In between San Fran and Monterey Bay we stayed at a nice little treed campground, just down the path from the Ritz Carlton. We stayed 1 night, went for a couple of beautiful beach walks both along the steep cliffs and down on the sand. Lucky for us we didn’t get pegged by a golf ball as the path ran right along the golf course. Nixon had some delicious fresh water running down the rocks at the beach (he had tried the ocean when a wave swept up to us and he made a great belch face), and little did I think about what else was in that water; he had the runs every two hours for half the night following. Boo.
Next day was a short drive down to Monterey Bay, where we stayed in the town of Marina right in the sand dunes. We had a couple of lovely walks on the beach, through the dunes and along side a protected fenced off area. There were a few surfers down there, and for the first time I actually thought I might want to surf again. It’s been so long I just didn’t have the urge till now.
On our first day here, we replenished the fridge with whole foods, then tackled the Dennis the Menace Park, where Rylie had a hay day playing on all the slides and tunnels. It was a great playground, but still doesn’t compare to the one in Radium (because it is geared both to toddlers and kids with its great little kid climbing areas and larger structures too). That I’m still holding as the official best playground ever.
On day two, we did a leisurely beach walk (I carried Rylie in our best investment yet; the baby backpack) for almost an hour, then after nap we headed out to Monterey to the aquarium. The area was definitely neat to walk through with its trendy tourist shops (maybe too much so) and seaside architecture. We were a little shocked to see the price of admission to the aquarium, at $40, but truly, you won’t be disappointed. This, we agreed, was the best aquarium we’ve been too. And, we’ve seen quite a few.
The exhibits were very interesting and hands on. There were walk through tunnels, extremely large tanks (ones that circle above your head, another taller than two stories). My favourite part was the jelly fish area, the lighting was just awesome, and the colours were very brilliant. Rylie liked the really large tank with the sharks, and giant fish about 5 feet long, and also the “touching” stations where you could feel the sea creatures including urchins and all kinds of seaweed. I ended up carrying her through the whole thing, about 2 hours we were there, and I think it was the best way for her to see everything, a stroller couldn’t compare to her vantage point from adult height.
The only real disappointment was the penguin tank (a little small, and all behind glass; it doesn’t compare to the calgary zoo), but we were there to see feeding time and that was pretty neat and interactive for everyone; and the sea otter area (it was just a bit small too, and there were only three little guys in there). Overall, a great day with so much to see. We could have spent longer but our happy baby window began to close on us. We saw most everything there was to offer, but quickly wandered few a couple of the last exhibits so as not to miss out completely.