Tuesday, 17 July 2012

How We Came to Be... at Camp KSC

So a few people may have been wondering how we came to be at Camp KSC. One word: SCOUTS! The opportunity presented itself for Laurel to apply for a scholarship to attend Camp Kennedy Space Center this summer. It required that she write an essay about what she would like to do at camp. I've decided that since so many people helped her to get where she is, I'd share part of her essay:
"I have always wanted to learn about telescopes, how space shuttles take off, and astronauts and satellites. I love learning about the solar system and going new places. I love watching shuttles and rockets go off from my back yard. But it would be even cooler to see one really close up. If I went to Camp KSC, I can add it to my great adventures and tell my Girl Scout sisters all about it." -Written by Laurel Smith
Today, we picked up a VERY excitable 7 year old again...She got to meet an ASTRONAUT today! She was so excited as she told us about meeting retired NASA astronaut Jon McBride and getting her picture taken with him. Laurel regaled us with tales about all the questions her and her team asked him, with her own question: How much do you love space? and his reply: I love it alot! 

She also came home sporting a shiny patch that she won for answering a trivia question correctly. We thought it was very fitting considering the patch said "Salute to Girl Scouts" - so Laurel was stoked! Each day she gets to take home a commemorative coin as well. So basically, she's taking home a small collection of memorabilia from Camp KSC.

Kevin and I spent the day walking around with Ella while Laurel was at Camp. Our hotel has a very eclectic collection of decorations around the property... tikis and eyeballs and beautiful flowers! So far the week has proven to be exciting and relaxing at the same time... headed to the beach to enjoy the water for a bit before the sun goes down! Will keep you updated as the week progresses!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Camp KSC and Cocoa Beach

Today marks the 1st official day of space camp for Laurel. (Yesterday was Orientation and Registration) As most of you know she was raising money for her trip because she received a scholarship for an essay she wrote. She sold a few paintings & received a few donations via her fb fundraising page...and she finally got there! When we checked in for Space Camp - they directed us to the US Astronaut Hall of Fame (which happens to be across the street from the American Police Hall of Fame). As part of registration, we were able to tour the Hall of Fame for free. I think this was wonderful - because it really got Laurel excited about Space Camp. Here we wandered through memorials and tributes and exhibits about space exploration and science and history! By the time we left, Laurel was bursting at the seams with excitement and she said she just couldn't wait for Monday!

We managed to get a hotel room with a combination of using our frequent flyer miles and some of the cash she raised. The best part is... we managed to get an oceanfront resort for cheaper... yes, cheaper... than a dive. So this week we are staying at the International Palms Resort & Conference CenterIt's oh so nice to literally walk out your door and be on the sand in less than 3 minutes! We checked in late and headed straight for the surf - jeans, long pants - everything! The water was surprisingly warm, so much so that Ella didn't even protest when we put our toes in. Towards the end of the evening though, the surf/tide starts to pick up. No sand castles for us! We made it a point last night to set our alarms this morning so we could watch the sun rise as dawn breaks. Unfortunately, there was so much cloud cover on the horizon, we could only see the colors of the sky overhead... not quite the sun... but it was a beautiful sight nonetheless. 

After picking Laurel up from Space Camp today - well, let's just say it was non stop chatter. She made rockets, participated in the Mission Launch Experience. Her camp instructor, Bruno, came over to us and told us that he really loved having Laurel in his group (They were Team Enterprise). He said she was such an active participant with lots of questions and so much enthusiasm about what they were doing. Laurel was literally BEAMING! She brought home the paper rocket she made - apparently, they set off a bunch of rockets throughout the day - and a collectible coin. She also got her Mission Commander pin, since she was Mission Specialist 5 - here I found out that she got to mix chemicals to create combustion prior to launch... um, let's see, we're going to teach our 7 year old to become a rocket chemist... Is this a great idea? lol! In any event, I think it's safe to say that for the first day of camp, Laurel was definitely busy. They wore her out (see image) and she's just way too excited for tomorrow!


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Coming Home…

reposted from the i.seekissimmee.com website...
While many people who come to the Kissimmee area are visitors – there are some of us who can call Kissimmee “home” – and I am fortunate enough to be one of those people. This past week has been an opportunity for me, as a local, and for my family, who are essentially experiencing things for the first time, to explore some of the lesser known treasures that you can find in the Central Florida area. One of the best parts about Kissimmee is the fact that you can pretty much go anywhere on a tankful, explore for the day, and still make it home in time for supper.

