It has been a year since our trip to Florida. Yes, a year. I know. I should have probably posted this much earlier. But now seems a good time too as we are there again! As you read this, I shall be a jet-lagged mum, hopefully sitting by the pool, having just crossed the Atlantic for the second time alone with a toddler and a child.
I just wanted to write this as a little memento of the things we loved in Florida. We did do Disney too and liked it. But we are not doing this again this year as our big girl is almost over the Princess stage and the little boy is not there yet. And there are tons of great blogs and advice out there about it and the many other theme parks.
I wanted to write about the other things we enjoyed and the things that made for a great day. I am sure there are plenty more but these our amongst our favourite memories.
Despite the prohibitive price of accommodation, we loved Captiva and Sanibel islands. Those narrow stretches of sand are full of shells because of the currents and their position in the Gulf of Mexico. We spent hours walking along the beach and picking/looking at all these shells. It was not warm enough to swim when we went but the fresh sea breeze was all we needed after a long road trip.
We even had a little chart printed for LJ, 5, to have a look at and tick as she went along. She loved it and it was a great incentive to keep her walking for ages.
We had read about the many trails and options to visit the Everglades. With a 9 months old though, options were limited (air boat were a big no-no). We also arrived there late in the afternoon, having stopped on route to spot alligators. So we ended up going for a short, easy and close to the entrance trail. And wow, we were not disappointed. Maybe it was because it was sunset, but we had barely walked for 100m when we started spotting alligators, birds, snakes, etc. Our girl couldn't believe her luck. We were really up-close to the action, yet safe on a wooden pathway. And the crowds had obviously left as there were only a small handful of amateur photographers around.
We loved it. This was my personal favourite moment of the holidays. We will be going back this year to see a little more of the Everglades.
We didn't find the Keys that exciting to be fair. Yes, it is beautiful and the snorkelling must be amazing but with two small children, it was not ideal. We found the road a little disappointing (please don't kill me) as it is bordered with buildings and power lines. The really beautiful pictures you see in magazines are taken from boats or from the air for the most part (and most likely airbrushed for power lines). Key West was lovely though and we really enjoyed our stay there. We will go back when our kids are older and we can take them out to on a boat (if we can afford it). The highlight of the Keys was the Turtle Hospital in Marathon.
The only of its kind in the world, apparently, it rescues, treats and releases turtles. Housed in a former motel, it is a strange but fun set-up. It was a great little guided tour. Highly recommended for kids (and adults) who like animals and sea life.
Upon looking up the Miami Children's Museum, I realised that most cities in America have children museums. How cool! This was a first for us. It was expensive (as even small children pay). But we had had a bad day, so we treated ourselves. In the end, it was worth the money. You can easily spend a whole day in there. There were so many different 'jobs' to try out for LJ, 5: doctor, dentist, policeman, bank manager, etc. Her favourite was the vet clinic (freshly out of the Keys and their turtles) and the children-sized supermarket. There was even a very good play area for baby E and children under 1. They also offer lots of events and special activities. Worth a trip if your wallet allows it.
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