It was a busy day inside the capitol building since we happened to arrive on opening day of the legislative session. The university was there with some interesting displays about the history and archaeology from around the state. We were all interested in learning about some of the different ways that the natives used shells for tools. After looking over the displays we decided to take the elevator up to the top. Like the capitol building in Louisiana, you can go all the way to the 22nd floor and look out over the whole town. It isn’t quite as tall as Louisiana’s but you can still get a great view of the city. They had some plaques around that labeled the different buildings in view and it was fun to try to spot them. After seeing the whole city we took the elevator down to wandered around some of the other floors. We got to see the House Chamber just after their session had ended for the day, and we also got a good view looking down on the state seal. It was a really nice building and we were excited to see what the old capitol would look like.
We rarely mention RV parks that we stay at on our blog, but the Sunburst RV Resort was so spectacular that we just have to talk about it. Although the pool was closed when we visited, the hot tub was still open so we took advantage of it, twice. After a long day on the road it was nice to soak away the stress. As an added bonus we met a nice couple from New York that we hit it off with. They met us again when we visited the hot tub a second time and they also loved the park. Both of our groups have extensive travel experience and we know it can be hard to find a great camp site. Although it was a bit of a drive to visit Pensacola from the park, it was well worth it because the manager truly cared about the people in the park. She was working non-stop to please someone the entire time we were there, yet she still found time to help the kids make hiking sticks and survival bracelets. She provided the materials and spent a few hours on two occasions doing crafts with the kids. Of all the campsites we have visited, she is the only host that we invited to dinner! The park was spotless and everything was in tip top shape, even the two swimming pools. This place was just amazing and if you are ever in the area, we recommend wholeheartedly that you spend sometime here. It is a short drive to the beach, the Naval Aviation Museum, the Gulf Island National Seashore and more. Our neighbor at the park was from Cape Cod and seemed super happy with the park. Yes when everyone at the park is smiling and in a good mood you know management is doing something right. Trish is a super star and one of the nicest managers we have met on the road! Good work needs to be called out and people like her that go above and beyond the call of duty are rare.
In order to see the Everglades while Rangers programs are still going on, we had to postpone seeing Alabama and Mississippi till later. Instead we just drove right on through to Florida and stopped north of Pensacola for a short stay. We found a campsite that was so great I will be doing a post just about them, so stay tuned. Pensacola was very pretty and everyone enjoyed our time in the area.
Things often work out in unexpected ways, like being in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. This was never in our plans when we decided to tour the country, it just kind of worked out that way. The Carnival celebration of Mardi Gras is often portrayed as being more of an adult type of celebration. People getting crazy, drinking, and other un-family friendly activities are what many people associate with Mardi Gras. These things probably do happen, but the Mardi Gras we experienced was not like that at all. It focused on parades, families, crowds, and good times being had by all. It is really about the floats and their themes. These floats are so cool and so well designed, it’s hard to believe they put so much work into them just for this one celebration. The parades were awesome and the throws were crazy, it’s like no other parade we have ever experienced.. They throw out so much stuff (not just beads)! We left after only seeing one of the parade krewes because we had bags full of stuff, it was so incredible. The kids were having so much fun trying to get the good loot that we couldn’t help but let them. All the people on the floats (krewes) wear costumes and masks or paint their faces. It was an amazing experience to be there and I am so glad that we somehow ended up being a part of it.
If you are ever near New Orleans, then I would recommend taking a few hours to enjoy a cruise on the Mississippi River. The Steamboat Natchez is the last authentic steamboat left plying it’s trade on the river (their competitor has diesel engines). When we first went to get our tickets, the ship was playing music with it’s steam. It’s called the Calliope concerts and they hold them twice a day. You can hear the music from the French Quarter and it’s free to check out the boat and listen to the concert. Plus there is a great walking path that takes you along the Mississippi River and the edge of the French Quarter.