We’ve had a wonderful time visiting local haunts and haunting locals – swimming like fish, and swimming with the fishes! There have been attractions I’ve never heard of and old favorites too. I’ve never realized how much fun and how exhausting it could be until I’ve had the chance to truly go exploring in my home town. Thanks to many of our local attraction business partners, we were able to coordinate some “behind the scenes” tours and get the real lo-down on our city charms. I have to say that the most surprising place for me to visit was by far, the Marineland Dolphin Adventure. I like to consider myself to be a lifetime learner – and it was here that I was able to not only have a lot of fun with the kids and the dolphins, but I also learned a lot about an old time amusement. I never knew that this place existed in the early 30’s – and just had a great time learning about the changes and advancements Marineland had been through over the years.
Exploring my own city and doing day trips is just more encouragement for me to take some time off and go digging around town instead of staying home and catching up on the laundry! The chance to see the look of excitement and wonder on our children’s faces as we went from one place to another… priceless. Here’s hoping to another vacation and having the opportunity to share it with everyone again in the future! If I’ve tuned anyone in to exploring some of our hidden gems, or to take a stay-cation anywhere – then I’ve done my job! I challenge you, tourist or local, to take a trip on a tankful or to visit one of our lesser known venues… and surprise yourself [or your family] next vacation! And I thank you for coming along with myself [and my family] as we traveled from our own backyard to St. Augustine and home!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Going Seaside for a Bit – Lunch and Waves

reposted from the i.seekissimmee.com website...

Before heading out of St. Augustine, we figured we desperately needed to take in some rays and waves. But of course, after a day of sightseeing and mini-golf – it was time for some food! We moseyed down A1A in search of a scrumptious lunch. We found this cute little restaurant called Coquina Beach Club, just a stones’ throw from the St. Augustine shore. With a nice selection of seafood and a can-you-say-yummmm Brown Sugar Rum Bread Pudding, there was little to complain about. A children’s menu would’ve made it a bit more family friendly, but all in all, we enjoyed our meal.We had a nice sampling of their daily special and apparently got there just in time for the arrival of the local Flip Flop Til You Drop participants! What a bunch of fun people and all for a good cause. 
With a combination of full bellies and good company, we finally headed over to the beach to soak up some sun! Right now there are sections of the beach that are closed off while the City of St. Augustine continues to build a new Splash Pad area for everyone – but if you’re willing to drive a little further down, you can find a nice expanse of soft sand and beautiful sand dunes. We took turns collecting shells and playing in the waves until we finally decided to head back to Kissimmee. As for visiting the Nation’s Oldest City, we certainly had a great time doing new things! And with it just being about an hour and a half to two hours drive away – it makes a great gas-tank vacation!

St. Augustine’s Red Sightseeing Trains

reposted from the i.seekissimmee.com website...
Today was our final day in St. Augustine and we thought we’d do the whole sightseeing thing in the morning! We went back over to Ripley’s to catch a ride on the Red Train Tours [parking is free with paid train tour – which is a big bonus in both price and the ability to FIND a place to park!] and take a tour around the town. The nice thing about the sightseeing trains is that they pretty much run all day long, and you can hop off and explore and just catch the next train! If you stay on the train the whole way through, you’ll probably be sitting for about an hour – so it’s nice to just hop off and wander a bit.
There are so many interesting sites to see while on the route, so there’s pretty much anything that catches your fancy. You can stop at the Fountain of Youth or tour the Whetstone Chocolate Factory… or even better – have samples and take home a bottle for yourself from the San Sebastian Winery. The tour guides are locals and as you drive along they like to share interesting facts and local stories about each location. It gives the whole tour a little bit of historical charm.
Our final hop off was at Bayfront Mini Golf. Here you can play a round of putt putt for only $1 [with paid Sightseeing Train ticket] in between stops on the Red Train tour. It’s also a great stop to catch a ride on the boat tours (or a pirate ship), freshen up (hooray for nice clean restrooms!) or just have an ice cream bar at the Mini Golf  stop! We caught our train back to Ripley’s after a pit stop by the fort and went off in search of lunch.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Same Building – Different Freaky: Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Reposted from the i.seekissimmee.com website...
Today was a day of fun and freaky as we escaped the heat and toured the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum in St. Augustine! Here you can find all kinds of oddities that vary from cool to creepy and one in a million to one of a kind. There were ancient “artifact” pieces along the way and newer designs, such as a Tim Tebow pop art created from airsoft balls. We wandered from floor to floor to look at the unique displays and experiment with some of the more interactive areas of the Museum. There was even a miniaturized version of a ferris wheel in the center of the building! As we made our way back down to the bottom, we found ourselves in the FUN part of Ripley’s Museum. Lots of visual exhibits, tricks of the eye… there were giggles and laughs abound! We exited the museum via a vortex tunnel that had us clinging to the handrails in order to escape!

