"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Florida Trip

>> Thursday, September 29, 2005

My fears about the children flying were unfounded. We flew Allegiant Airlines direct from Des Moines to Sanford/Orlando. This was an inexpensive flight, and it was a straight shot. No layovers or stops anywhere! Both boys enjoyed being on the airplane. Takeoff and landing were no problem. Ethan slept for about 3/4 of the flight down, drifting off shortly after takeoff. Carter fell asleep just as the landing gear was coming down.

Carter had to use the airplane facilities mid-flight. Let me just say, I am not sure how anyone could join the mile high club. There was barely enough room for an adult and a 3 year old to maneuver in those tight quarters, but he managed to get the job done with no problems.

We spent the first night in Lake Mary (at a hotel) with Grandma & Grandpa. Our room had a king bed and a sofa sleeper. The boys slept in the 'big bed' with me, and daddy slept on the pull-out. Sleeping between 2 little boys is not very comfortable, but we all managed to get a little rest.

Monday morning on our way to Cape Coral, we stopped in Plant City at Dinosaur World. There were life-size replicas of many different species of dinosaurs complete with plaques listing name, proper pronunciation, where and when the dinosaurs were first unearthed. It was very interesting for adults, and the kids enjoyed themselves. There were some activities; a bone dig where kids could go into a large sandbox and dig & brush until they uncovered a whole dinosaur skeleton, a wall where you put your hands into holes to determine which dinosaur of 3 pictured is inside by touch only, and a nice playground.

After that, we finished our drive to Cape Coral. Just north of Cape Coral is Port Charlotte. I am not sure which hurricane devastated that area last year, but we saw many blue tarps on rooftops and the trailer city where folks who have not been able to move back into their homes yet are temporarily located. A couple from my in-laws' church (lawyers) JUST moved back into their home from the trailer city 2 weeks ago, so the length of stay in the trailer city does not depend on income level.

We had never seen the in-laws new home (moved in last fall), and we were pleasantly surprised. There was a bedroom for the kids complete with daybed and trundle, a queen bed for us in another bedroom, and the in-laws room was clear across the house from ours. It was almost like having a private wing. And the pool was heavenly, considering the temperature hovered between 90 and 95 with high humidity thanks to Hurricane Rita dumping rain on us every afternoon.

Tuesday and Wednesday we spent a lot of time around Cape Coral. Visiting with friends and relatives, going to parks, and playing in the pool. Mostly relaxing.

Thursday we were treated to a boat ride in the bays near Sanibel Island and Pine Island by some friends of the in-laws. There was a small craft warning in the Gulf of Mexico, so we stayed pretty close to land. Being one of the few boats on the water, we managed to attract 3 groups of dolphins. They like to play in the wakes created by boaters, so we saw a pretty good show. The boys were very impressed!

Friday we went to the zoo in Naples. It's not a huge zoo, but they have a lot of scheduled 'shows'. We saw "Meet the Keeper" with kangaroos and heard all about them. We were allowed to pet a baby alligator (the handler had a firm grasp on it). We took the catamaran ride around the primate islands to see gibbons, spider monkeys (including an 8 month old baby), and lemurs. We fed the fish and turtles in the lagoon. It took just the right amount of time for small children.

Saturday we lounged around and played in the pool. It was actually sunny!

Sunday we traveled most of the day and came home to 70 degree weather. It was a fun week, but it'a always nice to come home!

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