The first morning started off nicely enough with Linda and I in our PJs quietly talking in the living room but on the way back to her room, Linda gasped in surprise when she encountered a strange MAN in her path. Her surprise was ended when my son Greg introduced himself. Later we had a laugh over it as Troy asked "where was Greg all night, sleeping under our bed?" They didn't realize he was living in a room next to theirs. I had given them a brief tour the night before, but didn't open the door to his (usually messy) room.
Their energy revived by a full night of sleep, Troy was on a mission for American sausage so off we went to the area Perkins restaurant to meet up with my daughter Ryan, her husband DJ and their son Darren.
We were promised steamy temperatures in the mid-90s that day, so we were at the ticket office at opening time. As the holder of a Grandparent Membership, I could go right in and take up to 5 of my grandchildren along at no additional charge. I have used this privilege many times knowing that I could stay a very short time without worry that I didn't get my money's worth. I often brought the older kids for an hour after school rather than take them to a park to play.
We headed straight for the Africa pavilion to see the rhinoceros and the giraffes. We were not disappointed. Most of the animals were up and having their breakfast so they were anxious to greet visitors and see if we had treat biscuits.
We even got some of the giraffes to take the biscuits from our hands, see their long blue tongues and touch their soft muzzles.
It was amazing to see these gentle animals reaching up to us as we stood on tree-top level board walk and witnessed their difficulty in finding a way to get a drink of water.
Many African birds and deer were also there for us to see and learn about.
The brightly colored lorakeets were quick to spot our cups of nectar and swoop down for a nibble sometimes squabbling with each other and jostling for first place at the trough.
We got a quick run through of the Florida wildlife including some impressive alligators snapping at nice-sized fish, but the lazy river otters were snoozing in the shade rather than perform in their open view tank unfortunately.
By this time the sun was high in the sky and we were absolutely done-in from the heat. Linda and I had discussed our local weather many times over the years and based on that, I felt sure that their heat far exceeded ours. This may be true, but we failed to report the one thing that makes all the difference... HUMIDITY!
So, I showed them what we Floridians do when it is just too hot for anything else. We headed home, put on our swimsuits and enjoyed swimming and eating cool fruit, cold cuts, cheese and crackers washed down with plenty of cool liquid.
Ryan, DJ and Darren headed home for Darren's nap while my visitors and I loaded ourselves into an air conditioned car for some lunch and a drive. We toured the beautiful shopping area near our home dubbed "The Avenues" circling the round-about parking lot that accesses the many stores and restaurants. It is a wonderful alternative to the old-fashioned "Mall" if you are thinking "green" but the heat makes it a very lonely place at mid-day in summer.
We actually were headed to another adventure when I realized that I had lost about 2 hours and the hubster was due home from work any minute. We made a mad dash through Target to pick up some essentials and it was time to assemble the masses for another meal. Oops!
Oldest son Tom was able to break out of a very busy week to get together with us for dinner too. Since it has been his dream to visit Australia since any of us can remember,he especially wanted to meet Linda and Troy and plague them with questions. By the time Ryan, DJ and Darren arrived, we were somewhat ready to eat again, and the huge margaritas served as a great appetizer.
What a delight to be with family and friends, chattering away at the end of a lovely day, planning tomorrow's adventures.
I felt like the luckiest woman alive!