Trying to find a restaurant that will suit a large family can be a bit difficult… also trying to please every palette can be fun! We ended up going to a little beachside restaurant and having chicken and shrimp fritters! Nothing like eating seafood with the scent of the ocean drifting by in the breeze. After dinner, we headed back to Ripley’s to go for a ride on the their black trains and do a Ghost Train Adventure!
The kids were both excited and nervous… not quite sure if they wanted to go to haunted sites within St. Augustine or just sit on the train and take a ride. The Ghost Tours offered by Ripley’s are so neat, and now they are getting techno-spooky! Equipped with personal EMF readers, along with one iPod per group (yep, there’s an app for that)… we were ready to start reading fields and energy and see what we could find! The tour took us to the old Hugenot cemetery and down to the fort.

Words that pop up on the EMF meter!
Our tour guides told the stories that went with the locations, answered questions and helped add a little spookiness to the fun. We even managed to snap a few spooky pictures of our own! Laurel had an apparition of a wound on her arm that wasn’t there in real life! [cue the haunted house music] The train took us back to Ripley’s, which just so happens to be a haunted mansion as well! A few of our group were a bit uneasy about actually exploring the building, so we sat it out while the rest went on ahead. On a funny note, we kept getting text messages sent to us from inside the building about how much scarier it is at night than during the day! All in all, everyone had a good time – and we thank the good folks at Ripley’s for allowing us to visit them in all their creepy and odd fun! Not wanting to drive to St. Augustine? You can always check out the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum right here in Orlando!

Up Close & Personal: Marineland

reposted from the i.seekissimmee.com website...

Today we started our “2 Days Away Staycation” in beautiful St. Augustine. One more reason I love Kissimmee, is that it’s central to so many other places, and you can do a quick getaway for a day or two to nearly anywhere in Florida. We chose St. Augustine because we love it there. History geeks that we are – what holds greater appeal than the Nation’s Oldest City? To begin our stay, we headed over to Marineland Dolphin Adventure, which recently joined forces with the Georgia Aquarium. Apparently, this fixture has been here since the early 1930’s  – something this Floridian never even knew about! The good folks at Marineland Dolphin Adventure gave us a one-on-one up close and personal tour, and I have to say, I’ve never enjoyed myself more!
Our tour guide, Meredith, who also happens to be the Education liaison [think Summer Camps, School Groups, etc.] led us to the first tank. Here we were able to meet several playful bottlenose dolphins and also learn about them via the many informative signs posted nearby. She told us about Nelly, the world’s oldest [in captivity] dolphin – who at age 59, continues to break records every day. We were able to see her “baby” and in turn, their baby… so it was neat to see the generations! We continued on past the other tanks, stopping to look and observe the many dolphins there at Marineland, before heading down below for a true “Behind the Seas” tour.

Here we were able to see other marine life in their environments, learn about feedings, safety and health of the sea creatures. The kids were particularly fond of the turtles and crabs, while Kevin and I were fascinated by the quarantine tank! Lol. Then we were led into what they call the “Event Room” – a cozy room, with historical paraphernalia that dated back to Marineland’s opening, a comfy couch, and the coolest window ever… looking right into the dolphin tank! After taking a break in the cool air, we headed back up top to really get up close and personal.
Here we met Pebbles… a playful and friendly dolphin. The kids were ecstatic at being able to feed the dolphins, and since they had no idea about the touching aspect of the “touch and feed” program there – we were totally looking forward to their reactions when it came down to the fun part! As Pebbles rolled over onto her back, the kids and I leaned down to rub her belly. All we could hear were murmurs of “coooool” and “she’s so soft” and “this is so neat” – which merely confirmed that this was the right place to go! Then we learned some tricks, like how to signal for a wave, how to ask Pebbles to do flips, and oh yeah, how to make a dolphin splash you!
We finished our tour and took home our disc full of images… did we forget to mention that a photographer will take tons of photos from your experience that you get to take with you? As most of our girls are Girl Scouts, they were all trying to plan a trip back there with their Girl Scout troop next year. For me, I’m trying to figure out a way where we can go again – as I’d never had as much fun as I did at Marineland. For visitors and locals alike – this little hidden gem is definitely my diamond in the rough!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Time for some Crack-a-Lackin’ pool fun!

reposted from the i.seekissimmee.com website...

