Saturday, April 20, 2013

Florida Everglades

I had the privilege of being the guest poster at MaryAnne's blog Mama Smiles this week as part of her "World Culture for Kids" series.  Thanks for having me MaryAnne!  Please stop by and visit her fabulous blog.

We recently returned from our spring break trip in Miami.  I spent a few years living there as a teenager and my mother and stepfather (Nana and Papa) still live there.  We love to visit!  

Latin culture influences so much of the city, anything from the language, color of the buildings (my kids call Nana and Papa's house "The pink house"), and the food.  Ooooh the delicious food.  My favorite dinner is churrasco steak with chimichurri sauce, frijoles negros (black beans and rice), platanos maduros (sweet plantains) finished off with some flan and a cortadito (a Cuban espresso).  The kids like the plantains and rice the best.

cuban food

This is the list of places we visited this trip, but I'll also include a list of places we hit on our last trip.  All are great for kids and lower in cost than a lot of touristy places in Miami.

This Trip
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park (beach and lighthouse)
Bill Baggs State Park
Pinecrest Gardens
Zoo Miami (there is a big splash park, so let the kids bring or wear their swimsuits)
Zoo Miami tram
Knaus Berry Farm
A drive through Coconut Grove, Coral Gables and Miami Beach 

Past Trips

One place you just can't miss, in my opinion, is Everglades National Park. There is no place like it on earth. If you go, stop by the visitor's center first. You can pick up a park map, get Junior Ranger Guides, and tour the museum. We also stopped by the gift shop and picked up a few books and an Everglades Wildlife Pocket Guide. The guide came in handy when trying to identify the many birds we saw.
junior ranger Everglades National Park
Junior Ranger guide for Everglades National Park
Anhinga at Everglades National Park
Anhinga at Anhinga Trail
Anhinga drying its wings
Anhinga drying its wings.
The anhinga has webbed feet and dives to find fish to eat.  It spreads its wings to dry them afterward.
It is said that there are two seasons in the Everglades, dry and wet. The wet season starts in May and runs through hurricane season.  During the dry season, migratory birds come to nest and other animals are forced into smaller areas to find water and food. It also means cooler temperatures and fewer mosquitoes!  

Water Level Marker at Anhinga Trail

alligator at Everglades National Park
Florida alligator, (a little too close for comfort).
vultures and alligator at Everglades National Park
Vultures and alligator 
We have been to the Everglades many times before, but this is the first time that we encountered Vultures. These Vultures have started attacking parked cars trying to pull the windshield wipers and other pieces of rubber off of them.  We had to cover our car with a tarp.  I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen them trying to attack one of the cars in the lot.

Green heron at Everglades National Park
Green Heron fishing

 photo Heron_zpsbabd8117.jpg
Little J watching a Heron take flight.  

It was overcast and slightly drizzly the day we visited, but there were so many birds, alligators, and turtles to see.  It really was a great experience for us.  We walked Anhinga Trail and Gumbo Limbo Trail.  A couple of other birds we saw that aren't pictured were a Purple Gallinule, a Red-winged Blackbird, and a Great Egret.

air plants in bloom in the Everglades
Air plants in bloom.
After leaving the park, it was a short drive to Robert Is Here, an infamous fruit stand with to die for key lime milkshakes as well as amazing tropical fruit.  The last time we were in Miami, the kids each picked a fruit bring home for a tasting.

Robert Is Here

1 comment :

Georgina Bomer said...

Really useful, thanks! Popping over from Link & Learn