So, in my efforts to not get skin cancer before I'm 40, I decided to forgo the pool and go in search of that elusive zoo that the GPS didn't want me to find on Sunday. I think the GPS had good intentions and was trying to save me a trip. But we'll get to that in a second.
First, I went in search of "Shell World".
I remember going to a shell-only store when we came to Florida for vacation in 1988. It was a magical place for a child who had until that point lived in a land-locked situation. I still have shells from that trip. So I was thrilled to find a Shell World just a couple of miles from the hotel, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint.
Just out of the frame is an old man sitting in a rocking chair waiting for his wife who is inside. There are lots of rocking chairs. You can bet Todd would have been occupying one of them had he been there. He would probably rate shells just above linens and ladies shoes on his scale of awesome shopping. Now, if Costco sold shells he might think differently.
I want to cover EVERYTHING with shells.
Isn't that beautiful? Not very practical, but so beautiful!
I bought more than I needed with the thought of creating one of those flower collages made from shells. Or something like that. I'm sure I paid way too much for my shells, but there was something fun and mindless about searching through bins of shells to find just the right size and color... I promise that IF I ever actually do this craft I will blog about it!
I had looked the zoo up on Google Maps that morning, and all I saw was thick forest with a dirt road dead ending in the middle of nowhere. I took a chance and drove there anyway. There was a very nice sign indicating that there was a zoo, but for about a 1/2 mile this is all I saw.
Central Florida is very vertiginous... thickly so. I was on the phone with Suzie at the time and was a little grateful just in case I needed to say "I am being kidnapped! Call the police!" Even as I parked and walked in a "civilized" looking direction I said to her, "I'm not sure that this is a zoo." But I found a little kiosk that confirmed to me that this was INDEED a zoo by charging me ELEVEN dollars.
I agree with one of the reviews I read online: this was more of a nature walk with some animals sprinkled about. One review said that this zoo was stared when a circus pulled out of the near-by town of Sanford in 1939 and left behind a monkey and a goat. The monkey rode the goat. Thus, a zoo was born.
Right inside the "gate" was a little water park which seemed to be the main attraction. It just had fountains squirting up from the pavement and some sprinklers overhead, but it was crawling with kids of all ages and some nice Adirondack chairs placed in the shade. I was careful not to take too many pictures. A solitary visitor to the zoo is met with some suspicion, especially when they take photos of little children, so I abstained.
The "petting zoo" consisted of exactly 5 types of animals:
Turkeys (Would you pet this thing? People were actually trying to feed them. Their mouths are covered with multicolored hangy-downy things... *shudder*)
Mini cows with long horns
Greedy, pushy goats
That guy was really uncomfortable with me taking his picture. He almost said something to me. He kept saying "Uhhh... Uhh."
And a llama standing in a bucket. We all know not to get to close to llamas.
This bird is going to run up my credit card. Just kidding, this bird said "hello". It had one foot.
I stood by the spider monkey cage for a while and couldn't see anything of the sort. And then he just came by and posed for me for, like, five minutes.
I was so close to a monkey! I looked really hard. I examined that monkey.
His tongue was out because he was hot. I was hot, but I have better manners.
The elephants looked SO bored, and they were stinky. Maybe they felt self-conscious.
That elephant looks like it's smiling. It was probably only doing that because I was taking a picture.
The jaguar was restless.
The Spanish moss was dangling.
The jungle was smelling of warm pine needles (there are pines interspersed with the palms).
The brontosaurus was too hot to move.
The random dinosaur in the woods did it for me. I felt that I had seen enough. I drove home hoping for something scenic, but ended up back at the hotel in time for Todd's team to finish up and we headed off to Vito's again (this time I had lamb). Vacation is fun. I am learning to enjoy the slowness of it all.