Monterey Bay Aquarium: Sometimes "Fun!" is No Fun

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

You know those days where you go on adventures with your kids--ones that take a surprising amount of energy and which you enter with high expectations?  Ever had one of those adventure-days that completely bombed?  Well, that happened to us a month when we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

I love going on adventures with my kids.  But sometimes, they just don't go according to plan.  This was simply one of those times.

We are lucky for two big reasons: 1) This incredible aquarium is only a few hours from our home.  2) Our great friends gave us their membership guest passes, so we didn't have to shell out a bunch of cash.

We entered our visit with high expectations because we had a blast going last year, even if that visit started with us forgetting the guest passes at home and having to cough up the full-priced tickets.  This time, CJ in particular was very, very excited to see her favorite animal: the hammerhead shark.

But once CJ has her mind set on something, it's very difficult to distract her.  Girlfriend wanted to see those hammerheads, and she wanted to see them quickly.  We wanted to go to the big tank to see said sharks during the coolest time--feeding time--so we were trying to kill time and see other exhibits.  Those other exhibits were so, so cool, but CJ was not happy and made that very clear.

Throw in a baby that refused to sleep the entire two hour drive (during his nap time) and a tantrum-prone, always-running-away 2 year old, and Brad and I were already giving each other the raised eyebrows above our kids. As in, "Do we really want to do this?!"

He is clearly so, so tired.  Baby D is the champion of holding on to being awake, exhaustion be darned.

We finally got to the big tank and claimed our spot (which was a feat, considering the crowds) and I did my best to get that baby to sleep and staying asleep.  We still had to wait a while for the feeding though, so by the time it officially began, RG was so, so over it.  Out little guy likes to MOVE all the time, so sitting still is a very difficult activity for him, even if there's amazing things to look at.  Partway through the narrated feeding, he started to get upset.  His protests gradually picked up intensity and volume the remainder of the feeding, and by the end he was at a full-throttle!  Baby D woke up in the middle of this, so Brad and I switched kids and I ran our literally kicking-and-screaming 2 year old past all the exhibits to a hallway next to a restroom, where he could scream, cry, and punch until he could calm down. Brad and I had to keep switching off at this point during the rages.  And they were RAGES!  Yes, we got SO many stares.  Yes, they even sent an employee to make sure everything is OK. But after 20 minutes, he finally calmed down.


We tried to salvage the day, but CJ was not satisfied with the amount of hammerhead sharks she had seen.  And she spent the rest of the time talking about it and wanting to go home.  "Mom, I'm having a hard time!"  "This is the worst Saturday ever!"  We went to a smaller exhibit where kids can color, and that helped a bit.

But fairly quickly, our kids were done with coloring.  We ate our packed lunches and moved on to the other side of the aquarium where they have inter-active exhibits where you can touch some sea creatures and be under a wave simulator.
Sidenote: Brad is attractive. 
 Baby D was into love-biting me and hugging me tightly around the neck, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Thank you, D, for being the best behaved while at the Aquarium.

 CJ loved the wave simulator, but RG was too afraid to be under it.

These were sections that we enjoyed a lot last year, but the crowds were huge, the kids were grumpy, and the baby fussy.   So we eventually raced through what was left and decided to get the heck out of Dodge.  

And yes, Baby D cried most of the two hours home.  

It wasn't what we had hoped for, but at least we got some cute photos out of it!  (Photos can be so misleading.  It's a good thing I know the truth, or else I'd think while looking at our post that our little family is perfect.)

This whole post isn't to complain about us being able to go somewhere awesome with our kids; it's just to say, those good-hard days happen!  It's disappointing when you make extra effort to have a special day as a family and that day leaves you exhausted and frustrated.  But that's life.  Memories were still made and we would still do that Saturday again in a heartbeat.

Well, maybe in another six months!


  1. Oh RG. How I love that kid but really feel for you and Brad. Man. We sometimes have those days with no kids in the mix 😜 Life is hard. But awesome too 😊

    1. I agree on all fronts! Brad and I had many sans-kids adventures that went totally awry too.

  2. Love the honesty. However, kids normally take the glazed doughnut view of outings and down the road they will only remember the cool things about the day and not the bad! We on the other hand... (at least no one fell in a fish tank):)

    1. We are definitely hoping for the glazed donut view! And you are right, it could have been so much worse! For me, I was just so glad that we hadn't paid a ton of money for it.

  3. I think this sort of parallels every Christmas we had with young kids :-). Great and terrible.

    1. Ha! Kids seem especially naughty on those special days.


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