Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer 2012 - Week 2: Balboa Park Adventure

                Last week was a great introduction to the summer for me and the kids.  My problem this week was how to keep the momentum going.  It is very easy to lie around ‘relaxing’ and ‘doing nothing’ only to find yourself at the end of the summer having completed none of the goals or tasks you had wanted to.  On top of this, the past week was pretty hectic at work and I worked some long hours that I’m not used to.  On top of that, I had to attend a meeting up at Hurkey Creek and was unable to do much with the kids on Wednesday except get them to karate and stuff. That also meant a six day week for me.  It’s been a fairly hectic one and I was left with the question last night;
                What to do this week?
                For the past several years I’ve wanted to get the girls down to some of the museums in Balboa Park.  We used to go to the zoo a lot and usually we took the time to go to the San Diego Model Train Museum (which is quite cool) but never to any of the other zoos.  So I decided to finally cross that off the Bucket List.  First though I had to get up and summon the energy to load em up and head on down the road.  This was far more difficult than you’d imagine.  I got a solid seven hours of sleep but my bed did not want me to go.  A friend of mine recently posted the question, “Why is it that the bed is most comfortable just before you have to get up?”  This morning I was wondering the same thing.  It was tough but I did finally drag myself out of bed and did my best to gather a head of steam.

Flowers from Balboa Park
 I’m not sure if I mentioned it last week but we ate out twice on our camping trip and boy was it expensive so this week we packed a lunch, snacks and few things to drink.  (this was a good thing cuz educating your children by visiting Museums is not cheap…not at all) We loaded up and hit the road.  Eagle Eye didn’t want to get car sick so she took some pills and fell asleep which meant that Lil B and I actually had a fighting chance to play the license plate game.  Lil B crushed me but came up 10 plates shy of Eagle Eyes record.   (On the way home Eagle Eye didn’t take meds and also crushed me….and nearly got her PR again!!!  That girl can spot them from a ways off, it’s uncanny) The trip down was traffic free and dare I say relaxing. 

                Our first stop was REI.  I know, I know, not the most exciting for the kids…but it’s better than Disneyland for me!  I’ve been looking for a slightly bigger pack for some of these trips and had done some internet shopping.  REI had what I wanted plus an interesting looking book written by a NPS Ranger.  I bought it as well.  I could’ve stayed in my favorite store of all time for at least another hour and spent a ton more money but the kids were getting antsy and hungry.  We split pretty quick.  (although I did take the time ogle as much as I could.  I could live in that place and be quite happy).

                My original plan was to visit the museums and then do a little picnic but my propensity for sleeping in and my foray to REI killed that idea.  We ate in the car en route to the museums.  The kids kind of dug this too because I hardly ever allow them to eat in my car. 
Future Pilots
                Our first Museum was the San Diego Air & Space Museum.  I loved this museum as a kid and its pretty much the same way I remember it.  The place is broken down into ‘zones’ which cover things like WWI, WWII, Space Flight and the ‘Golden Age’ of flight between WWI & WWII.  It’s a tight space but I’ve gotta say they do a pretty good job of setting up dioramas and really making you feel the change in time.  Lil J liked all of the little models best but probably because he was hoping to play with them.  The girls seemed interested which was what I was hoping.  On a side note, it brings a bunch more realism to this museum with the big passenger planes rumbling overhead while on approach to Lindbergh Field.  This is always one of the highlights whenever we’re down at the Zoo/Balboa Park. 
Look at the Floating Ball....
         Our second Museum was the Ruben H Fleet Science Center.  It’s been years since I’d been in this museum and from the web site it looked interesting.  When we got into it…not so much.  It didn’t help that half the place was a little torn up as they were swapping exhibits (and we did get a 20% discount because of this).  Kind of an odd time to be doing it what with the beginning of summer happening…like right now…but what can you do.  The place looked and felt and smelled a little old and worn out.  I will admit that I was a little disappointed as I followed the kids through the place.  We played with solar energy, saw how water gets to our homes, saw how the body works (this was actually pretty neat as they played up the ‘grossness’ of it), and played with a few tricky cool science’y things.  As we were leaving one of the girls said, ‘That was really fun.’ And the other one said, ‘It was kinda better than the air museum’.   As I followed them down the side walk and past the giant fountain I had a wry smile on my face; guess you never can tell what kids will and won’t like…go figure.

The View From the Bridge
                The last part of our week two adventure was simply wandering around the whole area.  I love Balboa Park.  I love the architecture, many little flower gardens and the way the park has let the wilderness grow in and around it all.  In the midst of a sprawling city is this little oasis of palm tree, brush, and dirt paths.  If I lived down there I’d spend all of my free time exploring this awesome park.  I tried to let the kids experience all of this as we wandered down some paths and went through a Butterfly sanctuary, we meandered through a flower filled ‘veranda’ and we hiked down a trail through the Balboa Park Palm Canyon.  We also wandered over past the Old Globe Theater.  I love the architecture on the tower that houses the Museum of Man.  We also walked half way out on the Cabrillo Bridge which is the cool bridge that crosses over highway 163.  The kids liked the view and now they can say they’ve walked on it every time we drive under it. 

Captain Eagle-Eye
                Finally we had a snack, made our way back to the car and promptly began the cut throat license plate game.  Like I said, with Eagle Eye un-medicated she was on her game.  Lil B and Lil J gave up and fell asleep.  I tried to compete but it was a lost cause.  We made it home in pretty good time, avoided any serious traffic and wrapped up our afternoon fun with some laughter and flipping on of the AC at home.  (It’s over 90 here and closer to 71 down in San Diego.  I voted for returning to San Diego but their bellies needed filling so we stayed home). 
               It was a nice afternoon and maybe a little light on the serious adventure side but it was an activity and we had some good laughs.  What’s up next?  I’m not really sure…but I’ll bet if you keep checking back it’ll be a blog post before long!  Happy Adventures everyone, hope your summer is going as well as mine.

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