On our vacation last month we surprised Trey with a visit to Legoland Florida on Thanksgiving Day. We had a coupon that would get Trey free with the purchase of an adult ticket and we figured the holiday would be less crowded. Not only was the park not very busy, but we had the good fortune of being given another free adult pass by a stranger. So all in all, we paid about $100 for parking and the three of us to enjoy the park.
I’ve got a zillion photos of the park itself but I figured I’d focus on ones of us enjoying the park. We hit all the big rollercoasters and most of the smaller rides and activity centers. Trey’s favorite was the laser tag style game/ride in the “Kingdoms” part of the park. It was very similar to the one found at the Legoland Discovery Center in Atlanta.
Our favorite section of the park was Miniland – specifically the Star Wars Miniland. You can see my many photos of Star Wars Miniland on Flickr.
We took these photos at dusk walking on the old bridge to Big Talbott Island in northeast Florida. The effect is achieved by setting the shutter speed to 3-6 seconds, popping the flash on the subject then moving the camera away from them towards the colored sky.
This photo was taken at the visitor center of Fort Matanzas National Monument last month.
On our trip out West in 2010, Trey racked up quite a few “Junior Ranger” badges at National Parks and Monuments. The most recent ones we’ve visited are Congaree and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. Whenever we plan a vacation, I scour our routes to see if there are any new NPS sites we can visit. This time we spotted Fort Matanzas along the way from Amelia Island to Legoland in Winter Haven and planned a stop.
When you hear the term “fort” you picture much grander things than what Matanzas has to offer. The place is really just a small 50×50 foot coquina outpost with two 30×10 foot rooms (baracks and office). The fort’s five canons were only ever fired once (at the British before the fort was even completed) and it was used for almost 80 more years without seeing any more action. Almost a century later the federal government began restoring the fort.
Today you can watch a short documentary at the visitor center and peruse its tiny (I mean TINY) gift shop as you wait for the NPS ferry to cross the inter-coastal waters to the island where the fort stands.
Trey enjoyed the boat ride and after a short talk by the ranger at the fort we got to explore and climb to the roof of the tower. Heidi was given the honor of taking down the flag (a 1740s era Spanish Empire Cross of Burgundy flag) since we were the last tour of the day.
This year marked our third visit to Amelia Island, thanks again to the generosity of some friends with a beach house in Fernandina Beach.
We spent four days on the island and were unfortunately hit by a stomach bug that knock us out for about two of those days. We still managed to get some time in on the beach. Being winter, we avoided swimming and spent most of our beach time building sand castles and playing games. Trey became quite infatuated with racing Heidi across the sand.
The leaves are all down now, but a few weeks ago when it wasn’t too chilly and the woods were still vibrant we took a little afternoon excursion up to High Falls State Park. We hiked the 2.5 mile “Tranquil Trail” and then walked down to the lower falls. With winter approaching, it got dark faster than expected and we had to leave by six.