Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Vacation Part 2: Sea World, Cabrillo Monument and San Diego Zoo

Skye here! I've finally decided to finish up the blogs from our trip! Our next adventure will be underway very soon (Oct 3rd) so I need to get this done before that starts!

We wanted to wake up early to get to Sea World, but neither of us set an alarm so that didn't exactly happen. But we got up with enough time to get ready and get there pretty soon after it opened. We headed straight for the rides and shows to make sure we wouldn't have to wait in ridiculous lines. The first thing we did was ride the only roller coaster in Sea World. It's a new coaster called Manta that incorporates a manta ray exhibit within the line and after the ride. They obviously had not worked out the logistics of the line because it was the most confusing thing ever. You had to put your things in a locker first (there weren't that many and it was located at the ride exit) then get back in line. So instead of having two lines (one for ppl with stuff and one for ppl w/o stuff) they had one big line that people would wait until they got to the lockers, then they would have to wait in the locker line. So people would send one person to the lockers with everyone's stuff, then that one person would catch back up to the people in line. It was so annoying because no one knew what was going on and people kept weaving their way through the line every 5 seconds.

Anyway, enough ranting about Sea World's inability to seek a professional to do their line construction/organization. The Manta coaster was comparable to Cedar Point's Corkscrew except it was a bit longer (also comparable to The Wizarding World's dueling dragons, but smaller). It was fun and thrilling for the 1 minute 30 second ride. After you exit through the locker area you can go to the manta ray touch pool, which was arguably the coolest part of the whole thing. The rays were so used to people giving them food (you could buy it for $7.00) that they would pop their head out of the water and wait occasionally. It seemed like they liked to be pet too because most of them spent their time really close to the wall. We stayed and pet the rays for a while. Then it was off to see Shamu. We had both been to Sea World, so we kind of knew what to expect (though Ethan said he didn't remember the Shamu show). I couldn't remember getting that wet in the show, so we decided we'd take our chances in the "splash zone." The show was pretty cool and at one point one of the whales splashed this group of people at least 5 times with its tail fin causing them to be soaked completely. It was pretty funny until the whale came to our side. It soaked us with one splash. The little kids loved it...and Ethan thought it was funny. I was just happy that I had the sense to protect my hair at least with the park map. If I hadn't my hair would have been a giant frizzy mess the rest of the day.

After Shamu we saw the sea lion show, which was a spoof on SNL. It was pretty funny, but was geared toward little kids. Then we went and saw the dolphin show. It was the coolest show I've ever seen. It was like Cirque du Soleil, but with live dolphins, tropical birds and whales. The story was super cheasy, but the acrobats and animals were awesome. We loved it! After the show we needed to see the rest of the exhibits. We saw the sharks, penguins, the polar bear, a gigantic walrus, some beluga whales (my favorties), some other creepy critters of the deep and some non-sea creatures. Somehow I convinced Ethan to buy a souvenir cup and two stuffed animals (a shamu and a polar bear).  All my hard work biking paid off I suppose!

After Sea World we took the bus and the train back to the hotel. We watched the sunset at the pier where the USS Midway is docked (where MSU played that basketball game). After that we went out for dinner and grabbed dessert from CVS (I think it was a bunch of candy)! It was an awesome, well deserved vacation day! :]

The next day we headed out early again to go see the Cabrillo National Monument. It was one of Ethan's grandpa's (John's dad) favorite places to visit in San Diego so we just had to check it out. We had to take a couple different buses to get there, which resulted in a lot of waiting around, but we made it eventually. The monument is up on a hill that overlooks the city to the east and the ocean to the west. It was an incredible view. You could also see the huge naval air base that sits between the city and the ocean. We watched a few really interesting planes/aircrafts take-off and land there. The monument includes a museum and a self-guided tour of the light house that sits at the highest point. It was pretty although after the light house I was ready to head to the zoo, which was our next destination. Ethan decided to take himself on a short hike down toward the ocean, while I opted to chill on a bench by the museum. When he got back we took a few pictures by the monument to Cabrillo and got back on the bus.

From the monument we had to go back into town to catch the bus to the zoo. We decided we didn't want to spend an arm and a leg on food at the zoo, like we had at Sea World, so we found a place near the bus station for lunch. The place was called Hodad's - which is what you call a person who pretends they know how to surf - and it was pretty interesting and the food was good. After that we got back on the bus headed for the zoo.

The zoo was awesome! Perhaps the only downside was that the wild animal park (where they have animals out in the open and you take a "safari" through it) was 30 miles away. I'm certain that if we ever go back there we'll make it out, but we were not about to pay another fee and ride the bus for that long. Like I said the zoo was pretty cool though. It was huge for one thing and it was set up really nicely. There were tons of trees and plants that made it look like you were really in the region those animals lived in and it made it really neat to walk through. The roads and paths were a little confusing, but we figured them out. Our favorite animals were probably the pandas, giraffes and gorillas. A lot of the animals were sleeping as it was late afternoon by the time we got there, but some of them must have just entered their mating season because we witness some highly entertaining behavior. Probably the best one was the camel and this small antelope type thing. The camel was laying down and this little antelope kept getting frisky with the camel's head. We had to walk away because I was laughing so hard. Yes. I'm still that immature.

Anyway, it started getting dark so we took the gondola ride toward the front of the park. But, by the time we got to the reptiles it was completely dark so we didn't get to see many of them. Fine by me...they're gross anyway. We did see some giant galapagos turtles though, but they were sleeping so they were boring. After that we went in the gift shops, obviously, and I picked out a panda bear that Ethan reluctantly bought me.

We headed back to the hotel, got some pizza and desert and ate in the room. It was another wonderful vacation day in sunny SD!

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