Much needed break in Florida
Arlene and I took the kids for a much need break down in Florida Feb 19 – 25. I took a couple vacation days (Tuesday and Friday), and worked from a local coffee shop near St. Cloud, Florida, on Wednesday and Thursday. We spent Tues-Thurs nights at Myron and Steph’s house, and then moved on to a "Hilton Grand Vacation Club" resort on Friday night. We had paid a discounted rate of something like a $150 to stay at this resort, and in exchange, we agreed to spend our Saturday morning be sold to. The properties look nice, but we escaped without any more "vacation club" memberships. :-) Here’s a night-time pic of the place we stayed. It had a Tuscan theme, and was decent. We had a one-bedroom "villa", which was ok, although 2 bedrooms would’ve been nicer, as the kids wouldn’t have had to sleep on the pull out sofa. I will say that the food choices were not great on the property. They had a little poolside cafe, a deli, and a pizza hut "express" (aka, delivery only). There was not what I would call a real restaurant on the property, which would’ve been nice.
On Saturday, after our "official tour" we spent the rest of the day just hanging out at one of the hotel pools. It was near our room, and this particular pool had a zero-depth entrance, where the bottom of the pool slops away from one side — no steps or drop off. This was great for the kids. I think Julianna was in the water for 3-4 hours, and had a blast! Arlene and I took turns playing with her and Josh. While Julianna and Arlene played in the late afternoon, Josh got a long nap and I got a short one. It was on the cloudy and cool side for swimming, but it was 18 degrees when we left home, so we none of us were complaining. :-)
During the day on Friday we out to Kennedy Space Center. We had been out once before with Julianna, as well as Myron and Steph back in 2003 or so. Josh had not been out before. We all had a great time. Saw a cool IMAX movie narrarated by Tom Hanks (and I think I heard Morgan Freeman’s voice at the beginning). Also took the bus tour out to the observation gantry, as well as the mission launch control center (controls the flight until 7 seconds after launch). From the observation gantry we could see the launch pads. One of them had a shuttle (I think Endeavor) on it getting prepared for a launch. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see much of it as there was a lot of scaffolding between our vantage point and the shuttle. The launch control stop also had a Saturn V rocket display, luner rover, a view of the service and command modules, and more. Back at the main visitor center we walked through a cut-away of a shuttle. Very cool. We didn’t have time to see everything we would’ve liked — for example, we didn’t get to go to the Shuttle Launch Experience — one of the new things at KSC, but it was still a good time for everyone. I’ve put a few pics below from the Kennedy Space Center, and will put more in a photo album (off to the right).
The first one is actually 5 pics stitched together and cropped with Windows Live Photo Gallery.
Josh playing with a map of the stars.
Julianna hanging around.
Saturn V rocket, stage 1
Inside the lunar module
Arlene at the main visitor center
And then on Sunday we went to SeaWorld. Also, a lot of fun. Julianna’s favorite thing was the Shamu Express roller coaster, plus the funny walrus and sea lion show. Josh’s favorite thing was playing in the sand box. :-) Oh yeah, they also have some dolphins and whales there.
Again, more I’ll put more SeaWorld pics up in a photo album when I get a few moments.
All in all, a very good time!