Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Day 2 In Santa Barbara – The Zoo, Hiking, Room Service and a Movie

All right you better buckle in for this one…it is going to be a long post. I can’t say sorry for it because the reason it is so long is that I have such an AWESOME boyfriend; he takes me to do SO many fun things. So consider yourself forewarned and while you are at it grab a snack and a soda, you might need refreshments. And remember...don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Ok so where we last left off…Danny and I had put the “kids” to bed and were headed out to dinner…let’s pick up the next morning. As I mentioned above my boyfriend is awesome so on Saturday morning he let me sleep in while he took Aspen and Gracie out for their morning walk at 6:30am. If you know Aspen at all you know that once he is ready to get up to eat and go potty you are just wasting your time if you try and make him wait. They were gone for about 30 minutes so I was just falling back into a good sleep when eight muddy paws woke me back up. I couldn’t complain because they are so cute, I am sure that the maid staff at the hotel couldn’t complain however…white sheets and muddy paws don’ mix…SORRY Fess!!

In true vacation fashion after Danny got back with the dogs we decided to sleep a little longer…it was nice. I LOVE to sleep in, especially with my boyfriend and doggies cuddled up with me!!
With our morning nap complete, the dogs fed and out for a second bathroom run we decided to head to the hotel restaurant for the breakfast buffet. I was starving!! Not to mention I freakin love breakfast food…eggs, toast, omelets (I know technically a repeat of eggs but so good they deserve their own category), cereal, bacon, sausage and HASHBROWS all washed down with what else…a diet coke!! Maybe all these things are sounding even better to me right now because I am currently on a “diet”. Hehehe.

On a side note my smart boyfriend, at a pretty family friendly hotel, decided to wear his shirt that on the front says, “NERD” and peek around to the back in BIG writing it says, “BOOGER 69”…classy I know. Standing in line at the omelet station we thought about what his shirt said. I think it is a cute shirt but maybe not what parents want their kids to read, hehehhe. Good thing Danny had his jacket handy so he covered up the “BOOGER 69” part for breakfast. Yep…we are always looking out for others.

After breakfast we were headed for the Santa Barbara Zoo!! We plugged the address in our navigation and hit the road…for a mile and a half. The funny part is if we had stayed at the original crappy hotel the zoo was directly behind us!! We didn’t realize this so we would have put the address in the navigation and driven the block from said crappy hotel to the zoo. Hehehe.

I really wasn’t expecting much from the zoo…I mean I didn’t even know there was a zoo in SB until I drove by the sign on the freeway. But then when I read the information Danny printed out in preparation for our trip it said that it was consistently rated one of the best small zoos in the nation. I was a little pumped; after all I love to see animals!! As we headed through the zoo gates I was ready to rock!

Ok, so the first thing we came upon wasn’t really an animal but it provided a great photo-op courtesy of Danny:

If I had to guess I would say that we spent at least 20 minutes in this spot, adjusting angles and waiting for people to move out of the way so that Danny could get the perfect shot. He is a perfectionist!!

After spending some quality time with the blue parrots we set off to find some “real” animals!! One might not think this would be too difficult a task since we were at a zoo and all!! WRONG! This was very hard. First of all the zoo path didn’t go in any particular order, so you could make a turn and be back where you had already walked five times (seeing no animals) and totally miss a path you hadn’t even been on once!! We finally came across two lions but I couldn’t get a good shot of them since they sleep about 20 hours a day (they should hang out with my dogs)!!

We passed this little kid play area that had a train station you could board and the train went all around the zoo. Do you see where this is headed? NO! Well then you must be slow and in that case…let me break it down for you. Four dollars later Danny and I were onboard the train, with all the little kids, ready to take a trip around the zoo. Now mind you Danny did not want to ride the train but I thought it would be the best way to see all the animals, this way we could see where they were all located and get a game plan for the zoo. Holy crap…how many times can I be wrong in one zoo trip. We saw pretty much ZERO animals on our train ride around the zoo. We did however see the freeway and our first CRAPPY hotel.

Ok, so the train ride wasn’t really all that helpful in locating animals but if you were looking to see the outer edge of the zoo, crappy hotels and freeway then it was totally worth the money. For us it looked like we were on our own. Things did pick up a little after this. We found some elephants. Which I think are rather unique, I mean they are HUGE, gray and leathery but still manage to be cute at the same time!! Danny snapped this shot, and I am sure I don’t need to tell you that it involved another 20 minutes to get just the right shot (my little perfectionist).

