Friday, April 30, 2010

Tarpon Springs -

Tarpon Springs is located on the Gulf of Mexico side of Florida.  It is a quaint little town that makes you feel that you have been transported to Greece.  This is also where to this day they still dive for live sponges.  We had a great time.  We went on a boat ride and heard all of the history of Tarpon Springs as well as the sponge diving.  They took as to a small island where we were allowed to dock and look for shells that had washed upon the shore.  It was a 1 1/2 hour boat ride that was $16/per adult and $8/per child. We viewed many wild life and it was a very relaxing boat ride.

The next thing we did was visit the Aquarium that they have.  From the outside I wasn't expecting much, but it was a nice surprise.  Adults were only $7.75 and children under 11 were $5.75.  Upon entering the aquarium they had a small area set up where you could actually pet crabs and some types of fish.  Then you see a 120,000 gallon tank filled with all types of fish and sharks.  There was a grouper (pic below) that was over 750lbs.  A few times a day they have a shark feeding exhibit were you get to see a guy actually feed the fish and it was amazing to see all of the fish as the food hit the tank.  Another area they had gators and also have times where you can watch the gators get fed as well.  Upon meanering through the place you eventually get to the back room where they have interactive exhibits.  We were able to feed the sting rays and baby sharks.  The sharks you had to put the food at the end of the stick, but the kids thought it was really cool. 

For lunch we stopped at one of the many authentic Greek restaurants that completely flood the area.  If you like Greek food this is the place for you.  The aromas fill the air and your plates are overflowing.  The day we went the city was also have a merchant fair so their were many beautifuls hand made items to look at and purchase. 

I have included the city's main website for you to be able to see what upcoming events they are having in this sleepy little town.  Our family really enjoyed this mini day trip and I have a feeling that yours will too.

Forever Florida -

Forever Florida is a 4700 acre eco-ranch and wildlife conservation area that encompasses nine distinct ecosystems, beautifully preserved just as nature intended. You'll experience natural streams, forests, pastures, wetlands and learn about the wide array of Forever Florida's wildlife including alligators, black bears, white-tail deer and the endangered Florida panther.  Only open Wednesday - Sunday.

Ziplining Safari - this is the newest and most exciting of all of the safaris.  The family chose this one because until May 31st there was a Florida Resident $20 off special so it was only $65/per person.  This is a 2 1/2 hour tour high above the tree line.  Sometimes you are as high as 55 ft and reach up to speeds of close to 25 mph.  We had a blast.  We were paired up with two other families of 4.  We went Easter morning and the weather was beautiful.  It wasn't to hot yet, but it was in the mid 70s and there was not the presense of mosquitos in the air yet.  We arrived at the place at 8:45am and went into hand in our paperwork and waited for the tour to begin at 9:15am.  We were carried in the swamp buggy deep into the woods to begin our adventure.  Before we were allowed out to the lines we had to harness up and listen to all of the safety instructions. The first climb up the platform made everyone (except Duane) a little anxious as we had never done anything like this before.  I remember Cody telling me that he no longer liked me for making him do this.  After the first zip, it was all over, we had fallen in love.  I believe that by the third of the zips he was wondering if he could get a job there and wanted to come back.  Each zip offered something new to see, whether it was the wildlife or the breathtaking scenery it was a once and a life time experience.  Just the thrill of ziping down the 750ft line to the otherside was something that I think we will always remember.  There were a total of 9 zips with two wooden bridges.  Our guides were a lot of fun and they kept the entire event lively and at one point made us make animal noises all the way across the line.  The entire family really loved it and you are very secure as they take every safety protection imaginable. (see photos below)

There are a few restrictions though you must be at least 10 yrs old, weigh at least 70lbs but no more 275lbs.  They even offer starlight and moonlight ziplinging, which we have decided will be the next one we do. 
Coach Safari that all ages can enjoy.  The giant swap buggy allows you to see the natural setting from a comfortable position of 5 feet off the ground for two hours.
Horseback Riding Safari - There are two different safaris a 1 hour or 2 hour excursion. They do have a half day ride (minimum of 4 people) that will teach you how to be a rancher and the supreme horseback safari would be their overnight 2 day, 1 night (minimum of 4 people)

Florida EcoSafaris
Forever Florida
4755 N. Kenansville Road,
St. Cloud, Florida 34773

Phone: 1-866-85-4EVER
Or, 1-407-957-9794
Fax: 1-407-957-1227

Reservations: 1-866-85-4EVER
Or, 1-407-957-9794