Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wild Time

Now that we're back from our trip to Florida I will try to summarize some of our days. Tuesday we went to the Homosassa Wildlife Park. This is actually a Florida State Park now, but it was previously a roadside attraction on US-19. You really have a hard time topping pre-interstate Florida for roadside attractions. This was the home of such celebrities as Flipper and Gentle Ben at one point. Now it is the home of alligators, manatees, and mosquitoes. We arrived just in time to catch the 20 minute boat ride from where we parked to the main park. It was a nice ride, but the mosquitoes were terrible. I think Amanda counted over a dozen that she killed on the way there.

Once we were there we checked out some of the animals, but we really wanted to catch the manatee show. The manatees were fun, but sitting still that long was kind of a mistake. I killed a mosquito on Noah's arm that had already eaten. That was a little bit gross, but at least it paid for its last meal.

Once we finished hearing all about how wonderful manatees are we took the tram back to our car, went to CVS, bought some bug spray that they had helpfully located at the front counter, and then went back for a lovely picnic. We went back into the park to check out what they had to see.

We saw some pretty big gators sunning themselves. We also saw a Florida Panther (not on skates) and various birds. I'd say the highlight of the birds was being within 10 yards of a bunch of bald eagles. Normally you see a bald eagle through binoculars when you're on a kayak or a canoe. This time they were right there. I'm not sure why they couldn't fly, but there they were.

After that we went to the Homosassa Butterfly House. The tour started with a short video that they had produced. It was a really beautiful video explaining the life-cycle of the butterfly. I noticed that they used the word "designed" to describe how caterpillars work and found that intriguing in contrast with the language used by the manatee park ranger. Lily corrected their use of "feeding tube" with "proboscis." Lily has a general dislike for bugs, but she is all about the butterflies. The highlight for Lily is that they let her release a butterfly into the habitat that they have set up for them. It was really neat, but Noah was pretty disinterested.

We ended the day with a visit with Amanda's grandma and dinner at her aunt and uncle's house. The kids got to take another dip in the pool, which of course they enjoyed. It ended up being a really nice day.