Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Florida-Day One

Just got back from a week's vacation in the Tampa area with a friend. Tampa-80°...Madison-14°. Temperature shock upon walking from the Dane County Airport terminal to my parked car in just a sweater-100%. Vacation of a lifetime-priceless.

We got so many unique opportunities on this trip it was amazing. We got great photos too, so I thought that for the next several days, I would take it a day at a time and share them. The first full day we went to Homosassas State Park to see the manatees. A person that had been there a few days before said that they didn't see any in the canal behind the park, but we saw 35-mamas and babies were so cute together. What good luck!






There are 4-6 rehabbed female manatees in the park that they feed. We watched them being fed sweet potato slices and carrots.







The park has an underwater observatory called 'The Fish Bowl' where you walk right down into the crystal clear spring and we got shots like this...






There were so many other animals and things to see in the park. Even though they have had recent frosts that killed a lot of the foliage and flowers, they were starting to come back and the pines, palms and Spanish moss were all so beautiful. And the springs are so clean and clear!





There were plenty of flamingos and other birds...
........like these ibises.....

and this very cooperative owl...






The prerequisite 'gators... (Did you know that they don't eat from November through March? Their metabolism slows down for the cooler weather and eating could actually kill them. No wonder they always in a bad mood.)





And a retired movie star hippo named Lou who slept through our whole visit there. That was OK though-better that he sleep that demonstrate what this sign means.



I've decided I want to be a manatee when I grow up....I already have the figure for it!

What an amazing day. I can't remember any other vacation where I've had so much fun. I highly recommend this park if you want to see and experience Florida wildlife. (More trivia-it was formerly the home of the bear in the Gentle Ben TV series with Clint Howard).

Tomorrow: Friday and Saturday/Swamp Fest, Hillbilly Banjoes, wild tortoises and rocket launches!

6 comments:

MadCityMike said...

Welcome Home! I am happy to hear that the manatees showed up to greet your arrival....as they were expected to do. They must have been told that the "Wisconsin Princess" had arrived and they'd best be there to pay their respect. :)
Sounds like you had a wonderful vacation....as you deserve.
Again, welcome home!

Kitty Mommy said...

Oh man! Sounds like just the first day was a blast. I have been thinking about you all week, imagining the good times.

Cindy G said...

There really is such a thing as 80 degrees? I was beginning to think I was imagining that number.

Hooray for a great trip!

Kathy Kathy Kathy said...

Welcome home. Incredible photo of the lady in the manatee. I guess they aren't true vegetarians as once thought.

YarnThrower said...

I showed your nice photos to my six year old, who is crazy about Manatees. Sounds like a great vacation! Sorry our weather was so cold for your return... I bet you were tempted to turn right around and get back on the plane...

Lisa/knitnzu said...

OMG that "splatter zone" sign had me cackling out loud!!!