On those days when our children weren't spending time at the Zoo, Sea World, Legoland or Chula Vista Nature Center (an absolutely wonderful attraction in the south bay), chances are they were either playing at a local park ... or ... spending a day perusing Balboa Park and the incredible museums.
The architecture, alone, of the buildings in Balboa Park are stunning.
But then there are all the attractions around the park that make it even more cool to visit.
On the weekends, there is the carousel ...
And the little butterfly / plane ride ...
And the small train that does a loop within the park.
(Because all of my photographs are scattered between two computers, and I don't happen to have pictures of the Balboa train on this computer, this is instead a photo of the Chula Vista Steamers. Which is also very cool and open to the public on select weekends.)
Every Tuesday, different museums within Balboa Park are open to residents of San Diego, free of charge. While this is a great perk, Charlie and the kids especially favored the Science Center and the Museum of Natural History, so that is where we spent the majority of our time.
I'm not sure if I've mentioned it, but the kids are going through a MAJOR dinosaur phase at the moment. William, in particular, is completely enamored with everything dinosaur.
My son is like a walking encyclopedia when it comes to these prehistoric creatures. He knows all about bird hipped, lizard hipped; carnivores and herbivores. Where they lived. What they ate. How some traveled in packs and others had a solitary existence.
As he often does, a few weeks ago, he was pretending to be a dinosaur. First he was a deinonychus. And then he was a velociraptor. Then, as he was flipping through a book he saw a dinosaur that he thought was worthy of re-enacting.
But before he launched in to this new dinosaur "character" and requested that I make him an exact replica costume for Halloween (he has asked me to sew him more costumes than I can count, obviously my poor child doesn't yet understand Mommy's inability to properly thread a needle) he asked, "Mom, what kind of this dinosaur is this?"
I glanced over - and having taken a year of paleontology as part of my geology undergraduate studies - felt fairly confident that it was a hadrosaurus. So that's what I told him, without even looking at the book to confirm my conclusion.
For the next few days, he pretended to be a hadrosaurus. It wasn't until he was watching Dinosaur Train on PBS that he just so happened to see that that what he had been told was a hadrosaurus was actually a parasaurolophus (!!!!) and his faith in my dinosaur knowledge was terribly shaken.
My small son took me by the hand and asked me to sit with him where he told me that it was OK if I didn't know what kind of dinosaur he was researching, because together, we could look it up on the "pomputer." Then, he invited me to go with him to the museum where hopefully (and I quote), "I can grow my brain and learn as much as he does about dinosaurs."
We'll certainly miss Balboa Park and the museums of San Diego. But from what I understand, they've got a quaint little museum in Washington that houses a dinosaur or two?
I have a suspicion that will be one of our first stops.
Hopefully, I'll have ample opportunity to grow my brain there.
It couldn't definitely stand to go up a size or two.