For Christmas, instead of getting each other stuff, Paul and I decided to plan a vacation. After months of waiting, that vacation is finally here! We got an unbelievably amazing deal on Living Social for a really cute eco-friendly hotel in Long Beach, Washington, and we'll be here four nights. Day 1 of vacation was the drive up to Long Beach. We decided to take the longer route and go up along the coast, and while we were there, we made some pit stops along the way.
The first stop, about two hours into the drive, was the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Oregon's aquarium and zoo are really amazing, and put a lot of effort into research and rehabilitation instead of into touristy attractions. I hadn't been to the aquarium in years, and this was one of the things I was looking forward to most on our trip. We spent over two hours there. It was so fun. We saw the puffins, sea lions, seals, and otters all get fed!
I wore my whale earrings Paul got me, which I thought were appropriate for a beach vacation.
My favorite part about the aquarium was the exhibit called Passages of the Deep. It was so amazing! There were stingrays, sturgeons, eels, lots of fish, and sharks! I was so excited to see the sharks. And they were huge and kind of terrifying and awesome.
The flash on this picture is horrible, but LOOK AT THAT SHARK!
The puffins were much cuter than the sharks. I learned that the ear tufts, white face, and orange striped beak only appear after sexual maturity and only during the spring! The rest of the year puffins are pretty plain looking. Also, there was a to-scale replica of a megalodon shark that lived over 2 million years ago. It was like a 60 foot great white shark. Scary.
The aquarium also had this area for kids with stone statues to climb on, but there were no kids around, so Paul and I took on that role very seriously.
After the aquarium, we stopped by Devils Punch Bowl, which was beautiful. Paul has a McMenamins Passport, and when you go to a McMenamins, usually after solving a riddle, they stamp the passport and then they give you free things, like pint glasses, t-shirts, magnets, and sometimes free food! The McMenamins we stopped at in Lincoln City gave us a free pizza. It was delicious. Then we kept driving. Then we stopped in Tillamook to go to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. We sampled all the cheese and then got some ice cream (cake batter and salted butterscotch).
Then after lots more driving we made it to Astoria. We made a quick stop at the Goonies house! The Goonies was one of my favorite movies growing up, and Mikey's house is a real house. Someone actually lives there, but they let you park a few blocks away and then walk up to take a picture. There were five other people there when we got there, and this was just a random Monday afternoon, so I can't imagine how busy it gets on a weekend. So thank you people at the Goonies house for letting us bother you, but your house is a national treasure. After ten hours on the road, we finally made it to Long Beach last night. We ate the most delicious dinner in the world at the restaurant in the hotel. The hotel, by the way, is so cute. It's called Adrift, and they have free beach cruiser bikes in the lobby, so that's what I'm off to do now. There will be more blog posts to come.