A couple posts ago I said we had the perfect day. This was it, too.
Sterling went back to school at the beginning of January with a vengeance, so it might have only been a couple of weeks, but we needed some family time! This was SUCH a fun activity-we loved the bikes, the weather was divine, there were no bugs, all of the kids were amazing and so happy, the gators were out to be seen and I just feel like I could pick this for my Groundhog's Day! Sterling and I spent the first hour looking at each other and grinning and saying things like "This is the best day ever!"
We went to the Everglades and did a 15 mile bike loop in an area called Shark Valley. It's about thirty minutes from our house (there was no traffic, so it really only took that long!) and we chose to go there because they had bike rentals. Also, it is free to get into national parks on national holidays, so MLK was the perfect day! We had heard from a LOT of people that the time to go to the Everglades is now, because in the summer it is just too hot and has too many mosquitoes and bugs. Since I could barely walk outside of our house this past summer, I can't really imagine. Oh wait, getting from our car to the beach at Bill Baggs State Park last summer is a very strong memory. I can imagine. So we really wanted to enjoy this in the winter. It was perfect. We did not see or feel a single mosquito and it was cool enough in the morning that I had in the kids in jackets! Felt almost cold! (Ya know, bordering low seventies is cold these days.)
|Molly only cried right then (we hadn't started biking yet) and as soon as we got going she was an angel the rest of the time!|
|At first I thought I should put Molly on my back, since I am used to carrying her that way, then Sterling reminded me that he bikes every day with his backpack that is twice Molly's weight. Good call, babe.|
|I told Ruthie to get really close so I could take a picture and she started walking right up. So then Sterling got really annoyed at me and made Ruth stop right there and gave her a lecture on not getting any closer to them. oops!|
|Can you see the one swimming out there?|
|The one on the bridge we had to cross.|
|At just about the halfway point (mile 7) there was a tower you could walk up to look out over everything. It was pretty sweet. Plus, it had flushing toilets--the visitors center didn't. Isn't that odd? Anyway, the lookout was really sweet.|
|How many gators can you see? I can see five.|
There were lots of things to read, that mostly said every creature in South Florida depended on these wetlands.
|I took this picture while biking! Skill, I know. We also had an awesome system going where Ruth would put some snacks in my hand and I'd pass them over to Will. Good times.|
|Aww, too sweet.|
|Ruth and Will got their Junior Ranger badges and I am so excited to get a collection started for them! We love National Parks!|
It took almost three hours total. The shop didn't even charge us at all for Sterling's bike, because of the chain, so it ended up being super cheap, too! It's crazy that we live thirty minutes away from the Everglades. I told Sterling that it is just weird to me. I dreamed about going to all sorts of places, Boston, Niagara Falls, Bannff, the Redwoods, even Europe and New Zealand or Australia. But never Florida. And never the Everglades. But they are REALLY cool and Florida has some pretty sweet stuff. I'm glad we got to go!