It's been three days since my last blog post, although Annabelle has written a wee post (just below this one if you haven't read it yet). The past 2 days have been quite relaxing. We purposely did nothing in order to relax, refresh, and spend no money.
On Friday though, we took the kids to 'Gatorland'. We really don't want to do much in the way of theme parks and extremely expensive days out, so this seemed like a bit of a compromise for the kids. A day out at a park, that would be somewhat educational and to do with nature. Gatorland turned out to be far more expensive than expected. Once inside it became obvious that it was the type of place that would attempt to suck parents dry of every penny they had on them. I had prepared a packed lunch with drinks to take in, in an attempt to save money - just to be told at the door that "due to the health and safety considerations of the animals inside, visitors are not allowed to take food and drink into the park", just to walk into the park to be met by lines of drink vending machines, a cafe and a coffee shop. That made me rather angry. The park seems to have the idea that people should pay to come in, and should then pay to feed the animals. For an extra $7 per person we were able to sit on an alligator, watch a gator wrestling show, and feed the alligators hot dogs. However, the alligators were obviously sick to death of the hot dogs and the birds eat them instead.
We watched the alligator wrestling show in somewhat discomfort. None of us felt entirely happy about the alligators mouth being taped up whilst a man performed stunts and tricks on him. Then the kids got to sit on an alligator and get their photo taken, which they did, but it was obvious that our family felt a bit uncomfortable about the whole thing.
Having said all this, the kids did have a fabulous day there. Jimmie and Annabelle both said that it was a much better day than they had been expecting, and Barney enjoyed the whole day immensely. Included in our extra $7 was also a train ride around the park, which was disappointing to say the least. Barney was excited to be on the train, but disappointed that the ride was over so quickly.
We did see an awful lot of alligators, and got to stroke a baby one. The park also had a little petting zoo (where you can pay more money to feed corn to the animals) which Barney loved. Although the park is for alligators, it has unintentionally become somewhat of a bird wildlife sanctuary. There are birds everywhere, of every size and colour. They have just moved in of their own accord, and seem to thoroughly enjoy eating the crocodiles hot dogs.
Half way round the park we discovered a water play area, and I let the kids play in it on the grounds that they "didn't get too wet". Jimmie and Annabelle's idea of not getting too wet is to stand under water fountains and drown.
This is my favourite picture from Gatorland. What a brave bird! You can see all the Gatorland photos in Florida Album number 2.
When we'd finished up in Gatorland we decided to take a drive down International Drive as it was as close as we would get to it. The kids were excited to see some museums which had been built upside down.
Yesterday and today have been relatively quiet lazy days. Yesterday I did a lot of laundry whilst the kids played in the pool. We surprised Luke with a $1.97 paddling pool from Walmart which we filled with water for him to cool off in. In the afternoon we went over to Pat and Jims lot for BBQ Burgers, and to meet some of their friends, Frank and Cheryl from the RV forum. We had a lovely time there.
Today Pat and Jim loaned us their golf cart again, and we took it back out on that nature trail. Barney loves getting out of the cart to walk through the big palm trees. He likes looking out for various 'creatures' with me. I think the days we spent exploring the Great Outdoors on the golf cart have been some of the best days so far. When we got back Dan cooked up a BBQ and we all sat outside for dinner, whilst the squirrels sat watching us, hoping for a treat. Tomorrow (Monday) we are heading off to the Kennedy Space Centre, something that we are all looking forward to.
Here are my favourite photos from today...