June 15, 2019
Continuing our nostalgia tour we decided to stop at Weeki Wachee to see the underwater mermaid show. This is an attraction since 1947 that is now a state park.
Upon arrival at the park at 10:30 am we were disappointed to be told that the park was full and we could not be admitted.
We continued up US 19 and saw signs for Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Stopping there we another old Florida attraction, the Underwater Observatory.
Viewing manatees feeding from the fish bowl.
The spring is the year round home of three captive manatees who are unable to survive in the wild. In the winter months they are joined by wild manatees.
It is said that manatees were mistaken for mermaids by ancient seamen.
The park is home to native animals that have been injured and can’t survive in the wild like this bald eagle.
Since manatees are normally only in Florida in the winter it was serendipity that we saw the manatees. I guess we’ll have to come back to see the mermaids.
June 14, 2019
It turns out the St. Petersburg has morphed from a sleepy retirement city to a vibrant arts center. Our second point of interest here was the Chihuly Collection. This is a permanent indoor exhibition of Chihuly glass as well as a number of videos on his work.
l love the Persian ceiling.
Entrance to the Chihuly includes admission to a glass blowing demo at the Morean Art Center across the the street.
The artists gave a detailed explanation of the glass blowing process. It was very interesting.
There were several other museums in the arts district that we did not have time to visit. Worth a second trip.
Our primary goal in going to St. Petersburg was to visit the Dali Museum. The original museum opened in a warehouse in 1982. The current, larger and more hurricane-proof building opened in 2011. It is architecturally beautiful with 2 glass geodesic domes and a floating spiral staircase. It has the largest collection of Dali’s works outside of the museum Dali created in Figueras, Spain.
The 75 foot high glass entry contains a staircase in the form of a golden spiral.
Dali was fascinated by mathematical concepts like the golden spiral.
Once you see the Lincoln in the painting it is hard to unsee it.
Likewise the Hallucinogenic Toreador
You can also find this image of Voltaire in the Toreador painting.
Lynn with Dali mustache
Dali bronze in the sculpture garden.
Spanish tortilla and sangria for lunch was a bit of nostalgia for me from my year in Spain. The food in the cafe was great.
We topped the day off with dinner at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City Historic District in Tampa. Opened in 1905 they claim to be the oldest restaurant in Florida and the oldest Spanish restaurant in the US.
The food was wonderful and I got 2 Spanish meals in one day.
June 12, 2019
Driving to St. Petersburg from the Keys we decided to stop in Ft. Myers to tour the Edison – Ford Winter home.
In 1885, Edison purchased the property on Florida’s west coast and built a vacation home. Known as Seminole Lodge, it was his winter home until his death in 1931. In 1916, Edison’s friend, Henry Ford, bought the adjoining property, The Mangoes.
Statue of Edison in front of second largest banyan tree in the US. Largest is in Lahaina, Maui. We’ve seen that one also.
Interior of Seminole Lodge
Interior of The Mangoes
Henry Ford in the garden.
Rainbow Shower tree
The site also contains Edison’s rubber laboratory and a collection of antique Ford cars.
June 11, 2019
This afternoon we visited the Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key. We wanted the opportunity to interact with the dolphins. We stood on an underwater platform so that we would be waist high in the water.
We each got to “shake flippers” with a dolphin.
Kissing a dolphin was also on the menu. She looks like she’s smiling.
The dorsal pull by two dolphins was so much fun.
We got to do several behaviors including splash play.
The whole visit was a lot of fun. The dolphins appeared to be willing participants and were rewarded with fish after each behavior. It was kind of like playing with a puppy.
June 10, 2019
We stayed at Tranquility Bay Resort in Marathon about halfway down the chain of Florida keys.
The Resort was full of iguanas. Some as much as 4 feet long.
View from our porch.
Growing up in Miami we toll day reps to Key West. I’ve been to all usual tourist attractions so today we just walked around the town. Too bad it was 94 degrees out.
As a teen we went to the Kino Sandal Factory founded in 1965 by Cuban immigrants . We could watch the sandals being made by hand and buy a pair of leather sandals for $7. Today the cost $19 which I counted a bargain for handmade leather sandals.
Even in the off season there was a long line to take a photo at the southernmost point in the continental US. It is 90 miles to Cuba but a 118 miles to the US mainland.
This morning we headed to the Florida keys. We will spend 3 nights at Tranquility Bay Resort in Marathon.
On the way we stopped in Key Largo st John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Pennekamp, establishment in 1963, was the first undersea park in the US. Of course we had to take the glass bottom boat out to view the coral reef. It was 45 minute ride each way and we spent an hour on the reef.
We sat around the edge of the glass bottom viewing area.
It is a living coral reef with both hard and soft corals.
The seas were 2-3 foot and Lynn and I both got a bit queasy despite taking Dramamine.