Friday, December 21, 2007

San Francisco, Day 2

Jack did much better today and woke up at 4 instead of 2.

Today was a lot of fun for the kids. We met Marcy and her friend at the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito. The place is amazing. We started out in the Clifford room, where Jack's favorite activity was climbing a giant Clifford statue and sliding down his tail. Lily enjoyed writing letters to everyone in Clifford's down and delivering them to the various mailboxes in the exhibit. Unbeknownst to Lily and the other letter-writing children, Jack spent quite some time checking each mailbox, taking out anything he found and throwing it into the wastebasket in the letter writing area! I think he felt he was helping out the cleaning staff.

As we left the Clifford exhibit, who did we see but Clifford himself! Jack got really excited and started yelling "Cliff-FOOL! Cliff-FOOL!" We went over and Jack went right up and gave Clifford a big hug. Afterwards, Jack was jumping up and down and waving his arms with excitement as we walked over to the next area. I guess he really likes Clifford.

The next area we visited had a bunch of activities set up. Jack most enjoyed the moon sand table, where he used a pizza cutter-like tool, a rolling pin and a cookie cutter to play in the sand. Lily made a special peace flag that we took home with us to use in our top secret art project. She also played with the moon sand for a while. Both kids tried out the painting area, but thankfully grew quickly tired of it, as there were not enough aprons to go around. As it was, Jack ended up with green paint in his hair.

Next, we ate some lunch, and then went to play in the outdoor area. The kids really enjoyed this part of the day the most. There was a real boat that the kids could play on. It had a little galley and a room below deck at the front, and it also had a second story accessed by a little ladder. There were about twenty kids on it at once, and they were yelling "Abandon Ship! We're being attacked by a giant fish!" Everyone would either jump of the "ship" or hide below decks. It was pretty fun to watch. I did have to yell at an older boy who shoved Lily right down to the floor when she tried to steer the boat. After I said something, Lily turned to him and said "Yeah, my mom is trying to take a picture of me driving the boat, so you better share!"

There was a cave and a series of tide pools nearby, where the kids could look at the different types of animals and sea creatures that live in those areas. The tide pool was filled with plastic crabs and had a periodic rush of water to mimic the waves splashing in. Lily and I placed the crabs in different patterns to see how far we could get the waves to push them. There was a little boy next to us who screamed like a tea kettle every time the crabs were pushed toward the end of the pool. For some reason, he was really excited by the whole process.

There was a tower to climb, and Lily, who is usually nervous about things like that, actually made it up and then climbed down the rope ladder unassisted. I was so proud of her. Jack climbed up like a monkey -- he has no fear of climbing.

The next area had some broken ships buried in the sand, with the tools to allow kids to dig through the sand and find treasure. I found doubloons and Lily uncovered a tea set (the treasure was not removable). Jack enjoyed sweeping with the brooms and trying to clean up the mess.

Jack's favorite outdoor area was the construction zone. He used a shovel to fill up a dump truck with gravel and also enjoyed shoveling gravel into a funnel that shot gravel out the other side. While he was doing that, Lily and I climbed up some tree stump stairs and found a big bell to ring. Then we met Jim and Jack, who took us to this amazing house woven out of sticks. It was like a little maze inside and we all enjoyed chasing each other around in it.

When everyone was tired of playing outdoors we went to the tot area where they had a bunch of sturdy water beds for the kids to jump on. One of them was in a little round room that had a goldfish tank for a ceiling. Another one had padded lily pad pillows on it. The whole room had big round buttons with various animals, insects and birds on them, and when you hit the button, it made animal sounds. Jack really wore himself out in that room, let me tell you. At the end, he would come out and you should have seen me trying to run after him over the water beds while he laughed and laughed.

Lily, Jack, cousin Claire and her baby brother Andrew were very worn out by about 1:00, so we decided to leave and head back to the hotel. After some down time. Jim and I took the kids to Chinatown for dinner. The kids enjoyed the food and I had some of the best fried calamari I've ever tasted. Then we visited a few of the ticky-tacky Chinese souvenir stores and picked up some fun things for the kids. All in all it was a pretty fun day.

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