Tag Archives: florida

Adventures in Florida: Gatorland

image02For those of you who remember my 20 before 25 list, I finally got to cross off zip lining! A few months back the rescue group we adopted Bally from had a silent auction on their Facebook page. I ended up winning the Gatorland basket which included free admission to the park (also referred to as the “Alligator Capital of the World”) as well as 2 complimentary zip lining reservations and a free snake and gator photo. 2 weekends ago, John and I finally decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather so we called and made our reservations and headed off to the park.

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We began our day with the zip line tour which took about an hour and a half in its entirety. The course has 5 zip lines in total and the instructors had us ziplining backwards, running off the platform and cannon balling (tucking your legs up to your chest for maximum speed) all throughout the course. And since we were in Gatorland after all, the entire course sent us zipping right over the cages of the park’s largest crocodiles and alligators. Unfortunately they don’t allow cameras on the course so I didn’t get any pictures, but I swear I did it so I’m officially crossing it off my list!

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After zip lining, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then stopped to see the free Gator Wrestling show. The handler opened up the gator’s mouth to show the audience and about got his hand bit off, then he demonstrated how little force it takes to keep a gator’s mouth shut by holding it closed with his chin. I was happy to watch from the sidelines!

crocodile crocodile2We wrapped up the day by walking through the alligator “breeding marsh” (home to hundreds of alligators) and we also picked up some hot dogs to feed the alligators and crocodiles. Our zip lining guide recommended we feed the crocodiles with the hot dog attached to a piece of bamboo so we followed his advice and had crocodiles jumping out of the water to eat the hot dogs. As you may have guessed, it wasn’t long before park staff yelled at us for doing so (but it was totally worth it). On our way out, we headed to the gator and snake photo station for our free picture and got to hold a live alligator and snake (ok, John held the snake).

gatorsnakeAll in all we had a fantastic day. Park admission is only $25 which is a steal considering the amount of gators and how close you can get to them as well as the 3 free shows they offer throughout the day. If you’re ever in the Orlando area, Gatorland is a MUST see!
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Campstagrams

Over the weekend, John and I decided to take full advantage of the gorgeous weather we’ve had in Florida and go for a camping trip. We went with a few friends who were generous enough to loan us a tent and air mattress and we couldn’t have had a better time. The trip was complete with plenty of good company, classic campfire meals and great weather. John and I may have thought every crack in the forest was a bear coming to sabotage our camp, but lucky for us we made it out alive. 🙂 For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen most of these photos but I wanted to share them here anyway.

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How did you spend your time this weekend?
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Orlando: An Insider’s Guide

Today I’m super excited to be guest posting for Rachel from How Bout Some Cake while she’s away in Maui (so jealous)! She asked me to post an insider’s guide to Orlando so I rounded up a few of my favorite things to do, eat and see. Head on over to her blog to check out the post and let me know what you think. Don’t forget to tell her I sent you and make sure to stick around to check out her blog!

PS- I had a ton of fun coming up with this guide and think I might continue doing it as a travel series on the blog whenever I visit somewhere new. What do you think?

20 before 25: #1 Go on a Cruise


Our welcome sign to Nassau, The Bahamas

When I first started writing this post, I was going to give a play by play of everything John and I did while on our cruise to the Bahamas, but after mulling it over for a bit I decided it’d be way more fun to list out what made me enjoy this mini getaway so much. I’m also super excited to have crossed #1 off my 20 before 25 list!


Making our way into the port in Nassau

Our cruise ship docked in Nassau

Being around someone you have fun with no matter what.One of the things I love most about being with John is that I have just as much fun snorkeling in a coral reef with him as I do sitting at home in our PJs watching TV. He makes everything so fun and is such a joy to be around. The cruise was no exception! Sure we both had to deal with sea sickness and we missed the fancy dinner and didn’t get to sport our new outfits, but we made the most of our vacation. We also focused on the most important thing: having fun and enjoying each other’s company.



John and I on the ship while making our way to the port

Trying new things. Neither John or I had ever snorkeled before and I kind of started to panic inside when the time actually came to do it. I was terrified of seeing a shark, swallowing salt water, or having a hard time breathing through the snorkel tube. I found myself stalling when it was time to get in the water until John finally just got up and started walking down the stairs, forcing me to follow. Once I got in the water it was so fun doing something new and exciting that I’d never done before. I stuck my face in the water and was greeted by a school of tropical fish. I managed to swallow some salt water but hey, it made things a little more exciting and I washed the taste out with some delicious rum punch afterwards.


