Sunday, June 30, 2013

California Adventure Part 2 - Sea World

Our second day in California included a trip and day spent at Sea World!  Our vacation package included round trip shuttle bus services to any other destination besides Disneyland (since we were within walking distance from that).  This was so nice because then we didn't have to rent a vehicle at all.  And on our two hour drive down to Sea World, we passed the San Diego Temple which was beautiful.  The bus tour guide described it as a white castle with a golden angel on the top of it - it really was breathtaking.

I love Sea World and I think I was more excited to go there than anything else we had planned in our trip.  Most of that excitement was for everyone else, particularly, Vanna, because she LOVES dolphins (in fact that's what she wanted for Christmas - was a dolphin :) and I couldn't wait for everyone to see these beautiful animals and see all that Sea World has to offer!

We started out at the Animal Connections where we saw all kinds of animals.  The frogs, porcupines and the armadillos seemed to capture our attention most. :)  I was slightly disappointed to learn that the Budweiser Clydesdale horses weren't at Sea World anymore - I loved seeing those giants years ago when I was there!
Then on to the Wild Arctic where we first saw the Beluga whales and the HUGE walrus - right up close and personal!

Of course the kids thought the Penguin encounter area was stinky - and it is - but they're fun to watch!

Then we headed over to the Shamu Stadium to see the killer whale show.  This is when the rest of the family could hardly contain MY excitement!  I knew how much I loved the shows at Sea World and that Ty and the kids really had no idea what was in store for them!

Let me introduce you...this is Shamu!

We LOVED the One Ocean show here at Shamu Stadium.  We sat in the soak section and yes, we got soaked.  It's amazing the thrust power the whales have behind those huge tails! :)  Before the trip, Cash was excited to see the killer whales and Vanna was excited to see the dolphins but would say that she hates killer whales.  Immediately following the show, Vanna said with all the enthusiasm you can imagine, "I used to hate killer whales but now they're my favorite!"  

Give us a big smile!

After the whale show, we headed over to the Blue Horizons Stadium to see another show with dolphins, birds, acrobats, and pilot whales but not before stopping at Dolphin Point to see the dolphins.  This was what we'd been waiting for...Vanna wanted to pet a dolphin SO bad. 
One dolphin showing off right in front of us (you can see Cash's hat in the picture).

And that's as close as Vanna got...she almost touched the dolphin who was waving 'hi' to everyone.  And we tried to hold on to her and get her even a bit closer to where she probably could have touched it but she was being grumpy and brought out her Miss Independent attitude and missed her chance.  Oh we were so so so sad she couldn't have been one of the lucky ones to actually touch one.  And sadly I had built it up as a possibility because when I came to Sea World (again this was years ago), you could buy fish to feed the huge group of dolphins swimming in a pool and lure them right up to you with a fish and then pet them over and over.  So naturally, I thought she might have the same experience...BUT...they did away with that pool and only have a few dolphins swimming in this pool with their trainers and they don't really let them get too close to people and ask that people don't really touch them.  Huge disappointment but really, Vanna handled it well. 
We quickly got over it when we got to see another amazing show...with dolphins in it! :)  Again, we sat in the soak zone and literally, just after Cash said, "Hey, why aren't we getting wet?" the dolphins splashed us big time. 


A big wet one!
After the show, we got to meet the dolphin trainers that were the main 'actors' in the pool with the dolphins and the kids thought that was neat, especially because that's what Vanna says she wants to be - in fact, just following the dolphin show she said, "I'm going to be a dolphin trainer for sure!"

We hit one more show while we were there - it was the sea lion show and was really cute - more comedic.  It featured Clyde and Seamore, the sea lions, and OP, the Otter.  We loved that too!  You definitely don't want to miss the shows when you go to Sea World, that's all I have to say!

We saw just so many animals and got so close to all them too - it was all just so fun:
...bat rays
Everyone got to pet bat rays in their touch tank!



...fresh water aquariums full of fish (this was one of Ty's favorite places)


Look at all those flamingos in their feeding pools - we had so many just right below us on the bridge too!

...sea turtles fish and more!

Touching star fish at the star fish tide pool.

We definitely had a lot of fun under the sun then topped it off with souvenirs and cotton candy for the bus ride back to our hotel!  This was the highlight of our trip!

Another part of the trip that I'll never forget is that Vanna got strep throat while we were there!  Ahhh!  It started off with her and Rosie both getting a cold about a week before we left.  Rosie's turned into an ear infection but we got her on medicine and she was feeling fine by the time we left her with Grandma and Grandpa (nobody wants to leave their baby but especially not their sick baby - poor thing!).  I just kept praying that Vanna's cold wouldn't develop into anything more since she's prone to getting strep easily (prior to this incident, she'd gotten strep four times within less than a year). 
For the first couple days we were tripping, Vanna still just seemed a bit stuffed up or runny and would cough quite a bit.  We kept asking her over and over though..."Does your throat hurt honey?"  and she would respond, "No."  But throughout the day that we spent at Sea World, we noticed that her eyes became red, she just looked like she wasn't feeling well (although that didn't keep her from running around and being as excited as ever over everything!).  And finally when we were on our way back to the hotel, Vanna told us her throat hurt when she coughed, and bless you'd (the way she usually says 'sneeze') and swallowed.  Oh no! 
We had inquired earlier at the hotel desk about a service they offered where you called a doctor's office and they had someone come to you and check you out at your hotel (otherwise we figured we'd have to get a cab to take us to a hospital/clinic somewhere and then to a sounded like a lot of running around) although it cost us a pretty penny, it's what we decided to do.  So, Vanna got checked out and although they didn't have a strep quick test to give Vanna to determine if it was officially strep, the doctor suggested it likely was because all the symptoms were the same.  Regardless, they gave Vanna some medicine to help and by the next afternoon, she was feeling tons better and back to her regular self.
When planning our trip I left it flexible and one day wide open for us to either just lounge around the hotel, nap and catch up a bit after playing so hard or to go to the beach and play/relax there for a day.  We had it planned to do one day later (right in the middle of our trip) but we decided that we'd take Tuesday off, let Vanna get plenty of rest to feel better, and just take it easy.  The only thing we really did that day was watch movies in the hotel and spend some time at the hotel pool - but I think it was just what we all needed.
Most every night throughout the trip we'd call to see how Rosie was doing and here her little voice.  We're so lucky that she felt completely fine the whole time and was such a good girl for Grandma and Grandpa.  Tab even said, "I don't know if your mom's going to be willing to give her up when you get here to pick her up!"  As much as I thought I'd worry over Rosie, I really didn't too much - I knew she was in good hands and all reports my mom gave me was that she was doing great.  We sure missed our sweetheart though.  What we didn't miss though was all the work it appeared to be to bring a baby her age on such a trip.  We saw dad's holding baby's that had blown out their diapers all over them while standing in line, we saw mom's sitting out while holding sleeping babies, we saw about everything and thought about just how much more worn out we'd be if we'd taken Rosie.  We would have probably seen/done half of what we did if we'd brought her and since we figured she really wouldn't remember it or even enjoy being dragged everywhere, we'd leave her with grandparents.  It definitely turned out to be the right decision and we're so grateful for them and their willingness to take care of our little girl!


Marcy M Miller said...

Fun, Fun - I'm so glad you guys enjoyed and now can give us some tips!