Aviously

Because, aviously…

So in Part 1 I spoke about the great variety of animals at SeaWorld, but that’s only half of what there is to have when visiting, as their park is littered with rides and shows, all included in your admission price.

I am going to divide this into three parts…Shows, Rides, and Feedings.
With each of these, I can only touch on what I did and experienced so some things might be Halloween themed, or just not something I did.

Shows

  • Dolphin Days – I think dolphins are one of the more talented animals that a show can offer, with flips, “tail waves”, swimming backward above the water, and just being playful with their trainers. This show also adds in Pilot Whales and seeing these large creatures breach the water is a great sight.
    On a really hot day, sitting in those front rows is a real splash, and people are quickly scurrying to the back rows after getting soaked early on in the program.
  • Orca Encounter – The Killer Whales, made famous by Free Willy (or more recently Blackfish), are in a new large theater, and while waiting for the show to start, the animals like to hover at the top of the water and watch the screen showing clips of whales. It’s like a drive-in theater for whales!
    Similarly, you’ll have splash rows at this show, and a viewing stage front and center that’s placed much better than where the dolphins’ stage is
  • Sea Lions Live – A fun story featuring a pair of Sea Lions, and their Otter friend, include the usual Sea Lion shenanigans of carrying a ball on their nose, barking at the audience, and just playing around
  • They also have a “Pets Rule” and “Sea Rescue” show, which I didn’t fit into my schedule.

Rides

  • Bayside Skyride – A three-minute ride over one of the coves of Mission Bay, shows beautiful views and the former Orca exhibit
  • Skytower – Everything in San Diego has outstanding views, it’s just the nature of the city, and this one is no different, rising high above the center of the park in a slowly rotating tower car
  • Shipwreck Rapids – Get in a nine-seat hard tube and rush down a winding river, with soaking wet rapids and a waterfall. You WILL get wet on this ride, and when the weather is hot, it’s super enjoyable!
  • Other rides include:
    • Wild Arctic – A flight simulator over the Arctic Circle showing you up the area in close and personal
    • Journey to Atlantis – Your typical log flume
    • Manta Roller Coaster – a Multi-Launch roller coaster that takes deep dives just like a ray under water. The ride also goes through the ray pool (in a glass enclosure).

Feedings

  • Sea Lions – Buy a little french fry holder of four fish and feed the barking Sea Lions. It may not seem like it’s worth the money, but it definitely is. The Sea Lions will beg for your attention and wave for you to throw your fish their way. There is also something satisfying with fending off the aggressive birds who try to rip the food out of your hands
  • Bat Rays – These guys have a mouth under their body, and with the food in your hand, they’ll glide over and vacuum it straight out

SeaWorld San Diego was one of the best places I’ve ever visited, and I went multiple times over my trip. If I lived near there, it would be a weekly visit to see those fantastic animals and sights.

One of my favorite parts of how it is run is that once you are in the park, everything is included. There’s no need to purchase tickets for a show or ride, and no need for long lines to check said tickets.

Another awesome feature is that in a lot of zoos/aquariums you need to fight for space along the glass to see the animals and take pictures of them. You have families and Instagrammers crowding around, and you can waste a lot of your day waiting to see some animals.
But at SeaWorld, these crowded indoor exhibits (such as penguins and sharks) have a moving walkway, where you can get on and it slowly brings you through the exhibit, giving you an unencumbered view of the animals.
If you want to spend more time with them, loop around and take the walkway again.

The park is full of animals, and you can get really up close and personal with most of them as you walk amongst and through their exhibits. Heading clockwise around the park from when you walk in:

  • When you first enter the park, you are presented with a lot of things for the little ones to see and do, including a few touch tanks and a children’s play area
  • Wild Arctic – Walruses and gorgeous beluga whales grace the waters
  • Penguins – Penguin house with tens of Emperor and other varieties standing at attention for your photo pleasures, including some warm weather ones basking outside in the sun
  • Turtles
  • Shark Encounter – Walk under, over, and through shark tanks, watching these predators prowl the waters
  • Flamingoes – The staple of every zoo and aquarium in America, these pink birds stand around waiting for life to happen
  • Otter Outlook – Some of the cutest water animals at most aquariums, get overshadowed by the Dolphins here, but seeing them relaxing in the water is always a thrill
  • Dolphins – There is literally nothing keeping you from the water, as it’s one of the closest places you’ll get to these intelligent and playful animals
  • Orcas – Technically a type of dolphin, these killer whales are a sight to see, and as their time in SeaWorld winds down, it’ll get harder to see these beautiful black and white animals

As always with my travels, all pictures are my own!

