Friday, April 13, 2018

Spring Break in St. Augustine {Day 3}

Happy Friday! This week I've been recapping our Spring Break trip to St. Augustine Beach. You can read about our first few days here: 



When I was thinking of our Spring Break trip on the beach, all I was thinking about was being warm and on the beach. I didn't realize we would have the opportunity to see and do so many things. I prefer to just chill out when I'm at the beach. Soaking in all the sunshine, and the the sounds of the waves intermixed with squeals of my children's laughter is my happy place. 

But Mother Nature decided to throw in a kink here and there, and fortunately we somehow landed at a place with plenty of entertainment to keep us occupied until it was warm enough to play on the beach.  


I knew this would be our warmest day of the week, and wanted to take full advantage of that. While it was still too cool in the morning to swim or play without sweatshirts on the beach, it was warm enough to keep the party outdoors. We decided to do a quick adventure knowing by lunchtime the weather would be hot enough to swim. So we made our way to the St. Augustine Lighthouse


There are a number of interesting tours and activities you can partake in at the lighthouse, but we wanted to keep it easy and explore ourselves. Even on our own there was a ton for kids to do!


We rounded the first corner and there was this fun ship playground for the kids to play on.



It even was equipped with costume weapons for the kids to play with. This was totally up my kids alley, and everyone who played on it instantly seemed to get into character - mostly of the pirate variety.



The inside of the ship was also fun for kids. It had a cute little picnic table and a ladder to take you below deck.

And fun portholes too of course. How else would you see other adorable pirates?


Somehow I managed to tear them away from the playground after a good half hour of play. We made our way over to the lighthouse itself. 


Now if you are under 44 inches tall you can't go up to the top of the lighthouse, and they don't charge you. So the girls were free. Cute was the the only one tall enough, but since my sister was with us they said one adult could be half price because we couldn't all go up together with the kids. So if you visit as a family and have to switch off, there is a bit of savings. 


Now Cute had no interest in going to the top. I'm not a fan of heights either so I totally get it. 


The lighthouse was built in the 1800's and is still active today. It has been restored over the years, but for the most part is still the original lighthouse. 


My sister went up first, and came down and said she wouldn't take him either. I thought it was just because of so many stairs, but then after I saw it for myself I realized why maybe young kids shouldn't go up. 


You could see straight up, which meant you could see straight down. Eek! At this point I was already committed though. It also didn't help that the stairs weren't very wide. 


And then I was bummed I only burned 24 calories going up. That's a lot of stairs and and semi-panic heart racing going on not to be more than 35 total calories. 


As I climbed higher, I totally shouldn't have looked out the windows or down. It was such a pretty view. I stopped on the landings to take a picture or two...and to not talk myself out of going down before I got to the top. 


And then I finally made it to the top and realized I could see straight out. Like there wasn't a wall it was just a metal railing. N to the 0. 


I stood with my back against the wall in the doorway. I took one picture to send to Mr. Cute to prove I made it to the top, but I did it as quick as possible to get right back in the doorway to head down. 


For the record, heights didn't bother me when I was younger. But as an adult I get huge anxiety. When we did the Ledge in Chicago, it totally freaked me out, but since the clouds blocked the ground it didn't make me as nervous as the first time we did it years ago. 


Once I got my feet back on the ground, and caught my breath, we toured the rest of the lighthouse grounds. I had no idea they made wooden boats there, but there is a whole volunteer program where people can special order a variety of hand crafted boats. 


It was so interesting to see them in the process of making several.



There was a little wooden rowboat in the yard outside the boatbuilding area and a sweet volunteer gave the kids a little instruction on how to row properly. 


We then made our way over to one of the buildings and it had the cutest little interactive play area for kids. The center of this lighthouse model was built to be a puppet theater. 


The building houses replicas of  some of the world's most famous tall ships.



Needless to say the kids loved this area.  Between all the guided activities they could partake in and the free play we spent the better part of an hour in the one little section of the museum.





Once the kids were ready to move on we took our little party outside again. I died laughing over this for some reason...


My spoiled children would never have made it as lighthouse keeper's children. Although they could try...


All those "chores" made them work up an appetite, so we headed to the restaurant on site - Tin Pickle - for a quick bite to eat. 


It's super cute and has a limited menu, but all the necessities you might need for a quick bite. Including beer and wine.

| Swimsuit | Cover-Up |

Of which I should have partaken in before we left because after we ate we made our way back to the hotel so I could be everyone's beach and pool caddy. Thank goodness for this little invention or my kids would have been living like historic lighthouse keepers children at the beach. Just themselves and the ocean. I wouldn't have complained, but I know they would have put up a stink or two about it. 

| Cute's Swim Trunks | Girls Swimsuits |

The minute I unleashed them on the beach they were in their element. L. C. didn't stop running in the waves almost the whole three hours we were out there. 



The kids had so much fun, and it was the perfect warm afternoon. That was until the clouds and storms started rolling in. 


We enjoyed the beach as long as possible, but soon storms started rolling in from behind us. So while our view was sunny ocean, behind us was black stormy clouds. 


Eventually I made the call to pack up our stuff and head back towards the hotel to at least be safer if it go bad. The kids didn't complain though because I let them indulge in a little polar bear swim before officially heading inside. 


We weren't the only one with that plan. Other people were crazy enough to join in the potential frost bite too. I stayed in my cozy warm spot out of the splash zone.


| Frozen goggles


The kids had a blast though and didn't complain one bit about it being cold. Aside from the potential danger of lightning strikes they probably would have stayed in that pool all night if I let them.


While they did their nightly soak in the whirl pool tub (which by now was their absolute most favorite activity of all), I ordered food again for a repeat of the night before. We were all worn out and battling hungry rain soaked tourists for a dinner seat did not appeal to me one bit. A quiet dinner in the lobby followed up by snuggles in bed and a movie was way more my speed! 

Last part of vacation coming at you next week, but for now enjoy the weekend!!


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