Our Family Vacation Adventure in Florida: pt. 3

Posted on March 31, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Paradise.  Simply paradise.

It’s another warm day with cool breezes here in Florida.  It’s just about 6:45 p.m. and I’m sitting on the veranda writing this blog as I look out over the dark blue waters of Lake Cecile. 

We began our morning at 8:30 running downstairs for the complimentary waffles and pancakes.  Yum!  The plan was to see if the forecasted thunderstorms would come rolling in.  If so, we’d head to Clearwater Beach and spend the day there.  If not, we’d go to Gatorland and let Titus run wild checking out all of the fascinating animals there.  Thankfully the clouds broke right before noon, so we packed it up and headed out to the ‘gator park.  We immediately walked the trail called The SwampWalk and I couldn’t help be reminded of the Black Forest from the speeder bike scenes in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.  It was so thick with foliage that you literally couldn’t see after a couple of yards out.  On the swamp walk alone we were able to see snakes, frogs, turtles and one alligator. 

We were able to sit down and eat at Pearl’s Smokehouse and Marcia and I sampled the alligator nuggets and smoked alligator ribs.  YUM!  Gator is good!  Granted, poor little Titus was freaked out by the whole thing of eating alligators so we had to tell him that the alligator nuggets were actually chicken nuggets.  You’d think I’d have some guilt over decieving a gullible three year old who has put his ultimate trust and love in me, but dammit, I just spent seven dollars on those gator nuggets and he was going to eat them!  You’re damn right I’d con my kid like that…for crying out loud that’s almost ten whole dollars! 

After we ate, we went to go see crocodiles from around the world.  The Nile River Crocodiles and the Salt Water Crocodiles from Australia were amazingly huge.  I kept thinking of dinosaurs as they lumbered about from one place to another.  I also found it amusing inventing new ways to keep Titus on the path we were supposed to be walking on.  Everytime he would near a chained-off section I would simply tell him that alligators were going to eat him if he climbed over the chain.  Needless to say after the first two, he went nowhere near the chains for fear of being taken into a death-roll.  I’m a terrible father.

At the end of the crocodile trail a special show was going on where the staff were feeding whole chickens to the alligators by making them leap from the water.  Titus got to see one but we had come too late to see anymore, fortunately I kept my ears open as the crowd began to scatter and heard the emcee say that they were going to be feeding the giant tortoises next.  Knocking over as many octogenarians and seven year olds as I could, I made sure Titus was right up front for this one.  For five dollars Titus and I got to walk in and feed these 500 lb., 90 year old giant tortoises all by ourselves.  He thought it was the neatest thing feeding the lumbering giant a huge carrot, as he kept saying in that high pitched sweet voice of his, “You wan’ da cawwot?  You wana eed da cawwot?”

Unfortunately as we were entering the enclosure, Marcia was handing me the digital camera.  I was trying to listen to the special instructions that the trainer was giving us (cuz lord knows it was all Greek to Titus) so as Marcia held out the camera for me to take, I didn’t notice that she’d left the cord wrapped around her wrist.  When I grabbed it, it didn’t come smoothly off of her wrist and ended up crashing to the ground.  Now our multi-hundred dollar camera doesn’t work, and just at a time when Titus was going to do something adorable.  I hope my camera phone was good enough.

Titus got to play in a giant water park and got to see more turtles.  We got a photo of the family with my mother in-law holding a large constrictor and me and Titus holding up a juvenile alligator.  He got such a kick out of it that he burst into tears when we told him that he couldn’t keep holding the gator or the snake.  Truth be told, I was too cheap to pay for another picture which would have allowed him to hold the animals for a little while but dammit!  That would be MORE than ten dollars!  Instead I enticed him away with turkey hot dogs which we used to feed the alligaors up close and personal 

After engorging the alligators and flamingos on all the rest of my money we headed out back for the hotel.  Before we left Titus threw a big tantrum collapsing on the concrete more than once, burying his big head in his tiny little hands, all because the coke he was drinking fell and broke on the ground.  Anyway, Marcia is wanting to go to IHOP or Sizzling Grill or something like that for dinner so I need to go.

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One Response to “Our Family Vacation Adventure in Florida: pt. 3”

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What a treat. Thank you!


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