Way back on the 19th, we took the little girls to Knott's Berry Farm. 
Family photo +1 *

I thought that, even though it was a school holiday and admission was half-price, nobody but me would have this brilliant idea. Umm, wrong
Camp Snoopy was packed, although we discovered later the rest of the park was comparatively empty. 
We made it on to three rides in three hours . . . 

The girls weren't thrilled about standing in line, but for the most part they entertained themselves playing and climbing on fences in the matching My Little Pony leggings Granma purchased especially for this trip. 
And when they finally got on a ride?
 Joy and happiness!
Things went much faster once we left Snoopy behind.
We carouseled,
rode the steam train,
did the face painting thing - de rigueur with these two-
and I'm still surprised Leanne wanted a rocket ship instead of a princess/pony/girly design.
We wanted to take the girls on the stage coach and the Ferris wheel, but the lines were just too long. 
Instead, we toured the old graveyard - the beating-heart grave I remember from my first trip to Knott's is still there and the girls loved it - 
and the ice cream store, which Leia had spotted from the train. Now that she can read, it's much harder to sneak by ice cream/yogurt/candy stores without her knowing.

We took one last swing through Camp Snoopy so the girls could ride the hot air balloons 
before heading to Mrs. Knotts chicken restaurant for dinner (a treat for me and Pop - my favorite is the rhubarb appetizer and he loves the fried chicken.)
Sharing the iPad, aka Red Max

Needless to say, after walking over three and a half miles in eight hours, the girls were just a tad bit tired and slept all the way home. As did their granma.

 * The boy in the window kept photo bombing us, so his mom offered to take this picture. She was apologetic but I thought the kid was pretty funny.     


Friday, Continued

Part three of yesterday's adventure was a stop at the Sea Center Museum on the Santa Barbara Pier.
I love that the docents - mostly college-age kids - really encourage young visitors to touch things and ask questions.
Leia was in heaven. She loved it all, from the underwater viewing area,
to petting a shark (no photo, darn it), to touching just about everything in the tide pool exhibit.
Leanne? Little Miss 'I'll just look, thank you' was happy to follow Leia around but touching anything was not. going. to. happen.
Leia put her back into pulling up the (empty, darn it) crab net - 

then dropped a grabber-tool-thingee (technical term . . .) down to the seabed,
pulled it back up,
and sorted through the sand, looking for shells or sea creatures.
The museum also has a new-to-us exhibit with jellyfish - one of my favorites - 
and an octopus that was more active then any I ever remember seeing.
It's not a big museum, so we were in and out pretty fast, but it was fun and definitely worth the stop. And it provided just the right amount of extra exercise that finally convinced the little girls 
that car naps are a very good thing.




The little girls both had today off from school - in-service training for teachers - so we begged sweet-talked their parents into letting us have them for the day. 
One of Leanne's preschool parents had arranged a tour of our local In-n-Out, so we started our day there at 9 a.m.
We got to go behind the counter into the cook and prep areas, including the walk-in refrigerator - Leanne's favorite part. Leia was fascinated by the drive-up cashier's station, wanting to know what all the buttons and monitors were for.  You could just see her imagining herself working there, taking orders and being in charge.

The adults were more interested in the tour than the kiddos - 3 and 4 year olds don't much care about raw veggies and cleaning/slicing machines -   
but they sure loved the free burgers, fries and shakes at tour's end.
A friend recently raved about mentioned the Monarch butterfly habitat in Goleta - I'd never heard of it - so that was our second stop of the day. 
It's a half-mile hike from the parking lot to the sanctuary, 
and I could just see us having to carry one or both girls up and/or back, so we made a deal - 
anybody who walked both ways on their own, with no "up-ups", got their own snack pack of M&M's. 
Oh, the power of chocolate! Both revved up their cowgirl boots
and made the trek, 
although the hike up 
made Leanne tired and cranky for the return trip.
It's getting toward the end of the season - 
Monarchs migrate north from November to February - 
so there weren't as many butterflys in the grove as I'd hoped
but the girls were thrilled 
with every flutterby they saw
and the grove itself was so peaceful.
The hike was mostly flat and easy for the girls to walk. 
There were several other trails 
leading both along the hillside and toward the beach, which we may try on our next visit. 
And yes, we will definitely be coming back.