After the elephants it was my favorite part of the zoo trip…the giraffe!! I know you might be thinking…how can a giraffe be all that exciting. Well these giraffe’s were great because I got to feed them (for a small fee of course)!! Here is me and my giraffe friend:

You also might ask why I wasn’t looking at the camera, Danny did. I have a great answer for that…the giraffe was very impatient!! If you didn’t give him his giraffe rice cake (I named the giraffe snacks this because they literally eat them one after another since every zoo visitor wants to feed them so they have to be low in calories or the zoo would have some FAT giraffes on their hands) he would LUNGE and HISS at you!! I didn’t know a giraffe could hiss either but take my work for it, they do!! I had to keep my eye on this one!

Once I was able to get away from the hissing giraffe we found these Meerkats, I snapped this picture and I love it because he is just chillin, cause that is what Meerkats do...chill!

I really do love any sort of apes, gorillas or monkeys so when I found this guy I was so excited, except he looked so sad.

I thought maybe he was sad because he was all alone but I found his buddy in the corner. Their enclosure was pretty small…I think they should get moved to a bigger zoo, but that is just me. Before we left he decided to lie down and looked a little sadder, poor gorilla.

On a funny note we found this cool wall that I look at as the perfect photo-op!
A little monkey “product placement” (shout out to Melissa)”:

Danny and his friends, just hangin out:

What in the heck? Is that chimp on my head? Why YES, it is!!

Me and my family tree!!

We did see some other things on the trip like snakes, roaches, lizards, penguins and such but overall nothing too exciting. Maybe I am just spoiled living so close to places like the San Diego Wild Animal Park and I should learn to see the value in small zoos. I think the problem is small zoos means small animal enclosures which equals sad animals and sad Heather.

I do have one last picture to share from the zoo, it is so sweet, they look like they are in love…maybe it was their ten year anniversary too!!

One “small” zoo trip down we headed back to the hotel to pick up the dogs. I missed them. We picked them up and headed off to a trail that Danny had researched (I know…what an awesome guy) to go for a hike. This trail was INSANELY pretty!! I don’t think I have ever been on such a pretty hike. It really was awesome. You drive right up to the back of the trail, park and walk right in. The view, in case you didn’t get this already, was AMAZING. There were all this beautiful trees and then just a huge cliff that dropped waaaayyyyy down into ocean (you really can't tell how far it is from the pictures).

While this part was pretty it did make me a little nervous because the dogs were off leash. I was afraid the dogs we go to get a quick peak and then slip right off the side. When ever we got around other dogs, and there were tons, I was the nervous mom constantly yelling at Aspen and Gracie to come back and stay right next to me. These other dogs seemed familiar with the trail and obviously knew that one step too far would end in certain death…Aspen and Gracie didn’t seem to be aware of this.

We found some nice fellow hikers that took this picture of two of us:

Of course Danny was upset because it didn’t have the angle that he want but for me it was one of my favorites of the trip because we were both in it, I think it is the only one we got on the entire trip. I always say I wish we had someone that we could bring along on all our outings just to snap pictures of us…our own little paparazzi!!

Here is one of me and the kids:

Of course Danny was happy with the angle on this one because he got to take it. This is also why it appears that Aspen and Gracie are attempting to run out of the shot, they got tired after posing after the first 500 shots. Hehehe.

I like this one because it isn’t a perfect picture, it was really windy and my hair was going crazy…and look how cute Gracie is with her tongue hanging out.

Here is one of me that Danny took at the edge of the cliff:

This one is cool because the sailboat in the background. There were a ton of sailboats in Santa Barbara…they are cute. Newport is full of powerboats, which are also nice and more convenient but I think sailboats are beautiful.

I am not sure if I have mentioned or not before how much I love my dogs…but it is a LOT!! That might be why this is another of my favorite pictures from the trip.

Such pretty babies!!

And finally to close out our segment on hiking if you ever find yourself in SB, looking for a place to hike, here is the name of the trail we were on:

I highly recommend it!!

