Josh had to go to Orlando for the Annual HFMA Conference, so we all went with him to keep him company! We left Saturday morning and visited MOSI. We have a membership, so admission and IMAX films are free! We watched two IMAX movies...James requested sharks (and Josh was really excited about that one too, of course!) and the girls requested butterflies. So that's what we did. We learned a lot! In the butterfly movie we saw, for the first time, a butterfly laying her eggs on a plant. So cool!!
Then we left, ate a quick lunch and drove to Clearwater to go see Winter at The Clearwater Marine Aquarium. With our MOSI membership, we get in for free, or half price, to other museums, aquariums and zoos throughout the year. During June we could visit The Clearwater Marine Aquarium for free!
And, no...we did not influence him to make the silly face and gestures. He just came up with that on his own. What a clown!
We saw Winter, who is the star of the movie DolphinTale, and some other injured animals. The kids had fun checking out the touch tank...their were spider crabs and sea urchins and hermit crabs, sea stars and all sorts of neat things to hold. We really enjoyed looking into the big tanks of fish.
Then we were able to pet stingrays...which is always a favorite thing to do! We rode the trolley through Clearwater...and I think that was by far the most exciting part! James and JoyAnna got to sit up front by the driver and he talked to them like big kids and was so silly and fun. They just loved that!
"THAT'S a pigeon?!"
...and then a million questions as we're trying to run to catch the trolley. It's a pigeon, kid, come on! No, seriously, I took a picture and told him he'd have to identify it...I didn't realize just how many different types of pigeons there are. And it really was cute that he was so impressed by the common pigeon. There was a guy sitting on a bench in front of it and he was laughing so hard at the scene we were making over a pigeon.
And this heron!
My mother's heart was terrified thinking of all of the horrible things that *could* happen with our kids sitting 10 feet away from us at the front of the trolley. It was a good test of faith, I suppose.
Lydia was NOT happy that she had to sit with Mama. That was a good lesson in obeying even when we don't want to. Lydia forgets that she's not as big as James and JoyAnna are because they play so nicely with her.
Here was the trolley we rode on!
When we got to the hotel in Orlando, Lydia was exhausted. Our beds were like fluffy clouds! We all looked like this shortly after climbing in.
The view from our room...they had the neatest pools at the Hilton Orlando. There was a huge family pool, a quieter more private pool, and even a lazy river pool with rapids and waterfalls! Josh and I LOVED the lazy river, but the kids did not think that was much fun. They preferred splashing in the family pool.
We visited SeaWorld and checked out the new Antarctica attraction. James took James on the "Wild" version...the girls and I took the "Mild" ride. Which was just fine with me because I had a migraine and was concerned that I might become violently ill with too much jostling about.
In case you're wondering...it was about 30* in with the penguins...and we got stuck on the ride due to technical difficulties...so there we were, covered in sweat from just standing in the 50 minute line in the Florida Summer heat, with our little beads of sweat freezing on our bodies, hoping the ride would hurry up and get fixed so we could get outside to thaw.
By the time we finally got in to see the penguins, the girls were crying because they were so cold. Ach du liebe!
Oh! But while we were standing in line for an hour, my little explorers found some funky moth-like creatures in the bushes.
Ever the fearless children they are, they plunged their hands in and scooped up the little creatures.
Soon everyone in line was holding their very own moth.
Do you know what these are? Josh and I were joking that they're probably some highly venomous species and there are our kids letting them climb all over them...I have never seen them before. (The moths, not the kids. I have seen them before.)
We walked Josh over to the Convention Center one morning. It was connected by a long walkway right to our hotel. And The Peabody, on the opposite side of the Convention Center was ALSO connected!
We walked over to go see the ducks being marched out to the fountain, but had to turn around due to some problems with a particular child's attitude. We never got to see the famous Peabody Ducks. :(
On the way home Josh surprised us and took us to Downtown Disney. It was my first time.
This was outside of the Irish restaurant. Lydia was not sure of the old man sitting there on the bench.
Then we managed to get her to sit on his lap, and everything was just fine! What a ham!
We went to the dinosaur store and the kids got to be paleontologists. Lydia would not go in because she hated the feeling of the sand on her feet. You should see the poor girl at the beach. Why do we live in Florida?
Here is Josh and James digging up a big bone. They had so much fun!
We visited the Lego store. We had never heard of this game before but it looked SOOOOO fun!! We are thinking of getting it for Christmas this year.
James and Lydia had fun building with the Legos. JoyAnna didn't really care. She was happy just to watch.
James is so into Lego's right now. It's really fun! He loves building cool planes and trucks. He's always inventing new vehicles. See his plane?
This dragon scene was completely done in Legos!
We ate lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. I had never been there before but always wanted to go. My neighborhood friend, Nikki, had gone with her dad and told me how neat it was. Ever since I've wanted to eat there. Josh remembered me telling him about that, and so that's where he took us for lunch. So sweet!