San Diego

“We have nothing to lose and a world to see.”

Both girls are napping at the same time, so I figured I’d try and write a post really fast. Last weekend we drove to San Diego CA. This was the first time we have been to California and my first time seeing the Pacific Ocean! We left on Friday night and drove back Sunday night, so we didn’t get to do a whole lot, but the weekend flew by.

It takes about 7 hours from our house to get to San Diego, but we stopped for an hour (much to Justin’s dismay) to eat and show Stella these welded dinosaurs, so we didn’t get to the hotel until about 1:00 am. I got up and ran the next morning (the people in San Diego definitely do not wave to or look at runners like the Midwest), we walked to Einstein’s for some fancy bagels (they were delicious!), then headed to Birch Aquarium.

Birch Aquarium, which is part of Scripps Institute of Oceanography, was a neat little place that took us about 2-3 hours to go through. We are fish and environmental nerds, so we really enjoyed it. Stella loved all the tanks and getting to see some of the fish get fed. She REALLY loved getting to see the clown fish and blue tangs and didn’t want to leave the “Nemo and Marlin” and the “Dory” tank.

They also have an outdoor patio area with a great view of the Pacific Ocean where the tide pools are, but I guess we went at the wrong time of year to be able to touch the sea critters. There was one place inside where we got to touch starfish, which was a unique experience. I’ve never had that opportunity and I was surprised by how slow starfish react to their environment. For example, if a leg started to fall from the wall and you pulled the starfish off the wall, it’s leg stayed fixed in that position.

Another bonus about this aquarium is it has free three hour parking, because, as we quickly learned, parking is a pain in the rear in San Diego! We drove around for about an hour trying to find parking around La Jolla Shores to eat lunch and visit the beach before giving up and driving to a different part of town.

We ended up at Karl Strauss Brewing Company (which has amazing beer, I wish we had bought some to bring home) and walked down to La Jolla Cove. It was beautiful and we got to see some seals sun bathing. Stella thought it was fun to watch the snorkelers swim too with their flippers, wet suits, and snorkels. Of course she didn’t want to leave, even when we promised to go to the pool at the hotel. She was having a great time running away from the waves, letting the waves splash up on her, and trying to grab sea shells before they got pulled back to sea. We finally convinced her to leave and went swimming at the hotel’s pool.

The next day we ventured to Balboa Park. I’m so bummed that we didn’t do Balboa Park the day before instead. We rode their miniature train, walked through the artist village, stopped and read about the Moreton Bay Fig Tree, and walked through the model railroad museum.

If we weren’t leaving that day we would have also walked through the Japanese Friendship Garden. If you plan a trip to San Diego, please give yourself a good day of two for Balboa Park! I wanted to go to the Natural History Museum, Fleet Science Museum, Botanical Building, Veteran’s Museum and Memorial Center, Lily Pond, Old Cactus Garden, and I may have even considered the zoo (just because it’s pricey and I’m cheap). There’s also a playground there I’m sure Stella would have liked to have stop at. Here’s the map with everything at Balboa Park listed:

We set off for home and got back around 9pm. It was such a quick weekend, but we had a great time! It makes me really want to go to New York City and visit Central Park someday. But it’ll be a minute before we are back on that side of the country…




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