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Monterey Bay with Teen...Trip Report & Thank You to all who helped!

Monterey Bay with Teen...Trip Report & Thank You to all who helped!

Nov 13th, 2009, 09:39 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 60
Monterey Bay with Teen...Trip Report & Thank You to all who helped!

Took my 15 year old daughter who is CRAZY about sharks to Monterey to see the Great White Shark that is on exhibit. Used ALL of hubby's frequent flier miles on Southwest and all of his points w/ Marriott. I NEVER could have packed as much in 1 1/2 days without the help of this forum. Thank you to all who contributed to my posts...Here is my trip report.

We left Chicago ontime on Southwest and arrived into San Jose Airport at 1ish. Lots of snags getting rental car with Hertz. Don't think I would ever use them again. 'nuf said.

Drive out to Monterey was uneventful except that my GPS decided to take me via the scenic route thru this twisting/turning road. I NEVER took my eyes off the road or the car in front of me. Crazy! But it was all worth it when we drove pass Moss Landing and saw our first Sea Otters...cute little guys.

Stayed for two nights at the Marriott Monterey. Check in was a breeze, they upgraded us to a oceanview room and gave us coupons for free breakfast. We bought a two day pass from the concierge and got back in the car and headed to the Aquarium.
We paid for a 'behind the scenes tour' and then went to see the GREAT WHITE SHARK! My daughter was so excited to finally be standing in front of the exhibit. And we saw lots of sharks, but not the White. Finally, after about 3 minutes...there he/she is!!

Watching my daughters face made getting up at 4am well worth it! We hung out there for about 30 minutes and then went to our behind the scenes tour.

Aquarium behind the scenes tour: It was nice...a little too much on the history side of it for me. But it was nice to see a few of the behind the public view areas. PLEASE keep in mind that we did not see any fish or animals or feedings on this tour. It is purely a walk thru some of the back areas. But it was very interesting. Only about an hour.

Once we were done with the tour, my daughter had an appointment with the head curator of the Aquarium. He was kind enough to talk to my daughter about her wish to be a marine science major and I do think that he was rather surprised at the depth of her knowledge. She correctly identified a number of sharks and knew much about them...she had even read some of the same books as he did. They were talking waaaay over my head, so I left them for a bit and walked around exhibits in the area.

After they were done talking we walked around the Aquarium's first floor. Went out on to the back deck areas and watched the Sea Otters...we saw at least 4 or 5. They closed at 6 and we left and headed to the adjacent Cannery area. Lots of cute shops, from artwork to souveniers. I was slowly fading so we decided to eat at Bubba Gumps. Yes we have one in Chicago and yes it is a chain and not entirely original. But we had a seat at the window and could look out on the bay. I do have to say that our waitress was wonderful. The food recommendations were great and spot on. I had a shrimp variety platter and my daughter had fried shrip. It was done well.

After that we headed back to the hotel and we were asleep by 8:30pm!!

Next morning we were up early and drove straight out to Point Lobos. I have never ever seen any place that was so beautiful! Every time we rounded a curve, I had to slow down so we could go 'Oh and Ah'. We got out and hiked at every stop. Unfortunately, high tide and low tide that week were almost identical, being very high. So we did not find too many tide pools. But we did find some big crabs under a rocky ledge close to the water. They were blue and purple and just beautiful. My daughter was so excited as she found them. We took lots of scenic pics. We really enjoyed the walk from the first turn off. I guess it is the biggiest most popular place to stop. Lots of walking, and steps, but the views were amazing. We watched seals feeding in a shallow inlet. We saw 100's of seals on a big rock not too far from the beach. The waves were crashing and it was beautiful!

After that we had intended to head back to Monterey to go to the Aquarium, but we were hungry and decided to plug in IN & OUT BURGER into the GPS to see how far one was...well it was about 17 miles to Salinas. Off we went for our I & O Burger fix!! LOVE THEM! There were every bit as good as they were the last time we were in CA. LOL

Then we went back the Aquarium and saw the second floor and the shows that we did not have time for. What a wonderful place. I high ly recommend a visit here. The movies they had were very well done. We watched the one about the capture and holding of their Great Whites. We spent a bit of time watching their sea otters. Loved the tanks downstairs. My daughter saw her favorite shark...the 7 Gill. Seems like the lower level exhibits are not as crowded.

Then we headed back to the hotel and took an easy walk to Fisherman's Wharf. We had lots of samples of clam chowder and picked a restaurant to eat in that had seats at the window. Food was not good. I think it was Crabby Bills? My daughters fish sandwich was so bad, she took one bite and that was it. Luckily they were kind enough to take it off the bill. After dinner we shopped up and down the wharf and then walked back to the hotel.

We packed and went to bed. Got up at 7am and left for San Jose.

It was an amazing trip and one that I know she will remember for the rest of her life. We laughed, we had an adventure, we did silly things. (I bought her a pair of 'Jaws" boxers!).

Thanks so much to everyone who told me to go to Point Lobos...it was great!
buzymom3 is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 10:07 AM
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Glad you had a great trip. Sounds like a lot of fun.
tchoiniere is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 10:31 AM
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So glad you had a great time with your daughter, those years pass too quickly.........when you're looking back on them 25 years later.

