Friday, December 10, 2021

Tampa and Fort Myers Adventure, Day 3

[Composed 11/23/2021]

For our last day with the Tampa kiddos, we headed off to explore St. Petersburg.

Weedon Island Preserve

We started the day with a hike around Weedon Island Preserve. It was a brilliantly sunny day, though a steady wind made things ever so slightly chilly. We all enjoyed exploring the various boardwalk trails of Weedon Island, and while we only caught sight of a couple of interesting birds, it was still an excellent day hike.

After hiking around, we scarfed down some lunch and then headed to our next stop.

Sunken Gardens

The Sunken Gardens is a 100 year old tourist attraction that has stood the test of time. What the gardens lack in acreage, they makes up for in quality. There were plenty of fascinating plants, terrain features and even a few animals to oggle.

T took the lead with my DSLR and captured some wonderful pics of the plants, koi and flamingos. We all marveled at the beauty and variety of plants on display. The Abutilon striatum, aka Chinese Lantern Plant, aka Flowering Maple is among the most beautiful flowers I've ever seen. And how can one not be awestruck by the Rose Cactus and Madagascar Palm which have wicked thorns protecting their trunks.

After the gardens, we hit up the nearby Raymond H. Neri park. We walked the 1 mile loop around the reservoir hoping to catch some gators sunning themselves. Alas, there were none. Though we did catch site of a massive turtle which was a nice bonus.

As per usual, we tried to walk the legs off the kids and they just keep plodding away. So impressive.

Leaving Tampa

After dropping the kids and Dad back home, it was time to head to Fort Myers for the next stage of our vacay. On the way out of town, we stopped at the Skyway Bridge Rest Area. Not only were we treated to a gorgeous sunset, but Shira reported in: they were the best public bathrooms she'd ever been in. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge will forever hold a place in our hearts and rest-stop plans.

Fort Myers, here we come!

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