First stop, the candy store that's conveniently located inside the parking garage. Happy as a kid in a salty water taffy candy shop! Luckily he was easily convinced when I told him that this candy wasn't for us -- whatever that's supposed to mean, I do not know, but it worked!
The volunteers at the aquarium are so nice (I suspect this is because the intern spots at the aquarium are a hot job to get for all the college kids in town, so they get top pick!), and one of the spotted him fumbling with my camera to get a shot of Owen in front of the sign and offered to take out picture! I hate asking for the favor, so I really appreciated it being offered.
We had a nice time letting Owen lead us around the aquarium without trying to force him to any exhibits in particular. My favorite are the jelly fish! They're so graceful and beautiful, and the light in there is really interesting. Owen wanted to (of couse!) touch them!
There is a puffin (that's what's in the picture to the left) in one of Owen's books, and he likes to be silly and always tells us the bird is called an Owen. He's got a silly sense of humor! He loved getting to touch the starfish, and was pretty good at remembering to use "two finger touch". He did NOT want to leave the area when it was time to move on.
Possibly the neatest part of our visit was getting to see the new Tentacles exhibit. The promise of a real live octopus was actually how we got Owen in the car that morning. All of the octopuses, squid and cuttlefishes were neat, but the Giant Pacific Octopus really stole the show! This one seemed huge to me, but is actually just average in size (6ft across if you extended it's arms). The largest one on record weighted 600lbs and was 30ft tentacle to tentacle.
We had a nice lunch at The Fish Hopper after finishing up at the aquarium -- it's just beyond Bubba Gump's. The view of the bay is beautiful from the restaurant, which provided us all with some lunch time entertainment. We had clam chowders, Owen had a hot dog, Keith liked the IPA they had and I had the harvest mule (like a moscow mule) and it was fantastic. Overall a good spot for lunch!
After lunch we played on the beach in the little cove outside the restaurant. There was live music being played and the weather was gorgeous!
After we were done in Monterrey we drove the short drive to Carmel and checked into our hotel. There are so many nice places to stay in Carmel, and we actually had a few to chose from even though out reservations were last minute. We decided to stay at The Normandy Inn, right on Ocean Avenue, since it was the shortest walk to the beach. Overall we liked the hotel, and it served it's purpose for us, even though it wasn't the most up to date room.
We had a really hard time deciding where to go to dinner that night. I was really set on wanting Italian and we both just wanted to kind somewhere that was appropriate for toddlers. The last time Keith and I spent the night in Carmel was when I was pregnant with Owen and we remember thinking that it wasn't exactly a vacation spot for children since there aren't a lot of restaurants that are meant for them. Anyway, we ended up at La Bicyclette, which wasn't really a place for kids, but they said they'd take us, and it was getting late so we took what we could get! It was a nice place and would be great for a quiet little dinner. Next time we'll do more restaurant research before going.
It was a lovely little getaway, and just enough time down there to make us happy to head home in the afternoon! In the morning we got coffee and a quick breakfast, and walked down to the beach. It was the perfect morning!