Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Trip Story: Malibu and Santa Barbara

I'd better finish writing about our spring break vacation before I forget the details!

Earlier, I wrote about the two days we spent in Santa Monica. Since it only takes a couple of hours to drive from Santa Monica to Santa Barbara, we had time to take the scenic route. We headed up the coast, and stopped for morning snack in Malibu.

The kids were excited about Malibu because Mr. Snarky got them hooked on a ridiculous YouTube show called Barbie in the Dreamhouse, which is exactly what you think it is from that name. It is an animated version of Barbie and her friends, and it is set in "Malibu."

But of course, Barbie's "Malibu" is nothing like real Malibu, or at least not the part of real Malibu that nobodies like us can see.

Still, there is a nice lagoon/bird sanctuary.

The Malibu lagoon
Fun story: as we pulled into the parking lot to check out this lagoon, we saw a school group heading in. Then, in the parking lot, there was a fancy catered lunch, with tables with tableclothes and a couple of food trucks. I am ashamed to admit that my first thought was "damn, school field trips are different here!" In fact, it was a film shoot, and the fancy lunch was for the film crew, not the school kids.

(We couldn't tell what they were filming. It was a surf scene, but the surf was lame, so we're pretty sure it was a generic surf scene for a film/show not about surfing. We didn't recognize anyone, but I would not recognize anyone from even the most famous shows, because I only watch ancient Midsommer Murders, cheesy Dutch mystery shows (Heer & Meester), and delightful New Zealand mystery shows (Brokenwood Mysteries), none of which would be filming in Malibu.)

Anyhow, after admiring the view and the grounds of the old house from which we could see the view (the Adamson house), we headed to a nearby mall I'd chosen as a likely snack stop. There isn't any reason to dwell on that, unless you're into $400 sneakers. (I am not.)

From Malibu, we drove to Ventura for lunch. Ventura is a nice town, but all we did there was eat lunch and take some time to play on the playground. Then we headed on to Santa Barbara.

We were too early to get into our vacation rental, so we sat on the beach. That was nice.

Also nice: the view from our vacation rental once we got in:

Not a bad view

My parents arrived in Santa Barbara at about the same time we did (having had lunch with us in Ventura). My sister arrived by train a little later, and a good family friend arrived by plane later still. Most of our time in Santa Barbara was about being with family and our friend, but we did do a little sightseeing.

Pumpkin is a 4th grader this year, and in California, 4th graders do a project about the missions. She did her project on Mission Santa Barbara, and so she was keen to go check it out. We did so, but could not go in the actual church, because it is still a church and there was a funeral that day.

Still, Pumpkin was happy to at least see the Mission, and she liked seeing some of the exhibits in the museum.

Mission Santa Barbara

The next day, we gave Petunia her wish for the trip, and took her to see the Santa Barbara Zoo, It is much smaller than our zoo, but it has its own charms, such as a dinosaur show.

Dino show at the zoo!
The penguin exhibit was also a hit, as was the train. Honestly, a train ride and dinosaurs in one stop is enough to make Petunia a very happy kid.

The real highlight of Santa Barbara for the kids, though, was being just a block and a half from the beach. It wasn't really swimming weather, but it was fine "play on the beach in the sand" weather, and they had a blast.

On Sunday, we had to pack up and head home. We drove home in a single day. We broke up the drive with a stop in Santa Ana for lunch at Polly's Pies (pretty good!) and a visit to the "cube"- the Orange County Discovery Cube, which is a kids' science museum. My kids had seen the big black cube from the freeway a few times, and so were interested to see what was inside.

The Cube
Inside is a decent science museum, but it was packed the day we were there. Still, the kids had enough fun that they didn't mind getting back in the car for the remainder of the drive home.

All in all, it was a really great spring break. Sadly, the rest of April has not been so idyllic. There's been a lot of fun, but a little too much hecticness (yeah, I know, that's not a word, but it describes April perfectly, so it stays). Here's hoping I can catch my breath in May, before the end of school year rush sets in.


  1. Our trip was in the opposite direction--I need to write a post about that--but we go to Santa Barbara every year, and that zoo is Baguette's favorite place in the world. Mr. Sandwich and I like it, too. It's small, but it's really pretty. And it doesn't hurt that being so close to the ocean means that it's always fairly cool, too!

  2. Angelenos call a 7-mile continuous stretch where billionaires have blocked off public access to the beaches that we (Californians) own "the Great Wall of Malibu." It's just another instance of billionaires grabbing stuff that belongs to us because they can. Anyway, they won. I haven't been there in years.


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