Friday, September 27, 2013

San Diego Mini Vacation

For Christmas Charlie's brother got us tickets to visit the USS Midway in San Diego.  We had been waiting for a good weekend to use them because we decided to make a mini vacation out of it and spend a few days in San Diego.  Charlie had Good Friday off of work, so we headed out after he came home on Thursday evening.  Isaac discovered some new power poles on the way down, and was excited about practicing the new formations.  (Here's the whole story on that.)

We started our Friday out at the San Diego Zoo.  A few weeks before our trip a friend of mine had gone to the zoo and posted some really great animal photos on her blog.  Luke was looking at the computer with me and getting super excited about all of the animals.  Charlie & I decided right then that we would add the zoo to our itinerary.  Unfortunately, Luke wasn't quite as excited about seeing the animals in person as he was about the photos on the computer.  I hate to say it, but our trip to the zoo really wasn't much fun at all.  Both boys ended up in grumpy moods, the park was crowded, and we had a hard time enjoying any of the exhibits because Luke kept running away and Isaac was too focused on getting to the next big thing (the sky tram, jaguars, and a stuffed snake).  I hardly have any photos at all from our zoo trip, and the few I do have are not that great.

I think both boys had the most fun at one of the first exhibits we stopped at.  This orangutan was being super playful and interactive with the kids through the glass.  Isaac & Luke were both right up next to her watching her chew on some leaves, and then she started doing cartwheel/somersaults across the grass.

The first thing that Isaac noticed when we walked into the zoo that morning was the sky tram going across the park.  Isaac sometimes has a one track mind and can get a little obsessed about things.  He was obsessed with the sky tram and really was not enjoying anything else because he was so focused on getting to the tram.  We made some quick stops at a few other exhibits along the way, but we knew we better head to the tram for everybody's sanity.

The ride didn't start out so great.  See that leafy branch that Isaac is holding?

As soon as we got in the air, Isaac decided to throw the branch overboard onto the line of people waiting below us.  He was quickly reprimanded for that and I think was still feeling a little sheepish in this photo.

Here's Luke and I.

We made a quick stop to see some giraffes.  But now that the tram ride was over, Isaac was eager to see the jaguars.

With each animal we passed Isaac would ask "are the jaguars next?"  He was completely focused on finding the jaguars.  So that's where we headed.  We only saw one jaguar and he wasn't doing much, but Isaac seemed satisfied.  At least for the moment.

Now on to the next obsession.  Charlie had told Isaac that if he was good at the zoo that he could buy a new "pet" before we left.  (Isaac calls all of his stuffed animals "pets.")  Isaac spotted some stuffed snakes early in the day and now that he had seen the jaguar, he was ready to get his snake and go.  At this point nothing would keep his interest for more than about 5 seconds.  It was all about the snake.  The real snakes were somewhat interesting.  But not for long.

The park was getting seriously packed by this time and we could tell the boys weren't going to last much longer.  I was still feeling like we hadn't got our money's worth since we hurried through the whole thing.  Well, as fast as we could go with all of the crowds and double decker tour buses crowding the paths, and Luke's short legs (with no stroller).  But it was a sunk cost at this point and there was really no reason to drag it out any longer.

Time for a snake.  And the biggest smile we got the whole day.  His name is Longey, because he is long.

We went back to the hotel to calm down and rest for a bit.  We stayed at the Grand Hyatt in Downtown San Diego and we had a fantastic view of Sea Port Village and the Harbor below us.  The boys loved hanging out by the big window and checking out all of the scenery below.

Once we were recovered from the zoo we headed back out to Sea Port Village.  First stop was Ben & Jerry's for ice cream.

Charlie & I walked, while Luke & Isaac ran along the harbor for a ways past all of the vendors selling little trinkets and the various entertainers hoping to collect some spare change.  When Luke spotted the grassy area with dozens of tropical birds perched on wooden stands he took off running.  He & Isaac had been chasing pigeons all over the place, and now they finally found some birds that were not going to fly away.  They each took a turn having the parrot perch on their arms.  Neither of them were the least bit scared or nervous.  They  both have always loved animals.

Charlie & I were most impressed by this guy who was stacking rocks.  The towers themselves are cool, but it is the big rocks balancing on the very top that makes the display so impressive.

We drove down to the outlets that evening and did a little shopping and then had dinner.  On Saturday morning Charlie & I each took a turn going for a run.  Charlie took the boys to the pool while I was out running but it was still a little too cold out so they came back.  Once we were all ready for the day we checked out and headed to the USS Midway.

The USS Midway is a retired Navy Aircraft Carrier that is now permanently docked in San Diego as a museum and memorial.  Isaac was really really excited to visit and to check out all of the fighter jets that are displayed on board.  The ship is enormous.  As you walk up towards it, it really towers up overhead and is so massive that you forget it is actually a boat and not a huge building.

We entered into the hangar deck where they had several aircraft on display plus a gift shop and a flight simulator ride.  I waited with Luke while Charlie & Isaac rode the flight simulator and then we made our way up to the flight deck.  There were tons of small planes, fighter jets and helicopters; some of which you could climb in and sit inside of.  I felt bad because I knew that Isaac wanted to learn all about each jet and see everything that there was to see, but Luke wanted to just run from plane to plane.

Luke loved pretending to drive this little aircraft tug, but I'm pretty sure it was a piece of operational equipment rather than an exhibit, so I figured I'd better coax him off of it.  

Isaac loved being able to climb inside of a fighter jet and sit in the cockpit pretending to be the pilot.

This photo was taken inside one of the big helicopters with the long bench seats in the back.  Isaac was buckled up and ready for take-off.

It was a gorgeous sunny day but also quite windy.  The views up on top were amazing, with the ocean out in front of us and the city sky scrapers behind us.  We tried to get a few family photos but the wind - and Luke - were not really cooperating.

There was a self-guided audio tour that you could go on with a headset, but we skipped that because we knew we'd have to be moving a little faster if we wanted to see everything before the inevitable Luke meltdown.  We were just getting to the interior workings of the ship and Luke was starting to fall apart.  It was day two without a nap and we knew we didn't have much time left.  Charlie hurried through with Luke while Isaac and I took a little longer to check things out.  

I thought this was the most interesting part of the museum because it provided a glimpse into the lives of the naval officers that lived on board for months at a time.  We walked through a maze of narrow hallways and saw the kitchen, dining areas, chapel, bunks, control rooms, and the command center.  Isaac was loving every little bit of it.  Especially the parts where he could touch all the buttons, switches and knobs that he wanted.  It was pretty cool.  

Isaac was also fascinated by the control tower.  He's always been interested in satellites and stuff with signals.  And he's also really into flags.  (Isaac likes looking at an app on the iPhone that shows the flags from all of the different countries and memorizing which is which.)  

The museum was a great mix of fun and educational and we enjoyed exploring it.  Thank you Chris & Carly and family for the awesome gift!  And that was the end of our mini vacation.  We headed back to our car and Luke promptly fell asleep, and stayed asleep most of the way home.  

1 comment:

Amy said...

Oh heavens, the zoo experience was hilarious.