Our Kid-Friendly, Playground-Filled Trip to San Francisco! [Part 2]

IMG_0480 By now I know you have completely forgotten that we ever went to San Francisco… but there is more to share! But first of all — isn’t this such a sweet picture of Elliott and Lena?! I love those two blue-eyed people so much.

IMG_1677 To pick up where we left off, we were on Day 3 of our five-day trip to San Francisco, and our agenda for Saturday morning was to meet up with my college friends Emily and Anthony (who fell in love and got married after we graduated) and their two beautiful girls.

IMG_1691 We got kind of lost on our drive to meet them, though, and decided to check out Lombard Street as long as we were nearby. The crookedest street in the world! I’ve been on some crooked streets in my time, but I have to agree — this one wins.

becca-garber-san-francisco-5 Across the Golden Gate Bridge, a historic moment! We met up with our friends at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, which is a completely amazing place, all structured to delight and engage little minds and bodies.

IMG_1709 This thing they’re all bouncing on was a water-filled “lily pad,” like those water beds from the ’80s. More kids’ museums need to bring this idea back!

IMG_1704 View from the top of the hill outside the museum. We were surrounded by amazing, natural play structures and gardens outdoors, too. becca-garber-san-francisco-3 Streams to play in, giant building blocks that the dads wanted to play with too… you get the idea. It was awesome. Thanks for inviting us, Emily and Anthony, and I hope it isn’t too long before we can all play together again!

The rest of Saturday was a wash because the kids were still recovering from being sick and we all needed some time to curl up with books and take it easy. That afternoon we met up with my college friend Alison at another playground, and she and I got to chat and sip chai while Elliott followed the kids around the playground.

Afterwards we went home and I made pasta and Elliott said, “That really hit the spot,” and meant it, and you know it’s been a good day when you are so tired and full of delicious carbs and just happy.

becca-garber-san-francisco-2 The next morning we were up early to eat breakfast at the Ferry Building before starting a full day of adventuring. I took pictures of the building, shops, and my kids while Elliott waited in line at Blue Bottle Coffee.


IMG_0475 I bought cheese pastries and apple turnovers for breakfast at Acme Bread, which is famous for a reason.

IMG_0497 Latte, pastries, and a playground on a beautiful San Francisco morning… I could get used to this…

Right after it opened at 10am, we arrived at the doors of the Exploratorium, a science museum along the waterfront in San Francisco. We had been warned that it would be a little too advanced for our young kids, and our friends were right, but Lena and Gil still managed to have a lot more fun than I expected.

It helps to have a science-loving, super playful dad. ;)

becca-garber-san-francisco-1 IMG_0505 IMG_0532 IMG_1730 (1) This face-distorting photo machine had us all in stitches. Also, how fun is it to laugh with your whole family at a mutual, inside joke? Look at Lena’s face!

IMG_0572 After that we met up with our dear friends David and Heather and their boys to go on a boat tour of the San Francisco Bay. We see each other about once a week in San Diego and decided to do almost the exact same trip at the same time — what are the chances?!

IMG_0541 Goodbye for a little bit, San Francisco.

IMG_0543 The island of Alcatraz! After this Elliott and I went home and finally watched Escape from Alcatraz for the first time in either of our lives.

IMG_0558 IMG_0561 Afterward our bay cruise, we decided to get lunch with our friends, so we all hopped on a tram to ride down the waterfront back to the Ferry Building. These crazy kids loved it!

IMG_0592 IMG_1733 Lunch at Hog Island Oyster Co. was out-of-this-world amazing! The chipotle-roasted oysters were my favorite part of the meal… and the bread, of course.

IMG_0610 We had heard so much about a hotel in downtown that has a special discount for members of the military, so we decided to spend our last night there. The Marines Memorial Hotel was great — and so was this free happy hour in the upstairs lounge and the free buffet breakfast the next morning — but overall we loved our cozy neighborhood experience in our AirBnB better.

IMG_1735 On our last evening in San Francisco, we walked down to Union Square and then up to Chinatown at sunset.

IMG_1736 And then we caught the trolley up to Nob Hill! I unfortunately was man-handling the stroller for our entire trolley ride (it would not fit where the engineer insisted I had to fold and store it), but Elliott got to sit on the outside bench with the kids and I think they all had a great time.

We returned after sunset, tired and content, and all managed to share a hotel room that night with no problems whatsoever. A new era in our lives where the kids actually go to sleep pretty much when they’re told and sleep all night!

The next morning we went…

IMG_1758 … to Monterey! The last stop on our list was the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and we met up with our friends again to explore the waterfront and then the aquarium. Both were smaller than I expected (especially after the grandeur and scale of everything in San Francisco), but the wonders of the ocean world were magnificently displayed.

IMG_1772 IMG_1778 “That’s a clown fish!” “Nemo!” “Yes, a clown fish!”

IMG_1783 IMG_1784 This Open Ocean display was my favorite thing in the entire aquarium. It’s so huge, and the fish swim by so fast, disappearing into the depths and darkness for minutes at a time before reappearing, flashing by, and disappearing again. It gave me a greater sense of being in the real ocean than any other display that day.

And that was our trip! Oh, and we picked up a new family member on the way home:

IMG_1992 But more about her later. ;)

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3 Responses to Our Kid-Friendly, Playground-Filled Trip to San Francisco! [Part 2]

  1. Bethany November 18, 2015 at 11:46 pm #

    The San Francisco trip looks like so much fun. And I love that you visited Monterey and the aquarium! We lived just a few blocks up the street from the aquarium when we were living in Monterey, and we spent a lot of time at the there. So many fond memories. Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Katherine November 19, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

    So glad to see you back writing again! I’ve missed your posts!

  3. Joy November 19, 2015 at 10:09 pm #

    What a fun trip! We took a crazy trip through California at the beginning of October, and just missed crossing paths with you, I think. We didn’t have time to stop in San Francisco but drove through (looking at colleges!! Eek!!). I so badly want to go back. I have such fond memories of going there with my family while growing up.

    And Monterey! We didn’t even stop there this time! *heartbreak!!* We lived within walking distance of the aquarium, a block up from the Ocean View Trail. Monterey is also where we got engaged! Such happy memories! :-) :-)

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