Today’s action, which was Saturday, December 28th, started off with a nice, leisurely drive down the Florida Keys. It was a beautiful day and the views from the bridges in between the Keys was quite striking with the blue ocean rolling around below and around us.
Our destination was the last island that can be driven to, Key West. We walked around for a bit just to explore. As you can imagine, with Key West being a tourist destination, there were lots of little shops selling t-shirts, magnets, and other odds and ends…the normal touristy fare.
There were also many different restaurants to choose from. We settled on an open air spot that seemed to be quite popular, Sloppy Joe’s Bar. They even had a live band playing some cover songs.
I’m pretty sure I had fish of some kind. Being next to the open sea I just had to. For dessert, Andrea had some Key Lime pie.
Afterwards, we wandered around some more until we found the aquarium.
Why are you seeing a picture of chickens, you ask? It’s a funny story! Key West actually has wild chickens running around! Odd, but true.
Now for the Key West Aquarium. It was a bit on the small side, but they did have some interesting critters inside.
And a pretty cool open air area that also afforded us a look at the cruise ships in the port.
After getting a tasty treat at Carpe Diem Ice Cream we walked around some more.
When you go to Key West you have to do some swimming and now was finally the time for us to get our swim suits. We headed over to the Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach for just such an occasion. It is on the south side of the island and, you guessed it, also has a fort. We did not have time to wander around the fort though, unfortunately. Maybe next time.
If you ever go here be prepared to hurt your feet. The closer you get to the water, the more rocky it is. Or maybe it was coral, it was hard to tell.
We were there long enough to catch both cruise ships leaving the harbor and heading due south. Here is the first ship as it left.
And then the second ship.
In between these two ships leaving we caught a few Navy fighter jets flying by as well. There were two, maybe three, “sections” of two fighters each coming into the nearby Naval Air Station on the key just to the east. I think what we saw were F/A-18 Hornets.
With us being at sea level we also had to stay for the sunset too.
If you are ever on this beach late I would suggest changing before checking out the sunset. The bathrooms were locked when we were leaving. This meant we had to walk all the way back to the car, still wet, and change as discreetly as we could at the car. Talk about an embarrassing situation. Afterwards we made the long trek back up to the mainland.
As for the rest of our trip, we just kind of relaxed in the Clermont/Orlando area doing various things. One of those things was a cat cafe. The previous year the kids wanted to check it out, but we either did not have time or it was closed when we did get the time. They had fun petting and playing with the cats while myself and Andrea watched. The cat cafe is mainly there as a place to adopt cats and has been doing so, quite successfully, for a few years now. The Orlando Cat Cafe even doubles as a coffee shop with some snacks.
We also went to a U-Pick-em place nearby for some fresh oranges and whatever else they had ready to pick. It is called Showcase of Citrus.
You can get a ride in a monster truck (something we haven’t done yet) and they have a little menagerie of sorts.
Later on we went to the Disney Springs area. It is a huge shopping and dining spot in the Orlando area not far from the Disney Parks.
We had lunch at the Earl of Sandwich, which is, so far, our favorite place to eat down there.
From there we walked around a bit more just to check out the Disney movie themed Christmas trees that are set up every year.
That was all for the trip, ladies and gentlemen! We had to be back home the next day so that we could get prepared for our upcoming work weeks/days. What a drag work can be, right? It was still a fun and memorable trip though. Does anyone have any suggestions for other places we can go to in the state of Florida, other than Disney?