We had breakfast at the hotel buffet, and then got ready for the day and were at Sea World 30 minutes before it opened. Calvin was stomping and huffing and saying that he was so angry that the gates weren't open (stupid Kai-Lan always teaching kids to share their emotions! ). He crumpled up his ticket and threw it on the ground, crossing his arms across his chest and scowling at anyone who paid him any attention. We had a nice chat about how we were doing this for him and that we would leave if this is how he was going to act. And then they let us in right when my lecture was at its climax.... lucky boy.
We had hoped to feed the dolphins first thing before it got too crowded. We asked a man for directions, and he went off on how they let us in 10 minutes early as a "bonus" not because they were required to, and none of the attractions were open yet. I told him I understood that, but just wanted to be in the right place when it did open. He mumbled under his breath about tourists, while Andy mumbled under his breath about how we just paid $200 to get in and giving us directions was not a "bonus" at that price. We walked off while both men were still pretending to keep their thoughts to themselves.
We were off to a rough start.
We made it to the dolphin line, but they had let an entire field trip full of school students in 10 minutes early to stand in line before anyone else got there. We weren't THAT excited about feeding the dolphins. So then we went to Elmo Land (or whatever it's called) instead, where we found this:
Abby's Sea Star Spin:
The kids LOVED this one. We went on it several times before we reminded them that there were other rides.
Then we went to Elmo's Flying Fish. Calvin got into a fight with two other kids in line. You should hear three year old trash talk, it's pretty awesome. They were before him. He wanted to be first. We joked with the parents about cranky sleep deprived kids and split them up before the angry preschoolers could escalate things.
Calvin wanted the puppy fish. Autumn and I got the blue cat fish. They really liked this ride, but the wait time to ride time ratio was a bit off for them.
Oscar's Rocking Eel:
(I think that's a smile, although it looks more like a grimace)
They loved this one. Calvin was adamant that we were always in the middle row on the side of the yellow eel.
Next to the Elmo rides, there's a huge play area where we spent the next hour:
Autumn and I hung out below while our manly men climbed the nets.
Calvin loved the punching bags, until one got hit from the other side and knocked him over. Then we moved on.
We had to drag them away from the Elmo part of the park, but we wanted to see at least a couple of other things. First we went to the Sky Tower which everyone really enjoyed. Calvin called it the Big Spinning Elevator.
Then we went to the Blue Horizons show, which was basically a lot of acrobatics, several dolphins, and a few exotic birds. It was pretty good. I tried to take a lot of pictures for my niece who loves dolphins to make up for telling her on Sunday that dolphins were creepy and making her cry. I was a bit preoccupied with that.
Autumn stuffed her face with popcorn the entire time.
After several hours there, the kids were tired and grumpy so we went back to the hotel for a nap. Andy went and brought back sushi and the kids had leftover mac-n-cheese for dinner. We then went for a walk and about 1/4 mile away from the hotel we found an awesome park. The kids spent an hour and a half there playing with other kids, playing with dogs (big red ones named Charlie and Garbanzo - even though they had just rolled around in $&#!. They were very nice with the kids.), and Andy and I bonded with other parents. It was the friendliest, cleanest playground I've ever seen.
We stayed until after dark, and then went for a swim. Calvin loves the pool more than anything. He's especially thrilled that in the three feet deep section, he can stand up with his head above water. A little after 9:00 three members of the hotel staff came out to make sure that everyone was okay since they'd heard screaming. Since they weren't moving incredibly fast, I'm guessing it was their nice way of telling us that it was time to take our hyperactive kids to bed because they could hear them squealing clear inside the building. We obeyed.
I had to include this picture because Autumn spent no less than 20 minutes picking up this pile of clothes, moving it to the same spot on the floor, and then moving it back again. She'd lay it on the floor piece by piece, but then pick up the whole pile to put it on the table and then start all over again. It reminded me very distinctly of people I've seen with O.C.D. She's already a quirky little thing.
This place is beautiful. We came back to our room and looked at real estate. Really. We're ready to move here.