Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Gatorland Adventure!

This weekend we met four other families from our church at Gatorland in Orlando, and had a really enjoyable time. It's Florida in June, so it was hot, and muggy, and rained in the afternoon, but the kids loved it. As long as I've lived in Florida, I've never been there, and from what I hear, it's been around forever, and pretty much every Florida resident ends up going at least once.

I take that back, the bit about having never been there before. There was this one time, when I was in junior high... My friend Sara and I were in Medical Explorers. (From what I remember The Explorers Program was part of the Boy Scouts, and it was basically some sort of career learning thing. They would have speakers come and give presentations, and do job shadowing, etc...) Anyway, I don't think I did much at all with that group except for this one special event. Looking back, I'm not quite sure what we were thinking, or what our mothers were thinking, for that matter. The event was an all nighter with all of the local medical, police and fire explorers. Sara and I and our mothers were the only girls in the group.

So all of these kids and parents and Boy Scout leaders drove from sweet little Melbourne to Orlando at midnight. Our first stop was Gatorland. We were taken through the back entrance of the park and onto a boardwalk, and all given flashlights, but told not to turn them on. We followed the leader over the river and through the woods, in the complete and utterly frightening dark, until we were "there". We turned on our flashlights only to see five million glowing red alligator eyes swimming towards us in a hungry and wanting to eat us kind of way. We were standing in the middle of the alligator breeding marsh at one o'clock in the morning. Why? I just don't know.

From there, after being completely frightened, we headed to our next dream destination, at around  2am, for a nice tour through the men's facility of the Orange County Jail... What?! I remember our jail guard tour guide stopping to look at me, my little friend Sara, and our mamas, and saying "Huh. I didn't realize there would be girls along". However, we proceeded anyway, and ended up wishing that we were at home in our innocent and free from creepy, little beds.

And after that, we went to the Orange County Medical Examiners Office and Morgue. I remember a man holding up a brain of someone that had been shot in the head. As he explained about the bullet entry, he reached up to push his sliding glasses back onto his face, and a little piece of brain stuck onto his glasses. He never noticed, he just continued talking in his very Ben Stein voice... We drove by a gas station on our way home, in the not-so-nice part of Orlando, and saw a man standing outside the store with a gun, and two police cars speeding into the parking lot. I think Sara's mom may have screamed.

Anyway, all of that to say, that I actually have been to Gatorland before, however it was nothing at all like I remembered, so it doesn't really count.

This place is literally CRAWLING with alligators. Huge ones. 
At least they smile for the camera!

I don't think I've ever seen baby peafowl, have you? (Those are baby peacocks/peahens, in case you didn't google it yet, like I had to.) Well, here they are.

I was chosen from the audience to stand in front of everyone with my hands out and my eyes closed, and hold whatever was in the mystery box. I was truly hoping for a snake. At least the tarantula was kind of soft a furry.

After lunch, the kids changed into their bathing suits and cooled off.

These two cool dads got completely soaked, just to have some fun with their kids!

In case you were wondering, this is what two little alligators look like, "sneakin' around".
These two were waiting for the barrel full of water to dump on their sweet little heads.


The end!

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