Trip Report to San Diego 3/24-3/29

Old May 1st, 2003, 01:33 PM
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Trip Report to San Diego 3/24-3/29

Part I.
Our plane was late leaving Portland Oregon but we still were able to check into our hotel in SD before noon. We stayed at the Super 8 Bayview (yes we were on a small-ish budget). We did not rent a car since the hotel had a shuttle to the main tourist areas, but I was prepared to rent one if I felt handicapped. That afternoon we went to Old Town. I enjoyed the old buildings and bought a great lamp at the tin shop (great deal, I thought!) Stopped in a few of the shops outside the historic district. Ate at Coyote Café and had a very nice peach magarita to share - yum.

The next day we went to the zoo, again took the shuttle. We knew we would have to keep moving because it came back at 4:00. We did go straight to the pandas. They had just been put back on display (they had been mating naturally a few days earlier - the staff was very excited!). They posed perfectly for us - they really are very cute. Then we hiked (total of 5 miles). We saw everything but it took some creativity to not back track. It is an excellent zoo. Going in the spring was fun - there were lots of babies around. My favorite baby was probably the camel - or maybe the koalas.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 01:33 PM
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Part II.
Balboa Park museums the next day, we bought the passport. Started in the automotive, it was very fun, aerospace was good. We did kinda get museum-ed out, lots of reading and we were tired from early mornings and going all day. Basically walked through Museum of Man, and Mingei. Japanese garden isnyt worth paying for separately. Model RR museum was good. Ended up at the Rueben Fleet Science Center. It is hands on and we spent more time there - no plaques to read. I went through the botanical building and saw many of the other gardens. Didnyt get to the outdoor village which I was disappointed in but we just ran out of time. That night we ate at Princess Pub for dinner. It was close to the hotel and we had an ebay gift certificate (thanks fodors people!).

Sea World - again took the shuttle and we had to keep moving. Started out on the baluga/ice adventure ride. Then it was one show after another. Remember to put sunscreen on your knees for sitting during the shows. Pet and fed the dolphins, I especially liked the rays, slow, gentle. The shows were funny (hope the animals enjoy it). The shamu show was probably our least favorite. The pet show was a fun surprise. Appreciated that the injured manatee had a home (they hold a special place in my heart). After going to the zoo I was disappointed there was no information about the animals I was looking at, in the shark exhibit they did not have any info on the different types of sharks until the end and then it was just their name. I wanted it to be a bit more educational. That night we went to the Star of India, it is open until 8 (get a pass for the other boats if you want to go on them another time). There was a 5th grade class there and it was very fun to watch them actively learning how to make a ship function, I learned stuff too. That night was our special dinner night - went to Seven 17 in the Gaslamp. My husband is a small town coward, hates new things (he admits it), he was uncomfortable in the Gaslamp, it does have more variety of people. I think he would be better during the day (I am the travel freak, not him). I was more than fine but something to be aware of. Anyway, I was disappointed with the restaurant, very expensive but certainly not worth it. Husband had lamb and liked it, I had seafood risotto and it was not good. I would not recommend it - there are too many other places to try. I did not get to explore the area like I wanted but did see some great buildings - look up!
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Old May 1st, 2003, 01:34 PM
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Part III
Our last day was a bit slower - good thing because we were exhausted every night. Took the 2 hour habour cruise, enjoyable, again sunscreen on those knees. Ate at the Top of the Market, Fish Market. Very good. Casual enough during the day but dressier at night. Walked through Seaport Village shops and sat on the habour wall. Walked back through town, with a brief stop at the mall, but I can shop in Oregon without a sales tax!

