Saturday, March 15, 2014

Mermaids

Today we stopped at Weeki Wachee State Park to see the mermaids swim.  The mermaid entertainment started back in 1947.  The performances today were " The Little Mermaid" and "Fish Tales" the history and how it's all done.  Entrance of $13 per person gives you not only the mermaid shows, but also a short boat ride and access to the man-made (10 mile inland) beach.  This is the most tourist thing we have done in a long time, but was fun.

mermaids

The mermaids train for over a year to be certified mermaids.  They also need to be able to dive down 117ft using the oxygen hose and then come back up without the hose.  Todays' mermaid took almost 2 1/2mins to come back up from the deep, quite impressive.  The water they are in is 74 degrees year round, a bit chilly for most of us.  They are swimming in the actual spring water, so it was fun to see fish and even turtles swimming with them.
This is really a little girls place, since you can even buy mermaid outfits, but there are no "merboys". Wonder how little boys feel coming here?
The little boat ride on the spring that feeds into this area is a not very long, 25mins round trip and at its' deepest is 3ft deep.  Life jackets are provided, but you would be wet to your knees if the boat had a problem. LOL!  We did see an eagles nest, with one baby along our route. The eagles have been coming back to this same nest for the past 8 years.  The comment was made that the eagles had arrived in September, which is 2 months earlier than usual, so staff commented that it was going to be a hard winter.  How true!  We also got to see a large pine tree along the water that was a heron rookery, with 3 large nests.  Saw just one of the parent herons sitting guard on the tree.






check out the two water slides on left side of picture



Spending the night in a hotel nearby tonight.  This is the alternative to a bad campground that we ended up in last night.  Also gives us the chance to clean up a bit more than a camp shower can sometimes offer.  Also gives us Internet!!!
Anyway, another advantage of hotel nights is the ability to find some interesting food in town.  Tonight we went to a French/Belgian restaurant that was advertised in the hotel information notebook.  Fred is always searching for some french food and I am always so dubious about finding good French food in the US.  This place took us back to France!  Fred had an escargot appetizer, then duck and finally chocolate fondant for dessert.  I had a scallops appetizer, then "grandmeres" recipe for rabbit and finally creme brulee.  Ended the meal with a couple of Nespressos.  Not a cheap meal, but oh so delicious.

a taste of France
Tomorrow we continue to move up the west side of Florida, bay side now, as we head slowly back west.
Stay tuned,
Michelle and Fred
Traveling the country so you don't have to!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ringling Circus Museum

Today for a change of pace we went to the Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota.  This is more than just a visit to the circus, it also includes John and Mabel Ringling's home (Ca' d'Zan), an amazing miniature circus that has been many years in the making, an art museum with 31 galleries of old masters the Ringling's collected as they traveled through Europe looking for circus acts, a functioning theatre, an art library, Mabel's rose garden and a beautiful bay front garden/walk.
 This is a large grounds, but easily walked.  If you get tired there is a constant coming and going of golf cart type trams that you can hop on and off at various stops.  There are a couple of eating spots on the grounds, to get refreshments or light lunch. 
There are three ways to visit the Ringling house, self guided tour, docent 1st and 2nd floor tour, or a docent full house tour.  We took the 1st and 2nd floor tour, which we both enjoyed.  Next time, we will take a full house tour. 
It's a fun day if you want to bring back some of your circus going memories or just want to really see some circus history.  Plan on spending a day here, however, there is more to see and do than can be done in just one day.  It was a fun day and brought lots of smiles to our faces. :)


miniature

miniature


along walkway to the Ringling home

some of the original posters used in the circus