Part 2, with shows and attractions, can be read here!

The Birch Aquarium is a nice little aquarium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, overlooking the beach and the Pacific Ocean.

  • Hall of Fishes – Following the currents of the Pacific, this walkthru exhibit has many native Pacific fishes and sea turtles
  • Seahorses – The different varieties of seahorses is amazing, and some of the ones you see there are truly unbelievable
  • Elasmo Beach – Sharks and rays, a lot of which are native to the waters just outside the aquarium
  • Tide Pool Plaza – Full touch tank, with varieties of sharks and crabs. Also has an overlook, where during the migrations you can see the whales swimming by
  • Kelp Tank and Infinity Cube

In the upcoming weeks, I’ll have a lot more from the attractions and sights of San Diego, in the order that I visited them,  and the Birch Aquarium (with its free parking) was a great starting point!

When going on vacation, one always looks to save money any way they can. One of the ways to do this by heading to “Smart Destinations” and purchasing a Go City Card.

These cards are available for a multitude of cities, including New York, Boston, LA, and San Diego.

You can go ahead and plan out your itinerary, and if done right you can save a lot of money…in my case over $200 from the base price of each location.
It isn’t always cost worthy, so price yourself out before you purchase!

This also means that you can go to places you may not have paid for otherwise, and you can leave after 5 minutes if you don’t like something, without worrying about just wasting money on admission.

Depending on the city, you can choose from 1-, 2-, 3-, 5-, and 7-day passes, depending on how long you are going to be in town; or you can choose a pass based on how many locations you plan on heading to.

So when I planned out my week in San Diego, I determined that the 7-day pass was best suited for my stay, and here are some helpful guides in case anyone else wants to head to the attractions and sights of San Diego.

Below you have two helpful tools that work well together:

The first is an excel spreadsheet that lists all the locations, listing the would be cost if you paid for it seperately, how many hours are suggested for visiting, and the times they are open (as of October 2017). It also has the cost of parking for some of the locations. Lastly, it lists a “Zone”, which I sorted out based on key locations (Legoland, SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, Downtown, etc.).

I then took those zones and plotted them on a map, the second tool below, which uses Google Maps and the MyMaps app.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me and ask!

Unless Southwest is running a great priced sale (because you can’t say no to low prices and two free bags), JetBlue will be my airline of choice for the future.

The positives for a JetBlue flight started off great, and just kept adding on, and here are some of their pros, which may have been limited to the Airbus A321, which a lot of their fleet flies:

  • Every seat has a TV with loads of free options:
    • Sirius XM Radio
    • Direct TV
    • TV Shows – Including some Amazon Prime Shows
    • Movies – Including some of the newest/hottest movies for free, including Spiderman: Homecoming and Wonder Woman at the moment, depending on the route
  • Free WiFi – No more having to pay for GoGo or having to download everything in advance, JetBlue’s high speed WiFi is good for whatever you’d like to stream
  • Texting? – I can’t tell you how it works, but I was texting on my flight…while in Airplane mode with my WiFi turned on…regular SMS
  • Outlets – Every seat had their own outlet, with multiple plug options, so no matter the country you are coming from you wouldn’t need an adaptor
  • Snacks and Drinks – They had an impressive amount of free options, and not the typical tiny bags of pretzels and peanuts, instead it was full sized bags of:
    • PopCorners
    • Terra Chips
    • Cheez-Its
    • Rold Gold Pretzels
    • Chocolate Chip Cookies (Abby’s)
    • Dunkin Donuts Coffee
    • Variety of sodas and juices
  • Want to buy some more food? Their lists were long including:
    • Crackers
    • Cheeses
    • Nuts
    • Brownies
    • Candies
    • Sandwiches
    • Yogurts
    • Wines/Beers/Whiskeys
  • Warm Compresses – These are surprisingly enjoyable after a six-hour flight
  • Eye Masks and Earplugs – Sitting on every seat when you get on for a red-eye flight…and with crying babies on board, and people on laptops, these are godsends.

My future flights will all be searched via JetBlue.com before I look elsewhere.

Last Sunday was the final day of the regular season for NYCFC, and with the Yankees in the playoffs City had to move out of Yankee Stadium for the second game in a row.

After a failed game in Connecticut, both because of a poor performance and a really low attendance, the front office was able to procure Citi Field for this match, and hands down it outshone everything about The Bronx.

