So this weekend, as you know, David and I went to visit my parents in Florida.
This was David’s first flight ever.
But after a little cocktail, he was good to go.
By the time our plane landed in Tampa, he was cool as a cucumber.
When we got to Florida, my sister and I went to a shopping center to get new sunglasses.
Friday morning, we woke up early to hit the beach.
Afterward, we went to Crabby Bill’s sea food to eat. I was somewhat horrified to see the alligator items on the menu.
That night, we had dinner at a little bistro. It was nice to sit outside and watch everyone go by, and enjoy a little sangria.
That night, after everyone had gone to sleep, David and I watched The Punisher and I enjoyed this Mango Punch, which was divine.
Saturday, I woke earlier than everyone else because I was so excited to go to GATORLAND!!
If you haven’t ever heard of it, Gatorland is a park in Kissimmee, Florida. As you might have guessed, it is entirely devoted to alligators (with a special crocodile area). It’s absolutely awesome, especially for alligator enthusiasts like me!
There are several other animals to see at Gatorland, like these birds. They are totally out in the open, with no bars, cages, or anything. Amazing! (Touching is NOT advised!!)
Gatorland is also host to the largest gathering of white alligators in the world. There are four white alligators at Gatorland, and they all are in a special area separated from the others.
By the way, there is a difference between albino alligators and plain white alligators. The white alligators are leucistic and rather than having the red eyes of the albino gators, leucistic alligators have bright blue eyes. They also have black spots on their body.
The alligator pictured above is named Feros Zombi, or “fierce ghost.” You can read more about him in the picture below!
There is also an awesome bird feeding aviary. For just a dollar, you get one of these little popsicle sticks that has bird seed on it. My stepmom walked into the aviary with us, and as soon as the popsicle sticks were in her hand, at least six or seven birds swooped down on her arm before she could hand them to us. They weren’t threatening, but it is a little overwhelming at first! (They also warn you to slide your feet across the store rather than step so you won’t accidentally step on any of the birds on the ground and kill them!) Anyway, bird feeding was by far one of the highlights of the day.
There is a walking trail that takes you straight through an actual swamp. There are no gators in this area, but you are supposed to keep an eye out for snakes! I haven’t seen any, though. The plants and trees are beautiful and so different!
The entire park is open (except for the aviary to feed the smaller birds), and so the birds are free to fly in and out of the different marshes and ponds as they want. The funny thing is, many of these birds will swoop in and perch on a gator’s back, then just ride around while the alligator swims, sort of like surfing!
This little guy flew in and followed us around for awhile.
There is also a walkway that takes you through the breeding marsh. This area is really beautiful- the alligators swim all around you and you have to sort of peer into the marshy areas around the walk to find where they might be hiding! (I will add that this is all perfectly safe- your walkway is surrounded by rails and screens so the alligators can’t get to you!) The trees are home to quite a few nests right now, and we got to see a lot of baby birds and even some light blue eggs that hadn’t hatched yet!
The picture above is not zoomed in at ALL! We were actually this close to a real, live alligator! Absolutely amazing.
After my parents and David finally dragged me out of Gatorland (I honestly could have stayed at least another hour), we hopped over to Johnny Rocket’s for lunch. I had an Orange Dreamsicle milkshake, and that was just incredible.
Saturday night we just hung around the house, and this morning we had to be at the airport by 7:15. My dad drove us, and when we were walking to the elevator, we realized he and I had not taken a picture together all weekend!
After we checked our bags and printed boarding passes, my dad walked us to the tram to go to the security area. We said our goodbyes, and poor David had to comfort me as I cried all the way to the line for security. I’m a daddy’s girl, what can I say? 🙂
Our flight home was uneventful, and our ride home was long but peaceful. We are settled in the living room now watching TV, and I am about to make some sleepytime tea and hop in my pajamas!!
I had an absolutely awesome vacation, but I am thrilled to be home!