Saturday, August 18, 2012

Last Day of Summer 2012

So yesterday was the last day of summer.
We celebrated in grand style. 

We worked Monday so we could take Friday off and the kids skipped Y camp and Carousel so we could go to Orlando. Granddaddy's been off every Friday this summer and Grandmommy took a day off as well so we could meet up at Sea World. This trip was Grandmommy's Mother's Day present - a day at Sea World with the boys. 

 We met in the parking lot at 8:45am and made it inside the park before it "opened" at 9am.
It wasn't nearly as crowded as we were expecting and especially that early, we were able to zip 
through several things right away.

 Granddaddy hadn't ridden a roller coaster since before the boys were born. He rode with Daryl and I and we ended up in the front row of the coaster. We were so proud of him for tackling this one!

Petting the stingrays. 

Goofing off. 

Watching the dolphins get fed. 

While the rest of the family was holding our seats for the Blue Horizon show, I got this special flamingo show while at the refreshment stand.

Blue Horizon show. 
We haven't been to Sea World since Halloween last year and it's probably been two years since we sat through this show. There were subtle changes throughout that did a LOT to improve the overall look/feel. 

Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island. 
 Again, some new things here. The set had been painted and a little of the dialogue had been freshened up.
Still a classic!

Shark Encounter
There were a few reworked exhibits leading up the the Shark tunnel. 
This area used to have small amphibians on display. Much more impressive with the shark mouth. 

Family picture before the Sky Tower ride. 
Instead of charging extra, this is now included with the price of admission. 
And before you get on, there is a picture taking area. 
Thankful because I think this is the only picture I made it in all day. 
The Ocala 4 wore our Phineas and Ferb gear!

This will be the new Penguin Encounter experience next spring. They've expanded the old penguin building,
torn out the fountain area that used to be in front of it and are reworking the restaurant in front and the gift shop to the left. There is supposed to a be a ride in this building. Parker was disappointed that his favorite area wasn't open, but in his words, "I can live with it if it's going to be better soon." 

Another must do for the boys. They LOVE the Pets Ahoy show. 

After this we grabbed lunch at Voyager's Smokehouse. 
While inside, a huge storm let loose outside. 
When it slacked up to a trickle, we ventured back out to walk over towards Shamu. 
Somebody decided to stop and try to catch raindrops. 

He almost fell asleep at lunch and then again waiting on Shamu. 
But we knew he wouldn't sleep THROUGH Shamu because it's his absolute favorite thing at the park. 

 The Shamu show was awesome!

Then afterwards we realized that they were letting the whales hang out in the tank after the show.
They have not done that in YEARS. 
We rushed down for a closer look - can't get up to the glass anymore, but still SO close. 

Playing with the bubbles at the Shamu fountain.

Time for Shamu's Happy Harbor and some kiddie rides. 
First up was the Carousel.

Game time. 

 Flying Fiddler! 

Swishie Fishies by themselves.

The lines for the other rides were long and the nets still weren't open because of the rain, 
so we headed over to Wild Arctic instead. 

We headed back to Shamu's Happy Harbor.
Wesley was mesmerized by the steel drum playing acrobats. 


Then the boys split up with the grandparents. 
Granddaddy took Parker on the Shamu roller coaster......


 Wesley and Grandmommy went to Jazzy Jellies and Ocean Commotion.

We hiked all the way back across the park to hit the new Turtle Trek experience.
It's in the old Manatee experience building and includes a cool 3D show 
where you "are" the sea turtle being born on the beach and then traveling through the ocean 
until you come back to the beach to nest.  

After the show, we walked through an area with more sea turtles, manatees and fish. 

Of course, Parker found the new turtle video game spot outside. 

 Checking out some of the foliage with Granddaddy......and we found a rabbit hiding in the bushes.

 Chillin' out at the dolphin underwater viewing area. 


Somebody wanted to study the map!

 Checking out their new Turtle Trek rescue souvenir set. 

Sleepy flamingos. 
Some of the ones in the back are sitting on HUGE nests. 

We left the park at 7:30pm. It was closing in 30 minutes anyway. 
Time to eat again so we headed to Friendly's on International Drive. 
In addition to food, and great ICE CREAM, the boys got balloon creations.

Ironman for the big boy. 

 And Shamu for the little guy. 

We pulled out of Orlando about 9:45pm. 
Wesley was asleep by 10pm (and he slept till 10am Saturday morning!)

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