Thursday, August 9, 2012

Finally Florida

Hello and where have you been?! Ok, fine, so I haven't updated much lately. There have been some very good reasons - Chris coming home for his military leave, a vacation, being sick, and finally, having a power outage just as I sat down to write this. So I'm just going to post a bunch of pictures from our trip to Florida.

 This is our first morning in Florida. We got to Jacksonville late in the evening the day before. First thing we did, we took M for a short walk on the beach. So next morning he got up half an hour or so before sunrise and made sure to wake us up with "Let's go to the beach now!". And so we went, while it was still dark, and stayed there 'til sunrise. I actually went on a jog! And we found some huge horseshoe crabs and two tracks made by sea turtles!
It was a very long day for us since we planned on driving down Cape Canaveral, seeing as much of NASA as we could and then driving to our hotel in Melbourne. And even though we got up awfully early, we didn't leave 'til late morning since we had to stop by the MWR office to buy tickets to all the attractions we planned on seeing.

By the time we got to NASA, it was shortly after noon. But you know, we still had plenty of time. Could we see more while at NASA? Sure. For example, we didn't go to any of the IMAX movies and only went on a standard bus tour. Nor did we go on a tour of the Rocket Garden and a few other things.

But that's just what I'm saying - the place is overwhelming! It's best to not rush to see everything. Especially since we're pretty certain we'll be coming back again very soon.
 Our next attraction was going to be the Legoland! Great place to go... in the winter. But since it was the end of July when we went, it was super-hot and not in the good way. Seriously, what they need there are those misting sprinklers to cool folks standing in lines. We really hoped to get drenched at the water show and made sure to sit in the splash zone. But nothing happened! Seriously, you have to be in the front row at the water cannons to get wet. Otherwise, you just sit there and sweat.

I'm not a big fan of rides and I was relieved that M didn't care to stand in lines for the rides. Instead, he wanted to walk around the park and see as much as possible. And there's so much to see. I mean, check out this awesome Lego Space Shuttle ready for launch on the Lego launch platform!

Or how about this Lego Darth Vader! Totally awesome, isn't it? BTW, not sure if you can see M's T-shirt, but it's all about Star Wars and Legos.

But the best part of the visit to the park was the water park. Do you know that Legoland has a water park? And it is great! Next time we go, I'll make sure to reserve one of the cabanas with a mini-fridge. I definitely could've used it, especially since we didn't discover the wave pool 'til the second or third hour at the water park.
We spent the last 3 days in Daytona Beach. It's really a very nice place to be if you know where to go. We had a blast there thanks to our wise decision to stay out of Daytona Beach itself and instead spend time in Daytona Beach Shores, Ponce Inlet and New Smyrna Beach. Here we are enjoying the boat ride with my friend, Ella.
 And this adorable puppy? Well, I rescued him from the rocks in New Smyrna Beach (actually, in the Ponce Inlet). Yep, someone lost him and he ended up getting tossed in the waves with sand all over him. But I rescued him, dried him up, shook sand out of him, then put him through a washer and a dryer. And he's now as good as new and super-adorable.
This is also in Ponce Inlet. After running around, playing in the water and digging in the sand, M started to complain about his swimming trunks hurting him. It was a long way to the car and I had nothing to change him into except my T-shirt. Stinking cute, isn't he?
If you go to New Smyrna Beach, you just have to stop by the Dairy Queen on the US-1. We always do! It's a great place and cheap. As you can see, M is still wearing my t-shirt, looking like a little girl.
 Another thing we enjoy doing is playing mini-golf. This place was the closest to our hotel (did I tell you we snagged a "3 nights for the price of 2" deal at The Shores Resort?! Highly recommend it!) Why is M on Chris's back? Well, last time we were in DB, M was not even a year old. We went to play mini-golf at this same place and have a pic of Chris t-ing off with M on his back in a carrier.
Another place to go while in Daytona is definitely Ponce Inlet, specifically, the lighthouse there. Not only do you get to climb to the top for amazing views, you get to check out the grounds too, see how the lighthouse keepers lived (and died), and see a great collection of Fresnel lenses. It's surprisingly interesting. I'm just so lucky M loves lighthouses even more than I do.
The good thing about Daytona, as opposed to, say, Winter Haven (where Legoland is), is that it's right on the beach. So there's usually some breeze and you don't feel the heat as badly as inland. It was a lot more tolerable than North Carolina, actually. Still, one afternoon was so super hot and stuffy, that we decided to spend it indoors at the local Museum of Arts and Science. At some point we lived right next door to it! 

Well, a lot changed since then and we were pleasantly surprised to find quite a nice children's wing open in the museum. It was small, but very well thought-out, with lots of cool hands-on stuff that we don't have in the kids museums in NC. Like this station where you get to explore pulleys by pulling yourself up. 
This is our hotel in the background. Telling ya, it was super nice! The only gripe we have is about their prices at the restaurant. They are crazy!

Here's Chris and M looking very busy building a sand castle. We thought we built it far enough from the water to see at least some of it left standing in the morning. Nope. Good thing we took pictures.

This castle had it all - a bunch of towers, a moat, a bridge, and even a lighthouse! Not bad at all!

One of the nicest things about our hotel (apart from a really nice room) was that they had a deck with a cabana and some fire pits for roasting marshmallows. It's supposed to work like this - you pick up a bag with your s'mores kit in the hotel room and bring it down to the pit. You get the skewers at the cabana. Then you get into these comfortable chairs, enjoy ocean views and the breezes, sip a beverage (ordered at the same cabana) and roast s'mores. Except, of course, the kit comes with like 6 marshmallows and costs $10! Crazy, I'm telling ya. So we went out and bought a huge bag of marshmallows. Honestly, we didn't see the sign that said "Absolutely no outside food or drinks". But c'mon, the money we saved on marshmallows we probably spent much of it on drinks.

And this is a picture of all of us on our last morning in Daytona. What's the deal with the little dude? Not sure, but he was in one of his moods and it wasn't a nice one either. But he cheered up somewhat on the drive back when we told him we'd make a stop in St. Augustine. M's immediate question was "is there a gift shop there?" Upon hearing that St. Augustine is pretty much a one giant gift shop, he once again became his sweet and charming self.

P.S. If you are puzzled about the very top picture, it's from Legoland. Each of us put together a Hero Factory hero and I photographed our creations all together since we have so few pictures with the three of us.

1 comment:

  1. It looks like a terrific trip. We had a Cape Canavernal stop during our cruise, too bad Anna wasn't with us. So jealous of your time on the beach!