Thursday, June 26, 2014

Santa Barbara: Beach Fun and Stearn's Wharf

Day three of our trip started with this view...

We spent the morning relaxing on the beach, building sandcastles, looking for sea shells, and trying to get Landry to put his feet in the water. :)

Landry and I worked on a pretty cool sandcastle. 
He was very focused on the roads.

Not going to lie...I think our castle turned out pretty cool. 
Clearly, it wasn't the most structurally sound castle...but it had some seaweed flourish...and that's what counts when building a sandcastle...right?

The weather was perfect...sunny, warm, nice breeze. The water was a bit cold but nothing like it is in Pismo. We did get Landry to finally get his feet wet...and then he fell down...and that game was over. :) 
It took quite a bit of coaxing just to get these pictures...and a LOT of reassuring that he would NOT get wet.

That afternoon we headed to Stearn's Wharf. 
On the wharf they have a wonderful little aquarium, the Ty Warner Sea Center.

It isn't nearly as big as the Monterey Bay Aquarium but it is still pretty neat. If you have been to the aquarium in is a little larger than that one.

Landry immediately wanted to check out the tide pools.

They have a small octopus...that is quite active!

One of the neatest my at the back of the center they have a small science lab area set-up. In this area they have an opening down to the water, where the kids can send nets down into the water, and catch sea creatures. Some of the kids actually caught some crabs while we were there!

Landry wasn't interested in catching anything...but he did work with one of the staff members to determine the clarity of the water. Here he is pulling up the tool...I forgot what it was called. :)

After following the directions, we determined that you could see 7ft down into the water. 
A fun fact...that water is only 13 feet deep underneath the wharf.

The sea center also had a jelly fish exhibit going on. 
I could watch them all day long!

They have a large whale hanging from the ceiling...Landry thought it was pretty cool.

Checking out the can actually pet them! 
Don't worry...Landry had NO interest in petting a shark. :)

Here is one of many shark eggs they have on display. 
You could actually watch the little sharks move around inside the egg...pretty cool.

Landry's favorite part...hands down...was the touch pools with the starfish, sea cucumbers, and urchins.

I think we spent about 45 minutes touching, holding, and "watching" the animals. 
Chad and I joked that he seems to have a liking for the most inactive animals...elephants, alligators, starfish, urchins...he cracks us up!

Seriously, if he would have had his way, we would have stayed there all. day. long.

We finally got him talked into leaving to check out the rest of the wharf. 
Here is a quick picture of the view of Santa Barbara from the wharf...stunning!

Next on our list of fun...the Lil' Toot boat ride! 
I had read about this online, before our trip, and was secretly so excited about it. 
It is this darling little boat...seriously how cute is it...that takes you from the wharf to the harbor...and it is super cheap. 
Even better...right?

Landry was a little nervous at first, because the boat was rocking quite a bit while everyone got on, but he quickly warmed up.

During the ride, the "tour guide" gave information about the harbor and different fun facts about it. Here is a large vessel they use to keep the sand from building up in the harbor.

When it isn't being used...many animals use it as a sea lions...and...

just a few pelicans!

Our normally shy, quiet, reserved little man jumped at the opportunity to drive the boat. They let all of the kids have a turn...and he couldn't wait!

On the way back he was the only child that wanted to he got to drive the entire way!
Everyone complimented him on his good driving...and he even called it "his" boat. :)

We had a great morning at the beach and lots of fun on the wharf...wonderful way to end our trip.

The next morning Landry got a little teary eyed when he found out we were going home. 
His quote, "But I love the Santa Barbara Beach and our nice hotel. I don't want to go." I think he had fun...what do you think? Another clear sign that it was a good trip...even Chad said it was a lot of fun. I know. Crazy! I was really proud of him for "unplugging" for the few days and just relaxing. :)

On a side note...
one of the funnier conversations during the trip was when Landry was asking me about my phone.
Landry: "Mommy...when you were little did you have a phone like this?"
Me: "Nope. When I was little they didn't have phones like this."
Landry: "So you had a phone like Daddy's?"
Me: "No...when I was little we didn't have cell phones. We only had phones like that." 
(pointing to the land-line phone in the hotel room)
Landry...with a very confused look on his face: "What? You couldn't bring your phone with you?"
Me: "Nope, you couldn't. You had to stay at home to talk to someone on the phone."
He just shook his head at this response! :) 

He became quite fascinated with the land-line, we do not have a land-line phone...and when we were in the room he would spend most of his time just listening to the dial tone or "calling" Nawnie and telling her about what we were doing. It was quite hilarious!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Santa Barbara Vacay: Solvang and the Zoo!

