So....the trip was interesting. Atlantic City is a nice place...for adults. Luckily, the time we went was the off season and it was pretty calm and relaxed. There isn't a lot for kids to do, but the beach and the aquarium were good, and since we were only there for 2.5 days, it was just right.
We left around 5:30 am on Thursday, dropping Finn off at my sister's on the way. The boys were up til late the night before, they were so excited, which actually was okay. This meant that Karter zonked right out again, and Kian fell back to sleep after an hour. Both slept the majority of the trip, with just one rest stop. Although, we did have to pull off by a toll booth and clean Kian up, as he threw up all over himself. Fun! He's never done that before. But, sausage biscuit from McDonald's at 6am with a ton of water and barely any sleep while driving over Pennsylvania hills will do that to you I guess. After that, it was smooth sailing.
It took almost 6.5 hours including the 2 short stops, which wasn't bad. WE got there around 12:30. We pulled up and there was valet parking (same price for what you had to pay to park at the hotel anyways, so why not?) the bell hop loaded our bags and suitcases on a cart and they brought it up to the room while we checked in. Any time we went some where I just showed my ticket to the cashier at the front door and the valet brought the car around. Ahh yes. That combined with the housekeepers who snuck in while we were out and made the bed, cleaned the bathrooms, brought clean towels and vacuumed? Priceless.
The hotel? Oh man. The Tropicana. Definitely an adult hotel. Not racy or anything, but it was massive--like it's 5 square city blocks. Seriously, crazy. There's a mall INSIDE it. Several dozen restaurants and several dozen shops and stores, 2 floors of casinos, 4 towers of hotel rooms. The problem? Our room was in the tower farthest away from the beach and entrance to the hotel. It literally took us about 12 minutes to leave the room, go down the elevator in our tower, through "the Quarter" (the Cuban 'district' in the hotel itself) take the escalator down through the shops, walk through the casino, take the escalator down to the main floor and walk across to the outside door. Sheesh. Thank God for the Boba carrier! I did this by myself a few times as Kevin was in his trainings and conferences. I did end up going to Target and snagging an umbrella stroller since we had left ours at my mom's a few weeks ago. That way I could keep Kian contained and not wandering into the slot machines as well, or if someone got tired...
Thursday we hung out on the beach and walked up the boardwalk to the pier (one of them) and then had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, Kian's pick. It was a good place to take kids for sure. It thundered, lightninged, was loud, had monkeys and gorillas and parrots and elephants moving and making noise every 10 minutes. That definitely drowns out any toddler yelling and preschool protesting. After a detour in the room, we went back to the beach and boardwalk, bought some cheap sand toys and enjoyed the setting sun. We were beat by then and all crashed fairly early. Karter, as I figured, had some difficulties staying asleep. He slept with Kian in the bed and woke a couple times whining/crying but not completely awake. I just had to reach over or come and pat him and he was back out pretty fast.
He was still tired on Friday morning, that after I got them all ready and Kian was watching a cartoon, he fell back to sleep on my lap. We hung out in the hotel room for a bit and then went to check out the town and Target. Oh yeah, that was happy 30th birthday to me. That monthly friend, Kevin leaving early for training and crabby kids...nice way to wake up. Hmm.. Kevin then got out early from the training and we met him for some lunch and more beach play and boardwalk-ing. It was in the upper 60s but the sun was shining and it was beautiful. The ocean air was good for our hair, since the boys and I sported some curly do's, Karter especially. Here...it gets a bit hairy...Karter zonked out in the stroller, Kian and I wanted seafood for dinner and were headed up to the Pier for a seafood restaurant. But, Kevin's team member/friend/coworker and his family wanted to do dinner with us...so...I gave up my decision of birthday dinner to meet them...back at the Rainforest Cafe. Um, hello, did that last night, ugh. So...I am owed a dinner of my choosing, thank you very much!
Saturday morning we all woke up early and packed up and checked out. Kevin went to training, I took the boys to breakfast and then the aquarium. This was the hit. I was expecting this huge, state of the art aquarium. Um, no. I turned on the road, didn't see anything, turned into the parking lot (gravel) by the sign and saw a small octagonal building, with brown wood shingles. Um, huh? Well, we had nothing else to do. The kids were free (yay) so I only had to pay for myself. It was small: 2 small stories, with only 5 small tanks on the first floor and the second floor had some reptiles and amphibians (aka snakes and frogs and lizards). But, the coolest part was the touch tanks! The boys got to walk up to this low, long tank and touch dogfish sharks--don't worry not dangerous, and sea urchins and star fish. We watched a diver go in the biggest tank and feed the fish. Then we went upstairs to see some other things and, in my opinion and Kian's too, the best part ever--baby sting rays! There was a tank with various rays, all small baby ones. Some were just bigger than my hand and some were about 2 feet wide/long. For $2 you could buy a cup of fish to feed them. Keivn and I touched sting rays in VA beach on our honeymoon--very cool, they feel smooth, slippery but not slimy, almost like wet velvet. These things are awesome, they're like puppies! They come right up and want to be petted and fed and are so friendly. Kian spent probably 45 mins of the hour and a half we were there at the ray tank. Karter did not enjoy it and wanted no part of touching them.
Luckily for us, Kevin decided to cut out early and wanted to head for home. It was looking like rain and with no hotel room to go to, the boys and I would be pretty crabby in the car wandering around for things to do. We grabbed some lunch and headed off. Buhbye....that was all. It was a nice little mini vacation to get out of the house and see some new stuff, but not exactly relaxing. The driving 6+ hours for just being there 2-2.5 days was not so thrilling. The boys were great in the car, slept or talked or looked at books and listened to music. Neither fell asleep on the way home like I thought they would. The closer we got to home, the wider awake they became and more excited they got. Interesting. Would I go there again? Eh, if I somehow got a windfall to spend at a casino-land. But, that's not really for me. You can sit on a beach closer to home, too. But, I am more determined to go back to Boston and now I need to make a trip to Philly!
I'll get some pictures up soon...