Saturday, July 20, 2013

San Antonio: Day 3

We got up on Monday morning, ate breakfast, and headed over to Sea World. Thank goodness the rain from the previous day was gone, but the cooler temperatures and clouds were still around. The weather could not have been more perfect that day and we kept commenting on how wonderful it was to not be dying in the heat. That was complete luck. But going on a Monday was definitely planned. After fighting the crowds (sometimes literally) the last time we went to Sea World, I pretty much vowed I'd never go on a weekend again (especially a Saturday). This turned out to be a good plan. There was still a good amount of people there, of was still summer. But it was definitely much, much less than a weekend crowd and very manageable.

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The very first thing we did after entering the park is book it over to the dolphin area so we could feed them. However, for some reason, they weren't being fed that morning, so we formulated a plan B. I knew that the new show, Pets Ahoy, was starting at 10:30, so we went straight there. This show was very cute and the boys loved it.

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They giggled and watched in awe at all of the animals doing their tricks. Some funny, some amazing.

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And they had all kinds of animals...cats and dogs, of course. But also birds, mice, ducks, and even a pig!

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My one complaint about this show (and it's a pretty significant one, I think) is that we literally couldn't see half the show. We were sitting on the first row of the second section and the bottom part of the stage was completely hidden by the crowd in the section in front of us. And it would also be hidden for anyone not sitting in the front three rows of the entire auditorium. This is just an adult, I couldn't even see. Much less my kids. Sea World needs to figure this out quickly. Because such a cute show in an air conditioned place is great...if you can see the show.

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Right after exiting the Pets Ahoy show, we saw Franklin, the turtle! My boys have occasionally watched Franklin and Friends on Nick Jr., and although it's not a go-to favorite, they like watching it. And Ethan loved meeting Franklin. He gave him a high five.

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And then posed sweetly for a photo. This bodes well for future trips to Disney.

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Logan, however, predictably did not want to take a photo with Franklin. Or even look at him.

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Next, we went right over to the Sesame Street Bay of Play to ride some rides. First up, Big Bird's Spinning Reef (a ferris wheel). Neither of my boys have really ever been on any rides except for Ethan riding his first ride the last time we were here. They both really enjoyed the ferris wheel. Yes, it was slow like all ferris wheels are with the loading and unloading. But, there was practically no line, so we were mostly on the ride while we waited.

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We split up and had cars right next to each other so at the very top and very bottom of the wheel, we could see and wave to each other.

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My dad had my camera during the ride and took all these photos for us.

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Next, we went over to Elmo's Dolphin Dive, which is a vertical drop ride for kids. We all initially waited in (the very short) line because Logan said he wanted to ride (and he was tall enough). But, when it came time to get on the ride, he freaked out and I stepped aside to hold him during the ride.

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Ethan was disappointed can see his face in the photo below showing his displeasure at not being able to ride in the blue chair. Casey (and all adults) have to ride in the outer seats for balance. Try explaining that to a 5 year old who just wants to sit in a seat with his favorite color. Oh, well. You don't always get what you want in life (and don't I know it).

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But when the ride got moving, Ethan ended up liking it a lot. It was equal parts scary and fun for him. Just like a ride should be.

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He smiled...even though he was trying so hard to still be mad about the seat situation.

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We wanted to ride Abby Cadabby's Rockin' Wave ride, but it was not working, so we went to Grover's Round Up (carousel) instead. Obviously, this ride was also a big hit with both boys.

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Our last ride stop was the Shamu Express...a little roller coaster. This was the one Ethan had ridden the last time we came. We knew from last time to seat the kids on the right side of the ride so they could be seen in the photos my dad was graciously taking for me. But, when we got up there, the ride attendant asked both Casey and me to sit on the right. You can still sort of see Logan in the photo below. For a kid that was apprehensive about Franklin and the Dolphin Dive ride, he loved the roller coaster.

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Ethan, on the other hand, enjoyed it, but if you can see his face below (in a photo my mom took), you can see that he was definitely scared.

