Tag Archives: lizards

Post-classes: Vacation Day Nine (Tallahassee: Edward Ball Wakulla Springs Park)

I decided to take my parents to Wakulla Springs on their last day here, because it was a sunny day and the last time I had attempted to take it in it had started pouring rain as soon as we got on the trail. It turned out to be a great decision because we saw plenty of turtles, alligators, and even got a chance to see manatees in the wild! This is what I’d been hoping to show my parents all along, so I’m glad we all got a chance to experience it together. If you go to Wakulla Springs, I STRONGLY recommend taking the river boat tour. It’s reasonably priced and without it you most likely will have a very difficult time spotting anything. the glass bottom boat tour wasn’t running when we went, because of “dark water” but we still saw plenty. I highly recommend visiting this park. Also, you will get to see the untouched “real” Florida if you take the tour (from the boat), at the end of the stretch of spring where people are allowed to go, and where they only visit a few times a year. The first and third movies in The Creature of the Black Lagoon series were filmed here, as well as Tarzan. If you’re going to take the trail anytime in the spring/summer, wear bug spray! I got many mosquito bites. We did see some lizards though.

main sign

We even got to see a turtle on our way into the park, crossing the street! The car you see in the sign above contained people that also stopped to admire the turtle.

turtleeeee

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beautiful

so nice

There is also a swimming area, a beach-y place to lay about in the sun, and a lodge with a soda shop (for milkshakes, hot dogs, etc.) and a real restaurant where we chose to eat lunch.

lodge

outside

ceiling

picture

Here’s the menu:

menu one

menu two

We got the Chicken Caesar salad, Po Boy shrimp sandwich, and the grilled shrimp salad.

caesar

shrimp salad

sandwich

Everything was great! My parents agreed the shrimp was very fresh and I thought my salad was great too. The lodge also offers lodging (imagine that) and beer/wine. Anyway, highly recommended, and a great way to end my parent’s visit.

lizard!

Post & photos by: Melissa

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Post-classes: Vacation Day Seven Part One (Tampa: Lowry Park Zoo)

This post was a tad too long, so I’m splitting it into two. I decided to make two posts because when I was looking at the pictures for this day, I had over 100 I wanted to use and that seemed like way too many! This first part will feature the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, and the second part will focus on the Columbia Restaurant (lunch), St. Petersburg Beach and Samurai Blue (dinner.) Enjoy the zoo (I know we did!)

As you first come into the Lowry Park Zoo, make sure to keep your receipt handy as the lady at the desk needs to view it before admitting you. Snag a map, or use their Zoo Map app (I opted for the paper copy.) There was a lady with a green snake standing at the entrance, which was a fun introduction to the zoo. Off to the right, there was an enclosure with many different birds and of course the ever-present wild squirrel which is everywhere in northern and central Florida as far as I’ve experienced. Squirrels love the zoo too. A few things of note about this zoo: Voted #1 zoo for children/families by a parenting magazine (can’t remember which one), has several opportunities for direct animal contact/interaction/feeding, and has rides for the children as well. I think these features make it a very unique and fun zoo. If you go early-ish (we were there before 10) the animals are all fairly active as well, even in the sun.

bird enclosure

Then we saw the warty pigs, which made me happy. I also feel bad for them for having such an unappealing name. They’re more hairy than warty, and pretty cute.

warty pigs

My dad and I agreed these birds look like college professors. Let me take a moment to apologize that this post will mostly be pictures. Hope you don’t mind!

old man birds

hello there little guy

I fed this guy some nectar from a cup.

bird on arm

These lizards were everywhere in the zoo! Something very unique to this particular zoo, Lowry Park, is the amount of wildlife that is included, including various random wild lizards, squirrels, and birds throughout the zoo and its enclosures. I really liked that it seemed like a very natural setting.

wild lizard

penguin feeding time

They also had a lot of zoo babies. Here are a few: baby elephant and baby pygmy hippo!!

baby elephant!!

hippppppo

what are you looking at

meerkat

wallaby

koala

I do apologize to the lady above for catching her looking at the koala… Oh well. This glass was so reflective.

singing dog

bats!

if you know anything about me by now, you probably know I love goats. And zoos that let you pet/feed them, which I did!

goatses

friendly

And the Florida black bear.

florida black bear

meh

Such big alligators!

gators

The main attraction for me was the manatees. Here’s my very first manatee viewing (in person.)

my first manatee

nom nom lettuce

I also love seahorses.

seahorse

snakes!

eagle

I think there were a couple kinds of rays in the enclosure. You could feed these guys if you wanted to, which was another thing I liked about this zoo. They had plenty of opportunities for you to interact with the animals (my mom fed the giraffe and on some weekends you can feed and touch the rhino.) These guys were so funny to watch. They would sometimes splash you as they swam by and you could reach in and touch them, like in the aquarium.

rays!

rhino

And what zoo is complete without pony rides?

horses

And now, finally, I can’t remember what this guy was exactly… but he basically had a heart on his chest. And I thought that was too cute not to show y’all.

heart bird

Post & photos by: Melissa


Destination: Tallahassee! Alfred B. Maclay Gardens, Lofty Pursuits ice-cream & Killearn Antiques store

When my mom was visiting Tallahassee and staying here with me I decided to take her to a few of my favorite places, and one of those was the ice-cream place, Lofty Pursuits. It’s super cute, delicious, local, and it’s also attached to a toy shop. 🙂

We also visited the antique shop next door, Killearn Antiques, which I’ve been near and looked inside, but had never gone into before.

Lastly, (although in timeline-reality before we did the other two things) we went to the Alfred B. Maclay Gardens and walked around there, which was pretty awesome and will be the main focus of this post. I think the entry fee was $6 for our car (and the two of us.) There is also a recreation area but we just drove through/past that.

You can see the little lizard again there, right? He does blend in very well. I always wonder if people hold the cursor over my pictures to see the text that I write for them. Try it! Just hold your mouse arrow over the picture until a little text box appears. That’s where I do most of my writing. I really liked this park, mostly for the animals we saw (and TONS of squirrels.) However, what I did not manage to get a picture of was the rather large black banded snake we saw that came out of nowhere and quickly got away before we could snap a picture of him. Very cool.

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa