Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summertime Family Fun

I mentioned in my last post that we were planning a trip to Sea World Orlando this week, and let me tell you, it was a blast! It wasn't my first time going to the park - honestly I can't even remember how many times I've gone. Living in Orlando, all of the famous theme parks are less than an hour away, so it's not unusual  to have been to the parks more than once before graduating from high school. A lot of the local schools actually have their end-of-the-year field trips at the theme parks (that is until transportation budgets got slashed...) which is how I got to go most of the time.

The fiance and I spent the day with his brother, Jimmy, his wife, Tracy, and their son, Tyler. This wasn't their first trip to the home of Shamu either - Tyler's first trip was about 3 years ago.I should probably mention here that he's 6 now. At first Tyler was very hesitant about the animals, but after a couple of hours he started warming up.

Before I share some of our pictures from the day, I want to clarify that the quality of the pictures aren't going to be all that great. As I've mentioned in previous posts, my only camera right now is my cell phone camera (buying a new camera is definitely on our to-save-for list after the wedding). So, a lot of the underwater pics will be a little blurry or poorly lit. Also, I haven't really told anyone that I've started this little blog project, besides the fiance and my mother. Because of that, I don't feel comfortable posting pictures of my nephew's face for the whole world to see without mommy and daddy's permission. Yes, I know that most of them are already posted on our private Facebook accounts, but those have privacy locks. So, any pictures of Tyler will be from behind. With all of that said, here we go!

First stop of the day - the dolphin exhibit. Here are the trainers feeding them.

Tyler got to feed the dolphins. You can't see him here, but he and Tracy are down at the bend. I think it was still a little early for him, because he didn't reach out and touch them.

These are the pictures from the underwater viewing area. I loved it in there! You can get some awesome pictures (if you have the right camera). Here's an oldie from a 2007 trip to Sea World that shows what it could be like:

Check out the fiance's hair and beard!!

Tyler loved the dolphins.

Manatee Rescue was up next on the agenda.

Anyone want to guess what Mr. Manatee is eating??

I don't know why, but I think it is so funny that they eat lettuce.

This is where I tried to tell Tyler that the manatee's nickname is "Sea Cow." I think he was still a little too young to get that one though...

You can't go anywhere in Florida without seeing gators.

The aquariums were up next:

My poor attempt to get Nemo & Dori in the same picture. :)

Penguin Encounter - Tyler's favorite exhibit

This is when we knew Tyler was finally warming up to the animal exhibits. He asked to feed the sharks!

So Uncle Danny thought it was the perfect time for he and Aunt Hannah to stop and take a picture. Can I just say, I don't like this picture. But it's the only picture we took of both of us all day. In my defense, the humidity was absolutely horrible all day long. Both of us were nasty & sweaty after only being in the park for an hour. So you can imagine how gross we both were by this point in the day... Yuck!!

Next up was Shamu's Happy Harbor where all the kiddie rides are. We rode the carousel, roller coaster, and the jelly fish ride.

He had to be on a dolphin! :)

Up next is what everyone goes to Sea World for: SHAMU!!

Kisses! Mwah!

Tyler though the sting rays were cool. After we were done with this exhibit, we went right back to the sting ray feeding tank that we quickly went by earlier in the morning. He loved getting to pet the sting rays, but didn't like the splashing part so much. :)

At this point in the day, the skies were looking pretty nasty. Everyone knows Florida is the "Sunshine State," but what everyone doesn't realize unless they've visited or lived here is that we are also notorious for daily showers and thunderstorms. So, we decided to hit up the dolphin and whale show and sit under the stadium in case the rain decided to come.

I also thought it was so cool when the trainers did this!

False Killer Whale :)

This is only one of two shows (that I'm aware of anyways) where the trainers are still allowed to get in the water with the animals.

At this point, my phone died. So I couldn't take anymore pictures... But, the fiance and I are thinking about going again this Sunday (we now have annual passes, woo hoo!), so I'll try to get pictures of the other exhibits and shows in the park.

Also, I'm thinking about writing a post about how to get the most out of the theme parks without spending a crap load of money. It's so incredibly easy to walk out of the park and have spent hundreds of dollars - especially if you have a family.

Anyone else hit up any theme parks this summer? What are some cool theme parks outside of Florida to visit? I'd love to one day be able to travel around the country a little more, and would love some suggestions.

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