John in his snorkel gear, unlimited rum punch after

The importance of a little R&R. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life so a cruise was the perfect getaway. Focusing on nothing besides drinking, eating and relaxing really gave my body the recharge it needed. It also made it incredibly hard to go back to work on Tuesday!

Staying positive.The seas were rough during our whole cruise which unfortunately led to the captain canceling our second day in the Bahamas. We were looking forward to a lazy day on the beach at Royal Caribbean’s private island but instead ended up with a day at sea. It would have been easy to whine and complain and be angry, but instead John and I headed for the pool and relaxed together determined to enjoy the day anyway. We got to watch a belly flop contest, drink out of a pineapple, listen to a great Calypso band and see a pre dinner show, all things we probably wouldn’t have gotten to experience otherwise.


Relaxing by the pool during our unplanned day at sea

Drinking out of a pineapple (there were a few refills…)

Food (and drink). There was never a shortage of either on the boat! There was also an ice cream machine (which we visited daily) and the buffet food was great. When we got to the Bahamas we tried conch fritters and for some reason thought we could drink these gigantic tropical drinks without getting too drunk for dinner. We were totally wrong (and poor John took a drunken fall in the bathroom resulting in a seriously bruised nose). Being surrounded by so much food and drink on a daily basis was definitely a dream come true.


My first drink on the island!

Conch fritters

Our giant drinks from Senor Frogs

Our vacation definitely had its challenges (like my sea sickness and John’s bathroom fall) but I wouldn’t have had it any other way – okay I would have taken John’s injury out of the mix! It was great to spend quality time with John and to unplug from life for a few days. PS – the fact that these pictures are up here is a miracle. I accidentally sent our point and shoot camera through the dryer after the cruise (which we used to take most of the pictures you see here) and it got totally fried. Lucky for us, the SD card remained intact and our pictures lived to tell the tale! Also, a huge thanks to the ladies who helped out with vacation week last week!

What are your favorite things about vacation?

“I think I’m just too old for this…”

Vocabulary, among many other things, is something that has changed drastically for me in my twenties. The below is just a sampling of phrases I’ve found myself muttering, and each is a verbal symbol of how I’m slowly getting older:

“It’s 10:00 already? Wow, we should get to bed.”

“Ugh, I have so much yardwork to catch up on this Saturday…”

“Thank you so much for taking out the garbage!”

I’ve mostly embraced aging, and realize that part of the fun of growing up is being able to embrace that change in the first place, but when it comes to certain childhood things I’ve always loved, I sometimes have a hard time letting go.

Over the weekend, John and I were thrilled to open up our home to our good friends Sarah and Jimmy from Pennsylvania. We quickly mapped out our weekend upon their arrival and decided to hit up one of Orlando’s theme parks on Sunday. Like the smart adults we are becoming, we opted to go out drinking and dancing on Friday so we could avoid mixing hangovers with roller coasters and overpriced junk food.

After a fun mix of partying followed by a serious lazy/recover from hangover day (seriously, does anyone notice hangovers are getting progressively worse with age?) Sunday rolled around and we were ready to face the thrills at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park. We started out slow, riding some anticlimactic rides in Dr. Seuss land, but soon found ourselves facing the first roller coaster of the day. I’ve always been a lover of roller coasters or any thrill ride for that matter, but at the conclusion of the ride I felt ready to topple over from dizziness.

I quickly discovered I wasn’t the only one suffering from this post-coaster phenomenon; it appeared that my 3 twenty-something companions were experiencing the same thing. We found a temporary cure in frozen Butterbeer from Harry Potter world, but as soon as we rode a simulated ride the feeling came right back. It was then that John looked at me and said “now I understand why my parents never wanted to ride these things.” And I announced, “I think I’m just too old for this…”

While we still had a blast at the park (and drank a lot of butter beer), that phrase kept popping into my head all day. It forced me to accept the fact that I’m getting older, and as that happens there are going to be some things I simply don’t like or can’t do anymore. Riding roller coasters might rattle my brain around a little too much now, and maybe I can only handle 3 drinks now instead of 5, but none of these things mean I can’t have fun anymore. I may be leaving the Hulk coaster behind, but I’m still in the front seat of the greatest ride of all time: Life.

Have you had a similar experience? Are there certain things you’ve just left behind as a result of getting older?