Thursday, December 6, 2012

November - The Month of Birthdays

Now that we live in Florida again, November means one thing...birthdays. While most people are thinking about turkey and stuffing, we are getting ready for three very special birthdays all at the end of November. My sister-in-law, nephew and youngest niece are all Thanksgiving babies. While we went the traditional gift route for the my sister-in-law, we took the kids on a couple of special birthday adventures.

First off was our nephew, who turned 7 this year. It still blows my mind that he is 7. He was just a few months old when my husband and I met. We took him to Gatorland the Saturday before his birthday to celebrate.

We got to the park about one in the afternoon and went on the train first. This was actually a really great way to get a feel for the park and see where things are located. We then headed to the gator jumparoo show. Here trainers get the gators will jump for food. While it was the perfect fall day for us (about 75 degrees and sunny), it was still a little chilly for the gators.

After the show, my husband took the nephew to look a the snakes (I am deathly afraid so I waited for them in another area). Then we saw the white alligators. They were mostly white with blue eyes and something you definitely don't see everyday.
Even this picture gives me chills.

Next up was the close encounters show. Here you got to get up close and personal with a number of creepy creatures, including 3 snakes. This was not my favorite show. My husband got chosen as a volunteer and I thought I was going to lose him, but thankfully he survived. After the show, we went to feed the gators. They were still moving a little slow and not really fighting over the food, but it was neat to see them so close.
I think he has a career.

Then came the gator wrestling. Before the show began, my nephew got a chance to be a junior gator wrestler and sit on a gator for a photo. A different gator was chosen for the actual show and he was feisty. Which made for a great show.

We then headed out into the gator breading marsh and got up close and personal with some pretty large gators. We also climbed to the top of the observation deck and took a look at all the gators in the marsh.

Last up was a photo with a gator. This was on my nephew's list all day and I was excited it turned out well. I knew Gatorland would be fun, but I was really impressed with the park. There was a lot to do and it is someplace we will go again. They have zip lines over the gator pit and that sounds like my kind of fun.

While coming up with something to do with a 7 year old boy was easy, we had to rack our brain for somewhere to take my 4 year old niece for her birthday. Especially since the theme parks were out—they would have caused some major sibling rivalry. After a bit of brainstorming, we settled on taking her to ICE! at Gaylord Palms. It had been a number of years since we had gone and the addition of the characters from the movie Madagascar made it sound like a great place for a 4 year old.

A couple of days after her birthday, we picked her up after work and we headed to the resort. Trying to explain ICE! to a 4 year old was a little difficult, but she was excited. When we go there, she wanted her hat and scarf on immediately. 

Gingy the Gingerbread man was out taking photos when we arrived, but she was not really interested. The penguins were another story. She was excited to meet and get a photo with some of her favorite animals. It was super sweet to see her give them both big hugs.

I need to either stand or kneel. I look so awkward.

After the penguins, we went into the pre-show area and got the background story about how Santa had ended up in Madagascar. It was really cute and then it was time for our parkas. My niece was super excited to put on both her coat and the blue ICE! parka. She may not have been able to move, but she was going to be warm.

We entered the ICE! area and I swear it is colder than it used to be. Or, I may just be more of a wuss. We walked through the display and took a few pictures. We thought the ice slides were going to be a hit, but she wasn't interested, so we moved on. I think ICE! may have been colder than my Florida born niece was expecting, but she seemed to enjoy it. 

Man it was cold.

After returning our coats, we headed into the resort to take a look at the decorations and other Christmas items. I often forget just how nice of a resort it is. She enjoyed seeing everything except the alligators. (Good thing we didn't take her to Gatorland.) After exploring the resort, we headed home and called it a night.

Now that birthday month is over, it is time for Christmas month to begin. Christmas is my favorite holiday, so I am super excited. We have some really exciting plans for the holiday this year.

What is the most fun you have ever had for a birthday? What is your favorite holiday?