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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

The Panda Paparazzi At the San Diego Zoo – The U.S. Explorer

The U.S. Explorer hits day 29!

The Westcoast Blogger

Dear Parents of Trip #9 in ’09,

Day 29 out of 40- who can believe that the end of our trip is already ten days away! We’ve seen so much so far, and still have lots more to experience and we can’t even imagine what it’s going to feel like to say goodbye to each other. The last 9 days have been incredible as we made out way from Wyoming to Utah, and then to Vegas and now we’ve finally arrived in sunny California to enjoy the last leg of out 40 day exploration. Park City, Utah was fantastic and we all got to enjoy an adventure down the alpine coaster and a full day of fun at the Lagoon-a-Beach Waterpark and Amusement park. Lacy, Sarah, Stephanie, and Ally were enjoying the wave pool and the many other activities at the park.

The next day we made our way over to Glendale, Utah and enjoyed a hike through Bryce Canyon. The view was spectacular and everyone not only participated in the hike, but also made it right through to the end. Aron, Jake, and Ben were leading the pack as the hike was completed while Amanda , Becky T., and Becki R. rounded up the end. The next day was a beautiful day to hike the Grand Canyon and everyone enjoyed both the view as well as the great photo opportunities.

Saying goodbye to Utah, we headed to LAS VEGAS, Nevada for two amazing days of sunny weather and fabulous sights to see. After a delicious dinner at Buca di Beppo, we headed over to the Stratosphere to enjoy a view of Vegas from the top on Big Shot. Mitchell, Andrew , and Jack were able to get one the first rides of the night. The next day we paid a visit to the Forum Shops, located in the Caesar’s Palace hotel for a bit of free time, and then made our way to the Venetian before dinner. After a great dinner at New York, New York, we played some games at Gameworks. Evan Swas the champion on the virtual car games. We also enjoyed the seeing the M&M Store, Coca-Cola Store, as well as the Oxygen Bar and Aqua Massage Station.

After saying our farewell to Sin City, we began our drive to California- our first stop being in San Diego. We all enjoyed a great dinner at the Souplantation before heading over to Ultrazone for a friendly, but competitive game of LASER TAG! With 27, 004 points, Evan R. came first of the group while Ben G. and Zach A. came in second and third respectively. Our second day in San Diego was absolutely amazing. We spent the whole day hanging out on the beach with surf lessons in the morning and a full afternoon of surfing ahead of us. Everyone had an incredible time in the water, both swimming and surfing the waves. Austin Z., Jillian G., Jordan S., Rhianne V., Suzannah D. were hanging 10 in no time! Our fun filled beach day ended with dinner at Islands restaurant and an early night so that we could all be up and ready for a great day at the San Diego Zoo. The Zoo was great and we were able to take part in a guided tour and tram ride, and see a lot of the animals up close and personal. Lions and tigers and bears- oh my! We also got to see elephants, giraffes, monkeys and flamingoes. If you were lucky, you might have been able to catch the pandas at mealtime too! Ilana was like the panda paparazzi with the number of pictures she took. Nicole and Madison were amazed by the polar bears.

Now, it’s time to say goodbye to San Diego and make our way towards Los Angeles where we’ll get to do tons of amazing activities like visiting the Mann’s Theatre, Venice Beach, Disneyland, and Rodeo Drive!

Until next time,

Your Trip #9 in ’09 Staff