Beach day! We had a number of beaches we could go to, but the closest one was an hour away. Upon researching which beach we wanted to visit, The Husband came across something about America's number one beach: Siesta Key Beach. It is on the gulf side of Florida, about 2 hours away from where we were staying. It boasts sugar-fine sand and clear blue waters. We figured if we were going to drive to a beach, it might as well be the number one beach! So off we went.
In order to do the beach (with all it's included driving to and from) as well as Sea World, we knew we had to make an early start. So we were out the door at 5am, with everyone dressed in swimsuits. I didn't even do anyone's hair (including my own, which you will be delighted to see that picture, I'm sure) but I did make them brush their teeth. "Awe mom!" We told them to just go back to sleep. Which they did. So exhausted!
We arrived a little after 7am, and after grabbing a quick breakfast (which the seagulls stole half of out of our hands) we took a few pictures and then let the kids swim!
It didn't have crystal clear water due to some stormy weather from the past two days. The water was dirty and full of seaweed, but the sand was amazing, and we all enjoyed ourselves no matter the quality of the water. It's a beach! We sure miss the beach.
We kept some sand in a baggie and brought it home with us. It was so soft and amazing.
After just a few hours, we had to turn back for home so we could wash up and do the rest of our day. Sea World! So after everyone showering and dressing, brushing and washing, we ate some lunch at the Gingerbread House (Kimble stole Keaton's hat again) and then we were on our way.
We got to Sea World just in time for their big Shamu show. We all loved it.
We walked around a bit after that, taking in a few animal attractions, seeing the shark exhibit, finding bathrooms, getting ice water (it was sooooooooo hot and humid) and then we made our way over to the Dolphin arena where we settled down to watch that show.
However, we had passed by "The Manti" rollercoaster on the way, which looked spectacular. Although Kolby, Kennedy and Kimble were too short for the ride, Heath snuck away with Kamy and Keaton to ride it. However, they didn't make it back in time for the dolphin show before the doors closed, so they missed out on that while the four of us enjoyed it.
Kimble had fallen asleep during the show (his third nap that day due to our early wakeup) and we were sad that he was asleep because right after the dolphin show, we got an opportunity to feed some dolphins (every make a wish kid and their family members gets a free tray of fish).
So with Kimble in the background, sound asleep, we all had our turn to feed the dolphins. I even put the camera down and fed a few dolphins (yes, I touched fish!) and we even got to rub down the dolphin's body and feel how thick their skin(?) is.
We went on one more ride, while Kimble was sleeping. Here's the shot I took as everyone was rolling down the steep incline into a very watery splashdown.
Although there were more fun things to do there, and lots of rides to enjoy, none of them were for Kimble, so with that mentality in mind during our entire trip, we decided to go back to the village and let the kids enjoy the rest of the night doing things that everyone could do.
This included getting pretty makeup on (for Kennedy) and getting fun tattoos (all the kids loved this).
After makeup came manicures!
Face painting made it's return again, and after all that, we had to get more ice cream!
Of course, I made them eat dinner before their ice cream (or maybe it was after). Either way, ice cream was something they all enjoyed every day we were there, and sometimes twice a day. It was expected, encouraged, and enjoyed. It's a once in a lifetime trip for these kids, and GKTW makes it amazing.