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Thursday, September 17, 2015

St Augustine Trip: Alligator Farm

This trip was a longer trip than usual, but was actually also a less expensive stay than we usually pay. Since a friend of mine's family owned the condo we stayed in we got a great deal and it was such a blessing! I talked to Zach and we agreed it was a great trip to do try doing something we've never done before. We aren't sure if we will get to stay a full week again, or have such a fabulous deal on our accommodations, or how long Britt will consider alligators to be her favorite animal so we needed to take advantage of this chance to visit the Alligator Farm!

To be honest, I've never really had any desire to visit the Alligator Farm. I mean who wants to spend that kind of money (b/c it ain't cheap) to see a bunch of alligators? And I always assumed it was a red neck kinda thing to do haha. But when your daughter is obsessed with alligators how can you not give it a try? We didn't actually tell Britt we were going until the morning of and she was THRILLED!



I can admit when I'm wrong and MAN I was wrong about the Alligator Farm. Yes, it's expensive and no, I wouldn't say it's worth the cost they charge for admission (especially since the whole thing only takes a couple of hours to see) but it was SO awesome. We all seriously loved it and had so much fun! It was probably my favorite memory from the trip. Zach isn't a huge zoo person but he even enjoyed it. It was just really, really cool!




Real life with three kids ;)



Britt was in awe of all the alligators and kept saying they were all "so cute" which is hilarious!









Zach, of course, would fight the alligator rather than get eaten by it ;)


Britt loved the REAL alligators but wouldn't get too close to the fake ones. She did, however, love the spots where you put your head in for a picture. She was alllll about them!



Watch out Daddy!


It's hard with three kids to make sure everyone gets attention from me at all times. I try really hard to focus on Tess as much as I can. Even though she may not be able to vocalize her excitement the way the older kids can, I know she still has fun and enjoys seeing things. We tried to be aware of that and take her out of the stroller a lot to get down and look around :) 



This was so funny! I got all excited when I saw her laughing and crawling towards an exhibit because I thought she saw an animal she liked but then I realized some of the workers were waving at her through a window babaha. I guess she likes the human exhibits ;)


Not only was it neat to see all the alligators but they had some really great exhibits that were educational as well. We all really enjoyed watching the video about Gomek!



One of the coolest parts though was this big bridge where you walk over the water that is FILLED with alligators. We could hear them all growling and it was so creepy but also so cool. I'll admit I was a little nervous and kept telling Zach to hold on tight to Tess! We stayed in this area for quite awhile watching them and listening to them and seeing how they interacted. It was cool to see them fight and see them move quickly! Usually we are used to just seeing alligators laying around. 



Thrashing in the water



Kye and I kept watching this white bird who was dumb enough to be hanging out by the water. We kept waiting for an alligator to eat him!






Randomly they have other animals there too. We got to see the lemurs get fed which was neat!




You can't really see it but there is an alligator up against this glass and Britt wanted a picture with it!


Yes, she "kissed" it






Also got to see a pelican feeding!


We got there right when it opened (we just had Tess take a super early and short nap) and were done with everything in like an hour. We had a good bit of time to kill until it was time for the alligator feeding (You KNOW we had to see that action!) so we hit up the playground. I will say the playground area could use some TLC. The kids still enjoyed it but it wasn't a whole lot for them to do. We had packed lunches so we fed them and played to kill some time!











I'm loving how Britt wants so many pictures!



Bahaha



I mean this is so funny to me...head cut outs on vultures!?! Featuring a dead Zebra?!?!






We look so alike even with our serious faces on!


We took as long as we could (and even made lots of friends with strangers...of course) but still were done plenty early for the alligator feeding. We decided to head up front and go ahead and go to the gift shop. I wanted to get a Christmas ornament to remember our visit and the gift shop ended up being super awesome. Like REALLY affordable stuff. Truly it was the way a gift shop should be. Everything was reasonably priced and ZACH suggested letting the kids get a prize. I about died of shock haha. We did give the kids limited options to choose from but they were so surprised and excited. We NEVER buy stuff at stores like that!!! 

When we checked out of the gift shop I asked the girl at the counter about getting to hold live alligators. I'd really been hoping Britt would get to experience that and I hadn't seen anywhere to do it. Y'all. It ALWAYS pays to ASK. She told us it was right near the alligator feeding area so we headed straight there. They had a bunch of packages for sale for photos and they started at $20. Um what? Again...I ASKED! I asked what the cost would be to not purchase a package but just use my own camera to get pics of my kids. He said it was $5 per pose. Sold! We did one pose and he let us use both a snake and an alligator. DAY MADE! 


The guy gave the kids all these instructions about being careful when holding the animals, keeping them away from your face, etc. And as soon as he handed Britt that gator she hugged it right up to her face bahaha. The guy freaked out, good thing the mouth was taped shut ;) I was very surprised that both kids were all about it. I thought they may not have wanted to hold the animals like that but they LOVED it. And the snake, legit, kissed Kye on the lips!!! Experiences are my FAVORITE type of memories and this is one we will all always remember! 







LOVE!



The timing was perfect as we were the last people to get to interact with the animals and we still had time to get a good spot to view the alligator feeding. The kids played with their prizes while we waited. Kye had gotten a snake toy (that was only 99 cents! I mean how awesome is that?!?!)


Daddy wanted Britt to have a special alligator to sleep with. Tell me that isn't so sweet. Especially coming from pretty hardcore Seminole fans ;) Her little stuffed animal was $7.99 which was more than the other kids got to spend but it was still cheaper than like a Disney stuffed animal would be of the same size. Kye had gotten his new boogie board so we didn't feel bad letting Britt have the more special prize ;)




When the feeding show first started the trainer fed them all this poop dirt looking stuff. Um. If we waited around all that time to just see her toss some dirt at them I was gonna be mega disappointed! Thankfully it got WAY cooler :)


Making sure her alligator could see ;)


Then came the rats! Again my kids didn't even flench about it and Zach and I thought it was awesome! I've heard sometimes they do chicken feedings which might have creeped me out a little bit more than the rats? It was so, so cool seeing the alligators jump up and grab the rats whole!






Daddy even made sure Tess had a prize...they had the cutest little alligator bath/pool toys for $1.99. Can y'all tell I was impressed with those prices?!? While admission was over-priced in my opinion (at least Tess was free but it was still like $60 for all of us) at least the gift shop was super affordable! 


We had THE BEST TIME. Kye was the perfect age to really love it and Britt was in Heaven. Plus Tess was her easy-going self so it was a purely fun morning for our entire crew. It surpassed my expectations for sure! I don't know that we will go back as it was expensive and I don't know if it's something you really need to experience more than once but I for sure recommend it to any families visiting St Augustine as a great activity for all ages to enjoy! 

We had a little time before naps so we enjoyed some ice cream sandwiches and talked about our favorite moments from the morning :)




Poor child so ice cream deprived ;)


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