Stone Mountain, GA

Our November trip to Stone Mountain, Georgia was a breath of fresh cold air. We stayed at the popular Evergreen Marriott Resort. This was the view from our balcony…gorgeous.IMG_4265

The Stone Mountain Theme Park park down the road a bit is always a beautiful sight to behold at night. One of the reasons we like to visit in the late fall is just to see all the Christmas lights and decorations.

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There are seasonal story time characters sprinkled around the park as well as a nightly snow angel Christmas parade.

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Daytime we made our trip to the summit of the mountain for a completely different view.

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It feels a bit like a lunar landscape to me, though it’s just a huge chunk of granite in the middle of Georgia.

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My sweet family! 

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This Florida girl was freezing though. The temp was hovering somewhere in the low sixties. ; )

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We were so glad to be able to have my niece and nephew join us for the weekend. We have missed them so much since their move to Georgia!

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We celebrated Christmas a little early with the kids this year at breakfast on the last day of Thanksgiving weekend. 

IMG_4347 IMG_4348 IMG_4351Then we headed home through Atlanta traffic on a holiday weekend (gasp). Even with the traffic, shared many days well spent in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Blue Springs Bike Ride

Just outside the gate of Blue Springs State Park sits a trailhead to Volusia County’s impressive Spring to Spring Trail.

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The trail is perfectly paved and just look at how it meanders back and forth and up and down, and might I add another up and down. Truth be told, my legs were a wee bit wobbly after only 9 miles. This girl is used to the South Florida flats! My husband had to help me up an incline once or twice.

Hills and all, I haven’t ever ridden a more perfect trail. So, for me, a day riding the Spring to Spring, was still a day well spent.

The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast

The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast is located in Indian Riverside Park. You can easily spend a day at the museum, then play on the beach and in the fountains.

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The kids loved the pet vet exhibit.

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The building room.

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The body exhibit.

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The giant play ship!

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Publix shopping exhibit.

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They played for hours and then some. Another day well spent.

Children’s Museum of Atlanta

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The Atlanta Children’s Museum is located in downtown Atlanta just down the street from the Georgia Aquarium and Coca Cola. We parked in a parking garage across the street and walked our way in and then purchased tickets for about $14 each. There are many permanent exhibits as well as an array of hands on programs throughout the day. One program we were able to participate in was a science class where they demonstrated how electricity moves through circuits using a van de graafft generator.

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You know, that machine that makes your hair stand up? IMG_0056_3

Next we visited the Let Your Creativity Flow exhibit where you can build sand scupltures and put them on display.

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Here you can even paint on the walls!

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In the Leaping Into Learning exhibit, children enter a forest where they can cast their rods and catch colorful fish and even go under a waterfall without getting wet.  My nephew loved catching fish and playing with nets in the water.

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The overall favorite was definitely the Tools for Solutions exhibit.

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20140317-122501.jpg We spent a lot of time working the crane.IMG_0043_3 IMG_0048_2They had to move the balls through the unit with simple machines using creative thinking and teamwork. They played here for hours. Other programming includes story time, music and motion, and crafts shown here below.

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Another fun area was the Publix delivery truck, loading dock and store.IMG_0005_3 IMG_0006_2Options for play seemed endless.The Museum also hosts special programs such as Home School Days, Summer Camps, Meet the Holidays (events where kids celebrate holidays from around the world), as well as opportunities for children on the Autism Spectrum during early hours and rental rooms and packages for birthday parties.

20140317-122129.jpgWe will definitely be making a return trip next time we’re in town.

The Brown Pelican

I’m continuing my weekly wildlife posts with this week’s subject, The Brown Pelican. As discussed in previous posts, I have a lot of photos of creatures that I know little about, so, I’m working on a series of posts exploring Florida wildlife to get to know my watery world a little better. Perhaps you can to.
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Now I knew this was a Pelican, but I didn’t know that there are only 8 living Pelican species and that only two can be found in Florida: The Brown Pelican and The American White.

The Brown Pelican is the smaller of the two but is in no way a small bird. I captured these images of Brown Pelicans at the Fort Pierce Marina. You can see another post on the marina here.

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Groups of pelicans are known as a “pod” and they are said to be the largest flying bird and feed mostly on fish. You will find them on and around many a fishing boat and pier.

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Adding The Brown Pelican to another “find” on my Checklist of Florida Birds.

Cabin Camping at Lake Louisa

We had a wonderful first visit to Lake Louisa last August. IMG_0001 There are a few mini lakes on the grounds that we explored.IMG_0003 IMG_0004 IMG_0005  Great spot for some family time.IMG_0007 IMG_0010We loved the view from our cabin.
IMG_0011 And enjoyed the fire pit down below. IMG_0012 It was easy to haul all our stuff into the cabins right from the street.IMG_0013The kitchen had everything we needed to cook basic meals.
IMG_0014 IMG_0015 IMG_0016 IMG_0019 IMG_0021 IMG_0025 IMG_0027 IMG_0028 The cabin was super clean and larger than we expected.IMG_0029 IMG_0030 IMG_0031 IMG_0032 IMG_0033 IMG_0034The cabins boarder one of the smaller lakes. The large Lake Louisa is a bike ride away. This is it. Just water and sand. A quiet retreat from the daily grind.
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The Little Blue Heron

Continuing to get to know my Florida wildlife a little better today with my friend here. When I was first told he was a little blue Heron, I thought they meant a baby Heron. Alas, that was the proper name. Little Blue Heron Everglades You will find Little Blue Herons in the shallows of marine and freshwater marshes. I found this friend above wading in the everglades. Notice the slate blue plumage and the long neck and legs.
20140302-082510.jpgThis little guy was on the banks of the Saint Lucie River in Stuart, Florida. He looked like a Heron, but where was his long neck? He was simply just sitting with his neck tucked in. I didn’t realize they could do that. I clearly have not been paying that much attention to my featured friends. At first I thought this was a different species of bird. I’m learning! I didn’t realize Herons could change their appearance so drastically. Now that I do know, I think that’s pretty impressive, giraffes certainly can’t do that.

Herons are an unusual looking bird, yet a common sight around Florida waterways. However, there were twice as many of these beautiful birds 40 years ago. Their population is in decline due to loss of feeding habitat.

This is another bird that I wasn’t exactly sure what he was. As I noted in the purple gallinule post, I decided to get to know the subjects of some of my photos better and to keep track of new birds I encounter.

The Little Blue Heron gets marked off my Checklist of Florida Birds.

Pow Wow

On our visit to the annual Port Saint Lucie Pow Wow, we discovered lots of interesting things. 197853_10150121569714983_383823_n 197269_10150121571114983_5130288_n 190299_10150121575354983_960093_n We at first didn’t realize that the tee pees at the front gate were private, and we accidentally took a self tour and then we were very kindly re-directed. 190203_10150121573389983_2285804_n189611_10150121571459983_4228171_n198577_10150121573519983_2902708_nThe Pow Wow was held at Savannas Recreation area on Midway Rd. which also has a park and picnic pavilions where we had lunch and played a bit. My niece enjoyed the colorful Indian headdress and my sweet daughter, nephew and I enjoyed the cultural encounter hosted by the Florida Indian Hobbyist Association. It’s an annual event coming up on 50 years! Lots of things to see and do at a Pow Wow.