Sunday, February 28, 2016

San Diego Vacation Day 9 & 10

Our last full day was spent taking it easy and soaking in as much beach time as possible. We went out in the morning and the kids had fun playing as usual. The low tide wasn't until a little after noon, but we were still able to find a lot of shells.



I love, love LOVE this!

It was fun watching all the surfers



Emma loved the little shells



Isaac's pants kept coming untied, it was quite humerus.

We went back up to the condo for lunch. We ate through all the left overs we had accumulated in the fridge trying to clear it out in preparation to leave. Then I got the girls down and went back out to check out the shore at low tide. We had already had quite the collection of shells but I was interested in knowing if I could find some unique ones at low tide. Didn't really see anything different, just lots of shells!



After nap we drove up to Coronado to meet Kyle. We met him at a park near the Coronado Bridge. It was starting to get cloudy and actually looked like it was going to rain, but luckily it didn't.

The kids of course loved playing on the playground.




After some park play we walked along the bay up to the Ferry Landing Marketplace for dinner. It was nice to let the kids wear out their legs, although we had to keep them close because the sidewalk was also a bike path. About halfway up we saw these two big pelicans flying around and nose diving into the water. It was pretty cool! We stopped and watched them nose dive probably a handful of times.

Kyle got a good video that is better than the pictures I took from my phone:


And an attempt at a family photo... impossible to get all five looking at the same time.


Thursday morning it was time to pack up and get the condo in order for check out. I started to put the pack n plays away but was able to capture the girls showing off their new skills.


Had to capture the kids watching Curious George in the condo, it was such a great place!

Off to load up the van which was parked in the basement garage.

We had to make one more stop as we left Imperial Beach! There was a Daisy Ave that we kept meaning to stop and get my photo with. This avenue ran all the way to the beach but we were able to just turn south and hit a random intersection for a photo :-P

We met up with Josh before going to return the rental van. He was taking the two pack n plays from us to return to the people we borrowed them from. It was so great to see him one last time and it was the first time I got to see him in his uniform!

We got the van dropped off and car seats unloaded. Phew what a haul we had to lug around.

We rode the shuttle to the terminal, got the car seats and our one back checked then in through security we went. Pretty smooth sailing. They did have to look through Isaac's bag due to liquid showing up on the xray camera. It was the two snowglobes we had got that were sitting together making it look like a bigger mass of liquid than allowed. Luckily they weren't confiscated from us. Once through security we found some lunch and watched the airplanes.


And since we arrived at the gate before boarding we were some of the first to board! Don't be fooled by the empty seats, it was a full flight again.

Kyle even got Mary to sleep the last 20 minutes or so before landing!


We made it back to Minneapolis and the kids and I waited with our luggage near baggage claim while Kyle took the shuttle to get the van. Luckily there is a little 'play area' however it's just little riding machines that the kids had to 'pretend' to ride since I didn't want to spend a fortune, haha. And of course we had to have one fall, Emma fell pretty good off the motorcycle but eventually shook it off and got back to playing.


Kyle pulled up and we QUICKLY installed the car seats. Luckily it was just Emma's and Isaac's that we had taken out because Isaac was in a booster in California for ease of transporting. Got Mary in her seat, popped the booster in and headed home. I re-installed Isaac's later, which was more of a hassle since it was to Mary's settings and had to be completely redone, glad I didn't attempt that while in the pull off for baggage claim.

The kids were so happy to be home, but we all had a wonderful trip and Isaac asked many days following "When are we going back to Imperial Beach?" "When are we going back to our San Diego apartment?" I love that sweet boy!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

San Diego Vacation Zoo Day!

Tuesday we visited the San Diego Zoo. We knew it was going to be big so we set aside the whole day for it. We got there just before it opened which was nice because there wasn't much of a line. It was already starting to get warm so we knew it was going to be a hot day! Luckily the night before we saw a pamphlet that got us $5 off per ticket, we'd take any discount we could get because those tickets were expensive! We were hoping to ride the bus around the park first thing, but when we saw the line we decided to come back and do the 30 minute bus tour later.

First animal visit was the flamigos

We started off along the monkey trail, these were fun.


Made our way in and through a couple of aviaries
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At some point we switched trails and started toward the hippo. We passed the Tiger... which I'm glad I took this photo, we were thinking we'd get a better view from the other side but didn't end up over there after all.
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Once we got to the Hippo habitat there was no hippo in sight :-( We did hear them working on the large tank and later learned that the hippo was not on display for a few days while they fixed their pool. So sad because we were really looking forward to seeing him since we don't have one of these at either of our zoos. Isaac did get to sit on the bronze hippo statue.

