Traveling With Kids – San Diego Safari – The Best Yet To Come?

The Safari Day

Would this day be as epic as yesterday?

9:30am and the boys were still sleeping. That’s one of the signs of the apocalypse, I think.

They’d walked for hours and hours yesterday, ate what would feed a small village in Mexico, so perhaps it wasn’t surprising that they didn’t leap out of bed at 7.

Sleep is always good.

Like food.

I hadn’t gotten up either. I wrote in bed, having snuck my laptop out of its bag and tried to make some quick notes about yesterday.

However, we had to get going at some point.

The map: the key to any plan
The map: the key to any plan

Today was the Safari Zoo day.

No rides, as far as we could tell. Just animals.

Would that be enough?

We tried not to have concrete plans. Like 9-10, we eat, 10-10:15 boys brush their teeth, apply suntan lotion. 10:16 allow complaining about suntan lotion. 10:16-10:30, leave room, take elevator, get boys into car, 10:31-10:36 allow boys can poke each other in the eye while we check we have everything…

So we left it open. If we needed to see Legoland, again, we could have. But the boys wanted to do something else. Whew. I had no desire to return to Legoland. Therefore, the San Diego Zoo Safari was the choice.

We literally dragged the boys out of bed with promises of a visit to best waffle house in America. There was grumbling, some feet dragging, some complaining, and that was just me. Clearly the boys would have rather slept in until noon. I could totally understand.

Outside the weather still iffy. Grey. A bit chilly. No sign of rain.

But we weren’t fooled. We packed for all weather conditions. Rain jacket. Hoodie. Suntan lotion. First aid kit (which had come in handy yesterday when the youngest stubbed his toe so hard it bled.)

Best Waffle House?
Best Waffle House?

So off the waffle house.

It was just down the road. We (and by ‘we’, I mean the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world and I) wanted to eat quickly and head on. The boys had other ideas. They had locked into SoCal time. Do things slow and easy, man, slow and easy.

However, we kept them focused and made a plan of amazing things to see.

  • We would take the safari tour through Asia.
  • We would see some amazing animals.
  • We would not get out of the moving tour bus. Not even to pee.
  • We would not throw our poo at any monkeys, giraffes or rhinos
  • We would find hot dogs to eat.
  • We would not make faces at the gorillas.
  • No brother would push the other into the lion’s den.
  • We would see if we could find a popsicle.
  • We would have the bestest time ever.

The boys grunted which I took as agreement and we tore off at about 11.

The drive was eventless. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world navigated brilliantly. We’d paid ahead of time so we wouldn’t get any roaming charges on our phones down in the states. That way we could use the gps, txt each other and, at least one of us could IMG_2083check facebook to make sure the world hadn’t actually ended and no one told us about it.

So she used her phone to help make sure we never got lost, even when that little dot had us about 2 miles from where we were.

But when we arrived, our plans to take the cool safari tour were upset by the gods of travel who had something else, something amazing in store for us.


Thanks, again, to everyone taking the time to read my blog and sharing our adventures. Don’t be shy about sharing it. Blogs love to be shared. It makes them feel happy and warm and all snuggly inside.


Traveling With Kids – Dinner – Casa Guadalajara

The First Meal

How do you find a great restaurant in a new town?

It was the question we faced after Legoland. We could go back to the hotel, look online, maybe find something good. But, instead, the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world had an idea.

casa guadAs we drove towards the Old Town not far from our hotel in search of a Mexican restaurant, we drove by one with a huge line-up and she said, “that’s the place.”

Casa Guadalajara

So found parking, not an easy thing in the Old town, then after minor meltdown by a youngest, we marched to the restaurant and put down our names. We sat watching huge family after huge family make their way inside. Not HUGE as in overweight, huge as in mom and dad and kids and grandparents and, even, I suspect (after looking at one particularly shriveled little old lady), great-grandparents.

guadajara restWe waited for quite a while. I was worried the boys might start eating the cloth cushions, but we were finally seated It was warm inside, but not hot. It smelled of charring meat, warm tortillas and spices (chilli, I think). The floor was terracotta tiled, the walls a colorful orange with painted tiles, bright banners hung above the bar and from the rafters, and the staff served the patrons dressed in colorful ethnic outfits.


Mommy, there's no hot dogs on the menu
Mommy, there’s no hot dogs on the menu

The waitress came to our table. “Ola. Would you..”

“Margaritas,” said the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world, “Por Favor.” I want to say she pounded the table with her fist, but that just may be my memory of it all.

After her drink arrived, we ordered. I stuffed my face with the gigantic Burrito de Guadalajara (A large burrito filled with seasoned shredded beef, chicken or picadillo and refried beans, topped with sauce and sour cream. Served with rice and beans). It was so tasty, I began to speak Spanish. So did the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world after her second margarita.

The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world tried the Guadalajara Grilled Chicken Tacos (Soft corn tortillas with seasoned strips of grilled chicken breast, shredded cabbage, sliced avocado and our special white sauce. Served with a concha of black beans, cilantro lime fiesta cabbage, and pico de gallo.) and 19 Margaritas. It was that kind of day.

40lbs of tortilla chips later, the youngest is full but a little tired
40lbs of tortilla chips later, the youngest is full but a little tired

The boys were about as brave as they dared to be. The youngest, close to starvation and near death, ate his weight (and mine) in tortilla chips, and they both tried new things (in this case, fish sticks, Mexican style.)

We ate one of the best meals we’ve had in a long time.

We listened to a guitarist sing. We laughed at pictures from our adventures in legoland. We were surrounded by sound and life and families having a good time.

Check out the youngest photobombing his own family
Check out the youngest photobombing his own family

The secret, you see, was not just a place that the locals ate at, but the place local FAMILIES ate at. Moms and dads and kids and grandmas and granddads.

The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world knew that.


It was a great way to end a great day.