Back in the summer, I won a radio contest. The prize was “a trip to San Diego”. Really the prize is 2 nights in a nice hotel, 4 passes to SeaWorld, and 4 passes to the Wild Animal Safari park or the Zoo. So, no, it’s not a Free vacation, (since we had to pay for gas, 3 nights hotel, passes for the other two of us, and all our food) but it is a reason to go on vacation. So, for our fall break, we headed South. We picked up Megan from Snow College and made our way to Las Vegas on Wednesday night. Somehow we lucked out and got the BEST two room suite in the whole hotel. It was HUGE! The kids were So happy that everyone got a bed (or a sofa bed) and no one had to sleep on the floor. Free dinner at the hotel that night and they all frolicked in the pool. Not good to have the first hotel be the best, and I didn’t plan it that way. I’ve been burned by hotels before, and I always worry that the “good deal” I booked will be another crap hotel, but I did pretty well on this trip.

The next morning we drove and drove and drove to San Diego. When we finally got there and checked into our hotel (which was ok, but nothing like the first one. And the GPS took us through a sketchy area of town to get there, so I was worried!) and then we went to a lighthouse/museum and visitor’s center right on the coast. 036

It was beautiful. WE had fun looking at the waves before the tide came in.


At the visitor’s center, there was an armor display, so we “put on the armour of God”.

The next day we got up early, had breakfast at the hotel, and then went to Sea World. We had hoped that since it was Friday, instead of Saturday, it wouldn’t be as crowded. The temperature was perfect, around 75-78. Not TOO crowded, but of course we saw a family we know from Highland and kept running into them all day.
232 We went on the rides (Atlantis and the Rapids ride and the skyride and Mantis) and saw the shows243 (the pet show, the sea lion show, and the Shamu show) and had a fun day.
390 I noticed a skyride I didn’t think I had seen before, and really wanted to go on that. It was so beautiful to go up and over the bay!

The Seamore and Clyde sea lion show was Halloween themed, and I don’t think they had gotten it quite down. The Sea Lions didn’t really want to do all the stuff they were supposed to do. Oh, well.

The Killer Whale show was great, as usual, even with their conservation plug.
We were not sitting in the splash zone.

Of course, by the end of the day, we were pretty dang tired. We wanted to see the penguins and I got us sidetracked into the turtle place AND the shark place.

We wanted to see EVERYTHING, and since they closed at 5 for fall/winter hours, we had to really hurry.

Then we made our way to the Catamaran Resort and Spa, the hotel I had won. It’s one of those fancy places right on the beach that we normally couldn’t afford.
Wow. Beautiful! I had to pay extra to get a larger room with two double beds and a pull out couch, and I’m SO glad I did. We would have been tripping over each other and miserable in the standard room.
Out in mission bay with the ocean on one side of the street and the bay on the other, and the hotel opened right up to the beach. There was even a wedding there on Friday night. As we were playing on the beach, the wedding was happening right there on the grass.

Saturday we went to the San Diego Wild animal Safari park. We’ve never been there, so we chose to go there instead of the zoo. It was really a great place, but SO spread out, so there was a ton of walking.


One of our favorite things was seeing the lion cubs playing with their parents. SO adorable. And SO close. The Lion came RIGHT up to the glass where we were standing. Amazing.

The tram ride was great, too, as we saw so many animals! We took SO many pictures.

By the time we got to the tiger trail, everyone was just worn out. And those maps are not easy to figure out and we ended up walking up to the Condors when we didn’t want to, backtracking, etc. We had all just reached our grumpy points. We just had to find the nursery and see the baby cheetahs before we could call it a day. Adorable!

Back to the hotel so we could go to the beach, then out for dinner at a yummy mexican place right by the hotel.

Sunday we went to the Church historical Mormon Battalion site. I love how interactive it is now.
John got to put on the gun, canteen and hat.
WE even found an ancestor who marched. George Coleman from England. I’m pretty sure he’s one of our Coleman ancestors.

Panning for gold was cool, too.

We were sad to leave. Even sadder that we still had 13 hours in the car before we would get home. We stopped in St. George this time, and didn’t deliver Megan to Snow college until the afternoon on Monday, so she did miss one day of classes, but she’ll recover.

GREAT trip with the family.