Tag Archives: day trip

Photo Diary: Everglades Adventure

Chet and I went on a day-trip adventure into the everglades last week! On a whim, we decided to drive from our apartment in Miami to Everglades City and stop at anything that looked cool along the way. The drive is just under 2 hours and takes you through Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, and protected land of the Miccosukee Tribe.

Below you’ll find pictures from the stops we took to and fro’ Everglades City. Above is an alligator just chilling on the side of the road. As they do.

Note: I didn’t snap any pics in Everglades City because the mosquitoes were HORRIBLE. We mostly toured from the comfort of the car. However, the town is ADORABLE and we had a delicious lunch HERE. I had a crab cake sandwich because a sign in the little town square told me that Everglades City is the stone crab capital of the world! It did not disappoint.

Hiking in South Florida? That’s right! We stopped at the Oasis Visitor Center in Big Cypress National Preserve and found it marks the Southern Terminus of the Florida Trail. It is one of the 11 National Scenic Trails in the U.S. (the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail are others) and runs from down here in the Everglades all the way to Fort Pickens in Pensacola Beach, FL. (About 1,100 miles.) Now I really want to thru-hike it!

The Miccosukee Indian Village had a surprising amount of tourists about for a random weekday morning. We perused the gift shop and checked out some of the attractions. (Still not sure how I feel about the dude in jorts below.) Curious for a non-touristy look into reservation life, we also went on a walk through an adjoining neighborhood. (No pictures out of respect for the real lives and real homes we encountered.) Needless to say it was an interesting wander and I’d love to learn more about this tribe.

We also stumbled upon THE SMALLEST POST OFFICE IN AMERICA! Apparently, the Ochopee post mark is much sought-after. People travel to this tiny office to mail themselves a card just to get the mark. Wish I’d known to bring along a post card!

Bugs! L: The size of my index finger. R: The size of my whole hand. Everglades wildlife ain’t playin’ around.

 

Unfortunately Joanie’s Blue Crab Cafe, which was literally just chillin’ in the middle of nowhere, was closed for the day. But how fun does it look?! I really think this place is worthy of a return trip!

One thing you should know about me — I WILL stop a car to explore an abandoned building. RIP Everglades Kayak Tours.

Another nature center (not sure if it was on preserve land or the national park) with tons of info about wildlife and the history of the everglades. Below are a couple pictures taken on the back deck outside the center. They had this book for sale which I’m still kicking myself for not buying. Note the tannins in the water. (They make it look like sweet tea!)

Have you ever been in this part of Florida? What did you think? I already want to go back! (And retire to Everglades City…but maybe just in the winter because I’m a wuss about mosquitoes.) 

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Photo Diary: Miami Seaquarium

As you may remember, item numero uno on my More Delight List was to visit Miami Seaquarium. I wrote about our experience (and the complicated feelings that came along with the visit) yesterday, if you’d like to take a look. However, today I thought I’d share a few pictures.

First up, the reef aquarium…

…then a stroll through the tropical fish aquariums.

The manatees bear a striking resemblance to a cat I know. (And I kept thinking of the British tourists we met on Biscayne Bay who called them floating baked potatoes. Ha!)

The crocodiles and sea turtles were happily sunning themselves…

…with views of downtown Miami right across the bay.

Then we saw Lolita the Killer Whale. [Read more HERE.] (Can you spot the Pacific White Side Dolphins in mid-air 2 pictures down?)

Flamingos just chilling on one leg! Aren’t they prettiest shade of salmony-pink?

“They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than liiiiightning…”  [Side note: The house where the trainers and employees hang out is a replica of the house from Flipper the TV show. I would have snapped a pic but there were a couple of gals in wet-suits eating their lunch on the front porch and I thought it would be a little rude.]

Have you ever been to Miami Seaquarium? Do you have a favorite day trip activity in your city that brings you joy? I’d love to hear about it! 

P.S. More fun photos — Biscayne National Park and Historic Savannah, GA!

A Photo Essay: Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill

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If you’re in the area, Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill is definitely worth a day trip! You can tour a bunch of historic buildings in the village–tons of interesting artifacts, history lessons galore and a fantastic staff. The Village also owns 3,000 acres of the surrounding countryside with 40 miles of trails. If you’re in the market for a more budget-friendly trip (read: free), you could walk around the village, see the animals and gardens and then hit the trails! But the admission price is well worth exploring the buildings and seeing staff presentations if you feel like splurging (just $15 from Apr-Nov and $7 from Nov-Mar). 

A trip to Salato Wildlife Center!

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Last Friday, Chet and I strapped on our new trailrunners, packed up lunch and hit the road for a quick half hour drive to Frankfort, KY to visit the Salato Wildlife Center. I can not recommend this place enough. Their grounds include free fishing lakes and hiking trails. For just $4 for adults you can see a bunch of sweet animals, interactive exhibits and educational material about indigenous plants and wildlife. We arrived a little after 11am and decided to pay to check out all the animals first thing. We spent about 2 hours wandering around amongst fish, turtles, deer, bobcats, eagles and all sorts of critters native to the state. There were animals and exhibits both indoors and out, as well as a really cool “living stream” complete with a waterfall and a view of what was going on “under the sea” from indoors. My favorite animals were the bison; Chet’s favorite were all the fish. Since we had our lunch in our backpacks we decided to forgo exiting the paid part of the park to eat in the picnic area and instead find a bench to dine with a view of the animals. We found a covered bench overlooking the bison grounds and feasted on sandwiches, carrots and spicy dried chickpeas. We also downed a ton of water because it was pretty hot out and we were both feeling a little sunshine cray and sweaty. We had seen a sign saying the days free educational program was at the bobcat area so we swung by to check it out. We learned the zoological term “enrichment” basically means yoking up the animals to promote species-specific behaviors. The gal leading the program yoked the bobcats up in a variety of manners, my favorite of which involved giving the cats big ice cubes to play with because, funnily enough, this is Wink’s FAVORITE enrichment. We have now taken to calling it enrichment whenever we are playing with Wink. After the bobcat program, which provided ample time for our food to settle, we hit the trails. This was a super fun 4.5 mile hike, no steep inclines (Franklin Co. is by no means mountainous) just lots of switchbacks and ruins to explore. We walked through some fire nettle which provided an interesting 20 minutes or so of feeling like my legs were on fire and got our fair share of chigger bites…welcome to Kentucky! Once we got off trail we rested at a picnic table in the shade to chug more water, eat a little snack and hang out with some geese and duckies. We also walked down to the fishing lake to scope out a good spot for a future trip to cast out (Salato will loan you fishing poles for free! You just have to bring your own bait. Score!). We headed home sweaty and blissed-out from an awesome day outside in the sun in plenty of time to cook dinner. Here are some snaps from our day!

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What adventures have you been embarking on lately? I’d love to hear.