Alligators, Crocodiles and Manatees!

Today we changed our plans and decided to drive through the bottom half of the Everglades. It’s a long road that you drive down to a dead end and then drive back. On the way there we couldn’t find much to look at and it all looked the same. When we got to the bottom it’s a place called Flamingo. This is where the bottom of the Everglades meets the Atlantic Ocean.

We went into the visitors centre and the park ranger told us we should go straight to the marina because it was high tide and that’s when there’s the best chance of seeing manatees. We walked over there and there were 3 manatees playing in the water and swimming around. They like to stir up all the water to feed but it makes it quite stinky. We were so excited we saw them, it was brilliant watching them.

After this we walked up the river and saw some Crocodiles. The Everglades is the only place in the world where crocodiles and alligators live together. You can tell the difference because alligators have wider snouts to crunch turtle shells and you can’t usually see their teeth when their mouth is closed but with the crocodile it’s a longer, narrower snout and you can see some of their teeth (if you’re close enough).

We drove back through the park and stopped to do some boardwalks. One of the walks was called the Mahogany Hammock and it’s where the biggest mahogany tree in North America grows. We didn’t see much here apart from some little birds, air plants growing in the bigger trees and lots of insects that kept biting me.

Near at the end we saw a really big Alligator so we stopped to take a picture.

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We come home tomorrow so we went for a swim and packed our bags ready for flying home.

P.S. We decided against an airboat ride this time. They don’t allow them in the National Park due to the damage they can cause to the waterways and the protected species that live there. There are lots of places you can do it around the outskirts of the park but we might try it on another holiday somewhere where it does less damage.

Shark teeth and wild alligators!

First we got in our pool then we went for a drive. We went to a special beach called Caspersen Beach. It is special because there are lots of fossilised shark teeth. There were lots of people looking for teeth and fossils with special equipment. We just walked along the coast and found 5 teeth and 3 fossils. The waves were gigantic and I got soaked. On the way back we saw 3 dolphins playing in the waves…….it was epic!!!!!!!!!!!

Next we drove to the Big Cypress National Preserve where we drove past mangrove trees. The trees grow in saltwater. We saw alligators, lots of birds, fish and turtles. We saw vultures eating a turtle, poor turtle 🐢 😢 We took some really cool photographs.

When it got dark we drove to our hotel. Tomorrow we are going on an airboat ride in the Everglades. I can’t wait!

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Beach life🐬🧜🏻‍♀️🐊🐠🦜🐚

Since our last blog we have moved from our holiday home in Orlando to exploring the coast. First we travelled to Sarasota. We took the scenic route as you can see where I have drawn it on the map.

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We stopped at a shopping mall on the way so it was quite late when we got to the hotel. We went for a Chinese and we got to use chopsticks to eat our dinner. It was really fun but it took ages 😂

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When we got up we decided to go to the beach but there’s loads of beaches so we picked the first one we came to. There was a sign to tell you about what the different coloured flags mean and if it is safe to swim. The flag was green so it was ok to swim but if it’s blue it means there might be sharks in the water 🦈 It was really fun and wet. I liked body surfing on the waves but it wasn’t deep enough to swim very well. The sand was white with lots of shells and it went on for miles and miles and miles and I thought it went on forever.

Then we went to get a drink because it was getting really hot.

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Mum had found somewhere on her phone that was good for spotting Manatee’s so we walked there but we didn’t see any. We went along the coast a bit further to a nature reserve and found a park so Eliza and I had a play.

After this we we went on a walk through the nature reserve. We still didn’t see any manatees but we did see lots of geckos 🦎, some little burrows but we don’t know what lives in them and lots of other cool things like a giant seed or fruit and big tortoise burrows.

Just as as we were getting back to the car we saw 2 cheeky raccoons scavenging in the bins. One was eating a packet of crisps and the other got a Burger King.

