Orlando Recap, Part 2

Day 2

We left Knoxville, TN and drive a few hours to Atlanta, GA. Our destination was the aquarium. We spent all afternoon there, then headed to our hotel about 30 minutes away in McDonough, GA.

At the aquarium:

photo of the picture on the outside of the Atlanta aquarium

The aquarium doesn’t look that impressive from the main/central area, because you can see all the exhibits (entrances, at least) from there. So it feels like there is nowhere to explore. But it is a large place, and the exhibits are more extensive than they first appear.

They have small tanks:

photo of a small fish tank at the Georgia Aquarium

They have a large tank:

photo of the large fish tank at the Georgia Aquarium

They have a tunnel that goes through the large tank:

photo of the large fish tank tunnel at the Georgia Aquarium

We had an afternoon snack there. Three personal pizzas and some waters, that cost us $30. For dinner, we went to Cracker Barrel and got 6 meals, that cost us $35.

The older kids had a great time at the shallow pools, where you could stick your hands in and touch whatever aquatic life was there (sting rays, small sharks, starfish, etc.)

All the kids enjoyed the large tank. They sat in front of that huge wall, watching all the fish swim around. The giant manta rays were impressive – their wingspan must have been about 20 feet. We eventually had to make them leave the exhibit, otherwise we wouldn’t have seen the other exhibits.

Finally, it was time to leave. The older kids wanted to try to touch a stingray again, so my wife took them while I took the younger two kids outside to wait. Rather, I tried to take them outside. I say an exit sign, so I headed for it. It was near the entrance, so I figured that would be a good place for the exit. But the door said “Emergency Exit Only” so I didn’t try it. I looked around and saw no other exit signs. I stood there for a minute, looking around unsuccessfully for another exit sign. I was baffled enough to try to find an employee and ask where the exit was. But before I did that, I noticed a group of people had gone down to the emergency exit and came back to where I was. They found a worker and asked her where the exit was. She pointed to the gift shop, so we all went there.

I don’t mind that we had to exit through the gift shop, what I minded was that the exit was not well-marked. The illuminated exit sign led to the emergency exit, and the unilluminated exit sign (for there was some lettering under the gift shop sign that did say “Aquarium Exit”) was for the real exit.

My suggestion: illuminate the real exit sign. Do something to make it noticeable.

Day 3

We left McDonough, GA and drove a few hours to St. Augustine, FL. We stopped for lunch at a Steak -N- Shake. We chose there because we thought it would be quick. We were wrong. We got back on the road an hour and a half later.

We stayed in St. Augustine this night because Orlando is not near the coast and we wanted at least one trip to the beach.

We stayed at La Fiesta Inn. We picked them because they offered an apartment-style room. They have other options as well, but with a few kids it was nice to have two bathrooms, separate bedroom, and a kitchen.

photo of a bed at La Fiesta Inn in St. Augustine, FL

Plus they have beach access – you take the sidewalk to the back of the parking lot and continue on the boardwalk that takes you right to the Atlantic Ocean.

photo of the dunes as seen from the beach in St. Augustine, FL

The first thing you notice about the beach there is that the sand is packed hard. Not like the sand at Lake Michigan that is softer and more deformable. In skiing terms, Lake Michigan sand is fresh powder, whereas Florida Atlantic coast sand is the scrapey ice that’s left at the end of the season. On the plus side, it easier for walking (and biking).

The second thing you notice is all the shells.

photo of shells on the beach in St. Augustine, FL

The Great Lakes don’t really have shells like that.

The kids played in the water a bit, but mostly they played in the sand. The water was cold, so I don’t blame them.

One thing I noticed was that the sand had a bout an inch of fine grains on top, but underneath that was a mixture of coarse grains and shells.

photo of the layers of the sand on the beach in St. Augustine, FL

Alpha took a stroll down the beach. I don’t know if he was looking for something or just enjoying some solitude after being with 5 other people non-stop for the last 58 hours.

photo of someone walking down the beach in St. Augustine, FL

We got to the beach in the late afternoon, so we stayed until sunset (6:00-ish, I think).

photo of on the beach in St. Augustine, FL at sunset

Then we walked back to the room, had dinner that we had packed, and watched a couple of episodes of Duck Dynasty before going to bed. That was a treat for the kids, since we have only broadcast TV at home. It was good to hear them laughing so much at the antics of the Robertsons.

When day came, they could not recognize the land; but they did observe a bay with a beach, and they resolved to drive the ship onto it if they could.

Acts 27:39

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This little article thingy was written by Some Guy sometime around 6:46 am and has been carefully placed in the Travel category.

2 Responses to “Orlando Recap, Part 2”

  1. Ricky Anderson Says:

    Sounds fun.

  2. Some Guy Says:

    It was. But tomorrow it gets even better.

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