Our next door neighbors are having a birthday party for their son, but it's in San Diego. That's nearly 2 hours away, but we're going anyway and just making a weekend out of it!
After the party we headed further into downtown San Diego. And guess who is joining us for the rest of the weekend! Jacob! We picked him up from the train station and checked into our hotels. A short time later, the five of us piled into the car and headed to Balboa park.
Different parts of the park close at different times, so we're making sure to hit things in a certain order. First up is the Botanical Garden. It's 3:45pm and it closes in 15 minutes. It's completely free so no reason not to stop in for a quick visit.
Of course there were beautiful flowers.
Inside are some pretty big trees and a giant leaf from one of them fell right in front of us! We're not supposed to touch the plants, but if things are in the walkway they're a hazard, right? Ian was happy to pick it up and carry it around with him.
This plant had a crazy root system. T said it reminded her of something Poison Ivy from Batman might create.
There is a small section inside that you were allowed to touch and feel. This one felt soft and fuzzy like a bunny.
And there were a few plants that they suggested you rub the leaves and then sniff your fingers.
I was impressed that Ian didn't pick the leaves and really did just rub them.
Lots of pretty Flowers. Alli had had enough and decided to take a nap.
These almost look like the lobster claw plants we saw in Hawaii.
At 4pm, one of the workers got on a bullhorn and told everyone that unless they wanted to be locked inside, they needed to leave!
Off to the next stop.
Along the way we passed through a section devoted to art. About 50 feet away from this shop, Ian said "Ice Cream!" Hmm. Good eyesight I suppose.
T's mint chocolate chip was different than the norm. It was pink peppermint ice cream with chocolate chips in it instead of the usual green mint.
Ian enjoyed his usual vanilla.
Next up was the miniature train! Tickets are $3 per person. 1 year old and younger are free.
Alli woke up just in time.
Here we go!
Wild animals! Along the way, we encountered leopards, lions, a hippo, and a giraffe.
He's having fun.
Look out! A tiger!
Four minutes later, we were back at the station. Ian's so used to Disneyland where we get to ride unlimited times. "Let's ride it again Daddy!" Not this time buddy. They close at 4:30pm and it's a few minutes after that. Besides, we've got to get to the next spot that closes at 5:30pm.
It's the carousel! Tickets are $2.75 each, or 4 for $10. Kids under 1 are free.
Alli's gotten into the habit of pointing at things now and exclaiming.
After watching the riders before us, T decided this was spinning a little fast for her and decided to sit out.
They're not Jingles, but they're all-American horses.
Pointing out the guy in the center running it all.
I've heard of these, but haven't ever seen them in use.
You've got to be sitting on the outside to play of course.
Jacob pulled a few iron rings. The carousel worker rang the bell and swung the brass ring out half a second after Jacob passed by it. By the time he got back around, someone else had successfully grabbed it and won themselves a free ride.
Let's do it again! How about a different ride?
Let's ride the airplanes! Tickets are the same price as the carousel, but Alli is still free. Almost like a 2 for 1!
Ian loved them. And Alli got into some laughing spells as well.
Let's ride it again! Okay buddy. Take another spin on it.
Dinner time. There's quite a few restaurants inside the park. After checking out the menus, we made reservations a week before at The Prado. It was such a pleasant night, it would have been fantastic to get a table on the patio, but it was already full and we weren't going to wait around for it.
Time for some fine dining buddy.
What looks good Alli?
Well we'll start with a delicious fresh fruit pineapple soda.
Ian and Alli shared a kids meal, which included a veggie appetizer, flat iron steak with mashed potatoes and green beans, and an ice cream sundae.
Obligatory food photos. I enjoyed the red wine braised beef short ribs.
T requested the shrimp and filet, cooked medium. It certainly is a pretty plate. Instead of coming out medium though, it was closer to rare. Rather than send it back, she liked the taste of my short ribs enough to swap me.
After dinner we enjoyed a nice walk to help settle our dinner and enjoyed a beautiful San Diego sunset.
Say cheese Alli.
Whenever there's a fountain, you have to throw coins in it right?
Ian loves tossing coins into the water.
The windup and the throw.
After setting in for the night, getting showered off, and settled in, the kids were starting to settle down. That is, until one of them (pretty sure it was Alli) found the stash of diapers in the suitcase.
The two of them started throwing them around and eventually piling them into Alli's crib. They were getting so giddy and making each other laugh. It was adorable.
Time for our usual nighttime routine. Reading a bedtime story and singing some songs. Where are we going tomorrow Ian? "The zoo!" He was pretty excited! I was hoping he'd be able to sleep tonight.