Getting up early in the morning was always a problem when I was going to school. “Just five more minutes, Mom,” was always my response to the call to get up or I was going to miss the school bus. Now, 65 years later I find I’m like a kid again when I’m getting ready for an exploring adventure. The night before the trip, I can’t seem to get to sleep due to all the excitement.
Living here in beautiful sunny Central Florida, there are countless opportunities for adventure, whether it be at the beach, Universal Studios, Disney World or hiking a trail, there are countless things to see and do. Yesterday, I had a wonderful time at a place called Forever Florida! This is a lovely spot in St. Cloud, Florida that was started to honor the memory of a son who loved exploring the outdoors and as a way of preserving samples of Florida’s eco system so that others may learn how nature plays an important part of our lives. Forever Florida offers 3-different types of zip line adventures, such as a zip line roller coaster; horse back riding, cattle round-up and a coach ride that is well up off the ground. Now, before I go further, let me say that I have no vested interest in Forever Florida, I am not an employee, stockholder, etc. Just a very satisfied customer who will definitely be making more than one return trip!
My wonderful husband, Ray, and I did the coach ride and being early in the week, there were only seven (7) people on the entire coach. It was like having a private tour and was not rushed. The trip started out with a 30-minute video presentation explaining how the park came to be and then you were out the door and into the coach. First we went through the “farm” portion where they raise cattle, which supplies the meat for their cafe and clients can partake of the food or purchase meat to take home. The food was delicious! They also raise horses that are direct descendants of the beautiful horses that Ponce de Leon brought to Florida from Spain. Along the route you had beautiful country side, where wild turkeys, wild boars, deer, and alligator were seen. Not to mention the biggest spiders I have ever seen hanging in between some of the trees bordering the area between the farm and the wilderness! They are called Banana spiders and the ones we saw were a good two (2) inches in size!
Riding along and feeling the breeze, listening to the sounds of the many birds we saw and the wonders of the Cypress, ponds and the various plants, gopher tortoises and hopes of seeing a Florida Panther or Bobcat, was extremely relaxing. It made you appreciate the early explorers and all that they had to contend with using nothing but their wits, swords, and black powder pistols.
Hope you enjoy the few pictures that I’ve posted below. If you get a chance, please go and experience Forever Florida for yourself.
This picture is of a pond close to the lodge where you begin your adventure. It has a tiny island in the middle that is home to Heron, and other birds, that make their nests there. They do this to prevent predators from getting their eggs or their babies. If a predator wants a bird, it must swim across alligator filled waters. The picture below is after the fog lifted.
The next two photos are of some of the cypress ponds and an alligator we surprised on our return portion of the journey. I was amazed at just how fast he moved. An interesting note on the alligator, if you ever encounter one and need to run from it, DO NOT run in a straight line but in a zig zag fashion. They can’t turn quickly; however, they can run up to 15 miles an hour!