I took these beach bums down to Florida for a little beach and grandparent time. If they don’t look like they belong in the ocean every day, I don’t know who does.
“We going fly on airchain?” Yes Finn, and here’s your iPad.
Really, traveling with these guys is insanely easy. They’ve done it so much. Our travel protocol starts with standing in the Starbucks line for my coffee, a sprinkle donut for the boys to share, and then we find someplace to watch the planes before boarding. Once in our seats, screen time begins. We hold back the devices for this very reason—unlimited iPad viewing is pretty special when you never get it. They don headphones, I pull out my Kindle—this time I finished my silly sci-fi fix, The Atlantis Gene—and everyone is happy. At least 217 snacks are consumed, ginger ale is sipped. Adoring glances shoot my way, exclamations of “Your boys are SO good!” are whispered across aisles.
Until the last ten minutes.
Once that plane is parked and we begin the wait of unloading, our little corner of the plane becomes a cage match. Ethan shouts “Mom, stand up! Let’s get off!” Finn jumps repeatedly back and forth over the arm rest, each time slamming into the seats with a shriek. More moans of “Mooooom, why is this taking so long???” Finn is pounding the headrests and yammering away in the faces of the people sitting behind us.
It’s so obnoxious. Luckily it goes fast. Good thing they are cute.
“We go to the Ocean!” said Finn, 300 times. My parents retrieved us from the airport and took us straight to the beach. Temps were in the low 80s and the water wasn’t freezing. We looked for shells, shark teeth, and a few dead fish, which Finn thought were toys. Dude is fearless, running in the surf and excited about the waves. And he looooves the sand. At one point we caught him stuffing handfuls of sand down his shirt.
Ethan is a master shark tooth hunter. He and grandpa scour the sand for treasures that end up coming home with us and are left in various places around the house before mysteriously disappearing. So we always need more.
Finn’s favorite part?
Rinsing off after some fun at the beach. Good thing the beaches aren’t very busy in this neck of the Gulf, he could play in the water forever.
Shell shops, ice cream, playgrounds, bike rides…we stay busy. Ethan has his own bike down here, one grandma wisely thrifted last year. He and grandpa take off to spot ducks and alligators at the neighborhood pond.
This marks the last time the boys get any kind of super-dyed ice cream, they pooped green for a week. GREEN. That can’t be good.
This visit, we ventured 45 minutes north to the Sarasota Jungle Gardens. Grandma did the research, words like alligators and flamingo feeding were thrown around, and it sounded good to us.
We were immediately greeted by a pond filled with about 40 baby alligators.
My kid was in heaven.
They were really cute, swimming around with their wiggling tails. We even PET an alligator during the reptile show. We saw turtles, so many parrots, a bird show, snakes, and lemurs. The park was small, perfectly sized for young kids, but full of things to do and see. There was a playground and sand box in the middle that we finally had to drag the kids out of to continue seeing animals.
The hands-down highlight? Flamingo feeding.
This was REALLY fun for everyone, kids and adults. I couldn’t stop feeding those gorgeous birds, they were so friendly and it was just us and like two other people! We had them all to ourselves! We found it hilarious that they eat from the side of their beaks, so gently. Finn was, again, fearless. Ethan was apprehensive, not wanting to be near those huge, pointy beaks, but we practically forced him to try and he quickly became a flamingo-feeding junkie. So much like his dad.
We stopped at The Old Salty Dog in Sarasota for grouper sandwiches and burgers. The kids were so happy watching animals and feeding flamingos they never even asked for snacks, therefore they were famished. I love when that happens.
The weather was beautiful, warm enough for some pool and beach time to hold us over till spring break, when we’ll be back again, with Dad in tow.
Until then, Ethan will be perfecting his flamingo pose. I think it’s pretty accurate.