Sea World. The kids LOVED it. Got there about 10:00 am and left about 6:00 pm (closing time). Lots of walking, pretty brutal heat and humidity, but we held up well enough. I seriously debated sandals vs. tennis shoes, and was grateful the tennis won out; my feet would not have easily forgiven me if I’d gone with less support.
Papa, Brother and T-Bear hit the Manta roller coaster. Despite a last-moment panic attack, T-Bear stuck with it and had a great time. And, that was the extent of his exciting rides for the day. In the mean time, Boo and I hit Journey to Atlantis, that being Boo’s only adventure ride of the day. Papa and Brother rounded out the thrill rides with the Kraken, and all of us took the Wild Arctic helicopter ride (yes, we were pretty much all nauseated when we got off). Shamu’s Happy Harbor was definitely more Boo and T-Bear’s speed, but I was bummed the water spouting part was not working.
If the pic looks a little fuzzy around the edges, that's because my camera lense fogged up when it went from the comfy environment of my backpack (there was an ice pack in there to keep the insulin cool) to the heat and humidity of the Florida environment. I somewhat resembled my camera lense most of the day.
We saw the Shamu show and the Clyde and Seamore (seal/sea lion/otter) show. While Shamu was more inspiring, I think I liked Clyde and Seamore better because of the frequent unplanned humor. As WC Fields said, “Never work with children or animals”, and Clyde and Seamore proved his point.
Sea World does a great job showing off their animals, and I especially enjoyed the under-water views. We saw penguins, dolphins, sharks, seals, sea lions, and many other critters underwater, but my favorite were the manatees serenely eating their heads of lettuce. One of the manatees had lost a large section of her tail to a boat propeller, as well as her right front flipper which had to be amputated after getting tangled in fishing line. She really embodied the hazards that these animals face in their natural environment, and I think Sea World is doing a good job educating the public about preservation.
We petted some rays and sharks (the dolphins were done with being handled by the time we got to them). I had an interesting parental moment when one of the rays swam straight up to Boo’s hands with his mouth wide open, apparently changing his mind at the last moment in favor of not tasting Boo’s fingers. It’s probably a good thing Boo couldn’t see the open mouth, or he’d likely be scarred for life. We fed sharks (not the same ones we petted), rays and seals, as well as a couple of very aggressive birds hanging out with the seals.
T-Bear and Brother Bear being their usual vivacious and groovy selves with the five-guys-on-stilts-with-drums corp. T-Bear's blurting out "You guys ROCK!" earlier in the show probably contributed toward their being chosen for audience participation. They really did rock, by the way.
I was really impressed with how well the kids held up under the discomfort of intense heat and humidity, as well as all of that walking. We only had one melt-down from BooBoo Bear, which lasted about 10 minutes. The cherry slushie blew T-Bear’s BS out of the water, but the rest of the day he was pretty stable. Walking in the heat and humidity is apparently not as energy-burning as swimming, so I think Disney on Sunday will be pretty easy to manage. Our magic backpack worked like a charm. It was the “welcome to T1” gift from the JDRF given to T-Bear in the hospital, which included Rufus. It’s bright blue, so it’s easy to spot in a crowd at a distance, and has an insulated compartment on the back, accessed from outside to keep insulin and an icepack (insulin spoils if it reaches 90 degrees, and at $150 per vial, you don’t want to risk letting it get too hot). I only had to add ice to the compartment once during the day, and it offered the added perk of keeping my lower back cool while I wore the backpack. Sweet. It has a roomy main compartment, and smaller compartmentalized front pocket, a net side pocket, and a pocket on the front of the left strap to hold your cell phone. Not that my cell phone did me any good, since the battery died three hours after I took it off the charger. Bugger.
This is what cotton candy looks like after it's been subjected to Florida's heat and humidity for about five minutes. It was reportedly crunchy.
So, after a long day of enjoyment, and purchasing rediculously large plush animals on the way out, we headed back to the hotel. Picked up pizza at a local place. The Elves had visited again. Ahhhhhh. Bath! Bed! Sleep!