Thanks for the report
emalloy is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 11:07 AM
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busymom3, What a great mom you are! Your description of your daughter's reaction to the Aquarium really brightened my day. I am so glad you had such a great time. Great report!
KTtravel is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 05:04 PM
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Hi, buzymom3! Terrific report! thanks so much for sharing!

You write so well I was getting excited along with you! Where will/is your daughter studying marine science? Has she visited UC San Diego and their Scripps Institute of Oceanography yet?

Betcha went over Highway 17 to Santa Cruz and then down Highway 1 to Monterey. Did you return the same way?
easytraveler is offline  
Nov 14th, 2009, 06:22 AM
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There was a small segment on the ABC evening news yesterday about Great White Sharks. They said that there's a "Special" on them Monday on the National Geographic Channel.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Nov 14th, 2009, 10:08 AM
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Glad you loved Pt Lobos. It really ranks among my favorite places on Earth.

Next visit or for anyone else coming this way, try the shorepath between Monterey and Pacific Grove. The vistas are great and you can see sooooo many sea creatures. It's a flat path and easily walked distance.
PamSF is offline  
Nov 17th, 2009, 07:29 AM
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Hey I agree with KTtravel.....your a terrific mom!!! She is lucky to have a mom who listens to her, not to mention actually goes out of her way to make her wish happen. She will remember this always, good for you!!!
I am glad you got to see Point Lobos, you filed an excellent report!
brewski is offline  
Nov 17th, 2009, 07:56 AM
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Great trip report! And kudos to you for giving your daughter such a memorable trip. We have been to Monterey several times (lived in the Bay Area for 5 years) and loved the aquarium--it is truly world-class.

Glad you had such a great time!
musicfan is offline  
Nov 17th, 2009, 08:09 AM
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Re Point Lobos - is there any particular area within Point Lobs reserve that is "best" for parking and walking? I assume you can walk as much or as little as you want? (Yes, I live here, but I don't recall ever actually being IN Pt. Lobos, as opposed to looking at it from Hwy. 1)
sf7307 is offline  
Nov 17th, 2009, 08:19 AM
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Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Nov 17th, 2009, 08:36 AM
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Thanks Stu - that's perfect.
sf7307 is offline  
Nov 17th, 2009, 01:02 PM
Original Poster
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you guys are all great...thanks so much for the positive remarks! I forgot to mention two things:
1. Many hotels in Monterey offer a buy one day/get two days pass for the Aquarium. You pay for one day, but get the next day for free! It is only available for purchase at select hotels and not at all at the Aquarium. It's the only reason we were able to go twice.
2. BEST COFFEE place ever...right around the corner from the Monterey Marriott...Primo's!!! OMG I live in Chicago and I have NEVER had a better Latte or Mocha. The valet told me about it. I would go back for the coffee. lol

easytraveler: We have been to Scripps about two years ago. On Thursday of this week we are leaving to head to Tampa where her soccer team is playing for the National Championship! We are going to tour Univ of Tampa Marine Sciences School. She is excited about that. In the summer we are going to tour the US Coast Guard Acad., which is her first choice for college.

Yup it was Hwy 17!! OMG I had nightmares about that drive. NO WAY...did not come back that way. Asked the hotel for 'better' directions. Much quicker and less stressful! lol

Stududly: I forwarded the articles you linked to my daughter...she LOVED them. Very cool and thank you so much for thinking of her.

have a great week everyone and anytime you need info on chicago just let me know...I'd be happy to give back!
buzymom3 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2009, 04:46 AM
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buzymom: Your daughter sounds like a great daughter and one to be very proud of! National Soccer Championship - Wow!

sf7307: There's no "best" place to park inside Pt. Lobos. It just depends on where you want to hike. On this map, the solid line is where cars can go. The dotted lines are the hiking trails. People usually drive due west after they get into the Reserve. However, the first parking lot is small and fills up fast. You may find that you have to drive a bit further to one of the other parking lots.

easytraveler is offline  
Nov 18th, 2009, 10:26 AM
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Yup it was Hwy 17!! OMG I had nightmares about that drive. NO WAY..

This is why I never recommend taking 17 to out-of-town visitors as part of a route to Monterey/Carmel even though many SF Peninsula residents tend to recommend it on this board. Many of us forget that it is an over the mountains road that many people drive way above the speed limit; OK if you are use to it--nightmarish for some.
SAB is offline  
Nov 18th, 2009, 11:10 AM
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Thanks ET.
sf7307 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2009, 12:32 PM
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SAB: yes, it's not an easy road to drive. Pity the poor people who have to commute over that to and from work in Silicon Valley every week day!

Funny, isn't it? It's a federally-funded interstate 880 until just before the mountains. Then, when it would have been nice to get some federal money to improve that road, the Feds stepped back and say "Oh, no!" and the road becomes Highway 17, a state funded highway. LOL!
easytraveler is offline  
Nov 20th, 2009, 02:35 AM
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You really did pack a lot in! You were lucky to find I&O; it's the only one for many miles around.

UC Santa Cruz also has a very highly rated marine program, although it's no scripps.

I remember the days of driving Hwy 17 when it had no barrier between southbound and northbound. Seems much safer now. When I get scared I just close my eyes.
christycruz is offline  
Nov 20th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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"When I get scared I just close my eyes"

I hope you aren't the one driving
november_moon is offline  

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