My family believes in avoiding crowds. They're not agoraphobic or anything, they just feel that crowds are not the most effective, the most efficient, the best use of their time. This is why my family liked Disneyland in February -- it was rainy and empty and we could run from attraction to attraction as fast as we could get up to the loading point.
This is also why we were up and out the door at 8:15am on our first morning down at the beach. We wanted to be the first people in line at the members-only entrance to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We'd predicted (correctly) that the Saturday of a long weekend in the summer would be one of the busiest times to go. So we were all lined up to get through and see things before anyone else knew about them.
All queued up and ready to go.
We got an early entrance and were able to see the Open Sea tank that we love, and then head over to the spectacular Tentacles exhibit and finally to the Jellies Experience.
I had to lead by example to get Joss to touch the starfish and limpets and decorator crabs. Generally I've been able to sucker the other kids into thinking that I'm touching things too . . .
But I do like petting the bat rays. They were being extremely coy on this busy day,
But Joss and Charlie still got to stroke one or two. I managed to touch them, but they managed to get my sleeve wet. We're even.
Here's the snowy plover, local endangered bird at our beach house complex. It is because of them and their weak hearts and unevolved nesting habits (they just lay their eggs in the sand) that we're not supposed to build structures or fly kids on the beach. It gives them wee avian heart attacks. This particular plover gave me quite the evil eye for daring to snap its picture.
We also watched Luna, a love story about sea otter rescues and it was cute, cute, cute.
And we saw lots of great things like these: the local sea otter who hangs out in the kelp forest just beyond the aquarium, leopard sharks, cuttlefish, bat ray and a dancing octopus. That place never disappoints. We had lunch out on the bay and then headed back to the beach.