Friday, March 29, 2013

Sea World

 We headed to Sea World on our last day in the San Antonio area. It had been a l-o-n-g time since Matt or I had been to a Sea World and, of course, our boys had never been. While Ryan has a bit young to really understand what was going on, Ian LOVED it!

We decided to see the Shamu show first, before it would get too full. As it turned out, the arena was HUGE! It was probably only 1/3 full. We both agreed that Sea World has really come a long way since both of us had been there. Their facilities were absolutely beautiful!
 Since it was a cool day, we chose the row immediately higher than the splash zone to watch the killer whales. :)
 Ian was fascinated by the show and kept asking, "Is it over?" after each trick by the whales. He was happy when we told him that it wasn't over yet.

 Next, we headed to the Penguin Encounter building. We rode a moving walkway to get an up-close view of the penguins.

 We just so happened to be there during feeding time. Matt and I were surprised at how well the penguins could swim under the water, how they could float "like ducks," and how they could jump out of the water so easily. Our God is SO creative! What cool creatures penguins are.
 The end of the penguin exhibit featured some puffins -- also pretty cool!
 We saw some turtles sunning themselves on some gators. Ian was a bit disappointed that the alligators weren't more active, but is was neat to be so close to them.
 While Kim fed Ryan, Ian and Daddy climbed around on a HUGE playground.
 Then, we saw the sea lion show. This was one of Ian's favorite parts. He giggled and giggled when the sea lions did silly things, like "steal" fish. In fact, Ian liked it so much he asked if we could see the show again a few hours later. We did ... and Ian laughed just as much the second time around.

 Part of the sea lion show included a guest appearance by a walrus. We couldn't get over how BIG the walrus was!

Ryan enjoyed the sea lion show, too! Ian loved giving the otter a hug!

 While Ryan took a nap, Ian got to feed sardines to the sea lions.
 Ian was big enough to go on three of the rides at Sea World. He wasn't interested in the two water rides since the weather was cool, but he was pumped about trying out a roller coaster. Even though it was a VERY tame kiddie roller coaster -- just some small ups and downs and around the track twice, we weren't sure what our cautious preschooler would think. He. Loved. It. I think he went on it a grand total of FIVE times, and every time was as fun as the previous one. Thankfully, most of the other visitors to the park were standing in line for more adventurous rides, and so we could get on and off the ride pretty quickly.

 We some some otters.

 and some sea lions up close.
Then we attended the dolphin show, complete with acrobats! It was really well done.

We ended our day by going through the aquarium. This was probably Ryan's highlight of the day! He thought the fish were very entertaining.

We had a great day and talked already about going back to Sea World in a few more years, when Ryan can enjoy more of the sights and Ian can ride more of the rides. Hey ... maybe YOU'D like to join us!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

San Antonio!

Matt had an administrators' conference in San Antonio at the beginning of March! Since he had a hotel room all to himself ... and since our boys are good travelers ... and since San Antonio is only a few hours away, we figured that it'd be fun to turn it in to a family getaway!  Kim was a little nervous thinking about taking care of the boys by herself in a new setting, but it turned out great!

Right after we checked in at the hotel, we headed to the Riverwalk! We've never been in San Antonio during the middle of a week (when it wasn't spring break), so we had never seen it so vacant! It was beautiful!

We stopped to admire a duck with her ducklings before taking a cruise on the Riverwalk. Ian, who didn't remember doing this two years ago, thought it was especially fun! Matt and I learned some unique trivia that we didn't remember, too.

We thought that the unique roots of this tree were especially fun!
Ryan was a little tired after the cruise, but the rest of us enjoyed strolling around. Scratch that. Matt and Kim enjoyed strolling around, and Ian enjoyed running up behind and startling all of the pigeons.
We stopped for dinner at Casa Rio, the oldest restaurant along the Riverwalk.
Ian thought it was hilarious that the ducks kept jumping up to get his food. When he was done with his food, he tried to feed them the leftovers.
The boys settled in for a good nights' sleep while Matt started his conference.

The next morning, Kim and the boys ventured to Brackenridge Park, a local park that has a train running around it. Not surprisingly, Ian was VERY excited about this!
One of the stops along the train ride was Kidde Park, an old fashioned amusement park with rides for little kids. Since it was (a very cloudy and slightly cool) Friday morning, there was hardly anyone there! Ian didn't want to go on all of the rides -- especially NOT the ferris wheel -- but there were a few rides he did multiple times, like ...
the airplane ride
the boat ride,

and the carousel.

He only wanted to go on the semi-creepy school bus once.
After that, we walked across the street to a playground.

As expected, Ryan thought the swings were the best.

Ian liked the slides and other playground equipment ...
... and, of course, making Ryan giggle.
After playing on the playground, we finished our train ride and then ate lunch in the park. Ian wanted to go into the "hot tub" (NOT hot at all ...but not as cool as the pool) after rest time. This was Ryan's first time in a pool setting. He thought splashing was a lot of fun!

On Saturday morning, Kim and the boys headed just one block down from our hotel to the San Antonio Children's Museum. It was PERFECT for a child Ian's age!
He "milked" a cow.

He learned all about earthworms!

He designed a boat course, and he made a gigantic bubble around himself.

Ryan enjoyed watching bubbles from his stroller, as well as exploring the section for itty-bitty kiddos.

Some of Ian's favorite stops at the museum were the HEB grocery store, where the products actually scanned,
the Mouse-trap like ball area (which Ryan liked, too!), and the loader that he could "drive" himself. When Matt got done with his sessions for the evening, we brought him back to see the highlights!

On Sunday, after Matt's conference was done, we headed to Sea World together as a family! It was definitely the highlight of the trip ... more pics on that to come.

Overall, we loved San Antonio and the change of pace and the chance to explore as a family!