Friday, March 3, 2017

Tampa continued.... family style!

It was fun to explore Tampa with just us girls... but we saved the most exciting outings to make sure Tom could be with us!

Our first day together we visited Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.  (Here's my plug.... 50% off admission with a Zoo Atlanta membership - seriously, I should get commission)

I think we would all agree that one of our favorite parts of this zoo was the stingray pond.  You could buy some shrimp and hand feed the rays!

It was our first peek at a manatee.

 They had a safari to see the "big" animals.
 And what zoo is complete without a petting zoo.

 Personally, I loved their bat exhibit.  It was amazing to see Flying Foxes.

Day 2 - We just happened to be in the area at the same time that LEGOLAND had a homeschool day - so we drove on up towards Orlando to take advantage of that.

 We got there when it opened and closed it down.... I wish we had had more time in the construction zone - the girls loved building cars and flyers.

 We got a bit wet on one of the rides....

Family Day 3.... The experience we'd all been waiting for - Clearwater Marina and Aquarium.

This is not a true "aquarium" but is actually a hospital and treatment center.  We were so excited to get to see Winter (from Dolphin Tale) and Hope (Dolphin Tale 2).

 One of the turtles they rescued that had lost his back leg.
 Winter and Hope - playing....

 The boat from the movie
 We took a backstage tour - got to see the treatment center and hear about their efforts to save the sea turtles.  They receive hundreds of turtles a year and hope to give medical treatment and rehabilitate as many as possible so that they can be released back into the wild.

 They go to great lengths to keep the "releasable" turtles away from human contact as much as possible.  Some turtles are not able to be released and then they are introduced to human contact so that they can better care for them.

We would love to come back here one day so that we can go on some of the marine biologist boat trips.

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