April 11, 2011

Spring Break in Daytona Beach

We just got back from Spring Break in Daytona Beach, Florida. Though the National Cheerleading Championship was going on at our hotel, our plans didn't include beer-bongs or public debauchery. Instead, we were the guests of our dear friends Paul and Linda Jones. We went with their son, Jessie and his girlfriend, Abbie.

On Sunday, we headed south for an airboat tour. Words can't do it justice, so click on the video below to see what fun we had.

Following the airboat tour, we visited the Kennedy Space Center, where we saw the Space Shuttle Endeavor being readied on the launch pad. I remember fondly when my parents took me to see the Shuttle land at Edwards, and it was great to be able to share a similar experience with our son. There was so much to see here, we could've spent most of the day and still missed seeing it all.

Monday's agenda was an excursion to Ponce Inlet. This is a quiet little residential area, with a historic lighthouse and a great restaurant on the water. The place felt like we were down in the Keys, with a weathered dock just past our table, and our conversations interrupted by dolphins swimming by close enough to hear them breathe. The kids rented wave runners and followed the river out to the ocean and jumped the waves at freeway speeds.

Tuesday brought tornado warnings, so we stayed at the resort and took advantage of the discount tickets for the theater next door to catch up on some movies. Sherry and I started the morning with a walk on the beach, where the storm had washed up several of the Portuguese Man O'War jellyfish. As we reached at least a mile from our resort, the storm hit with a wallop, and we ran across the beach, jumping over the jellies and getting absolutely drenched. It was a blast!

After the storm passed, it was time for an early breakfast and race to the Islands of Adventure so we could check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This has been something that Sherry has been wanting to do since first hearing of it's construction, so we were there before the gates opened, and raced the crowds to get in line. Once again, a fantastic experience, best explained with this short video.

On Thursday, we headed north, to the Oklawaha River, where Paul and Linda had rented a pontoon boat and took us on a personal tour of this part of Florida's natural environment. We saw Osprey, Bald Eagles, Egrets, Herons, and of course, more alligators. Click on the video below for a ride along this historic river.

We are so lucky to have such great friends in the Jones family. This was a terrific week, and one we'll remember forever. We have a full gallery of photos here.