Jane Anne’s trip to Monterey Bay

Jane Anne has had a deep love and interest in squid since she was about six: she sleeps with Maroon, her stuffed squid every night, has written an ode to them, painted pictures of them, and read every book in Abilene on them.  It’s a unique and delightful part of who she is.

You may not be aware, though, that squid are really hard to keep in aquariums.  They have very short life spans and tend to live in deep waters.  And, since JA hasn’t been diving off the coast of Japan, she had never seen a live one.  When the Monterey Bay Aquarium (an amazing place in itself) announced its upcoming exhibit “Tentacles: the Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes,” I knew I had to take Jane Anne.  We surprised her with the news as her 11th birthday (and going to 6th grade) present, and we headed to California in April.

It was an incredible trip.  I loved spending those days with my girl doing exactly what she loves best: biking, picnicking, exploring tide pools, hanging out in the aquarium, learning, laughing.  Here are just a few glimpses at the fun Jane Anne, Maroon, and I had.

Our first day there, we picked up a picnic lunch, rented bikes, and headed up the coast.  We stopped at whatever places JA thought looked good and explored, biking all the way up the peninsula.  We saw crabs, anemone, coral, and harbor seals, and marveled at the beauty around us.

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The second day, we headed to the aquarium as soon as it opened.  She loved seeing all the exhibits, but the squid were amazing (in fact, she teared up at seeing them), and the behind the scenes tour was fascinating.

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We also got to have some ice cream and visit with our  friend, Peggy Langford, who used to be the librarian at the girls’ school and was a huge encouragement to Jane Anne.  She graciously shared her aquarium guest passes with us.

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Our last day there, we headed back to the aquarium to say goodbye to the squid and headed up the coast toward San Jose.  We had another picnic and explored some more tide pools before getting ready to come back home.  I can’t imagine a better trip with my squid girl.

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