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.
Since we planned on visiting the Gulf Island National Seashore, we decided to go first thing to get the Junior Ranger books for the kids to work on. We ran into some unexpected tolls and later found out that Florida has more miles of toll roads than any other state. Seeing the fort and the ocean was worth it though. Fort Pickens is one of the largest forts on the west coast and we spent hours wandering around learning it’s history. The visitor center also had a wealth of information about the gulf, biology, and ecology. We also were able to see an armadillo up close even though they are known for being shy animals. This one walked to within a few feet of me before it left the area due to another families kids running up. After all the school time, everyone was ready for some fun at the beach. It wasn’t warm enough to go swimming, but the weather was perfect for taking a leisurely stroll along the ocean. After a full day of walking and hiking we were famished, so I took the family to a great restaurant called Red Fish Blue Fish. It had great food, great service, deck games for the kids to play, beach to walk on and a divine sunset to watch. It was a perfect end to a great day that had a little of everything in it.
The next day we visited the National Museum of Naval Aviation a museum in Pensacola. This place was amazing and should be on everyone’s bucket list. Not only is it free, it is so well done and large that you should plan at least a full day here. They offer a free trolley tour that we all enjoyed because the guide was so informative. The kids loved getting into the planes and even the adults had fun sitting in the Blue Angels jets. Not only did they have a replica of the first plane to ever land on a ship, but they also had the last remaining moon lander and rover. We could have spent several days looking at all the displays. The kids still had to turn in their junior rangers books though and we had planned a picnic at the beach. After meeting a nice park ranger and getting their badges we headed for the beach only to have it rain! Oh well we just started Florida and are planning on going to the beach as much as possible.
Here are links to some of the places we mentioned:
Gulf Islands National Seashore
National Naval Aviation Museum
Red Fish Blue Fish