SO, when we looked at our savings at the end of last year, and the fact that my husband would be finished with his Master's Degree, we decided that this summer was it. Time to go out and see something other than our little world of library, neighborhood parks, elementary, and children's museum.
Our vacation consisted of Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, a Harbor Cruise, a tour through the USS Midway Navy ship Museum, and playing at the beach. We packed a lot into our week and had a blast. Here are some of the things that I learned while on vacation.
- If you are up-front and optimistic about a long drive, the kids will be just fine!
It was a bit surprising how fast an hour (or three!) can go in the car. I was trying to watch for each half-hour so I could announce "Stretch out your body!" but often found we didn't really stretch that often. Not only that, but the kids were entertained by some of the games for a surprisingly long time. As long as the music was enjoyable, they rode along fine, and I didn't hear "Are we there yet?" or "Why can't we just be there, already" or "How much longer?" at all. Every so often one of the boys would ask for the time, but it wasn't a complaint, merely a curiosity, often followed up with "Really?!" I also had a road atlas that I periodically pulled out to show them how far we'd traveled. They could see where we'd been and how far we had to go, and that seemed to put a little bit of perspective on things.
- Just because you can see it from where you are standing on the Strip doesn't mean it's really that close.
After all the oohs and aahs, we thought it might be fun to see the pirate show in front of Treasure Island. "It's not that far" we thought. WRONG! It was over a mile away, which isn't a bad walk, my kids walk that far from school. But when you don't know it's that far and it's hot and we left our water bottles in the motel room...it's a really miserable walk. Turns out, by the time we got there, we'd missed the show by about 20 minutes and the next was not starting for nearly an hour. Now we have a couple of hot, grouchy kids, no show to watch, and still at least a mile to walk before we can get back to our room. Arrgh!
- It's amazing what a bathroom break and a bottle of water can do to change an attitude.
- Milk is always the first thing to go at a free hotel breakfast. So get there first or go without.
- Make sure when you call the hotel desk for directions, you both know which street she is talking about.
- Roads in San Diego are not what they seem.
- Even in weather that isn't very hot, the beach is something you shouldn't pass up.
- Saying "We're going to spend the day at Sea World" really means the whole day.
|Watching for Shamu|
|Nose to Nose with a Dolphin|
- Starting with the bus tour in the zoo is merely an over-view, but a good way to learn some stuff you didn't know before.
- Sometimes they whine and drag their feet because they are hungry, not bored.
- Be sure to get change for the penny-stretching machines. After all, what's 50 cents when it makes your kid smile?
- A Harbor Cruise is not all that exciting for kids.
- Sometimes a tantrum isn't because he doesn't want to do it, but because he's scared.
- The "Family Self-Guided Tour" on the USS Midway is really cool!
- Having an extra day just to swim in the hotel pool and watch free cable tv is worth it before that last long drive home.