We watched some otters at play
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Then we saw the Panda. It appeared that normally there was a long line because there was a "from this point: 30 minute wait" sign but we lucked out and had no line at all.
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The first panda was sleeping
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And the second panda was eating some bamboo and not turning to look at his spectators
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But we did get a good view of panda 1 on the way out.
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The girls did pretty good in and out of the stroller all day. They of course prefered to walk but when we wanted to actually get somewhere we'd load them up. They were both really fond of the 'owl' handle attached to the stroller. Here they were fighting over it, they actually look happier than they were.
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We loaded Emma up for the moving sidewalk escalator

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We thought we were getting somewhere by taking the escalator sidewalk up... but turns out we were just going up to go back down through another Aviary! ha! The kids liked the birds though so it was fun.
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Then we walked up the second largest hill in the park. Seeing a few different kinds of bears and more otters.
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At the top of the hill was the Australian Outback and Urban Jungle. It was so fun to see the Koalas! I think they were my favorite.
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We learned that the males would not share a 'tree' so they each had their own eucalyptus tree. Where as the women were willing to share so there was a few female Koalas per tree. Mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters. It was also interesting to learn that they eat the eucalyptus which would be poison to any other animal. Koalas have a long intestine system that helps to detoxify the plant making them immune to it's toxicity. However they can't eat more than three pounds of leaves in a day or they get indigestion.

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I was also excited to see the Rhino... this happens to be a no horned rhino
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This was the Urban Jungle with giraffes, a zebra, kangaroo, hogs, cheetahs, more flamingos.
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Mary went for a ride on my back where she ALMOST took a snooze but not quite

Then we took a lengthy walk along a fence where they were doing some renovating and additions to be opened in 2017.

Here is the California Condor, which is the largest flying bird in North America. Kyle got to see it spread it's wings out.

We also got to see some camels up close and personal
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The Secretary bird was pretty cool. Looks like an eagle with long thin legs.
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Next was the elephants. Another fun animal we were looking forward to since we don't have them in Minnesota.
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It was fun to learn about the oldest elephant there, who's name was Mary. She is in the middle here in this picture facing to the right.
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Isaac's favorite animal is the Lion, so he says this was his favorite part. However we didn't really get a great view of them and I was surprised how small their habitat was. :-(
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Then we walked down the largest hill in the park to see the Polar bear exhibit. Here's Isaac playing around in the helicopter they had there.

Then we walked back UP the largest hill in the park to get back to the SkyFari to take it back to the entrance of the park. We had to fold up the stroller and take two separate skycars. My mom did great seeing how she is afraid of heights. She had her eyes closed at first but then was able to open them and look around after we reached the top and coasted along.

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We got some nice views of Balboa park from overhead. This is the California Tower which is now home to the San Diego Museum of Man.
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Here's Kyle (and Mary) in the skycart behind us
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Once we landed we stopped at the nearest place for lunch. After lunch we walked through the reptiles and 'outpost' area
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Saw this amazing hummingbird
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Mom was fascinated with these trees, how they had random blooms but mostly looked bare. Looked it up and they are called Coral Trees.
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We finally made it to the bus tour.

Isaac was so cute cuddling up to Emma,
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And Mary sat in my lap

Emma took a minor nap (maybe 8 minutes) on the bus tour


We did get another view of the tiger on the bus tour, not much better though.
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The cool thing about the bus tour and why it would have been best to take it at the beginning of our visit (which everyone else had the same idea since there was a line in the morning) was that it gave you an overview of the zoo. And a nice narration along with it.
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We got a better look at the lion who was sun bathing at this point
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Mary finally settled down once I restrained her in my lap. She was a bucking bull rolling all over

We got a great view of the male elephant and his crazy long tusks! He is the only male they had and he is also the biggest animal in the zoo. He would blow his food all over so they took old fire hydrant hoses and wrapped them in and out of the food trough to make it harder for him to get the food and actually eat it at a better speed.
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We took a drive through the Urban Jungle getting some more quick views.
The baby giraffe was so cute
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The Rhino was up and walking around at this point
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After the bus tour we had seen pretty much the entire park so we headed out to the car. We took a quick drive around Balboa park waiting for Josh to get off work. Then we drove down Kettner Blvd and India St getting a view of Little Italy.

Then we stopped at a park new Josh's place to meet him after work. Emma was sleeping in the car but Isaac and Mary got to enjoy the swings.



From there Josh drove us east a little ways to a really good Italian restaurant in an area called South Park. We discovered a 'Target Express' across the street where we picked up some diapers then headed back downtown to drop off Josh and Mom. She stayed with him that night since she needed to be at the airport in the morning.
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