Sunday, September 30, 2012

Spring fed

We had relatives come down to Orlando to visit with us and we started out this morning by having a good- bye breakfast.  They had only been in town for just under 24 hours but it was wonderful to see them. 

We showed them all around our hotel and they watched us feed the swan, fish and ducks again (as has become our morning routine!).  This morning we saw turtles too in our little pond!  We had noticed some painted turtles the other day but today we saw a new turtle we had never seen before.  Once we looked it up we think it was a Florida Soft shell turtle.  We saw a bird of paradise flower and watched the squirrels for a bit.  It was a nice quiet nature study morning right in the middle of our hotel. 

It may be tricky to see but this is the soft shell turtle
 
Once our guests had left we decided that, rather than hang around the hotel again today, we'd try out Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park.  This is a Florida state park where you can bring in tubes and tube down the spring. 

The water stays a cool 74 degrees year round and is a clear spring fed brook/ river. 

We rented tubes at a local place just prior to entering the park and once inside followed the park rangers directions to the head of the spring. 

We jumped in and floated down.  I had bought a disposable underwater camera to take pictures and I was glad I did.  We saw many neat kinds of fish, plant life and shells.  We pulled out our tubes and headed back to our car to have lunch. 

Along the way we saw a raccoon and stopped to watch him for a while.  We also watched the squirrels and enjoyed looking at all the different trees that were around us; many of which have Spanish moss hanging off of them.

Evan spotted a baby squirrel lying on the ground and upon further inspection he appeared hurt.  The boys were upset but it was sweet to hear Evan say that he was going to come back when he was an adult and rescue the squirrel so he could help him feel better.

On our second pass down the river I was a bit nervous after having watched a baby rattlesnake swim across the spring and disappear into the woods not more than 5 feet from where we were standing and putting our tubes in.

I was much more watchful and not nearly as relaxed but I knew with all the noise we were making it was unlikely anything would come to close to us anyway (there were signs warning of alligators too but luckily we didn't see any). 

We did see a large turtle floating in the weedy reeds on the side of the spring and the boys dove with their goggles on searching for sharks teeth that some of the other boys in the spring told us about.  We think Ian found one too. 

I'd highly recommend his state park to anyone looking to have a low cost family day in the Orlando area.

You can find out all about it and other Florida state parks here.  We had a wonderful day filled with nature study and a bit of geography thrown in too.  
    


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