A Magical Getaway - Part 3

When we went to Sea World two years ago, Dylan was obsessed with whales. He knew every kind of whale out there and couldn’t wait to see them in person. It was by far the best day of that trip, and we were excited to go to Sea World again when we went to Florida a few weeks go.

 This time, Dylan couldn’t have cared less about the whales. It was all about the sharks!

 We had another great day with my friend Irmita and her family. The boys played around at the playground for hours and we got to feed the dolphins, which was really cool. Dylan was super excited about going through the giant shark tank, and we had a lot of fun looking at all the rest of the animals.

Sea World was the last big park we visited. Our visit to Florida was coming to an end. We spent our last full day in town hanging out in our hotel, swimming in the pool, and walking around Downtown Disney, which was across the street from our hotel. It was a great, relaxing day, made better by the excellent Cuban dinner we ate at Bongo’s.

Our flight back to Chicago didn’t leave until the following evening, so Bill came up with the idea to go to a place called Gatorland in the morning. He’s seen a brochure at the hotel and thought it looked like fun. I was a bit skeptical, but agreed to go since Bill seemed so excited about it.

Well, it was a blast! There are literally hundreds of giant alligators all over the place, as well as tortoises, snakes and other animals. There was a little petting zoo where we got to feed some goats and deer, a big playground for the boys to run around in, and a swamp walk around the Florida Everglades. We also saw an alligator wresting show, and Dylan and Bill actually got to feed some alligators too (I was about to have a heart attack when they went in there, but Dylan was soooo excited to do it!). Dylan also held a baby alligator, which was the highlight of his day!

After Gatorland, it was time to say goodbye to Florida. I wish I could say the flight home was as wonderful as our trip, but alas it was a bit of a disaster. Both boys were exhausted and Liam pretty much screamed the last hour and a half of the flight before collapsing in my arms about twenty minutes before we landed. Dylan fell asleep around that same time, too, and when we woke them up upon landing, both boys were screaming and crying. It was a mess!

In all the confusion, we somehow lost our camera. I was devastated. We had taken hundreds of pictures of our trip – Liam’s first trip to Disney World! – and now they were all gone. We filed a report with Southwest Airlines, but frankly I didn’t have much hope that it would ever turn up. It was a very nice, expensive camera, and I was certain that whoever found it would just keep it. Thankfully, I had also taken a lot of pictures with my cell phone, so we at least had those memories. We had a great trip, and if losing our camera was the worst that happened, well, it was not so bad.

Incredibly, a few days later, Southwest Airlines contacted Bill saying they had found our camera and FedExed it to us. I couldn’t believe it! We were so excited to get our camera back. Now the trip had officially been perfect.

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