With the mercury hitting the 90’s today, we hit the beach. Usually that means heading to Half Moon Bay, land of beaches, fog, and cool weather. Today, however, we mixed it up and went to Santa Cruz, which not only has a beach, but also an amusement park. We weren’t the only ones with this brilliant idea.
As you can see, thousands of our closest friends also joined us. After taking the kids to two amusement parks in two weeks, I’m now officially amusement parked out.
There were several things however, that made this trip a success, at least in the eyes of a tired Mom.
1. We left our house relatively early. I’m pretty militant about getting on the road early on beach days. I yelled and screamed for the kids to get their a$*es in the car, but eventually we were all packed up and ready to go. I’m about as impatient as you can get, and it only gets worse the longer I sit in traffic. So after a quick pit stop to Starbucks to caffeinate me and the Mr, we were on the highway by 9:30 a.m.
2. Parking. We decided we’d suck it up and pay for the parking, until we were sitting in traffic for about 15 minutes trying to get into said parking lot. We then changed plans, found a parking meter, change machine, and parked on the street. It not only saved us time, but it also was about $2 less than the lot. Woo hoo!
3. I’m cheap. The Santa Cruz Boardwalk can get really expensive, especially for a family of six. (No, we are not a growing family. I’m just including the earlier mentioned awesome cousin Ali.) I bought unlimited ride passes for Ali and Olivia at Costco, and bought a book of 50 tickets for me, Van, and the two younger kids. Since Olivia and Ali were sporting the unlimited ride wristbands, they took off for the more adventurous rides like the “Crazy Surf.” Check ’em out on the far right of this video.
While Ali and Olivia rode the crazy rides,Van and I oversaw the younger ones on the smaller rides. They might be smaller, but for our pint-sized kids, it suited them just fine.
We told Erin and Carrie that once we were out of tickets, we’d be done with the rides.
Amazingly, neither kid threw themselves down in the middle of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk kicking and crying.
Just like our Great America adventure, we packed our own lunches for our trip to Santa Cruz. As tempting as it was, we abstained from the deep-fried twinkies and Oreos, but we did have the good ‘ole Joe O’s in the picnic bag. OK, we may have purchased ice cream treats as well at the end of the day.
4. The beach. After lunch, Olivia and Ali returned to the boardwalk, and Van and I took Erin and Carrie to dip their toes in the ocean. Well, it was more like dipping their entire leg,
and in the case of Carrie, the waves soaked her from the waist down.
Ali and Olivia opted for the arcade instead of the beach, where they rocked the games, getting various games of chance to spit out 800+ tickets, which they traded in for necklaces.
5. Surprisingly little traffic on the drive home. Ideally, we would have left early enough to allow Carrie to get in a nap. That didn’t happen today. Time doesn’t usually fly on these types of family adventures, but it did today. We reluctantly packed up around 4pm and headed home. I thought Carrie would crash as soon as we hit the highway, but that little stinker stayed awake until about 15 minutes before we got home. Once she woke up however, she was hell on wheels. She threw a tantrum about everything. She didn’t want to eat dinner. She didn’t want to take a shower. She didn’t want to put on night-night clothes. (AKA pajamas) Two minutes later, she WANTED to wear her night-night clothes. Eventually she calmed down, when I promised she could help me make brownies tomorrow.
6. Date night. Yes, we left these overstimulated, overtired children at home with Ali, while we went out to have an adult only dinner.