Thursday was a rainy morning, which was really good for the area, as it has been going through drought for a while. Didn't do much that day, but I did get out for a walk in the afternoon when it cleared up, and got to see my first Little Blue Heron at a nearby small lake in the retirement community my aunt and uncle live in. Also, my other aunt and uncle treated me and my mom out to Cracker Barrel, as they'd heard it's my favorite restaurant. =)
Friday was SeaWorld day, with wonderful weather. Very nice to not have to pay the $14 parking and $70/person admission, because my aunt works there! The park was quite busy, but we got good seats to the shows we went to. I loved the new coral reef exhibit and the huge stingray tank with dozens constantly swimming around, and of course my other favorites of getting to see the manatees and sea turtles and penguins again. Can't forget the joy of fried plantains and rice & beans with dinner!
Saturday was a quieter day, because of the family get-together in the evening, and my aunt needing to work on cleaning and making a feast. My mom and I went for a walk near the same lake in the afternoon, and this time I got to see my first Tricolored/Lousiana Heron! The meal was incredible, even if I don't know the names of half of what was served. Particularly enjoyed the breaded deep-fried eggplant patties.
Sunday was so awesome it needs its own post!
Monday was Busch Gardens day, as my aunt drove me and my mom, her husband and her daughter down to Tampa. We actually got there before it opened at 9:30, and once again saved a fortune on $13 parking and spendy admission because Busch Gardens and SeaWorld are under the same ownership. What a blessing! Didn't get to feed the lorikeets, because they were stuffed by the time we got over there, but the new exhibits were a lot of fun: feeding wallabies and small kangaroos, and then the gorgeous new Bengal tiger exhibit with two orange and two white tigers inside. Got a little too hot in the afternoon for my comfort, but I really do love that park, even though I don't ride any of the rollercoasters. I was delighted to find a cute manatee glass sculpture in one of the stores there as a parting memento of my visit. Can't leave out the delicious spaghetti dinner when we got back to my aunt's house!