I think it is totally obvious in the last picture that the dogs were pretty tired and looking for a break, well Danny and I were also looking for a break, but in the form of food!! A good hike works up a good appetite. We were so hungry that we decided to head back to the same place we went the day before, on the pier, since we knew that they would take the dogs and we thought the meal was pretty good. I snapped this picture of Danny checking out the menu:

AND right after that we were asked to leave!! Yep!! I said it!! Our waitress came up saying something about our dogs being cute but that she couldn’t have them stay. Now keep in mind that we were sitting two tables over from where we had just eaten, with the dogs, less than 24 hours ago. This of course made Danny mad…but made no difference to the waitress as she said, “it’s like California law or something…” and that is a direct quote. I guess the day before it was ok for them to break the law but not that day…maybe it is only a law on Saturday’s…hehehhe. We left.

Still hungry and having been kicked out of the restaurant we wanted to eat at we headed to State Street to see what we could find. We found a cute little California bistro. Another picture of Danny checking out the menu:

I realize this post is super long so I will spare you the details of this meal (we didn’t get kicked out) but let’s just say that it was our waiters first week and he wasn’t very skilled at his job. The food was good, at least, even if we had to wait FOREVER!!

So in the condensed version we went back to the hotel, checked out a couple more things around the hotel, took the dogs for a walk and then debated over what to do for dinner. We had a fairly long day with the zoo and hike so we thought it would be fun and romantic to order room service and watch a movie. So we did!!

It was a yummy dinner; our hotel did a great job. I forgot to get a picture of the food but Danny had salmon and I had chicken. I did get a picture of the soup that we started off with:

And here is one of Danny enjoying his soup and movie (we got Rambo 4 on PPV, nothing says romance and 10 years like Rambo, hehehehe):

And here is his approval on the soup (notice the diet coke because what meal would be complete with out diet coke in Heather’s world…NONE):

And so day two in Santa Barbara concludes with dinner and a movie, in bed. Make sure you stayed tuned for our final day in Santa Barbara, which includes such highlights as a trip to Solvang and a very (very) brief casino trip!!


Jenny said...

I remember when you did not like Diet Coke.....

That train at the zoo is a Jack favorite!

Stephen said...

You where not kidding when you said this post was long. I had to take it in two parts.

Hissing Giraffes, Chilling Meerkats and Sad Gorillas. Too funny. Why does it look like you are holding the Giraffe's tongue? btw...Meerkats are so cool. No pics of the Lizards? :(

The hike looks really beautiful. Danny sure is a great guy. He really put some thought into the trip.

Anonymous said...

hi - i found your blog while doing a search on where to hike in Santa Barbara, and I'm trying to ead the name of your hike on that stone - I can't make it out :)) can you please email me the name of that hikign trail?
thank you :)
my name's Sofia, we're from Chicago
thanks :)
email: sofiam at gmail.com

Mel said...

I am confused. Why is the shirt offensive? I don't get it.

As for the getting lost part, I believe that you once told Stephen that you were not like me because you had a better sense of direction. BUT may I point out to you - you had a navigation system and STILL got lost!!! Welcome to the club my friend.

Maybe the giraffee hissed at you to show his appreciation for his rice cake snack thing. He was his own little cheering section. :)

YAY!! on the product placement picture. You found a unique spin...advertising ANIMALS!! That's right Heather. Don't limit yourself to meer snacks and beverages...branch out!

I love that picture of you and Danny. BTW, you look GREAT!! It must be that chick-fil-a diet you're on. :P

Danny doesn't look all that impressed with the menu from the second place.

Kudos to Danny for an adventurous trip...and kudos to the crappy waiters and waitresses who without them would have yielded a less eventful trip. I'm sure I've never been kicked out of a restaurant before. :)

Anonymous said...

The SB Zoo is my favorite! The pictures you got are awesome-I love the gorillas. The giraffes are a fun time too- you can even feed them from time to time too! My kids love going there and riding on the train and in the summer time going to the beach afterwards is the way to go. Love that the Sandman Inn (www.thesandmaninn.com), our hotel of choice is close by and super affordable since the zoo isn't!

Judy said...

I love the Santa Barbara zoo- it really isn't just for kids! Adults can have a great time too playing with the animals and even feeding the giraffes! The train is great and the staff is so informative and helpful, my fiancé proposed to me there actually, I was so surprised! We would love to get married there but it is just so expensive! We'll keep looking at venues in the area though! The Sandman Inn (www.thesandmaninn.com) is a great little hotel with affordable prices that we love to use when staying in town, why not save a quick buck?