This morning we checked into the Gaylord Palms Hotel - I could feel myself relaxing already! Luxurious greenery & the sound of rustling water… we got to walk through the caves that made you feel like you were immersed in the Everglades. Thanks to a very “Consider It Done” attitude – we were able to thoroughly enjoy our stay here. We managed to move to a room that had access to a glass elevator & a nearby staircase. Many would wonder why this is an important thing – but one of our girls is afraid of elevators. The staff was excellent & went out of their way to make our experience memorable. After finally settling in to our room (which was gorgeous, we might add!) we headed down to the Cypress Springs Family Fun Park!

This is a pretty new addition to the Gaylord Palms – and it has BUCKETLOADS of fun! Here, you can find a tree house full of water spigots and splash zones you can explore, a large bucket that dumps gallons of water from overhead, a special toddler play area! We had such a good time that the kids didn’t want to leave! We stopped over at the Haggen-Daaz shop for ice creams too! Later that evening, we all went back down for the Crack-A-Lackin’ Pool Party, hosted by the characters from Madagascar! There was dancing, games, a gargantuous beach ball – so much fun in one pool! We stayed for about half of the movie showing at the splash-in theatre… but I think the kids wore themselves out having so much fun.

Our room was … opulent! I loved the gorgeous views from our balcony looking out towards the St. Augustine inspired atrium. I probably slept one of the best nights’ rest in a long time – and I wasn’t sure if I liked our room or the grounds more – lol. All in all, whether you’re visiting from out of town, or you’re a local looking for a stay-cation … I think it’s safe to say that the Gaylord Palms has all the comforts and entertainment you could ask for!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Bright Lights & Nostalgia in Kissimmee

reposted from the i.seekissimmee.com website...

Today was pretty much a day of R&R – with so much to do right at your fingertips, sometimes you just need to take a vacation from vacation, right? It also holds a special, more personal meaning for me, as it’s my anniversary!  Well, our agenda was basically to chill out, have some BBQ with friends, and go watch the fireworks! I feel fortunate to be able to call downtown Kissimmee my home, as there is so much to do, with special events, movie nights, arts & crafts shows – and so much more! This year, they brought out the Monumental 4th of July and we were looking forward to it! We were sooo excited to be able to just walk on down and join in all the fun.

"...a glorious sight, with the harvest moon set low in the sky and the reflections of the fireworks gleaming in the waters of Lake Toho..."

Early afternoon brought us a Naturalization ceremony for many residents who are becoming US Citizens. What better day to commemorate citizenship than on the 4th of July?! Later on, the festivities began… there was a kids zone and music and plenty of food for everyone that went on right up until the buildup for the fireworks. We moseyed on down to the lakefront (you could still hear the band playing patriotic music in the distance) with the kids, spread out our blankets and got ready for the show.

As always, Kissimmee knows how to do their fireworks! What a glorious sight, with the harvest moon set low in the sky and the reflections of the fireworks gleaming in the waters of Lake Tohopekaliga – well, let’s just say it had the kids quiet for the duration of the whistles and booms and oohs and ahhs! That included my husband, who comes from the UK, and has never really seen fireworks done up the way we like to do them. The finale came, with cheers and clapping from the crowd and the last few strains of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” – sending us all home with a touch of nostalgia. Hope everyone had a happy & safe 4th of July!

Fun and learning with SCIENCE! And a little bit of MYSTERY too!

Reposted from the i.seekissimmee.com website...

Today was a day for exploring and experimenting! We had the opportunity to spend the day at the Orlando Science Center, and explore four levels of fun. Full of exciting and interactive exhibits, a 360 degree cinedome and a children’s play area… let’s just say we had a lot to keep us busy!

One of my favorite experiences at the Orlando Science Center has always been to visit the dinosaurs… so I dragged the kids upstairs to go see them in all their glory. Mind you, their only experience seeing a dinosaur in the past had been to see ONE bone – so Wow! were they in for a surprise! The ooohs and ahhhs as we walked in and saw the humongous tyrannosaurus rex made it worth all the while. We showed up just in time for one of the staff to make a presentation about what kind of food certain dinosaurs eat, we were able to touch a real triceratops tooth, and pass around petrified dinosaur poop [which was the highlight of the experience]

Currently, the science center offers an exciting exhibit called PLAY! where you immerse yourself in music and art and science! You can ride simulators, play life-size chess, watch sound waves and more! You can also take part in the current films showing, in this case, a series of natural disasters at the Dr. Phillips Cinedome. We decided to watch Tornado! and had a whirlwind experience as we drove into the eye of a storm.

