Thursday, March 26, 2015

San Diego, CA Vaca - Day 3: The San Diego Zoo

Is today my birthday? Is it Christmas? It sure feels like it is because today I got to see GIANT PANDAS!!!!!!!! WAT?! Yes, for real, and yes, I will be honest, it was slightly a big reason as to why I wanted to visit San Diego haha, but not the only reason. Jacob told one of his bosses it was the only reason we were going and they just laughed. It all started long ago when my family and I took a trip to Washington D.C. when I was five years old. And on that trip, I saw my first Panda bear. And I was in love. My mom and dad bought me a little stuffed panda bear, that I named Bluebonet (who knows why, I was five...) and to this day I still have that thing! And no, I don't sleep with it every night. But I probably used to.

Photo courtesy of Mama Gatza capturing the glorious first viewing moment - Don't you love my pose? It's how I watched them today as well. Just kidding there's no way I could do this right now. 
We got to the zoo a little later today after it opened, but walked right on in since I had bought tickets yesterday. They had huge maps and thank goodness, some nice volunteer saw our confused overwhelmed faces and came over to guide us to a good starting place. This zoo is HUGE. Just in case anyone else is visiting, we went to the African trek first because there is less shade on that side of the park and walked up to the Polar Bears and down to the Pandas. On the other side of the zoo, there is much more shade so it is better to be there in the afternoon. Most of this is just pictures of animals and pictures of us looking at animals, so get ready for a fun ride. If you want to skip to the panda pictures I would totally understand. ;0)

So how do you get an almost two year old to wear his sunglasses? You put him outside in the blazing sun and tell him there are big elephants around. He was totally ok with it under only those circumstances.

So, as a parent, you spend a lot of time reading books to your kid. We spend part of our day at some point reading books and always read before nap and bedtime. It was so fun today just to see him making connections between animals we have read about and seeing them in person. He is an expert with animal noises too, so that was just fun watching him imitate animals we've talked about and seen at the Houston zoo. It never gets old!

Yep, Monster Mutt came with us today. Can't leave him behind!

Felt kind of bad for these guys today, it was hot!

Rudolph anyone?
They had a really cool air tram that you could take across the park. I really wanted to do this, but we really just ran out of time. We could have squeezed it in at the end of the day but sometimes you have to give your cranky toddler a break and just call it a day haha!
Here it comes... the moment you have been waiting for. Ok, really the moment I had been waiting for...

I could have stayed here all day!!!

Yes, JoJo, I need lessons on shadowing and focusing my camera! eek!

After the Panda Trek, we rode this cool escalator thing to the Treetop area to eat lunch. It was so handy with a stroller!

After lunch, we walked through some of the monkey exhibits and then walked through some of the cooler shaded areas so little man could (hopefully) fall asleep.

Apparently all he needs is a bag of cheetos and a TV remote. P.S. it was this big guy's birthday today!
Best friends!

Yes, we were excited. Our child does not do things like this. He just never really has, always wakes up once the car stopped/never transfers from the car to the bed ect., would only fall asleep if he was just dead tired and absolutely had to. Guess we hit that point today. It only last about 40 minutes thought haha but better than nothing!
I mean might have bought something while we were here...

After little man woke up, we took the bus tour around the park. Jackson had been almost more excited about the busses he kept seeing today rather than the animals so we waited until the end of the day to ride. It was a double decker bus and we were so glad we sat on the bottom because it was so hot out!

After the bus ride we headed back to the hotel room. We would have liked to stay a little longer but we were all so tired! Watched a little Doc McStuffins, ate some canteloupe and then went and had dinner at a little Greek place next to our hotel. After dinner, we walked around the back of our hotel so Jackson could run around some more. We met a little dog named Hoover who was so cute! His owner found him at 6 months old, tried to find the owner but no one claimed him so they kept him! He doesn't shed, some kind of black and white poodle mix, and so friendly! What was also funny was that the owner's wife's birthday was the same as our due date! Wish I would have gotten a picture of this little guy!

