Monday, May 18, 2009

Santa Cruzin, Part 1

We had a great time camping over the weekend and there will be pictures from our trip soon (I promise this time) but first I thought I’d share the pics from my last trip which was now like two months ago that never made it onto the blog.

Clover and I took our first solo mother/daughter road trip to Santa Cruz to hang out with my friend Kristen and her daughter Zoe for a few days back in March. With all the craziness of becoming moms for the first time, we hadn’t seen one another since we were both pregnant and it was so much fun to get to spend time with her and meet eachother’s little ones, only a few months apart in age. They hit it off splendidly!

Kristen and I first met twelve years ago when we worked together at the UC Davis Marine Lab in Bodega Bay. So it was fitting that one of our destinations would be a UC marine lab discovery center. Interesting to us as biologists, yet plenty of neat stuff to keep the girls entertained, perfect!

Kristen’s husband who works out at the lab took a little break to come say hello and I got him to snap a picture of us sitting on the giant elephant seal statue out front. Those starfish, by the way, were HUGE and very cool.

Peeking into a classroom that was apparently set up for some sort of sea otter lab made me feel a little nostalgic for my days as a UC Santa Cruz marine biology student.

The full skeleton of a blue whale next to the building was pretty amazing too.

If the fact that Kristen lives just a short walk away from a pretty awesome beach wasn’t enough to make me envy her situation a little then you can bet the fact that right across the street from said beach is the cutest little natural history museum in existence sure as hell did!

Oddly enough, it too had a life-sized whale out front (see Clover for scale ;) and that little girl sitting on it kept making me think of the film Whalerider.


Luckily all the taxidermied critters were very cooperative in posing for pictures. My little critter on the other hand… not so much. Her and Zoe were zipping from one thing to the next taking it all in.

They even had a live beehive with clear Plexiglas walls so you could look in and watch the bees doing their bee business. There was a tube that went outside through the wall and you could walk up stairs along the side of the building to get a close look at them going in and out of the hive. Why they are not wearing their sweaters, I do not know ;)

The Excavation

As mom to a very curious toddler, I loved how geared towards the little ones the place was with small stepping stools strewn about to boost them up to the displays and plenty to interact with. They even had a box set up like a prehistoric excavation site complete with sand and paintbrushes for the kids to take part in the excavation.

There were visits to numerous park playgrounds as well. Can you spot little Clover trying with all her might to get up onto that play structure with those short little legs?

Getting to hang out with an old friend while watching our daughters become new friends made the trip all the more special :)

Before heading home, Clover and I cruised around downtown Santa Cruz where we hit up the Goodwill and the Salvation Army (I’ve already shared most of my finds) before getting on the road to drive back north up the coast where we stopped off in Half Moon Bay to meet up with my sister Shayna for lunch.

On the way into town, I saw a van parked in a field with a big sign that said THRIFT STORE, so of course before getting back on the road I had to go check it out. Unfortunately, the place turned out to be pretty creepy but not in a good creepy thrift store kind of way where hidden gems are to be found, just crap and lots of it.

The sign on the side of the building that bordered an overgrown empty lot turned out to be the coolest thing about it. I do really like that photo though, so that’s good enough for me.

P.S. Looking forward to catching up on all your lovely blogs!


leila wylie said...

This looks so cool! I work at the American Museum of Natural History, so I'm lovin' it. Also, Clover is the cutest name ever.

anabela / fieldguided said...

Ahhh! Your little Clover is so, so sweet!

Sal said...

Wow, now I'm dying to visit Santa Cruz - the museum looks fantastic!

Ashlee said...

sweet photos...

just how creepy was the thrift store?
i find it hard to turn any kind of thrifting down.

Manja said...

Yea...we have some of those creepy thrift/antique stores here as well...actually, there is one right next door and I'd never even dare enter it (I might post about it on my blog some time, haha)

Oooh...sounds like you had a lovely time in Santa Cruz! The picture of Clover sitting on the turtle is so cute :)

Thanks so much for your compliment on my header! You're the first one to comment on it so far and I'm glad you like it, since I am no picture editing genius ;)

Thrifted Treasure said...

Gorgeous photos! That museum sounds fantastic for kids :-)

Diana said...

adorable family!!

ps. randomness is on your side!! you won the lisa sullivan giveaway!!

Caroline said...

Hooray for mother/daughter road trips! Sounds like such a fun time.

My parents used to haul my little brother and myself all over the country every summer, and we spent many many afternoons visiting museums. I remember places like that little natural history museum being the most fun. I think it's super important to make places like that exciting to little ones.

Hannah said...

No way, you're a marine biologist? I'm a biologist in training! I'm doing a degree in zoology :D

elena-lu said...

ok that sounded awesome!! i love the pic of her standing in t he middle and shes all blurry it really does show how she was running around looking at everything but she stopped for a split second and the camera caught it! its like it caught a fairy its magic!

Hippie Frou Frou said...

whoa-looks like a fantastic day! love museums!

jess s///