hi friends, we’ve been spending some quality time in the bay area lately and it has been such a blast to rediscover childhood favorites through the eyes of my sweet little toddler daughter! this past weekend we had the chance to make a quick day trip out to monterey, california to visit the all time favorite monterey bay aquarium and check out a new restaurant! monterey bay/carmel area holds a dear place in my heart as we frequented many times growing up as a family and later when i would come back to visit as an adult with my then boyfriend, now husband. this past weekend i had the chance to invite my cousins along for some family bonding and my daughter had the sweetest time hanging out with her cousin and all her “friends” from the ocean! 🐟🦀🐳🐙🐡🦈🐠 tbh, the aquarium is one of my faves, but tickets are definitely not inexpensive so we ended up investing in a family membership. there are different types so definitely check them out and see if any of them are worth it! they are especially great if you are visiting with grandparents who happen to live in the area… we also liked the idea of an annual membership because even though we are not bay area residents we are in the bay area quite a bit through out the year visiting my family and love taking day trips to cities like monterey… so we knew we would want to be able to come back. most memberships pay themselves off after 2 visits and it allows us to enjoy our visit with our excited, yet young daughter without trying to cram in every exhibit or exhaust ourselves trying to spend the whole day out. for example, on this first trip with E, we spent a little over 2 hours really exploring the kelp exhibits (a fave), watching the penguins, meeting the octopus 🐙 (little e’s current sea creature obsession) and hanging out in the touch pools. we then decided to spend the rest of the late afternoon/evening walking down cannery row stuffing ourselves crazy with caramel apples 🍎 and candy 🍭😆… we also grabbed dinner at the cutest pizza joint just a short walk from the aquarium that ended up being quite the hit with both the adults and children! as always, here is a photo journal of our day trip!
so penguins are always a fave, definitely check out the programming, they do presentations and feedings throughout the day! the little ones in our group loved watching the penguins eat and listen to the commentary!
This touch pool was one of little e’s favorite exhibits. she spent lots of time exploring all the different kelps and talking to the volunteers about them. everyone was so kind and helpful at the aquarium! it made our visit that much more fun. 🙂
“shark! shark!” – lol, little e definitely enjoyed getting to see some sharks up close and personal… at 3 years old, she has definitely gotten interested in learning more and more details about different creatures and lately it’s been a thing in our house to pick a creature and explore.. T is so good with stuff like this with little e, they can spend hours reading books from the library about animals or watching short educational clips about sharks…. octopus.. and other sea creatures, so it was the perfect time to take a trip to the aquarium!
Sting rays! Definitely check out the sting ray pool also! The pool is a little hard to reach for toddlers but T held little E up and she was able to still look in… although she ended up not wanting to actually touch any of them. 😛
Our little explorer…. so much to see… so much to learn…
OK, so we stumbled upon this pizza restaurant called tricycle pizza.. its about a block or so up from the aquarium and it is absolutely the cutest! The restaurant started out as a pizza truck for several years before they found this permanent location in monterey… so there is a truck out front where they actually wood fire the pizzas and then there is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating to eat! it’s also a huge huge hit with children because they have a play area in the back by the outdoor seating (play house, tricycles) and even table tennis! Indoors, there is a corner set up with a play pizza station and little E and her cousin had a blast making us play pizzas and hanging out! the pizza’s were really good too and they came out pretty quickly! definitely putting it on our list of places to return too..
after dinner we walked back down cannery row and indulged ourselves in gummy bears (the grapefruit kind are MY FAVE), lollipops, and caramel apples… it was quite the treat and little e was in candy heaven!
thanks for coming along! hope you and your littles get to enjoy a trip to the aquarium soon too!