Before we left, we made it a point to stop at the KidsTown exhibit where the kids could really climb, jump and explore! Here you can not only see unique reptiles and amphibians, but also learn about their environment. You can also learn about the Orange Grove Renovations and see what it looks like under the city streets!

All in all, I’d say that there’s a little bit for everyone at the Orlando Science Center! With four levels of interactive fun and learning – you’re sure to never be bored. Add in the great volunteers who show special exhibits and talk about what there is… it makes for an awesome day!
... a mystery is afoot... 
Later in the evening, my husband and I took advantage of a kid free night to celebrate our 1st anniversary. We headed over to Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner TheatreSleuth's Myster Dinner Theatre – a first for the both of us! We should have known we were going to have a good time when we first walked in to a life size figure of a detective. As people chatted and snacked on hor d'oeuvres, they took turns posing and taking pictures with the great sleuth!

After checking in, we were ushered into a different room – which is, of course, the main dining theatre. You are seated at a table of 8, mixed with other guests from all over! We were the only locals at our table, as we were seated with some guests from North Carolina and a lovely family all the way from Australia. All of us were there in celebration of some sort or another. While we chatted and got to know one another, a frisky maid and a very staid butler meandered through the crowds… we knew this was going to be a fun night! Then they passed out our drinks: your choice of unlimited soda, beer or wine – and that was our cue that we were going to have a WONDERFUL night lol!

The show started in it’s typical manner, with a lot of slapstick and comical clich├ęs – and we were already looking for clues to the mystery. Together we worked with our tablemates to try and discover the murderer, but it was mixed in with eating a scrumptious dinner and talking about where we were from. We had a wonderful time, and even though there were several double entendres, it was still a show I’d feel comfortable taking our 7 year old to. The cast were excellent and hilarious and posed afterwards with the guests for pictures. We didn’t guess the murderer correctly – actually, not many people did – but it was so well done, we’ll definitely make it a point to come back for another murder!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Giving the WhirlyDome a Whirl!

REPOSTED from the i.seekissimmee.com website...

This morning we were VERY excited to be up and out and headed to the WhirlyDome! What's the WhirlyDome? Never heard of it before? Well - NEITHER HAD WE! (And there's a good reason for that!) We had the chance to have a great time and explore the brand spanking new WhirlyDome - right off I-Drive! Like most attractions, it was about a 15-20 minute drive from Kissimmee - one more reason I love having Kissimmee as my home base! Just between Pointe Orlando and the Outlets, the Whirly Dome is easy to find and looked to be a fun place to visit. Inside we were introduced to the staff and given the grand tour of this awesome 2-story facility! Let’s give a little run-down of all the fun to be had under one roof … dome!

WHIRLYBALL! - I mean, it's the namesake! Who can go to the "WHIRLY" Dome and not play a little bit of "WHIRLY" Ball?! Basically, it's like bumper cars meets air hockey meets basketball meets jai alai! You move around in these little bumper cars, bouncing into one another - all the while trying to catch the ball in your scoop and pass it to your teammates (or score for yourself!) to get the ball into the basket! It was so much fun and we were breathless from the adrenaline and all the laughing! Apparently, they even have WhirlyBall leagues! 

"Even better - they have a WhirlyBall court on BOTH FLOORS!"

BOWLING! - Most people say, "Oh yeah, I've been bowling before." - but really... they haven't - at least, not like this! There are two lanes, side by side, where up to 5 people per lane can bowl! But this Floridian thinks that the best way to go bowling is... IN YOUR FLIPFLOPS! No socks or special shoes required.

ARCADE! - Yep, the WhirlyDome has it all... right down (or should we say UP since it's on the 2nd level) to billiards and an arcade area. Not your typical redemption/point based arcade games... these games are purely for the fun! You can play kickball, ride a virtual motorcycle, putt a little golf --- then meander over to the bar for a cocktail or soda (did we forget to mention that?).

FORMULA 1 RACING PLATFORM SIMULATOR! - This is one for the racing aficionado! Get behind the wheel of one of Evotech's latest creations, and race along one of several tracks in the only F1 simulator in North America! As my [gaming geek] husband says, "The only thing that reminded me I wasn't REALLY in a racecar, was seeing the guy in the black and white!"