We might have walked just a little bit today. And yes, baby belly is tired! Taking it easy tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

San Diego, CA Vaca - Day 2: Balboa Park and the Fleet Science Center

Our second day started off early... 5 a.m. California time! eek! Someone is still on Texas time! We hung around in our hotel room a little bit and then went and got some free yummy breakfast from the hotel. We drove to Balboa park around 9, walked by Spreckle's Organ Pavilion and the Japanese Tea Gardens. and then stopped by the visitor's center to get a map. This place is huge! (P.S. they sell zoo tickets in the visitor's center gift shop that are $5 less than at the zoo, so we saved about $10 doing that today. Just a tip!) 
Spreckle's is one of the world's largest outdoor pipe organs. 
Looking down into the tea gardens.

While we were waiting for a few minutes for the visitor's center to open, Jackson played around this fountain with his Monster Mutt "Jacey Truck" and van for a little bit before he just started running in circles around one of the huge columns. It's the little things, right?

Our first stop was the Bontanical Gardens Building. Absolutely gorgeous, and so serene! We loved walking around the courtyard area and looking at the ferns, orchids and other plants and flowers inside.

Real men wear Vera Bradley backpacks without being asked.

Sniffing the flowers... they smelled good apparently!
I love orchids. They had some orchid plants inside the Gardens Building that were so pretty! They reminded me of the orchids garden we went to when we were in Singapore, except on a much smaller scale haha.

Got a little smile out of him today!

Our next stop was the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. My friend Amy had recommended this to us when I was asking her what she did with her daughter, and it was a HIT! We spent over an hour just in the Kid City Section. I really don't see where this kid gets all of his energy, he is so non stop!

Future HEB sacker right here!
Oh yes, we sat in the fire engine for a long time and of course Mommy and Daddy both had to take turns getting in as well!

Ok, these were so cool... there was this whole piping system that the plastic balls traveled through, he loved it!

Just checking out some runoff water... no big deal.
Building marble mazes!
He was more interested in the wet sponge instead of the little styrofoam peanuts that you could build with. It was making the Science center lady nervous I think haha...
Having some fun on a huge turn table.

Building with blocks! Thank goodness this kid finally got hungry because I don't think we would have ever gotten him out of here! haha.... fruit snacks are very persuasive at times! 

Grabbed some lunch here and ate outside! It was a gorgeous day!
Family selfie! And yes, that is another hotdog. I'm telling you... obsessed.
We went back to the hotel for Jackson to take a nap and for us to rest, this momma was pooped! After he woke up and watched some Mickey Mouse, we thought he might like to go to the pool for a little bit before dinner. The second we said pool he said, "Yes, pool! pool!" So, very excited Jackson went to the pool... for about 2.45 seconds. It was heated, but apparently not to his standards haha so after swimming around for a few minutes he decided he wanted stairs and out, so we went back to the room and changed. Very profitable trip. ;)

Of course the belly is a good head rest, especially when you are chomping on some cantaloupe!
Excitement is building... pool time!
So excited about the pool!
And we're done. But mean mommy and daddy made him get in and swim a little haha...
I'm telling you, Yelp is the best app ever for finding places to eat when you are traveling. We found this place called Phil's BBQ (I think I had also read about it on someone's blog when I was researching...) and it had over 8,000 reviews and 4.5 stars. Cray cray! So considering it was 10 minutes from our place, we thought it was a good choice for dinner... and we were not wrong!

I think it might be Christmas for him right now...
After dinner, we took a walk and let the little crazy one run around a little bit. I'm seriously contemplating letting him wear my fitbit one day because I know he would blow everyone out of the water. He is all day non stop until you make him stop!

Walking around behind the hotel.
Back side of the hotel.
Clean kid, ready for bed. Hope he sleeps a little later tomorrow!
Hope I can sleep tonight... I am just a little excited because TOMORROW I will be seeing PANDAS!!!! ahhhhhh.... CANNOT WAIT!!!