Friday, December 22, 2006

Get Out of the House!

School's out, the kids are underfoot. Out-of-town relatives are here, escaping the northern tundra (they're underfoot as well). Get out of the house! Winter is why we live in Florida!

1. Go to Tarpon Springs. Take a sponge-diving exhibition tour on the St. Nicholas Boat Line. Visit the sponge docks, and have a great Greek dinner, finished off by honey-soaked pastries. Opa!

2. Go to Hillsborough River State Park. Miles of trails to wear out those kids, and lots of alligators to delight the Yankees. Cool 1930s picnic pavilions, and suspension bridge over the river. Depending on when you go, Fort Foster (a restoration Seminole war fort) may be open (check in advance).

3. Take the little ones to Dinosaur World just off I-10 near Plant City. (The web site says pets on leashes welcome. How might your dog react to a tricerotops? Could be interesting.) Then take the little ones and the big ones down the road to the Branch Ranch for a hearty country-style family meal.

4. How about a jungle theme?

Monkey Jungle in Miami, "Where Humans are Caged, and Monkeys Run Wild."

Parrot Jungle, also in Miami

Sarasota Jungle Gardens

5. Or a militaristic attitude?

National Museum of Naval Aviation at Naval Air Station Pensacola

Fort Christmas, not too far from Orlando

Fort Clinch State Park near Fernandina Beach

Fort DeSoto and Egmont Key State Park at the mouth of Tampa Bay

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