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Monterey Bay : Homeschool-Style

school of fish

Our trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium is turning into an annual tradition. My mother, the savvy homeschooler of 25 years and counting, knows the ins-and-outs of just about every field trip offered in California and set us up for a visit again this year. The Aquarium offers a series of homeschool days where admission is free {a HUGE steal when tickets are normally in the $30-$40 range}, but you have to reserve tickets months in advance. We settled on the beginning of January back, I think, in September, hoping for the best, that nothing pressing would pop up and derail our trip. My girls barely made it after fighting a horrible cold for the two weeks prior.

We extended our trip an extra day this year, arriving two days before so we could settle in and explore more things. It just makes sense when you’re driving 3 hours+ to make the most of it.

wading Raphy

We stayed in the quaint town of Carmel {my favorite place on earth}. We were sad to find our favorite breakfast place still on holiday so we settled on Friar Tucks for a quick bite to eat. Lucie had her first experience with a Bumbo seat. I believe these things are supposed to be secure in holding children inside but she kept attempting to test the limits.

L in bumbo

We attended Mass at the Carmel Mission from the very last pew in the church. Evelyn switched between relatives’ laps every 5.6 seconds and asked to see the fountains outside which she could easily spot from any seat. Lucie didn’t try too hard to sing with the choir which was fortunate as the acoustics were quite wonderful. We toured the grounds after Mass, making sure to stop at each fountain for a viewing.

at the fountain

fountains!

Carmel facade

from the fountain

cross at Carmel

details at Carmel

courtyard at Carmel

succulents

Bl Junipero Serra

{Sidenote: Did you hear this guy ^^ is going to be a saint come September?? So exciting!!}

The afternoon was spent resting and the evening with college friends of mine who live in Pacific Grove. I, sadly, didn’t capture any photos while we were there but the girls had a blast playing with their girls and the children of another family that was over. The adults were definitely outnumbered. 🙂

On Aquarium day, we headed to Monterey early to meet Aunt Teresa and the girls’ cousins at Dennis the Menace Park. If you are ever in town with children, this place is a must. I still have very fond memories of exploring it as a child. {Although, they closed down one of the main attractions — an old locomotive for exploring — due to safety issues. Sometimes these mandated safety regulations are just over the top. Let kids be kids.}

swinging at Dennis the Menace

flying high

lulu

green slides

sand play

more sand play

over the arch

sliding with Uncle Raphy

Teresa and Rosie sliding

kisses at the bottom

racing to the top

cousin love

Owen climbs

train at Dennis the Menace

After grabbing a quick bite for lunch, we showed up on time for our 12:30 entrance to the Aquarium. We got there just in time for feeding time with the divers. They were hand feeding squid to some of the larger fish in the tank. {Made me squirm — I don’t like slimy cephalopods.} The kelp forest was captivating.

underwater

feeding time

Aaaand I definitely got photo-bombed by a shark.

shark photo bomb

Highlights of the day included a wetlands viewing, petting mantarays, standing inside of the ocean waves, a visit to the ocean depths, and watching the sea otters receive their dinner.

sea anemones

sanddollar forest

starfish

 

wetlands viewing

underwater

L and mama at the bay

We finished off the day indulging in chocolate treats at Ghirardelli just down the road.

ice cream!

so big

Our day of departure dawned sunny and bright. We planned on a quick trip to the beach which turned into several hours. But how could you not with a day so gorgeous and DOLPHINS entertaining us with the jumps and flips?? Plus, Lucie had to get in some exercise. 😉

at Carmel beach

digging in the sand

push ups!

wading Raphy

Look carefully at the waves in the next three shots. You can spot dolphins “surfing” the waves! {Sorry for the half-naked man in these shots — he and the surfer were out there with their go-pros trying to catch a few great pics. ;)}

dolphins!

dolphins!

dolphins!

dolphins!

A few more souvenirs in the bag {including some expensive diapers because mama can’t count well when packing} and we were off to Mission San Juan Bautista so Uncle Raphy could get in a viewing for a school paper he is supposed to write. We captured the gorgeous sunset there.

San Juan Bautista sunset

Mission San Juan Bautista at dusk

gang at San Juan Bautista

An alternative route up I-5 was necessary so we could stop at Pea Soup Andersens for supper. {If you’re not a fan of split pea soup, this place will make you change your mind.}

pea soup

Somehow, we made it home before ten and quickly, sleepily all crawled into bed. And I wish I could say slept soundly through the night, but certain ones of us haven’t mastered that skill yet. 😉

One Thought on “Monterey Bay : Homeschool-Style

  1. Kayleigh on January 20, 2015 at 6:46 pm said:

    That looks like it was so much fun! I am so green with envy!! That looks like it was such a fabulous trip! I LOVE the picture of E in front of the ice cream that is just too cute!! I have fond memories or split pea Anderson’s with you from our trip to LA. I cannot wait to get back down there. You know the mission was one of the first places Nick ever went to mass with me. Oh little did he know what God had in store for us! When you go next year I would love to try and tag along. I have several children I can commandeer for the trip 🙂

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