Thursday, April 7, 2016

Sea World!

Over spring break this year, we took a little mini-trip to Central Florida. We spent a day at Sea World (thanks to free passes for teachers and preschoolers!), then stayed in an Orlando hotel overnight before driving to the Kennedy Space Center the next day. It was a quick trip, but super fun!

We left Jacksonville early-ish on the Tuesday morning of spring break and arrived at Sea World a little before 11:00. Unfortunately, the ticket line was no joke so it took us a while to get in. But, when we did, we were just in time to kick things off with the dolphin show. The kids were entranced!

Look at E.J. sitting still and everything!

Dancing dolphins

Dolphins all over the place

Loving it!

Next we went over to Turtle Trek, which begins with a lovely stroll through a little aquarium. The kids loved that part. Then you go into a big dome theater and watch a 3D movie about what it's like to be a turtle in the wild, including being grabbed by a seagull and such. Ellie was TERRIFIED. She clung to my neck and begged to leave, poor thing.

Ellie enjoying the aquarium

Ready for an immersive turtle experience!

When we were done terrorizing our child with turtle simulations, we tried to hit the penguin exhibit but it was a 20 minute wait just to look at the penguins let alone ride the ride, Pass on the penguins. We did, however, stop to take a picture here:


The last time we were at Sea World, it was Mother's Day 2014 and I was quite pregnant with E.J. I took my 32-week belly picture right by those penguins! E.J. sure has changed quite a bit since then!

May 2014 and March 2016! I like him better on the outside, I must say.

From there we went into the little aquarium nearby. The kids loved the fish swimming under the floor!

Ellie checking out the fish below her

"Hi, fishie!"

Then, we went over to visit the seals and sea lions. They were a noisy bunch! E.J. was not a fan, but Ellie was. She and Eric even bought some fish to feed them.

Ready to eat

She even touched a fish!

Then, we saw the sea lion and otter show. E.J. was pretty over it by that point, but Ellie sat nicely and watched the entire (very silly) show.

The sea lion show

Walrus for the big finish!

After the show we grabbed some lunch and went over our plan for the afternoon.

Ellie loved reading the map, and she was pretty good at it, too!

We had to stop by the scenic spot where we took some photos last time to get a few more before continuing on!


Pretty Ellie

Family selfie!

Then, we made our way over to the kids' area.

I can't with these two.

The kids and I rode the carousel and the little train, and Ellie and I rode a spinny ride. The kids met Shamu, and did a little climbing on a rope net (which Ellie was very brave with, and even said was her favorite part of the day!).

Carousel ride!

Look at Ellie climbing to the top all by herself!

Riding rides together


On our way out of the kiddie area, we swung by the orca tank and were able to watch them playing! It was really beautiful.

Orcas at play

Ellie watching

By then, we were starting to wear out...

Poor, napless E.J. we grabbed a Shamu ice cream to get us through.



We did decide to call it a day after that. We caught a comedy routine on the way out, then made our way to our hotel. Eric once again found us a great place to stay that wasn't insanely priced for spring break, and had a couple of bedrooms and a kitchen so we had some space. Perfect! It also had a balcony with a lovely view:

The view from our room

Once we had dinner and got the kids in bed, Eric and I grabbed some appetizers from the on-site restaurant to snack on as we drank wine and watched TV. Then, we learned that our nice balcony view also was an excellent spot to watch the evening's shuttle launch, perfectly preparing us for our upcoming day at the space center!

What a great day with our family!

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