States visited: 49!

visited 49 states (98%)
Create your own visited map of The United States
Miles driven so far -
LOOP 1 (Aug 2009 - Aug 2010): 29,000
LOOP 2 (May - August 2012): 10,800

Highest altitude with camper: 11,158ft (I-70, CO)

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Manatees: Tuesday Dec 29th, '09

The Gellers are also staying in St Petersburg this year, visiting family. They kindly brought down a box from Blue Bell for us, so we got to open Christmas cards this week, which was fun, always love reading everyone's letters and hearing about their lives over the past year.

We had planned to meet up on the beach on Wednesday but Beth called early today to see if we wanted to join them on a trip out to Tampa Electric's manatee viewing area. What an incredible motivator for the kids to buckle down and complete their school requirements before they arrived later in the morning. I was really impressed, obviously need to introduce more incentives!

The drive over felt as though it should have been shorter, we only needed to go 'just across the water', of course, there is no direct 'across the water' so it was a bit of a trek. Thankfully an hour goes by pretty quickly when you're chatting and 6 kids are playing their DS's in the back - inventor of the DS: you are awesome!

Seeing the two huge towers spewing out clouds of smelly smoke wasn't exactly conducive to viewing wildlife and as a background to the beauty of the manatees, it really wasn't wonderful. However, there they stay, seemingly unperturbed by the pollution around them. Apparently this is an amazing year for manatees in this area of water, record numbers have been seen. There were about 100 in front of us, the area was covered with gray humps, it was very cool. In addition, there were a couple of bonnethead sharks swimming around, which periodically did some spectacular flips out of the water and were therefore, a little more interesting to the kids than the manatees which move at a far slower pace!

The exhibit room inside was good, there was a pedal game, puzzles, neat models, informational wall posters and a touchable skeleton. Nate was just thrilled to be with Jon and Drew, he loves Jake's friends and they are so good and patient with him.

We stopped for delicious creamy ice cream on the way home, this may have been the highlight of the afternoon for the kids!

I love how different this state is from back home (eg: climate, palm trees, landscape), not necessarily better, just different. We are really enjoying our time in the south.

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