Monday, August 20, 2012

Key West 2012: Sightseeing & Adventures

Our first field trip was to play mini golf with our friends! Of course, it was hot as blazes but we were determined to have a good time. We spent the morning getting tickets for the rest of the trip, coordinating our schedule with our friends (they have older kids and like to do all day adventure trips) and stopped by Dennys for a quick lunch. James was not a happy camper in that restaurant. We ended up having to take turns walking him around outside so that we could eat our food. It really is true what they say, moms never get to eat warm food!

Once we finally got down to putt putting, we a had a great time. James got his own little ball and putter and he loved "helping" us get our ball in the hole (which involved him picking it up and putting it in the hole). Anthony had a very calculated strategy that included evaluating angles and adjusting swings. My strategy was to hit it hard and quickly as possible. Anthony ended up winning by 4 strokes, but I got 2 different hole in ones so there is something to be said for my strategy! :)
Tuesday afternoon we had tickets to go on a glass bottom boat ride to see the coral reef. On our way there we saw this guy hanging out by the side of the road. Too cool! (look to the far left on the wall):
 Here is a picture of the boat we were about to get on:
Waiting for the boat in the shade:
One of the two glass bottom viewing windows:
The boat ride wasn't as comfortable as I was expecting. The seas were pretty choppy so Anthony and I both were feeling kind of sea sick. James didn't like having to sit in our laps or being held, but the boat was way too unstable for him to walk around. Plus, the big viewing windows on the bottom of the boat didn't have that much railing and he could easily fall in. Taking him out on deck wasn't much better, he just wanted to get down and once again it was way too dangerous.

It takes about 45 minutes to get the boat out to the coral reef and then they tour around for about 30 minutes explaining what we are seeing and giving information about the reef. The ride back was better than the ride out. The seas were calmer and James had fun laughing at a little boy that was sitting across from us and taking turns playing with his plastic eel. The grandmother showed us pictures of the Key West Toy Factory where she had just purchased the eel for her grandson and we decided we definitely had to go there sometime during the week!

Here is a picture of us at the Marathon beach house, after a full day of snorkeling, lobstering, and playing:

On Thursday we got brunch at a little french restaurant where our friends promised the best Croque Madame (grilled ham and cheese sandwich with eggs on top) you have ever had. It did not disappoint!! It was so delicious!! I was expecting to not really like it for breakfast, but it was perfect. Definitely filling, but not too much probably because my mom and I split one. Anthony had strawberry crepes, and it was his first time having crepes. He approved! :)

After brunch, we walked over to the Eco Discovery Center, a free marine education center that had aquariums, displays, and best of all: air conditioning!!!

James ready for some eco discovering:

A large reef tank in the middle of the room:
A cool interactive learning lab that looks like a submarine. You can go inside and press different buttons and the screen will show you different movies about marine life and conservation:
After the Eco Discovery Center, we headed to the butterfly conservatory to see all the butterflies! It was just as beautiful as I remembered it being last year, although it was much more crowded. James loved running around and chasing the little birds in the enclosure. He also loved the turtles in the pond and kept trying to figure out how to get off the path and down to the water. Luckily they had it blocked off pretty well :) Since there are so many butterflies, many times while he was running down the path they would fly by his face and he would wave his arms like he was brushing off mosquitoes. I guess butterflies are no contest when it comes to chasing birds and turtles!

Thursday night we met up with our friends downtown to watch the street performers. Every single night of the week there is a sunset celebration downtown with vendors and street performers, all trying to grab your attention, get your donations, and out-do each other. We only stopped to watch one of them, but he was amazing!! He spent almost the entire act balanced on top of this ladder. Then he had a boy from the audience throw him each knife as he was juggling the rest.
Towards the end of his show he moved from the ladder to a tall unicycle he called the "suicycle".

Once he was balanced on top, he started juggling lit torches!

For his last trick, while balancing on the suicycle with no hands, he dropped the hat off of his head and caught it with one foot. Then he used his foot to throw it back into the air and caught it on his head.
It was really fun to watch! After he was finished, we stopped and chatted with our friends. I looked down in the stroller to check on James and this is what I found:
Someone is tired and ready to go home!!
On Friday afternoon we headed over to visit the aquarium. I had to get a picture of their sea turtles. I am still so sad I didn't get to swim with the one every one else did!

Sting rays:

Nurse Sharks:
The aquarium was fun. They had a touch tank and we were there for feeding time for the large Florida fish and the sting rays. James wasn't too interested in everything. We tried to get him to play with the touch tank, but all he wanted to do was push the stroller around. He loves anything with wheels. Maybe next year!
Right next door to the aquarium was the Key West Toy Factory that we had heard about. The decor was so cool!!

They had a million things for kids to play with and James loved this activity wall. For awhile he was playing with a wooden dump truck until we saw the price tag. It was $100!!! We quickly tried to distract him so that he wouldn't get attached to it or break it :)
We bought a few little toys and when you check out you can get a balloon and a free token to ride the carousal downstairs. James really liked it!

Of course, once he saw that there were buttons to push where you insert the coins, that is all he wanted to play with for the rest of the ride :)
After the toy factory, we stopped by a street cart to get some coconut shrimp and fried clams. We had some last year and it was delicious, so we decided to get some again. We had grand ideas that it was fresh caught local seafood, but right after ordered we saw the cook pull some frozen shrimp and clams out of a supermarket box in the freezer. We were so sad!! Not that it tasted any different, but somehow we wished we could still think of it as a special Key West recipe.
While we were waiting for our food, I sat on a bench with this handsome sailor statue :)
Friday night the girls went on a trolley ghost tour that takes you around the entire island, pointing out houses where ghosts are known to haunt and telling some pretty scary stories about things that happened way back when. It even stopped at one of the old fort structures so that we could see Key West's famous haunted doll, Robert. It was pretty creepy. All the guys went on a walking ghost tour of the downtown area of Key West where you actually walk to the houses that are haunted and by local cemeteries. They claim that it wasn't that creepy, but I don't believe them. They are just being guys, I am sure it was plenty scary!

We had tons of fun exploring the keys and we still didn't scratch the surface of all the things to see and do. Good thing there is still next year!

1 comment:

Happy said...

Sounds like a ton of fun!! Glass bottom boat sounds really cool, but I'm sure that was hard with a toddler! Love the toy store!