Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Our Trip to the Florida Aquarium

We headed to the Florida Aquarium one cloudy day during our vacation.  We had our Tampa city passes and once again were able to bypass the ticket line and head right into the aquarium.

On the ground floor we ran into their mascot and Alec was the only one willing to take a photo with her.

We spent a bit of time at the tank searching for shark's teeth and shells.

We headed upstairs to where all the animals are kept.  We saw lots of animals and our favorite was the otter who was playfully swimming back and forth and in circles around and around the tank. 

American Alligator 

Diamond back terrapins 

This snail was coming out his shell and walking all around 

Learning all about penguins during an animal talk 

pregnant sea horses

Learning about armadillos

It only took us a couple of hours to tour the aquarium but we had a good time watching the fish and learning about all these sea creatures.

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Love to Learn Linky-- The Week We're Sharing Pictures from our Zoo Trip

We are slowly starting to get back into our schoolwork.  We had three weeks off with our family vacation to Florida (am I the only one who needs three weeks to prepare, vacation, and recover?!).  I can not wait to tell you all about how much fun we had. We went to a zoo, the aquarium, the ocean, Busch Gardens, and so much more.   Is there anything better than fun, engaging, hands- on learning?  I just don't think so.

Here are a few of my favorites memories from our trip to the Lowery Park Zoo.

You can read more about our trip to the zoo here.

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Our Day at Busch Gardens

The weather was supposed to be party cloudy with little chance of rain and we thought that would be perfect for checking out Busch Gardens.

It ended up misting off and on all day but with so few people in the park we didn't mind at all!

We were told typically they have 12,000 visitors a day and on this particular day there were just around 2,000.

We had no wait times for anything and managed to see everything in just one day.

We had a fabulous time!!

Once we were through the main gates we decided to head off to the left into the bird garden area.  We saw lots of animals and birds.  The boys were so excited to see that we could buy a feed cup and feed some kangaroos!

We were encouraged to pet the kangaroos below their heads and boy were they soft!  We then went on to see lots of birds. 

I loved that many of the animals were right out in the open along the normal paths and we didn't have to go looking for them.

We made it around to Stanleyville and rode our first ride!  My husband and I tried out Sheikra; it has a 90 degree drop and the roller coaster cart stops suspended above the drop.  Once we got off the ride Alec asked if he could ride it with us so we went right back on. 

 It was so nice to have NO lines and NO waiting!! 

We walked around to the next area-- Jungala.  The whole family had a great time on the treetop trails.  They climbed up and around and over... stopping for a cute photo opp. at the top.  We saw orangutans, fruit bats, and tigers.

The boys and I went on Wild Surge and since there were (again) no lines the boys rode a second time without even getting off the ride!

Their tiger habitats were amazing! We could climb right up into the enclosure and since the tiger was lying right on top of the glass dome we got to see them right up close.  They also have a couple enclosures that are connected by bridges and we got to see a tiger walking right over our heads!

We found ourselves in the Congo and all the boys asked to go on the Congo River Rapids.  I took them on and was absolutely soaked by the end of the ride.  They wanted to ride a second time and convinced my husband to go with them.  I elected to stay off and try to wring out my clothes as best I could.

We ate lunch at the Bengal Bistro and while expensive it was really good park food.  They built my husband's burger fresh, we had sandwiches, salads and yummy desserts too.  

Once we were done eating the boys scrambled to the bumper cars.  

It was starting to sprinkle but we just kept walking and headed over to Pantopia.  We saw so many cool sculptures and trees but we all really stopped to examine this metal dog work of art.

Once in Pantopia we rode the carousel and all the boys wanted to ride the Sandserpent.  I can not say this was a favorite of mine but if it hadn't started raining the boys were going to ride the roller coaster one more time.

With the rains coming down we headed into a few stores, ducking under doorways and arches to try and stay dry.  We also took a quick side trip to the first aid building in this area to get Evan a couple of band- aids.  He had worn sandals so his sneakers wouldn't be wet all day but the sandals were giving him blisters.  With a few extra band- aids in my bag to last us the rest of the day we headed out to pick up the train in the Edge of Africa. 

We saw lots of animals along the way!

We boarded the train and rode it right back around to the Edge of Africa; that way we could see and hear about ALL the animals out in the Savannah type area but then we could also start back towards the exit of the park in the direction we had been travelling all day.

Once off the train we headed towards Morocco to see an ice dancing show and stopped to ride the Cheetah Hunt roller coaster along the way.  All three boys rode and LOVED this super fast coaster.  We could actually feel the roller coaster speeding up at times and we actually felt like a cheetah racing through the water at one point.

The ice skating show was fantastic!  The music was upbeat and the costumes were great too.  We all loved it.

As soon as the ice show ended we consulted the map to see if there was anything left that we all wanted to see and do before leaving.  All three boys wanted to re-ride Cheetah and Evan asked to head back to the kangaroo feeding station to buy a cute kangaroo stuffed animal he had found in the morning.  Alec wanted to head off to see a couple final animals that we had missed and after discovering that the Cheetah ride was not working we decided to split up and head in two different directions.

Ian came with Alec and I to see some more animals and then we met back up, hit the restrooms one last time and wandered through a few shops on our way out of the park.

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