The other day, T and I took our annual pleasure cruise from Alamitos Bay into Rainbow Harbor here in our hometown of Long Beach (CA). While we normally take this little boat trip with Grandma (my mom) once a summer, we had a chance to join a bigger group this time out and earlier on in the season, all thanks to our play group and them now making Long Beach Transit’s AquaLink a new summertime tradition of their own as well!
Our group took off out of Alamitos Bay Landing (near McKenna’s – thanks again to them by the way for the pile of two-for-one coupons!) on the “slow boat” over to Dock 4 inside of Rainbow Harbor near the Aquarium of the Pacific. The one-way ride lasted about 45 minutes, where the express route of Alamitos Bay Landing to Dock 4 direct takes just 30 minutes. We had been planning to take the express outbound but when we showed up, the other boat was already there and waiting, almost like it was waiting just for us; given it wasn’t that much longer of a ride time overall (it actually left 10 minutes earlier than the other boat would have, and took just 15 minutes longer), we happily hopped aboard.
The kids had a great time on the AquaLink hanging out, having snacks, and looking out over and into the water during the ride. The adults enjoyed the trip, too, either by way of pleasant conversation, showing the kids different things out the window or off the bow and stern decks, or with a nice drink in hand. Wait, did I say that? OK, so I’m the only one who had a drink-drink, but what can I say? It’s a tradition of my own, and it truly is one very nice perk of the AquaLink given riders usually are not driving anywhere for hours (please always exercise responsible behavior, RMT’ers!).
Once off the boat, we walked along the boardwalk and explored Shoreline Aquatic Park out on the peninsula (the large open park space that culminates with the Lions Lighthouse for Sight). We started with a brief stop at the Aquarium of the Pacific’s outdoor mosaic and fountain “The Wave” and “Rios de la Vida”, then made our way over and around the other side of the building into the park where the kids got to climb the big anchor, run on the paths and through the expanse grassy areas, amble up to the lighthouse, roll down hills, and check out some crabs in the rocks. We set up a nice picnic where we parents could sit and eat while the kids ran wild. There really could not have been a better way to spend a summer afternoon!
After our two-hour outing (we were limited to two hours off-boat due to AquaLink schedules on the weekday), we made our way back to the Dock 4 and express-returned to our dock of origin.
If you should find yourself in Long Beach sometime before Labor Day, RMT’ers, consider using the AquaLink as a fun transportation alternative. With boats chartered from Catalina Express, Long Beach Transit really offers a nice alternative to just taking the Passport bus to and from neighboring coastal neighborhoods into the downtown areas and saves you a ton on parking beachfront (parking in several surrounding Alamitos Bay Landing parking lots is free). For just $5 each way (and really way cheaper as the 2-for-1 coupons are abundant, available from pretty much any business located near the docks where AquaLink and Aquabus service along with weekly advertising and coupons in the local Grunion Newspapers), you can enjoy your own three-hour (or however-many-hour) tour with AquaLink. And if $5 is just too steep and you are staying inside of the downtown area, you can hop on the Aquabus for just $1 each direction per person. Kids two and under are free.
Bon voyage, and thanks again to LB Transit for another great AquaLink experience! Now we just need to get my mom back here later in August for another visit before AquaLink wraps for another season. Cheers!
PS – Don’t forget to vote once-daily for “Real Mom Time (RMT)” in Circle of Mom’s Top 25 SoCal Moms of 2012 contest now through Wednesday August 22! Just click the button above to link-through and vote NOW!