A unicorn, pausing at the Ocean's Edge
[Note: apologies on the delay in the post... I am still catching up on a large backlog of photos/stories -- ed.]
No weekend in Monterey would be complete without visiting at a one of Ronan and Nieve's favorite spots: The Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Ronan watches a leopard shark glide gracefully by
A leopard shark and a unicorn, eyeing each other
Given it was Halloween, Nieve and Ronan decided it best to wear their costumes. Ronan claims, "Neymar would love visit. He loves things that swim fast, like he runs." Nieve tried to convince me that, "Unicorns are magic. Fish would appreciate that."
Eagerly watching the penguin feed
I have no idea if either of them are correct, but I can attest to the fun they had being dressed up at the aquarium. During the penguin feeding the docent announced, "I see we have Neymar and his friend the unicorn in the the front row..." which elicited big smiles from Ronan and Nieve.
Neymar and Nemo - a photo request from Ronan
When we visited the Splash Zone (an area for young children), Ronan saw a clown fish swimming and said, "Dad - take a picture Neymar and Nemo!" Of course, I obliged.
Ronan says "hello" to his little friend (a puffin). In a kind, sweet way, not like Scarface.
Nieve acting cute for the murres and puffins
Ronan and Nieve love cramming into the small porthole together to watch the puffins and murres swim under the water
The puffin/murre exhibit is fast becoming a favorite due to the natural curiosity and assertiveness of the birds. Without fail, Ronan's able to get a puffin (or two) to follow him around as he walks back and forth across the large glass pane. Equally repeatable repeatable is his signature nose-to-beak greeting against the glass.
Nieve demanded that I take this picture of her. I have no idea why. But, when possible, I try to humor her requests. It was extremely dark (much darker than the photo reveals) and the camera's autofocus was having fits trying to find her. After several attempts we finally got an image that she was satisfied with. This is the result.
Ronan, always able to make friends with even the crabbiest of creatures
After our time with the aquatic birds, Ronan asked to get his hands wet. It's become a rule of his - we are not allowed to leave the aquarium without spending time at the touch pools. Ronan loves trying to pet the bat rays, while Nieve's favorite sea creature to pet is the urchin (go figure). This time Ronan and Nieve loved playing with the hermit crabs, letting them crawl over their hands and tickling their fingers.
Sparkly light always bedazzles Ronan. He'd be easy prey for an angler fish.
Nieve could happily spend a half hour quietly watching the happenings of the kelp forest exhibit
One of the secret ingredients of the aquarium is it's ability to sooth and relax children. When the excitement level gets too high, I simply lead Ronan and Nieve to the darker portions of the Ocean's Edge exhibit an let the gently swaying light do it's magic. The children, ensorcelled by the hypnotic movements and gracefully swimming fish, enter a quiet, more introspective state.
Of course, they are children, so down-time can only last for so long. Then it's back to sensory overload at the Wave Crash Tunnel where Nieve loves ramping up her screeches in anticipation of the water splashing onto the acrylic above her head.
...and the elated response!
Eventually we had pull ourselves from the fun given the night of trick-or-treating that lay ahead. It was clear, though, that spending Halloween in costume at the Monterey Bay Aquarium was a fantastic way to spend the day.