The weather was grey when we got there but due to my insistence that it clear up, it turned out sunny for the rest of the week (if I wanted grey I would have stayed in Oregon!). I enjoyed our time, hotel was clean and in a good location. I didn?t feel like we needed a car because of the shuttle and we don?t mind walking. Husband had a camel back, we drank it empty every day, took lumches to the zoo and sea world, saving lots of money (so we could get ice cream!) Overall, we had a good time and will go back when we have children to share the zoo, Old Town, Sea World and probably add LegoLand too.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 01:52 PM
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Sara, I'm glad you enjoyed San Diego. Did you know that those 5th graders stay overnight on the Star of India? All my kids did it and mostly enjoyed it.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 01:56 PM
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I did see they were going to stay over night - I was so jealous! We watched them for a long time, fun to for us to learn and to watch both the kids learning.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 02:12 PM
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Great trip report. We enjoyed the Coyote Cafe too when we were in Old Town. We were actually planning to eat at Berta's which I heard is good, but they weren't open so we followed our noses and ended up at Coyote Cafe.

We didn't go to the zoo, but we will next time when we are in SD. What do you think about doing the zoo in the morning and the museums in the afternoon on the same day?
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Old May 1st, 2003, 02:29 PM
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Glad to hear you had a good time in SD! Too bad about the so-so resto in the Gaslamp. There are some good eateries in the District-- Aqua Blu, Panevino, Bella Luna, even casual ol' Croce's (fun place!). There are some great places up in Hillcrest-- Liaison (with a nice prix fixe), Taste of Thai, among others.

J_Correa, I suppose you could do the Zoo and the museums in Balboa Park in the same day, but it makes it a full day of walking and it's a lot of sensory input-- I imagine it would be exhausting (I can never do more than two museums in a day, myself). But then you hop up to La Jolla for dinner at George's at the Cove.... Heaven!!
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 08:56 AM
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enjoyed you trip report Sara. we were in SD April 22-26. stayed at a hotel near Sea World (Hyatt Islandia). since our group included three boys ages 9, 4 and 2 we made the focus of our trip the Zoo and Sea World. the pandas were my Zoo favorite too, and i was amazed at how beautiful the Zoo itself is, with all the walking paths through beautiful foliage. we spent almost all day there, making sure to get an overview of the place by getting on and off the doubledecker bus. we also took that Skyfari tram, but it didn't show us all that much: bus was much better. we did have a rental van but driving/parking was never a hassle. first night we went to Casa Bandini in Old Town. we enjoyed it and liked Old Town also. day 2 we went to Sea World. again i agree that the Shamu show was our least favorite. the whales are beautiful but......i don't know, it just wasn't as spectacular as i imagined. maybe that's because we weren't seated in the Splash Zone, where the up close action is, but way up in the stadium (and yes, your recommendation for sunscreen is a great one. it was something i completely forgot about!!). i thought the manatees were the best. my son liked "Fools with Tools". we were warned not to attempt to have lunch between noon and 2pm but of course that's exactly what we did, and were waiting in line with everyone else at Shipwreck Falls. oh well.
had dinner that night and the next at places recommended by the Hyatt concierge: both were in the town of Pacific Beach, one Italian and one Chinese, both good, but of course can't remember their names!!!! on day 3 we drove to Coronado and walked around the Del and the town.
my only complaint about San Diego? we didn't have enough time there!!
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 03:06 PM
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J Correa - I think it would be nearly impossible to see the zoo and museums in 1 day. The zoo took us 7 hours and we could have spent more. I admit we walked the whole thing and read almost all the plaques, but we did keep moving and have no children, and didn't wait in line for lunch since we brought our own. I suppose the bus tour would help but we both like animals and would have missed seeing some things on the bus.

The museums also took all day and we didn't even see all of them. We moved quickly through the museums too. I think two of them we moved through in 10 minutes (we were tired!).

If you only went to see a few select animals and a few museums it would be possible but I don't think it would be fair to the zoo and you would probably feel like you missed lots. The museums are closer to the zoo than I thought which is good if you need a taxi or do try to do both.
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 03:32 PM
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Thanks! I am not much of a zoo person myself, by my husband REALLY wants to go there. So it sounds like scheduling a whole day would be a good idea.
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