Monday, April 16, 2018

Spring Break in St. Augustine {Day 4}

Happy Monday friends! Okay today I am wrapping up our Spring Break trip to St. Augustine Beach. I know you are probably tired of seeing all that sunshine and fun, right? Me on the other hand, I wish I could go back considering today Mother Nature is laughing at us all as I put back on my winter clothes again. Boo!

To see how we spend our other days at St. Augustine Beach, read here...

The kids must have realized it was the last day of vacation because they woke up super early. As in early enough that a few of us were lucky enough to see the sunrise. 

The day before was our warmest day, and this day was our coldest. It was in the high 40's when we woke up and would only reach mid-sixties so I decided it would be an exploration day. The hotel had a million pamphlets on things to do so I let the kids decide what they wanted to check out. 

First vote was the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park. The vote on this was unanimous. All kids were excited about it. Me on the other hand...a park full of alligators sounds like the things nightmares are made of. 

We got their early, and I'm so glad we did because the place was quite popular. And after seeing it I know why. It was such a fun place, and had tons of animals and exhibits the kids could see. 

The first area you see is a large section with different varieties of baby alligators. The kids thought it was so fun that they were snuggling with turtles. 

L.C. determined the baby alligators were so cute and she needed one. N to the O. Because baby alligators turn into big alligators. And big alligators turn into HUGE alligators. 

This is how we all felt about that...

So sorry L.C., not now or ever will we have a baby alligator pet for you. 

I mean I knew it was an alligator farm, but I wasn't prepared for just how many alligators we would see. And the massive size of them. It was astonishing. In this area the alligators I think ranged from 10-12ft. And they looked almost nearly as wide. 

The kids instantly deemed the Alligator Farm their favorite find on the whole trip. Even more so than the now popular whirl pool tub. 

The park was home to a ton of other animals. From turtles to parrots to a wide variety of birds and even a large variety of snakes - it had a little bit of everything. 

But the two main attractions were the alligators and the Rookery, which home to a wide variety of wild birds. Tons of people were in this area. In the trees and all around were a large amount of birds and their nests. Bird watchers and photographers - both professional and amateur - set up camp everywhere to capture them in this natural habitat. 

But let's not forget where we are. The path through the rookery is also home to a ton of these guys. 

Again, my the things nightmares are made of. 

The entire path and bank had hundreds of alligators in it. And my kids LOVED it. You could also purchase alligator food for a quarter in this section. The kids thought it was so cool they fed a real life alligator. If they only knew what that alligator was really thinking...

We took a quick break from all things alligator. Hey Magnolia. ;) 

We grabbed a quick bite to eat at the restaurant on site. It had a great kid-friendly menu (hamburgers, chicken fingers, etc.) and the kids loved these fun cups that changed with temperature. It got crowded fast and seating was limited so just be aware of that if you ever make your way to the alligator farm. 

After lunch we checked out a few more exhibits we hadn't seen yet. 

| L.C.s skinny jeans | Cute's lightweight hoodie | Favorite Summer Shoes

I'm so glad to know we live in modern times. Especially once I learned prehistoric alligators topped at 40ft long and 20,000 pounds. 

I might never sleep again. 

Before we left we made our way to the playground area. 

This area is fun and perfect for toddlers and small children. Unfortunately a school on a field trip was on the playground and we running the place. The kids were a little bit older and I am all for kids of any age playing but the untamed wildness of some pre-teen boys was no match for small toddlers. 

The kids still managed to sneak in some fun though. 

We said our last goodbyes to the animals and then it was time to head to our second kid voted activity. 

Two adventures in one day. Yes, I'm totally crazy. 

The St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum was something Cute spotted the first visit to the downtown area, and had talked about non-stop since. If I left St. Augustine without taking him, I apparently would have ruined his entire childhood. 

When you arrive at the museum you are giving a scavenger hunt map. Around the museum are hidden discovery boxes marked with a skull and crossbones. If you find all of them and correctly mark down the contents in each box you are allowed to pick out a gem stone at the end. The kids were all about this!

The museum is filled with tons of pirate memorabilia and recovered treasures. A large amount being from some of the world's most famous pirates. 

Apparently this flag is one of two existing originals from Blackbeard's ships. 

There were several rooms throughout the museum and each one had a different theme as well as something to interact with. From electronic treasure books that taught you about the world's most treacherous pirates to a cannon you can shoot - each room was designed to teach and to be fun. 

I thought we read somewhere that the museum was designed by some of the Disney designers. If that rings true, you can definitely see touches of that throughout the museum. Not only in the interactive exhibits but in the level of detail each one has. 

It's also astonishing to see how many recovered artifacts are in one place! 

Including pirate movie memorabilia. 

The kids loved it so much I let them go through a second time. Which was nice because the first time we were all about the scavenger hunt, the second was a little easier to read about everything. 

It was definitely a neat place visit, and fun for all ages. 

Cute was super sad I wouldn't let him walk through a third time. 

Once I finally tore him away from the pirate adventure, we decided to walk around St. Augustine again and do a little sightseeing and shopping before dinner. The advantages of waking up so can do two major tourist attractions leisurely all before 3p.m. 

Around 4:30p.m. our feet were tired and the cries of hunger were beginning to come from the toddler set. So we decided to do an early dinner. The nice thing about that was there was literally no wait. The kids voted on pizza, and we stumbled into PizzaAlley's Chianti Room

This might have been my favorite meal of the entire trip. It was so yummy! Not to mention from 5-6p.m. it's buy one get one free happy hour. Considering the wine was about $6 a glass that was a great deal I just couldn't pass up.  

From here I let the kids hit up the candy store one more time and then we called our vacation a wrap. The next morning I had planned on going to the beach before we headed out, but then made the executive decision to just hit the road. I'm so glad I did because Spring Break traffic was already in full effect and it took us over nine hours to get home (typically it's about 7 from Atlanta to St. Augustine). 

The bright side was our iPads remained fully charged the whole time and there were plenty of Chick-fil-a's along the way. 

That's a wrap on Spring Break 2018. St. Augustine was definitely a fun little place to visit and I look forward to visiting again one day in the future. The kids had a blast and it's a trip we will all remember. 

Now to plan a mommy trip because two major trips into the year run by the kids and I'm feeling like I need a quite tropical beach with a spa somewhere in my future. ;)

Is St. Augustine one of your vacation spots? What should we see next time we go? 

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