Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Adventures in Florida

Blogs are great things, aren't they?  A few months ago, clicking through a new to me sewing blog, I came across a post about a State Park in FL that looked liked a neat place to visit.  Looking it up on the map, I saw that it was about a 2 hour drive from where we would be staying over Spring Break.  So, we added it to our list of things to do while in Florida.:)
A quick PSA:  If you're headed to Myakka River State Park make sure you look up it's location on the website and follow their directions to the south entrance.  We followed our GPS which took us to the north entrance that is closed during the week.  Luckily, someone let us in otherwise we would have had a long drive back to the south entrance.
Want to get up close and personal with some alligators, go canoeing on the Upper Myakka Lake!  I didn't get many pictures and certainly none that showed how close we were to the alligators because I was too scared.  Seriously!  My heart was pounding the entire 30-40 minutes we were in the canoes.  But it was a lot of fun and well worth the potential heart attack.;)
The canal where you put the canoes in at (also where the air boat tours depart from) isn't very wide and had at least 4 alligators (that I could see) in it.  One of these gators was fairly good sized, around 9 feet long.  I couldn't get over how unfazed they were by all the activity going on around them. 
Out on the lake the wind was pretty strong which made paddling a bit hard.  At one point, I'm pretty sure our canoe (P, BK, and I) ran over an alligator.  We were trying to go around, far around the gator but the wind blew us right where it was.  The gator sank down under the water but there were plenty of bubbles coming up underneath our canoe.
After the canoe ride, we did the canopy walkway.  The walkway is suspended 25 feet off the ground and approximately 100 feet long.  It leads to a tower that is 74 feet tall.  The view from the top of the tower is amazing!
I would have loved to explore the park more but the kids were ready to hit the road.  On the way back to the house in Kissimmee, we took a scenic route:  I-275 and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay. 
You can see the bridge behind K

We pulled over after crossing the bridge to get a closer look at Tampa Bay.  The girls had a lot of fun wading around and picking up sea shells.  P...not so much. 
So what else did we do on vacation?  We kept it pretty low key this year.  We didn't go into any of the Disney theme parks but we did ride the boats around the lagoon, stopping at the Boardwalk for a little bike ride.
We also checked out the newest Disney resort, Art of Animation.
The kids really enjoyed the Cars theme area.:)
Just like in previous years, we visited the Reedy Creek Nature Preserve.

And enjoyed fishing in the lake behind the house...

Everyone caught multiple fish, with the exception of BK.  She was more interested in whacking people with the fishing pole than actually fishing.;)
And last but not least, the kids enjoyed the pool despite the heater being broken and chilly water temps...
Big thanks to my in-laws for letting us crash at their rental house!


Katy Morrell said...

I can't tell you how brave I think you are for getting in gator infested water!

Cindy said...

I almost refused but we really wanted to get our oldest back in a canoe so I had to put on the "brave mommy face".lol

SunnySewing said...

How awesome your trip looks! I wish I had seen this earlier in the year because we went down to FL in May!! I would have loved to go to some of the places you listed. That canopy walkway looks amazing but scary!