Friday, August 17, 2007

Theme Park Overload

I'm still recovering from a family trip to San Diego two weeks ago. It was our first attempt at doing a home exchange, and it seems to have gone well. We got to stay in a very nice house, visit friends, and go to far too many tourist attractions.

San Diego is a lovely place, with great weather and many fun things to do. We didn't even scratch the surface, but we managed to fill far too much time with stimulating activity.

We had taken our daughter to San Diego a few years ago when she was fanatical about pandas, because the San Diego Zoo had a new panda cub on display, and we thought it might be her only chance to see a live baby panda. She has since seen a newborn cub at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, so I guess it wasn't a one-time thing. And much to our surprise, the day we arrived in San Diego, the Zoo announced the birth of yet another cub, although it won't be on display for many months. So I guess we have good cub karma or something.

During our brief visit, we managed to hit Coronado Beach, get ice cream at the Hotel Del Coronado, spend a day at Legoland, another full day at the Zoo, and a very full day at SeaWorld.

Legoland was actually the key reason for this trip. The last time we'd gone, our daughter was a bit too small (i.e., too short) to do a lot of the rides and things. This time, she was just tall enough to be able to do anything in the park, at least with someone along. (The Volvo Driving School was a big hit.) So we pretty much did it all. Legoland is impressive in that it manages to be really fun for small kids, but has enough to hold the interest of adults, too. The Lego sculptures are very impressive: I love their little scale model of Washington, DC.

The last thing we did at SeaWorld was probably the most impressive, a ride called Journey to Atlantis. At the start of our visit, we agreed that each member of the party (there were six of us) would get to choose the thing they most wanted to do, and the group would do it. My daughter chose the Atlantis ride, but the first couple of times we went by, the lines were incredibly long. Later we got into the queue, but they shut down the ride for a while, and we bailed. Finally, we came back in the evening, the line wasn't too long, and we got to ride. And man, was it impressive! It is both a water-splash ride and a roller coaster, and both very good. You start out going up, then dropping down into a big splash pool, then circle around and get elevated again, and this time you go around a pretty good roller coaster. So it's like two rides for the price of standing in line once, and so much fun that we had to ride it twice in a row.

I had somewhat hoped to take in a baseball game at the new ballpark, but it didn't fit into our schedule. On Saturday evening, however, I was in a store picking up some beer, just in time to hear Barry Bonds hit his 755th home run on the radio. That was weird. (And of course, I was at the park when he hit 756 a few days later.)

All in all, a very exhausting trip. One needs to get back to work to get some rest!

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