We like living in Florida. While the weather during the summer is atrocious – hot and humid and rainy – the weather from October through April is glorious. And, besides, summer in Florida is no worse than winter in New York. We have found the people to be open and friendly where we live. There is so much to do, especially with kids, that we are constantly on the go. Overall, moving here has been a very positive experience.
I miss the mountains, though. I grew up in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. While the Ozarks don’t have the lofty elevations of the Rocky Mountains, or even the Appalachian Mountains, they are quite rugged and beautiful. My childhood was an outdoor childhood, and those mountains are a place I understand. They are home, in a real way. The mountains in New York are similar. We never lived far from a good, rugged, up-and-down hike, with waterfalls and bluffs and incredible views merely a short drive away. Read more →
Took the family to Gatorland in Orlando today, and here’s the thing about Gatorland – you need to go.
No, seriously, whatever it is that you have planned in the Orlando area the next time you come around, you need to just go ahead and shuffle that around and make a trip to Gatorland. If you’re here for Disney, just take the half day or even full day and skip Disney and head over there.
We went in with low expectations. Frankly, it seemed like it had an opportunity to be very cheesy. And, in spots, it was. But that was more than made up for by the just unbelievable wildlife – there are so many alligators that counting becomes pointless. And snakes and birds and crocodiles and you name it – this place is incredible.
We didn’t see the “famous” Jumperoo show, but we did go and take in the alligator wrestling. Picture a sand pit in the middle of a little arena, bleachers on all sides. The pit is surrounded by a moat, in which swim a dozen or so alligators and over which is a single bridge that has gates on both ends of it. Some crazy-ass dude walks in there, asks a little kid to pick out which gator he’s going to “wrestle” – and the little kid OF COURSE picks the biggest one in the water. Because, OF COURSE. This thing is mean, and our man struggles to get it out of the water. So he STEPS OFF INTO THE MOAT, WADES OVER AND GRABS IT BY THE TAIL AND DRAGS IT UP INTO THE SAND PIT. This alligator snarling and bellowing and trying to bite him the whole time. And then proceeds to do all kinds of tricks with it.
Are you kidding me?
Seriously, come do this. And bring your camera. There is some amazing stuff to see here. I took all of the pictures included below except the one with the family – that one cost $18.99, but did come with a 1GB flash drive.