A trip to Marianna Caverns

Marianna Caverns -- Florida Caverns State Park

Before school let out, I accompanied Jacob on a class trip to Marianna Caverns (Florida Caverns State Park). There’s nothing like a swarm of 8 year olds in a confined space where you’re not allowed to touch anything to reinforce your chosen career path. And by that, I mean the decision to be anything other than a school teacher.

Seriously, teaching is the most underpaid, under-appreciated profession. It really does take a special person to teach. Clearly, I am not one of those people.

Since it was an elementary school group, we got the abbreviated, less-informational version of the tour. Which was cool I guess because, like most of the kids, I wasn’t listening. I was talking. “Don’t touch that.” “Stay on the path.” “Listen to what he’s saying.” Talking and wondering if every kid there was on ritalin and starting to believe that people aren’t lying when they say how good our kids are.

So I don’t have any real interesting or unusual facts to share. What I did catch: Marianna Caverns is a limestone cavern. Stalactites at the top, stalagmites at the bottom and alien moonscape in between. The caverns extend about 55 feet below the surface, and it’s a cool 65 degrees year round. The cavern passages were dug out in 1930s—the plates you see in the ceiling were left by those workers. Marianna Caverns is usually inhabited by little brown bats, but during the summer months the bats live outside the caves and eat mosquitos (judging by the number of bites we came home with, the bats don’t eat very many).

Marianna Caverns -- Florida Caverns State Park


    A little update

    A lot has happened since my last post.

    Crazy rainstorms ravished Florida’s Gulf Coast.

    Road washed away by rainstorms on Florida Gulf Coast
    This is the street by our house.
    I’m so, so happy we didn’t buy close to the beach, or right now I’d be telling you how much I hated filing FEMA claims and our stupid-high flood insurance premiums. (When we were house shopping, our real estate agent said she was paying $4,000 a year in insurance. Her friend was paying $8,000 a year! And that was before the floods.)

    We hunted Easter eggs.Easter
    Yes, Jacob hunted eggs like that. Doesn’t every one?

    Mother’s Day happened. These were the cards:Mothers Day cards with a fat Minecraft Creeper and a Love Creeper
    “My mother wishes she had… yumy salami for me.”
    Nicholas thinks I want sausage to give to him. Of course! What else does a girl want? Jacob’s card had a fat Minecraft Creeper on it. Is he trying to tell me something?

    We went to Mariana’s Caverns.

    Florida State Caverns - Mariana's Caverns
    Jacob’s class took a field trip to Mariana’s Caverns / Florida Caverns State Park.

    This happened:
    Jacob's 8th birthday -- with a Minecraft Creeper cake
    Jacob turned 8. Eight. Wow, really? Are you sure?

    Then this:Nicholas' 6th birthday
    Nicholas turned 6. Again, wow. Really?

    Then this:Last day of school

    And summer vacation started.


      A dolphin cruise in Destin, Florida

      I’ve been sitting on this Groupon for a dolphin cruise in Destin for months now, and finally found occasion to use it. That occasion was it expiring.

      So I booked a Saturday dolphin cruise for the kids and me. We went with Olin Marler on the Hannah Marie. There are A TON of fishing charters and tour operators out of Destin. If one were to research and weigh them all, it might be a difficult decision. Not with a Groupon price of $13/adults and $7/kids!

      One thing I did like about Olin Marler (besides great Trip Advisor reviews): If you don’t see any dolphins, you can go again the next day FOR FREE.

      Dolphin cruise in Destin, FL on Olin Marler Hannah Marie

      The kids were all excited on the dock before our dolphin cruise. (The bird is real.)

      Pelican in Destin harbor

      We watched pelicans try to steal the catch from a returning fishing charter.

      As soon as we stepped on the boat Nicholas said, “I don’t want to go.” Just like rollerskating, and so many other things, he changed his mind once we got underway.

      I was a little worried about wrangling two kids on a boat. Their version of “knowing how to swim” is, to you and me, a lot like drowning. It is drowning. I considered putting lifejackets on them, but this was a dolphin cruise, not a speedboat. Odds were they wouldn’t fall out.

      We drove (boated?) around for quite a while. I was beginning to think we’d be using their “go again the next day free” policy. Then…DOLPHINS!
      Dolphins in Destin, FL

      Dolphin cruise in Destin, FL

      We saw a mother and calf, and a pod swam right up to our boat and out and back again. They did this continuously until it was time for us leave.

      This is why they call it Florida's Emerald Coast. Look at that water. No photoshop, no color correction. It's really that green! --On a dolphin cruise in Destin, FL

      This is why they call it Florida’s Emerald Coast.
      Look at that water. No photoshop, no color correction. It’s really that green!

      We had a great time. I’d recommend a dolphin cruise to anyone coming to Destin for vacation. We’d absolutely go again (and might). Nicholas said it was “the best day ever.” And it was…until he went with his class to the zoo and that became the “best day ever.”

      Here’s another pelican just because. Up close, they are both kind of gross and kind of beautiful. Scroll thru the photos below—at the end there are some blurry snaps of pelicans diving for scraps off the docks.

      And here’s a seagull. They are just annoying. But I think the light in this photo is nice.

      A pelican in Destin, FL -- http://www.blahbloblog.com/