California Babymoon Part II – Pandas and Paradise

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The second day of our babymoon had a lot on the agenda, so we got up as early as we possible could force ourselves into for a vacation day. La Jolla Cove Suites, where we stayed, had a great continental breakfast and I was very into the strawberry waffles with whipped cream. Plus, the bagels and apples made for easy snacks later in the day – shhh, don’t tell!

We hopped in our rental car around 8 or 8:30 and headed to the San Diego Zoo. We had read that if you were trying to see the new baby panda, the morning was best because she’s only out until about noon. Plus, that early you don’t have to compete with school groups quite yet. It was a perfect day is Southern Cal with an expected high of 75. We headed straight to the panda exhibit which was quite a hike, but we were determined to see the ultimate cuteness at the zoo. We didn’t have to wait in line at that time of day and got right in to see the famed Xiau Liwu. His name means “little gift”, which of course with us anticipating our own little gift, we thought was pretty special:) He was pretty sleepy when we were there, but we were able to get some photos and watch his mama eat bamboo like it was going out of style. We actually went back to the panda exhibit to see them again a couple of hours later and Mom was flopped in a tree like it was a reverse hammock. It was pretty funny, and they are just the cutest things! Did you know there’s only one 24-hour window each year that a female panda can get pregnant? Talk about pressure! No “I have a headache” excuse for that species.

We continued to explore the zoo until about 1 p.m. Our favorites in addition to the pandas were the rhinos, camel (seriously – obsessed with him), elephants, koalas and orangutans. Of course, the San Diego Zoo is known for being the best in the country, and it really was a treat. It was big and full of anything you could ever want to see, but we didn’t find it overwhelmingly spread out or anything. Just stay hydrated and if you need a break, there are buses to take you through the zoo. Although we hoofed it (pun intended) most of the time, but we did hop on the Sky Ride once. Not only did we get a great view of the zoo from above, but you can see part of the San Diego skyline from there. Also, our little bundle got her first souvenir ever – a little stuffed panda to remember her first “sort of” trip to California. Savings tip: If you are a member of AAA, you can save 10% on admission!

After the zoo, we hopped on the very high, very wide and very busy bridge to Coronado. While we weren’t staying too near Coronado Island, I was told I must visit it, so we thought after the zoo made sense. It was a bit of a nerve-racking drive for Luke across that bridge, as he’s not overly fond of heights, but I thought it was kind of fun. You’re over the harbor full or boats and the view of the city is amazing. Once we were safely across, we lucked out and got a very close parking spot to the beach, which I hear can be an impossibility on the weekends.

The shoes I had worn, thinking they were “sensible” for the zoo had actually giving me heal blisters at the zoo. So, I was eager to take them off and walk on the sand. However, I did find out that walking on deep sand while pregnant is a slow-going method of transportation. But, on this perfect 75 degree day, the sands of Coronado Beach and the sparkle of the Pacific Ocean were unbeatable. We accidentally made our spot on the dog portion of the beach, so be prepared for lots of love and slobbers if you’re on that part. We decided since we’re more cat people, we’d hop up and head to the human side of things. The water was still chilly, being mid-February and all, but it was nice to dip our toes in the water while walking hand-in-hand up and down the shore. If you’re near Coronado for any reason – definitely make the pit stop and dip your toes in! It was lovely.

While I love beaches and could stay at them forever, Baby E. was telling my 2 p.m. was way past lunchtime, so we headed to the quaint downtown of Coronado to find a lunch spot. After our expensive seafood dinner the night before, we thought some casual cafe dining was just what the doctor ordered. We found Cafe 1134, an indoor/outdoor cafe and coffee shop. We decided to grab a table in front of the restaurant. They had a great wrap/side combo for less than $10 if I remember correctly. We both had the combo – me with Caesar and Luke with Greek (I think). We, as we often do, swapped halfway so we each had a little of both. They were very good, as was the pasta salad and the people-watching. People there seem so happy and it was amazing to me how Californians are all in such great shape. I guess when you have high temps year-round, there’s not much time to watch TV and overeat like here in the Midwest:) Jealous!

On our way back to our car, we stopped at the Visitor Center, as Luke just loves to go to museum-type places. Me – just beaches:) But, anyway, they have a very nice Visitor Center. Luke especially enjoyed the display about The Kingston Trio, one of his dad’s favorite bands.

After that, we drove back to La Jolla and took naps. Listen – pregnant ladies need their sleep! And, Luke was referring to my swollen feet as “hobbit feet”, so I figured a little rest was in order after a day of walking. We enjoyed the sunset from our balcony again. Words really can’t describe the majestic California sunsets. After a trip to the grocery store, we dined on pizza and ice-cream on our balcony. Such is the luxury when your suite has a kitchen! Stay tuned for Saturday’s adventures on a mountain and at the aquarium…

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