monterey aquarium.

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Our friend so generously offered their condo, but also everything that came with it. Which included bikes and membership passes to the Monterey Aquarium! Yes!

We rented a trailer for Eliza, which she loved. We're considering getting one now. We definitely took advantage of that coastal bike trail during that weekend. We would ride up and down the trail watching the waves crash on the rocks, and listening to Eliza babble in her little chariot. 

It was only a 7 minute ride to the aquarium from our place, which made it the most ideal location for seeing the aquarium. We were able to spend a couple of hours in the morning, bike home for lunch and naps, and bike back for a couple of more hours. Now, how can anybody spend 4 hours at an aquarium, you say? 

Because, this place is what dreams are made of. It is beautifully built, incredibly well-designed, clever, interactive, and massive. I have never seen so many underwater creatures, and probably never will again. We loved the feedings at the Open Sea tank, which is two stories tall, full of sharks, turtles, huge tunafish, rays, sunfish, and this breathtakingly beautiful swarm of silver sardines. When the food would drop down the cloud of sardines would dart about, shimmering in the sunlight that broke through the water. Oh, it was just amazing. The tank goes all the way to the floor, so the kids can sit right up against the glass. Eliza got all giddy when she saw the line of kids, and wedged her between a few to get a better view. 

And, of course, the jellyfish are just out of this world. Eliza loved them. It is mind-blowing to me that all of these beautiful creatures live on this earth, and I am so grateful for places like this that allow me to see them up close. They seemed to glow in the tank lights, as they floated and danced around in the water. 

Eliza was in heaven the entire day. She loves animals, and this was just the most exciting day of her life. She ran around from tank to tank, asking to be lifted up to get a better look. She would exclaim "Oooooooo!" or "tutle!" (turtle) or just let out a screech or little, excited noises when she saw something she recognized. She loved the children's area where she could climb and run, and the splash zone with the tunnel that dropped waves over your head. And she was pretty excited when she got to see "Memo!" (Nemo). 

It really is one of favorite outings we've ever had. Such a magical place!

This weekend was amazing. We got to do pretty much everything we wanted to do. I will say, we failed miserably at our food choices. For some reason. we just kept making really poor choices. We even spent a pretty awful night trying to get clam chowder at fisherman's wharf, which ended in tears and hangry words. A pretty epic night that we laughed at later. 

Thank you, Sam. The best birthday weekend!

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