March 10, 2010 – We enjoyed breakfast at the hotel, and then headed out in search of the elusive manatee. We drove towards Blue Spring State Park and decided to head along the board walk. We heard rumors that there were manatees in the spring, and knew we had a chance to see some. At the end of the board walk was a small pool – and a manatee! It was just lazily swimming around… and then went back down the stream. So, we followed it, and eventually found some more manatees – and manatee babies, too! Well, they looked like mini baby blimps, but they were still very cool to see. We also saw one manatee that had been tagged with a little ring around its tail, and a boat attached to the ring by a cord. This manatee was a bit of a showoff, and did several barrel rolls.
We also saw Canaveral National Seashore. It was a bit cool on the ocean, but that didn’t stop us from wandering up and down a pretty stretch of beach. We also saw our favorite tiny shorebirds, sanderlings. Since they hunt in packs, we nicknamed them “tiny raptors.” We also saw several (live!) armadillos eating grass (?) on the side of the road. Apparently they’re quite tame; some people even pet them. We didn’t, since we wanted them to remain semi-wild, but we had fun watching them.
We attempted to drive to the other section of the park; however, by then it was 5:45 and the gate was closed. However, we did see the entrance to Kennedy Space Center, a pretty sunset… and dolphins! We were driving over a drawbridge, when Louisa spotted a black shape jump out of an inlet. We parked near a group of fishermen/construction workers, and walked up a (closed due to construction?) bridge so we could watch the dolphin playing in the water. We also had a great view of the sunset.
We got back to Orlando in time for dinner and ate some good seafood at a restaurant (Boston’s Fish House) Tony had discovered on his recent trip to FL. After dinner we walked around downtown Disney, and eventually made our way back to the hotel.
March 11, 2010 – The next day we began the long drive back to VA. Of course, we timed our drive so we would get to our favorite GA BBQ place in time to get burnt ends for lunch. It was a welcome break, especially since we encountered rain for the vast majority of the drive. We had a great whirlwind trip of FL.