For starters, and this one is slightly selfish, it was a much easier commute (albeit similar timing), with no tolls on the route. But when you got to Citi Field there was a strange sight…parking lots, with lots of space in them for cars and tailgating, all for $25.
In The Bronx, you have to park at least 10 minutes away to pay $25 or less, with costs in the $30-$45 range to park at the Stadium.

Once inside Citi Field it was a mix of good and bad.
I’ve always preferred the feel, as you can walk around the entire place in under 10 minutes, while Yankee Stadium feels like a trek to get just a few sections over, and because of the smaller feel, all the food stations are more easily accessible.

The seating was all facing home plate, so the seats were a little too slanted for soccer, leading to a lot of sidesaddle seating, but from there the sight lines were a lot better, and all the better seats were a lot cheaper than their equals at the Stadium.

Also due to this tighter Field was a lot louder an atmosphere than is to be had in The Bronx, and the 20K+ in attendance made the place intimidating for the visitors.

And of course David Villa had a brace, including this great header on a corner.

I would go back to Queens for a game in a heartbeat. Maybe Flushing Meadows will be their Stadium destination, as we expect an announcement before the end of the year…

On Vacation

October 23, 2017

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David (played by Craig Roberts) is in New York City, working on his directing, or rather, becoming a “production assistant” (read: intern) wasting time running errands at an agency for nine months…and getting rejected over and over, on his ideas and in his relationships, all while fawning over Annabelle (Allison Lanier), a costume designer at their agency, who is in a relationship already.

Mr. Getty (Paul Reiser) is still in jail, receiving conjugal visits and recruiting David to help make a video to help save the Red Oaks country club, which is up for sale to the Japenese.
Misty (Alexandra Turshen) is back lifeguarding while being a dental hygienist all while dating Wheeler (Oliver Cooper), who is taking education classes at Columbia (after finishing Cornell…it’s amazing how well his brain works now that he’s given up weed), Nash (Ennis Esmer) is still pretending to instruct, while Sam (Richard Kind) is divorced and finding love.

Nash: What’s the situation in the showers?
Getty: Not gonna lie to you…The water pressure is not good.

This was announced as the shows final season, and the six episodes rightfully fly by. While all other seasons focused on the club, this season mostly takes place in NYC, and it’s a good season, but the weakest of the bunch, getting a 7 out of 10.
But when it’s all said and done, I’m glad they wrapped it up, instead of playing it out for too long.

There is no denying it. Whether you like the Yankees or hate them, they are making baseball great again.

For years those talking about the future of baseball, and how Bryce Harper would be the one that would get people to watch again. And then it became Yasiel Puig. And all the while it should’ve been Paul Goldschmidt and his career average of .299.

But the storyline this postseason, as Harper and Goldschmidt got knocked out in the first round, and Puig isn’t pulling in the excitement, is the powerhouse in The Bronx that is lighting up baseball.

And it really doesn’t matter (in terms of this) if they move on to the World Series.
Simply the way this team has come back twice from being down in a series 2-0, and have gone up against the best pitchers the League has to offer to mount those comebacks, turning their own pitchers into household names.

Luis Severino, who only managed to get thru a single out of the Wild Card game, has shown glimpses of why he is the next Yankees Ace, and one of the Top pitchers in baseball. That’s not to put down any of the other starters, as Masahiro Tanaka has brought his A-game, CC is as clutch as can be, and Sonny Gray has proved why we went out and got him.
And when it comes to the bullpen, despite Dellin Betances completely falling apart, they have been fully loaded this postseason, including the other 8.2 outs of that Wild Card game.
Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson have been go-to’s, while Aroldis Chapman has closed out as needed.

But all of that pitching greatness has been overshadowed by the lineup of Baby Bombers and veteran leaders, and as highlighted by their eighth-inning Game 4 batting through the order, they are all participants in this great playoff run.
Going around the field they are all pitching in, Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez are bringing the fireworks, Brett Gardner showing grit and leadership, Sir Didi proving his Knightness, and Chase Headley crushing any past talk about him being a waste of money.
This isn’t to forget about Starlin Castro or Aaron Hicks…they are just afterthoughts in this crew.

Meanwhile, Todd Frazier has become the face and life of the Yankees dugout, and after a Mets fan graced him with a Thumbs Down, it has become the symbol of the 2017 Yankees.
And looking at history, underdogs always seem to have some sort of ritual that pushes them through their tougher games, most famously the 2002 Angels and their rally monkey.

Obviously, as a Yankees fan, I want the Yankees to win.
But as a baseball fan, watching the last three games, it’s hard to see how they won’t win their 28th Championship this year…unless the team that just can’t hit shows up again.

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