Monday, November 11, 2013

Jacksonville Day 4

Today being Veterans Day meant that our friend had to work, but her son was off from school. Not to worry, Shira and I were excited to spend the day playing with our 4 year old buddy.

We started the day at Big Talbot Island State Park. Many of the state parks near Jacksonville sounded terrific, but this one had a special site to offer. Mainly, there's a beach which was supposed to be absolutely chocked full of eroded trees. With all the old trees, the beach has earned the name the "Bone Yard."

The beach didn't disappoint. The old trees made for an unique photography subject for me, and more importantly, it was a kid's paradise. With a little imagination the trees were easily pirate ships, cars and anything else a 4 year old can come up with. The trail down to the beach was about a quarter of a mile, and provided a pleasant hike and lots of bird activity.

From the beach we made our way to Fort Clinch on Amelia Island. Like St. Augustine, the fort there is actually quite well preserved. From the drawbridge to the canons to the winding steep steps, this was another terrific place to explore with a 4 year old. After poking around the fort we hit the beach in front of it for a little play time in the sand. Using shells and a lot of imagination our little friend recreated his own castle, including shell drawbridge. When leaving he had two large flat shells in his hand. When I asked what they were he explained: "they are Batman and Robin's surfboards." Well obviously, how did I miss that?

As we left Fort Clinch Park we stopped to do the short Willow Pond hike. Turns out, Willow Pond isn't a pond in the traditional sense, but a series of green swampy pools that the trail winds through. With multiple signs warning of alligator activity, it feels wonderfully spooky. You can truly appreciate how well alligators have adapted to their landscape as downed floating logs look *exactly* like an alligator snout. We didn't see any alligators, though we did see a turtle, which is probably just as well.

With those adventures behind us, we hit downtown Amelia Island for lunch and then made our way back home. It was one of those rare days that was nearly completely filled with activities that were both kid and adult friendly. Such fun.

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