LASER FRENZY! - Here is where you feel like you're a top secret agent working for M! All you have to do is maneuver through the maze of lasers and try not to get hit! But it's not just a matter of having snake like moves... you need cheetah speed too! The best part is afterwards you get a print out of your skill and speed to compare with each other (or yourself!) time after time.   

LASER TAG! - We saved the best for last! Nothing cooler than an ocean-like black-lit theme to gang up (or go every man for themselves) on each other! You can go by teams, or split up and take each other out one by one... either way, it's guaranteed fun! We were worn out by the end of it - and laughing hysterically as we did it! This is fun for all ages, whether you are running around in circles, or just waiting it out with super sniper skills!

BLOODHOUND BREW! - Grab a bite to eat without having to leave the building. Touting a full bar and menu - take a break for lunch (they have awesome lunch specials) or order a meal - a wide variety of appetizers and entrees and burgers - not to mention the nice selection of beers and other mixed drinks to choose from! All food is freshly prepared and the staff is fantastic! My personal recommendation: Fish Tacos and their awesome Coconut Rum sauce! Bon apetit!    

Now that we've worn each other out and had a blast and a laugh -- we just want to tell you guys what a GREAT. TIME. WE. HAD! So much fun under one DOME! And everyone there was awesome! I think the kids had just as good a time joking with some of the staff as they did experiencing everything at the WhirlyDome! This is definitely one place I would recommend whether you are a tourist visiting from out of state (or country) or a local looking for something to do with your family! Be sure to give the WhirlyDome a whirl!

We'll be back tomorrow with a new adventure! Be sure to check out i.seekissimmee.com as well (for our adventures and more!)

Sunday, 1 July 2012

A Relaxing Day of Fun & Family at Sea World

REPOSTED from the i.seekissimmee.com website... 

With all our talk about doing the lesser known attractions in Central Florida, we still love our visits to the major theme parks – and Sea World is among our favorites! Today it was just Kevin, Laurel, Ella and I (our nieces arrive Monday morning!) and we thought we’d start off with a nice relaxing day watching the shows and catching a few rides. Before I begin to describe our experience, I feel compelled to point out that my husband, Kevin, is from the UK and has only been in the US for a year. So this is fun as many of our experiences are done from both local and tourist viewpoints. Kevin has been to all of the major area attractions with the exception of Sea World – and it’s always pleasurable to see someone experience something for the first time!
"...it’s always pleasurable to see someone experience something for the first time!..."

We made a late day of it, because we wanted to have the energy to stay until the fireworks – so we arrived at the park around midday. What I love about Sea World is the way you can literally work your way around the park in a circle! So we headed straight for Key West to Dolphin Cove. One place you can cool down, escape the blistering sun & chill out is to enter “behind” the Dolphin Cove & go to the underwater viewing tank. There you can see the dolphins playing and interacting with the people above who are petting & feeding them!

This time, as we curled around the cove, we noticed Turtle Trek – a brand new exhibit/experience! We were so excited to get to see this! For Sea World pros, this has been incorporated into the [formerly] Manatee exhibit…and it was really well done! Of all 3D experiences I’ve ever been to… nothing has ever had such a WOW impact as this! It was not only in 3D, but it was what I like to refer to as 360 degrees of eye candy. You are experiencing the trek of an endangered sea turtle from hatching to adulthood to laying its’ own eggs. There is still the reminder of our impact on the world, explaining the importance of recycling, and picking up trash – teaching us to turn off lights during nesting season as well! And of course, the interactive zone as you leave where you can pretend to be a turtle swimming to shore, and you can still view the manatees from above the tanks!

We also decided to make a point to catch shows on this trip. My daughter, Laurel, and I are die hard Clyde & Seymour fans – but we wanted to see a few of the other shows as well! Kevin absolutely LOVED the Blue Horizon show with the dolphins! We were fortunate enough that we saw 5 shows, which included Clyde & Seymour as they made of parody of all the other shows, as well as Pets Ahoy! and Shamu Rocks and fireworks at the end of the night. We didn’t only do shows though… Kevin went for a ride on Manta and said it was “one of the best rollercoaster experiences” he had ever been on. And dining at the Voyager Restaurant was both a relaxing reprieve from the heat, as well as a yummy BBQ feast! All in all, I’d say Sea World still ranks top notch in our book – and only 15 minutes away from Kissimmee makes it even easier to visit on a regular basis!

We'll be back tomorrow with a new adventure! Be sure to check out i.seekissimmee.com as well (for our adventures and more!)