand Castles, and this activity ended up being one of my favorites throughout the trip! We arrived at Del Mar beach at around 1:30 p.m. Our sweet teacher showed us how to build up the base of the castle using rubber mats, clamps, sand, and buckets of sea water. Once we got that done, we had to wait a bit, so we walked down to the snack shop for hot dogs.

The builder at work . . .
When we got back, it was time to unmold the basic structure of the castle and start detail work and features. This was so much fun! We had special tools to use, and we created cobblestones, roof tiles, stairways, doors and windows, a moat, and trees! Clay directed most of our efforts, and our castle turned out AMAZING!! I can't recommend this activity highly enough. So, so fun!

When we finished, we spent another hour or so enjoying the gorgeous beach before our growling stomachs told us it was time for dinner.

We'd heard good things about Whisknladle, so off we went. This place was delicious! Since we were still a bit beachy, we sat on the open side of the restaurant and nibbled delicious friend chicken and other treats! Then, it was off to the apartment to pack.

The next morning, we flew back home, already missing the place. I loved, loved, LOVED San Diego and would go back in a heartbeat! What a fabulous town!!
Our masterpiece!!

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