A Piece of Paradise

Sea World is without a doubt a place that everyone has to visit at least once in their life.  I’m a big fan of going to the zoo, but there is something really special about Sea World.  Maybe it’s because the animals all live in a world so different than ours, that they seem so completely amazing.  On one of our last days in San Diego we bit the bullet and shelled out the astronomically high admission fee to go check out the beautiful sea creatures.  Haley and Ryan, the cutest little brother and sister pair, lead the way and we were off!

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We made it to all of the shows, sitting in the splash zone and getting totally soaked during both the dolphin show, which was incredible, and the Shamu show.  Beneath cloudless, sunny California skies I fell in love with the otters, got up close and personal with the bat rays, and daydreamed of being the girl who gets to swim with the dolphins and swing on a trapeze for a living.  Some girls have all the fun!

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After we had our fill of Sea World fun we returned to Carlsbad for what would become one of my favorite nights of the entire trip.  Haley’s dad offered to have us over for dinner and a swim which sounded like the perfectly relaxing evening after a busy several days.  Feeling more than indebted to him after the surf lesson the day before, Kaitlyn got all of the fixin’s for desert and I took care of the salads.  It was the least we could do to return the favor of making our surfing dreams come true!

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With nothing but time on our hands we hopped back and forth between the pool and the hot tub for quite a while before our hunger got the best of us.

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Beyond the pool and the fence the sun was setting over the ocean turning the sky all shades pink, purple, orange creating the dreamiest, warm lighting for an outdoor supper.

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Grilled chicken and burgers came fresh off the sizzling grill to our plates where we tossed together all of our favorite toppings to make our perfect sandwiches.  Crisp, fresh spinach salad and vegetables were made even better by homemade dressing, and when you top it all off with french fries hot out of the oven our meal was complete!

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Between Haley’s hilarious teenage brothers Ryan and Kyle and their complete lack of pretense, entertaining us without even trying, and her dad’s unbeatable hospitality, it felt like we were a part of the family.  And really, you couldn’t ask for a more picturesque place to spend a summer evening!

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After dinner we decided to forgo the old tip to wait 30 minutes between eating and swimming, and hopped right back in the pool for a few rounds of Marco Polo (a.k.a. Marco Mengoni, if you’re playing the Italian rendition), the colors game, and everyone’s fair share of diving tricks.  Some time passed before we begrudgingly pulled ourselves out of the water, to start wrapping up the evening.  But before heading out we couldn’t forget about that delicious fresh fruit and ice cream that was waiting for us!

That night I was reminded that sometimes you don’t necessarily have to be doing anything at all to have the most wonderful time.  Southern California has some of the most beautiful views and most perfect weather in the entire world.  If you’re lucky enough to pair those two things with great food and amazing people you’ll find you have your own little slice of heaven right at your fingertips.

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