Day Trip to Long Beach

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, December 9, 2007

We finally made it to Long Beach, California. We had gotten four free tickets to the Aquarium of the Pacific, but had been putting it off and putting it off--always so busy on the weekends. Since the tickets were going to expire in less than a month, we decided we'd better just go.

We made the hour drive, parked, and stepped out into a beautiful December day only to be had in Southern California. The sky was clear and smog free (unusual as it was), and the temperature was cool with warm rays shining down (mid to high 60's F).

We took in all that the aquarium had to offer: fish, fish, and more fish; rays and sharks that we got to touch, and my favorite--sea horses and sea dragons. Oh, and I can't forget the seals, sea lions, and otters, and a few other random creatures.

We had a great time touching the manta rays and sharks. The one big shark was just the coolest guy ever, with knobby skin that he didn't mind being touched. We also got to watch them being fed which was kinda cool.

Another fun moment was in the water bird area. There was this puffin that became my little friend. He must have been attracted to my shiny camera lense or something; I took quite a few pictures of the little show off.

The jellyfish were fun to watch as well as the sea horses and sea dragons. We got to see some 8-wk old sea horses--so cute, and some baby sharks still in their egg sacks who are nearly ready to hatch (sometime this month).

The aquarium is small and doesn't take a lot of time, so from there we went walking along the edge of the harbor (Rainbow Harbor). It's quite pretty. We were hungry for a late lunch, so we scouted out a restaurant. It was definitely chain restaurant row: Chili's, PF Chang's, Outback, etc. We decided to go to Famous Dave's BBQ since we had never heard of it (i.e. something different).

DH and I shared a Georgia Chopped Pork sandwich with cole slaw on top, green beans as our side of choice. The pork was fantastic, as well as the cole slaw. The green beans sucked...they tasted like fish was cooked next to them or something. The server was a complete idiot. The kids had ordered root beer floats, but just root beer came out. She kept blaming the bartender, even when she was then going to charge us for floats (instead of the fountain drinks they got). It took 15 minutes or so to get the bill back (the manager has to make the corrections to the bill), and that was only after DH went looking for someone to get our bill. And then it still came back wrong. Sheesh!

By the time we finished there, it was time to catch our harbor cruise; they run every hour. It cost $10/adult and $5/kid. We had a great time. We went by the Queen Mary and saw the tip top of a Russian spy submarine (parked right in front of QM). We saw lots of Seagulls flying along with us, and some sea lions sunning themselves on some buoys.

When we got out closer to the water break (the biggest made) the water got quite choppy. We had four seats right at the bow of the boat. The waves started to spray over the bow, and we got drenched. I got a taste of the salty, salty sea on my lips. The wind was blowing quite fiercely, so feeling a bit chilled we hightailed it inside. Once we got to calmer waters, we came back out and soaked up the sun.

After the cruise we walked down Pine Ave and saw some nice restaurants. DH and I had been along there a few years ago, and it was not the hotspot it was back then. Many of the stores had gone out of business or moved somewhere else. The variety of restaurants would be a reason to go back though. There's an Irish Pub I want to go to for lunch, and a beautiful restaurant, The Madison, DH and I want to go to.

We made the walk back to the aquarium area where I took some dusk photos. Then we headed home. It was a great day. Who knew Long Beach could be so fun?
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