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We completed all those rides in less than an hour...thanks to going on a Monday! We decided to visit the splash park part of the Bay of Play later because we wanted to catch the next One Ocean (Shamu) show. My parents bought the boys these bubble guns. Not only did that entertain them while we waited for the show to start, but we have used them countless times this summer. They're refillable with bubble solution and are always fun to play with.

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Mere seconds after this photo was taken, bubbles were hitting my lens protector filter...and I was really glad that I use a lens protector so I didn't have to carefully clean off sticky bubble solution from my nice lens.

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The Shamu show was fantastic, as usual. The boys loved it. I did too (except for the annoying woman who kept her arms up the whole time filming the show with her phone. Her arm is the one on the left in the foreground of the photo below.)

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After the show, Logan became the proud owner of a blue whale (to add to Ethan's animals that he had already picked out earlier....a white beluga whale and a walrus.) We did take the stroller this time even though the boys are getting bigger. Logan (and sometimes Ethan) still gets tired and there's a lot of walking to do at Sea World. Especially if you don't want to always go at a short-legged, preschooler's pace. So, we were happy to have the stroller.

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After lunch at the Smokehouse Grill, we stopped for a moment (or two) to pose in front of Shamu for a family photo after refilling our water bottles. We did also bring refillable water bottles for everyone. Thank goodness the temperatures were only in the 80s, but we still needed our water.

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Finally, it was time for the boys to hit the splash park and playground area at the Bay of Play. They had been asking about it since they got their first glimpse. This part was closed the last time we were at Sea World so we didn't get to do it at all. I was bummed that time, and rightly was so much fun for the boys. And a little sit-down break for us.

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I probably got twice as many pictures of Logan as I did of Ethan because Ethan was running all over the place at top speed. Poor Logan was having trouble keeping up with his brother. I had a talk with Ethan and then he and Logan pretty much stuck together the rest of the time.

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There's not a whole lot I need to say in explanation of these water photos. They had a blast. Ethan would stand under the bucket water feature with his hands on his hips and this expression...

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And then he'd get dumped on.

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This next photo is so cute...they're standing under the bucket waiting for it to tip.

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Here's an example of how closely Logan watches Ethan and imitates him...taking the same stance under the bucket...

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We let them play there for a long time. Then we went over to the ski stadium for the ski show. We had not seen this one before and thought the boys might enjoy seeing all the water stunts.

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After getting soaked, the boys were actually cold (unbelievable for the end of June). Ethan took his wet shirt off and Logan got wrapped up in a towel.

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The show was pretty fast and really cool. I enjoyed seeing the stunts and even though the boys did not fully appreciate how much work would have to go into doing all those crazy skiing tricks, they loved watching it. Their favorite part was when this guy rocketed out of the water with water jets.

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My dad pushed the boys around in the stroller all day as we went from one thing to another. What a treat that was. Even though we were not hot, it's still a big job to push those two around. In this photo below, they're riding with their new stuffed "friends" leaving a trail of bubbles from their guns behind them.

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Throughout the day we stopped to look at the alligators (or crocodiles? I can't remember) and the flamingos.

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Then we went over to the Sea Lion area to feed them. Since we had not been able to feed the dolphins that day, we wanted to feed these guys. Not as close up as the dolphins, but the boys still got a kick out of dropping the tiny fish and watching the sea lions catch them.

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Of course, we made a stop at the penguin exhibit and also the shark and fish exhibits.

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Then, we called it a day (it was late afternoon) and went back to the hotel to clean up and eat dinner. But, we stopped at the entrance on the way out for some photos. Good call because that morning it was surrounded by people, but as you can see...there was virtually no one around when we left.

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We really enjoyed having Mimi and Pop with us...not only are they two extra hands for us, but the boys love being around their grandparents. Everybody wins.

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A nice woman took a group photo of all of us.

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I didn't take any more photos of the weekend. We bathed, ate, and packed up that evening and then headed out on the road for the trip home on Tuesday morning. Again, uneventful, thank goodness. This was such a fun, short trip and I'm so glad we decided to go to Sea World again this year. The boys enjoyed it and I think the adults did too!

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