Tonight we went for a swim in the pool at the hotel then went to a local restaurant on the beach for dinner. Mum says it’s a fisherman’s shack. There was a sign in the car park to look out for alligators but we didn’t see any. I’m really tired now so goodnight xxx

Gatorland adventures!

Today I went to Gatorland🐊 It was so much fun. First we got to go in a gator’s mouth as we waited in the queue. Next we saw lots of baby alligators and then went to watch a show about alligators. Me and Eliza got to go on the back of a real alligator – it was epic!  We saw Chester, a really big alligator 🐊 who was rescued after he ate lots of dogs near Orlando!

The best thing was going on a zip slide. I said I wanted to do it and Eliza said she did too. Eliza has always been scared of heights and I thought no way will she do it. I was amazed and very proud that she did it. We had to wear a helmet and climbing stuff and then zoomed out over the alligator lake. They looked beautiful. Eliza wanted to go again. Eliza is now a water baby and an adrenaline junkie!

Me and Eliza got to hold an alligator. She had the head because I had a snake round my neck, Super cool.  We also got to go and feed the really large alligators by hand.  We got chunks of meat out of the bucket and I threw them into its mouth.  I was so excited I clapped and Mummy got blood over her top – whoops.

Eliza was much better today so we had lots of fun together.  Bye bye. Hope you’re enjoy the pictures and my blog.

p.s. We have a video of the zip slide but we can’t upload it yet so will do that later x

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UPDATE – Zipwire videos

Hogmanay

We have arrived in Oban ready for Hogmanay. Hogmanay is the Scottish word for the last day of the year which is what we call New Year’s Eve in England. I’ve been told that in Scotland people celebrate Hogmanay more than Christmas and that there will be lots of fireworks at midnight. I’m going to try and stay awake but Mum says if I fall asleep she’ll wake me up so I can walk into town and see them. We are staying in an apartment right on the waterfront so I have already been on the beach looking for what’s been washed up by the tide. It’s a pebble beach here so there are lots of rock pools and seaweed. I’ve been told people sometimes see otters but we have only seen birds so far. It’s still raining but hopefully that will stop before midnight. I almost stayed awake, I kept myself busy by playing with the neighbours 2 kittens and pulling funny faces on snapchat. Mum woke me and my little sister up and we walked into town so we could see the fireworks that are set off from the McCaigs tower. I thought they were brilliant but I think my little sister would have preferred to stay asleep but she is only 4.

 

Kelpies, mountains, lochs and lots of rain!

Our latest adventure is a trip up the motorway heading to Scotland ready for Hogmanay in Oban. We called in to visit family on the way, had a visit to Beecraigs country park and to see the Kelpies. We stayed with my cousins and because they have Scottish accents when they told me where we were going I repeated it how they say it which was really funny. We called in on the kelpies but it was raining (it’s been raining since we got here) and we read a bit about them in the visitors centre http://www.thehelix.co.uk/things-to-do/the-kelpies/kelpies-tour/#.XCuz74qnzxw

We were on our way again heading over the mountains to Oban. It’s still raining. A few nice things to see through the rain and mist and they reminded me of Harry Potter.

A pocketful of pine cones

I reach into my pocket to warm my hands and without fail I stumble upon a collection of pine cones, dutifully collected by my eldest.  I notice that I’m smiling to myself and realise that these pine cones are bringing as much joy to me as they do to her.  I’m walking a few steps behind my children as they explore a National Trust property.  Every couple of steps they’ll drop to the floor or reach to the sky at the next snippet of nature they’ve discovered.   Today we’re using the zoom on the camera to look at things up close, it’s a little like a pocket microscope for the field and they are in awe; a leaf, some bracket fungus an old piece of wood all look so different under the zoom.  It’s only today that I’ve realised that my eldest has always loved the outdoors and adventure (the nature argument), however it’s coming to the youngest and it’s clear that a love of the outdoors can be nurtured very easily when there is so much to discover.

 

 

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