Kyla and I took a long weekend back in September, planned well in advance for the specific purpose of taking Alex and Erica out to the coast for a tour of the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. (Who did they have to kill to nab “”, anyway?). The kids and I had been there before, during the years between Keiko’s departure and the completion of the underwater passage exhibit, which we were keen to see.

Crazy aside: We ended up renting a Chevy Malibu sedan from Enterprise; the previous renter brought it back because it was too old. If that car was manufactured before 2004 I’d be stunned, people. “Too old?” As Kyla said, “Let me show you my beat up old Ford Escort, lady.”

At any rate, after a few hours’ travel spent kibbutzing and listening to Daft Punk and other odd road-music selections, we arrived and proceeded to wander the length and breadth of the place, looking at fishies and crustaceans, snapping photographs, and amusing ourselves with silly banter.

Photographs, I said!

Some of the pictures make for good journal fodder, so we’ll highlight them…

Both of the kids tried their hand (as it were, ha ha!) at the “Crab claw grip” contraption to see if they were as strong as a crab’s claw.

Modern kid-friendly museums love to have a “crawl inside” exhibit. This one was more amusing for those on the outside than for those on the inside, especially since the crabs were all facing outward so the view from inside consisted mostly of crab butts.

Allow me to introduce to you the stuff of nightmares: The Japanese spider crab.

Much like during the previous visit, Erica took full advantage of the opportunity to play in the tidepool exhibit. (I honestly have no idea where Alex wandered off to during this part of the tour… much like last time, come to think on it.)

The highlight of the aquarium experience is a walk through the underwater passage. Unfortunately, photographs taken from the inside of a curved transparent reflective surface tend to come out… poorly. I guess you truly had to be there, but here’s an idea of what it was like.

It took a few tries, but I was eventually able to get a picture in which both of my children were smiling.

I think we all had a good time… even if I had to convince my kids to show it!