Saturday, February 21, 2015

Recovering from the Swamp Safari

After that day-long adventure to Billie's Swamp Safari, we needed a couple of days to relax and recover (we aren't as young as we used to be).

On Thursday Jean and Anna went shopping, but didn't find anything they wanted. They also stopped by the manatee river, but it was cold out (for Florida) and the manatees stayed pretty much on the bottom except to catch a quick breath. I spent that time uploading a gob of pictures and writing up the blog of Wednesday's adventures.

Then I logged on to the website to make reservations at Florida state parks, looking to see if anything was available on the keys. Those parks are normally booked up a year in advance (and in fact, when I checked in last August there was nothing available). But I gave it a try to see if there had been any cancellations. As luck would have it I was able to reserve a spot on Long Key for Sunday and Monday nights. Now all we had to do was worry about Saturday.

In the evening we went to a Cuban restaurant for Anna's birthday. The food was good and we were joined by some friends. It turned into a full-blown party and we shut the place down. All in all, a successful day.

Friday we went to the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center (whose name is almost bigger than the facility).
There we spent some time at the ray tank, where we got a short talk on rays. They have three different kinds there, Cow-nosed, Atlantic, and Southern. Then they passed out bits of fish and people (mostly kids) stuck their hands in the tank to feed the rays. Not to worry, their barbs have been removed.

Cow-nosed ray
They also had a large, game-fish tank with a variety of fish in it.

In addition, there is a sea-turtle exhibit with a curator, but it was too cold to have the turtles outside. There are a number of other outside stations, as well as a well-done museum room.

We went to our favorite orange orchard and bought lug of oranges to take back to Virginia. This will extend our winter supply of juice oranges for a couple more weeks. After that we looked up a county park near Palm City that looked interesting. It is at a lock on the cross-Florida canal. It would be a good place to dump tanks if we need to in the future. Not a problem this time, earlier in the day I secured a site in a campground south of Miami for Saturday.

Our time with Jean's family is drawing to a close, so we caught up on laundry and showers. Next stop, the keys.

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