San Diego Vacation, Part 3, Torrey Pines Hike.

Friday, August 15, 2014

This is the last installment of our San Diego adventures.  Part 1 can be found here, and Part 2 can be found here.

This post is devoted to what may seem a small outing, but was probably Mr. Great's favorite part of our trip (unless it was La Jolla kayaking; tough choice!).

We went to the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.  Because we wanted something fun and doable for little legs, we chose the Guy Fleming Trail.  It's only 2/3 mile, and I would have loved to hike much, much more.  But it was just right for our tired family that day.  It's an easy, well-marked trail with interesting things to see around each bend.





We got to study torrey pine trees up close.  They're the most endangered pine species in the United States, and the grow only in San Diego and one other place that I've now forgotten (some island maybe?).  They have large, pretty pinecones and needles grouped in clumps of five.


The best part of this trail was the view of the ocean.  It's spectacular.  It put a big smile on my cute husband's face.





Our little family loves to hike, but we don't do it often enough.  It's so important to get out and explore the world around us.  It's so good for us.



Along our hike, we saw a few serious trail runners tackling the Torrey Pines trails.  As we finished our loop, I told Mr. Great to take a lap.  So he went for a run.  He returned feeling like a million bucks.


This little guy, however, didn't think it was at all fair.


So the kids did a little trail running, too.


And then we were all happy.

San Diego Vacation, Part 2.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Continuing our adventures in San Diego...

Day 4 was Zoo Day.  We got an early start and beat the crowds, which was very nice.


We headed straight to the pandas, which Big Sister had been very excited about.  They were sleeping, but they were cute nappers.  

We then covered lots of ground and saw all sorts of amazing creatures.  Big sister fell in love with the koalas. 





 Little Brother got tired of walking, so we hopped on the aerial tram and enjoyed the birds-eye view.



After a long zoo day, we treated ourselves to big milkshakes at the Corvette Diner.



We began the next day with an amazing hike, which I'll cover in a separate post because I did a better job photographing that part of the trip.  We followed that with a good pizza lunch and a walk around dock to see some boats.


After the hike, we headed to the U.S.S. Midway museum, which was amazing and overwhelming.  We walked all over the ship and explored old aircraft on display. 








We finally got a dip in the hotel pool, and then ate some good Mexican food in Old Town, for another full day.  

Our last full day began with a big pancake breakfast and a trip to the Cabrillo National Monument at Point Loma.  We kept the hikes a bit shorter, but still explored an old light house and saw some breathtaking views. 






We also explored some World War II-era artillery bunkers and learned about the Japanese threat to our country and the importance of the triangulation and communication in the event of an invasion. 



After completing some activities to show that they'd learned about the national monument, the history of the area, and the environment, the kids earned National Junior Ranger badges and were sworn in as protectors of our parks and environment.


We ended the day, and the trip, with a shuttle ride to Harbor Island for the Big Bay Boom Independence Day fireworks spectacular.  We were amazed at how beautiful it was before dark, after dark, and when lit up with impressive fireworks.  




It was a great ending to a great trip.

San Diego Vacation, Part 1.

Summer has flown by, and before I know it I'll be sending kids back to school.  Before that, I want to slow down a bit a enjoy some really happy memories of our San Diego vacation.

It was a fabulous trip, and we made the most of our time there.  

We arrived to find that our hotel room was not ready, so we grabbed lunch (Yard House -- great vegetarian options!) and headed to La Jolla to check out the beach.  It took about two seconds before Little Brother was completely wet (including his sneakers) with a huge smile on his face at every wave.




Next thing I knew, we were kayaking in the ocean, fully clothed.  It was more of a physical challenge than I expected (I shared my kayak with a 75-lb helper), but it was worth every bit of that intense workout.  We saw Dr. Seuss's house, peeked inside caves, got really close to lots of sea lions, and checked out the kelp forest.  And we didn't tip over!

In honor of Little Brother, we spent Day 2 enjoying Legoland (after a quick trip to Target for dry sneakers). 


The park was crowded and lines were long, but we did our best to be patient.  And we quickly found an app that listed wait times so we could avoid the longest lines.


The rides were worth the wait.  We road fast roller-coasters, the kids got to drive cars and get drivers' licenses, and we saw lots of cool stuff made out of Legos.






We even checked out the newly-opened Chima water park (in the end, though, we preferred the main Legoland park).



By Day 3, we were a little worn out, so we slowed down a bit.  


We went to Coronado and played at the beach.  We enjoyed the water (warmer than expected but still quite cold), hunted for sea shells (found two sand dollars!), built sand structures (not sure they qualify as castles), and even watched a beach wedding.





After watching Tim Howard's amazing World Cup performance in our hotel room, we headed to PETCO Park for a Padres game.  They won!



Stay tuned for more...