Friday, April 26, 2013

Texas Vacation - The Big Bang

I guess our vacation series wouldn't be complete if I didn't tell the whole story.  We woke up early on Saturday to try to get going and I got us into a pretty severe car wreck.  I was concentrating on finding road signs and didn't see the traffic signal.  We were hit on the driver's side rear wheel and spun around.  It scared the kids, but no one was seriously hurt.  The other car was totaled, but the driver was OK.  We had our flat changed by the tow truck driver (Do you know where the spare tire is in a minivan with stow-and-go seating?  It's up under the center console and has to be lowered with a special tool.  Seriously.  I had to google it.) and were able to drive our car to a rental car facility.  It just happened to be right next door to a Collision repair shop.  Thank God.  So we rented a car to drive home and left our car there to get fixed.  The remainder of our travels were (thankfully) uneventful.

Texas Vacation - San Antonio, Day 6

I had been especially looking forward to our Friday activity -- sharing Sea World with my family.  We had done a fair bit of preparation, so we had a game plan to hit the park.  We got there early in the morning about 30 minutes before the gates opened.  Enough time to take pictures and be SECOND in line for Sea World.

Our first stop was the morning dolphin feeding!  The dolphins were anxious to get their breakfast and were showing off for all of the guests.  Ledger was still a little too nervous to touch the dolphins, but he helped feed them and Mommy and Daddy got to pet the dolphins.  Afterwards, we stopped by the shark tank so Ledger and Daddy could check out the SHARKS!

Check out this show-off dolphin!

On our way to the first show of the day, the Clyde and Seymore sealion show, we found Shamu and took a family picture!

The walrus is always the star of this show...
Next up... SHAMU!  I could not have been more excited for Ledger to see a killer whale.  In the interest of total honesty, as the show started, I started crying.  Not a pretty cry either -- an ugly, can't-make-it-stop kind of cry.  That's how much I loved the show.  We donned our ponchos and sat right in the middle of the arena about 20 rows up -- just inside the splash zone.  Ledger loved the whales.  Even Locke pointed at them in the front and center.  They also brought out baby Shamu, which was pretty cool.  We didn't get much of a splash -- but we really enjoyed the show.

The next show was the dolphin and beluga whale show.  It is a combination of a cirque du soleil type acrobatics/diving/synchronized swimming with the animals performing as well.  It's a good show, but after Shamu, it didn't shine. After dragging the kids to all of the shows, we finally stopped in the kids area.  We took pictures with some of our favorite Sesame Street characters and then Daddy got Ledger on the Shamu kids roller coaster.  We had to carry him onto the coaster because he didn't want to go, but after his first ride, he RAN back to the entrance and was ready to ride again.  So sweet!

So we finally slowed down enough to stop for lunch.  But then we were off again!  We visited the penguins, the crocodiles, and the education animals.  Chris got to ride one of the big-kid roller coasters.  Locke passed out in the incredibly uncomfortable plastic rented stroller.  We bought a souvenir magnet.  And then, by unanimous family vote, we hit the last Shamu show of the day!  This time, we sat in the FRONT ROW splash zone.  Yes, it took a little convincing to get the husband to stay knowing he was going to get soaked, but we had our ponchos and were prepared.  We got a few great pictures before the camera had to be put back into the "dry" bag to avoid ruining our electronics!  BOY DID WE GET WET.  Seriously soaked.

Texas Vacation - San Antonio Day 5

On Thursday morning, we packed up our bags and said goodbye to our amazing time in Port Aransas.  We headed away from the coast at north to San Antonio.  We checked into our San Antonio hotel and then went down to the Alamo and Riverwalk areas.  I had been to the Alamo before and was unimpressed, but it was Chris' first time and it was only "right" that he see the landmark.

We ate dinner at the famous Casa Rio on the Riverwalk.  The Mexican food was good, but we were really there to eat under the brightly colored umbrellas and watch the river traffic!  The kids both loved to watch the pigeons and riverboats.

After dinner, we took the Riverboat Tour.  It was really informative and fun.  The boat driver even gave Locke a special birthday shout-out and a special $2 bill.  Pretty cool.  We did a little shopping downtown and headed back to the hotel for the evening.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Texas Vacation - Port Aransas Day 4

On the morning of our last day in Port A, Oma and Doodah packed up and left for home very early in the morning.  It was super windy outside, which meant that we couldn't spend much time on the beach or at the pool.  Instead we went into town and went shopping for souvenirs and explored the town.  We rode the ferry over and back to watch for the bay dolpins and were happy to spot 5 or 6 of them playing in the waves.  They weren't as close to the boat this time, but it was still neat.  We decided to head over to the jetty to see if Ledger wanted to try to find some seashells.  As it turned out, he wasn't all that interested in seashells.  Instead, we found a lot more dolphins right off the jetty -- including a mother and calf about 20 yards away. The little baby was so cute!  We also spotted 2 sea turtles and got to watch a big oil tanker come into port.  I could've sat there forever.  I also got my own little souvenir -- a star tattoo on my hand, exactly where Locke was born with a freckle.  It was very neat to get this tattoo on Locke's actual first birthday and while we were on vacation!  I wish we had taken our camera with us, but we didn't.
Birthday boy trying on souvenir hats...

Daddy and Locke hanging out.

Powdered sugar donuts for birthday breakfast.

Mommy's little souvenir
That night, we joined the Lewis and Shober families at the pirate-themed restaurant Moby Dick's.  We really had fun eating dinner together and the food was very good.  Ledger loved all of the attention from the big kids.  It was a good ending to a great time in Port A.