Before I share about our trip to Santa Barbara I have to say "thank you" to all of you for your kind words regarding my last post. No one ever said parenting was easy...and I never expected it to be...but I am still stunned by some people's reactions. I really loved reading all of your comments! :)

Back to Santa Barbara...on Saturday morning we packed up the car and headed to the beach! Landry was sooooooo excited and we were, too. We decided to go via Paso Robles, Pismo, and opposed to the 99 route. One of the reasons I decided to take that route was I figured there was more to look at...and more fun stops along the way. Since we were in no rush, we could take our time. I had originally planned on stopping in Pismo to get some Splash Cafe chowder. Thankfully we got stuck in a TON of traffic in Paso...yes, I said thankfully...because while we were sitting I was checking my Facebook and someone had posted about a car show in Pismo...which would be even more of a zoo than normal. My first tip to you...if you REALLY want a fix of Splash Cafe chowder...and don't want to deal with the mess of Pismo...they have an awesome location in San Luis Obispo! Yup...take the Monterey Exit...go a few blocks...and there you will find the same yummy chowder...with one exception...NO CRAZY LINE!!!! :)

My other reason for wanting to go this route was that I really want to stop by Solvang. I remember going as a kid and thought Landry would have fun...and who can pass up an ebelskiver? Can you tell I love food? So far my two stops have been based on clam chowder and ebelskivers...ha!

Being that it was a was pretty crowded and busy...but it was still a great little stopping point to stretch our legs. I can you go wrong when within 5 minutes of your walk you come across this photo op?

Landry was in LOVE with all of the windmills...and wanted to go inside each. and. every. one. Most of them have some sort of souvenir one would expect...such as a Native American gift Asian ceramics shop...exactly what one thinks would be inside of a windmill. :)

You know what they say...if the shoe fits, sit in it!

And as I mentioned trip to Solvang is complete without an ebelskiver. 
My crazy child wasn't a fan...crazy!

We finally made our way to Santa Barbara and got settled in at our hotel.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express right off of State Street. It was an awesome hotel, great location, wonderful staff, super clean and quiet...highly recommend it. 
After a good night's rest...we were up and ready to head out to the...

First of Landry's favorites...the alligator. Landry was in a bit of a "mood" put it nicely. If it gives you any idea...we weren't even in the zoo for ten minutes before we were threatening to leave if he didn't change his attitude. Lovely. I know. Here is the best picture I could get.

He started to warm up when we saw the macaws...

and was all smiles with Chad. Clearly, I should have left because I seemed to be the problem. :)

The Santa Babara Zoo had a lot of animals that our zoo doesn't penguins...

and bald eagles.

Here are their beautiful giraffes. They are a different type than the ones we have at the Chaffee Zoo.. their coloring is so pretty...and they are a lot larger than our giraffes.

Plus they have a much better view! Yes, that is the Pacific Ocean right behind them.

The fennec foxes were a hit...and finally brought out some smiles!

Then there was this sleeping beauty!

How amazing is she?

Landry wouldn't sit for a picture in front of the lion. 
He was afraid it was going to get him. Can't say that I blame him. 
I love the way she is looking at him in the if she knew that he had been a pill earlier. :)

Does this statue look familiar? 
Looks like Nosey from our zoo...Santa Barbara has one, too. 
You might remember that Landry always refuses to take a picture with Nosey at our zoo...
but in Santa Barbara...he was all about it.

Chad wanted to take this guy home!

They have a cute little train you can ride around the zoo that gives you a "behind the scenes" view of some of the exhibits.

Of isn't a trip to the zoo without seeing the ELEPHANTS! 
Did I mention that Landry was a pill? 
Yup...he had very little interest in the elephants...bizarre! 

I was trying to get a "selfie" of the three of us and the elephant when a very kind lady offered to take it for us.

Do you see the elephant? 
No...look closely and you can see just the butt. 
Oh well! :)

Being that I can be a bit stubborn...I wonder where Landry gets it...I was set on getting a cute picture of Landry with the alligator. 
As you can see...he had other plans.

So our visit ended the same way it started...pouting by the alligator. :)

That night we stopped by a delicious ice cream place...special to Santa Barbara.

They have all hand made ice creams, in a variety of flavors.

Landry chose the blueberry...and I had the most delicious toasted coconut, almond, chocolate chip. 
It was like an Almond yummy!

Even though the day had some ups and downs...Landry threw some fits...even lost a quarter...Chad pouted about the U.S. tying with Portugal in the World Cup game...all in all it was a great first day...or two...of vacation. I mean, seriously, I got to eat Splash chowder, ebelskivers, carnitas tacos at dinner, New York style pizza during the World Cup game, shrimp pasta, and the most amazing scoop of ice cream. 
How can you go wrong? :)