Since Daddy was in serious need of working on Memorial Day, I decided to take Smunch up on his request for a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We took Mam too, of course. It wasn't a huge mistake, but I'd errantly envisioned the same kind of happy day we'd spent at Happy Hollow. I was...uh...wrong. Mam was still whiney and snotty and Smunch was still belligerent. He was thrilled to be going to the aquarium. He'd never been there before, but he'd heard about it from friends. Unfortunately, the anticipation of the visit was more exciting than the aquarium itself.
There were a few highlights though. The first tank of jellyfish was pretty cool. They weren't so interesting after the first several tanks, but they were cool for a bit. One of the kids' favorite things had very little to do with fish at all. There is a clear, glass tunnel that was supposed to give the impression that you were in a tidepool, with waves splashing over you every minute or so. So, you stand in there and *whoosh*, a giant wave of water goes over the top of you. Cool. And it got the kids away from the whining and crying they were doing while looking at the penguins and playing in the kiddie area.
After three hours of struggling to keep the kids on a short leash in the aquarium, the place was absolutely packed and we finally left to go check out the beach. I don't know why I didn't make myself leave sooner! We didn't even pay to get into the aquarium because I used my parents' guest passes. I didn't need to torture myself, or my poor semi-bored, semi-overwhelmed children. Oh well. We meant to go down to Point Lobos, but it was already getting a little late for that, with a long drive home ahead of us. So, we drove down the coast a ways to a place where Smunch saw waves hitting a big cluster of rocks and making giant splashes. It had turned into a beautiful Monterey day, even if it was windy.We all trudged down the beach and picked our way, carefully across the rocks as the tide was going out.
We had a grand time sitting on top of the big jumble of rocks, watching crabs skitter by and Smunch and Mam screeching in delight (and almost giving Mommy a heart attack by jumping up and down in excitement while perched atop the rocky outcropping) as the waves splashed up against the rocks and showered them with water.
So, what started as a day with potential and turned into a lesson in the frustrations of going to a crowded tourist attraction on a holiday, finally turned into a pretty great memory of two little kids having a fantastic time gazing out at the sea. Possibly my favorite quote of the whole thing came from Mam who got to the top of the rocks and declared, "I can see the whole ocean!"
Walking back to the mommymobile, I couldn't keep the kids from walking on the ice plant, but it made for a pretty picture at the beach...and solidified it as a fine day after all.