The Start of a Great Summer!

#1 – California Adventure

We bought a 3 day pass earlier this year because my finance-whiz husband did the math, and that was more worth it for us based on how often we’d likely go.  Not only does the 3 day pass NOT have block out dates (meaning we could go on a Saturday if we wanted), but you can also choose which park you want to go to.  We did Disneyland twice, and went to California Adventure the 3rd time.

California Adventure was by far our favorite!  I think Disneyland will be great for when the kids are older, but California Adventure was really really awesome for the toddler set.  There are so many more rides they can ride (that are not scary – uhh, Snow White anyone?), and you don’t have to drag them all over the park to find suitable rides.  They can ride all of Bugs Land, most of Cars Land, and a ton of other ones around Paradise Pier.  There’s also a new Little Mermaid ride, The Golden Zephyr, Toy Mania, King Triton’s Carousel, and The Ferris Wheel.

We went on a Sunday, which is supposedly the busiest day at Disney because that’s when people are least likely to be blocked out… and the lines at CA Adventure weren’t that bad.  We waited no longer than 20 minutes for most of the rides, got to ride a total of 10 rides (that’s a lot for a theme park!), watched the Pixar Parade, ate our fill of Turkey Legs and Churros, and watched the Fireworks that go on at 9:25 pm every night just before we left.  We didn’t stay for World of Color because it’s on so late (9:45 pm), but maybe next time.

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#2 – Long Beach Aquarium {06.14.14}

Our friend works at the Long Beach Aquarium, so we finally made our way over there and had so much fun!  Noelle got to touch real live jellyfish, which she thought was the coolest thing ever.  There was also an outdoor exhibit where you could touch sharks (small, harmless ones), and manta rays!  My favorite was watching the sea otters swim – they are so beautiful – I probably could’ve sat there for hours watching them glide and twirl in the water.

Afterwards, we walked around the pier where Jaren promptly fell asleep in the stroller, and had a wonderful lunch at Yardhouse overlooking the ocean.

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#3 – Hot Air Balloon Ride at The Great Park {06.21.14}

This was our first time on the Hot Air Balloon and it was okay.  It goes up to 400 feet, which isn’t that high… and you can see the entire city of Irvine, but Irvine is pretty vanilla to look at.  It’s made even more evident 400 feet above ground.

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#4 – Santa Ana Zoo, #5 – Ride a Train, and #6 – Picnic at the Park {06.22.14}

Our friend is a zookeeper at the Santa Ana Zoo, and invited us to a special “after hours” event at the zoo that involved picnicking with a live band, face painting, food trucks, and unlimited train and carousel rides… so in this one excursion, we were able to check off quite a few things on our list!  I didn’t put “ride a carousel” on our summer fun list because we ride the carousel practically every single weekend, but I almost kind of want to just so I can check something off, haha!

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Noelle really likes to feed Jaren, so while she was trying to give him another bite of Mac n Cheese, he unexpectedly reached over to her and gave her a big hug.  It was the sweetest thing.  Watching my children’s relationship blossom has been one of the biggest highlights in my parenting journey.  I wouldn’t trade this for anything.

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The train was empty because it was after zoo hours!  It’s so hard to get them to look at the camera at the same time.  Our train conductor was a really cute old man with corny jokes.  But I like that.  🙂

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This carousel was unique in the sense that it featured a lot of exotic animals, not just your typical horse.  Noelle loved riding the bald eagle, cougar, dragon, and much more!  I lost track after the 7th or 8th time going on it.  Yay for unlimited rides!

To be continued…!!

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