Thursday morning was rainy, so we had a lazy breakfast at home, then drove down to Islamorada to visit Theater of the Sea. First we saw a dolphin show, which was held in a natural lagoon. We sat in the first row so the girls had a good view of the dolphins, but it also meant that we got splashed a little. Amelia did not like getting splashed! One of the trainers got in the water and swam with the dolphins; the stunts were amazing.
Next we saw a sea lion show. We learned the differences between seals and sea lions (but the only thing I remember is that seals do not have ear flaps, and sea lions do.) The sea lion balanced a ball on his nose, caught rings on his neck, and balanced just on his flippers. Plus, he went down a water slide, and swam in the water with his fin up pretending to be a shark. Very cute.
Then we waited in line for a 7 minute bottomless boat ride. The dolphins put on a little show in the middle of the boat and right next to the boat. Amelia was a little freaked out when the dolphins suddenly exploded out of the water right next to her, but Megan thought it was fantastic! We also saw some iguanas hanging out in the trees.
Finally we walked around the other exhibits and saw alligators, birds, turtles, rays and all kinds of other animals. We actually got to see the zookeeper feeding one of the alligators, but the alligator had to go inside a dog kennel with a little door for the zookeeper to throw the food in, so we couldn't get a photo. It was pretty cool though! I was constantly worried that Megan was going to fall right into the water when she was looking at the fish. Both girls really liked watching the rays.
Next we drove down to Bahia Honda State Park, right after the 7 Mile Bridge. The bridge wasn't as impressive as we thought it would be, because you could see land from every point on the bridge. (I thought it was going to be just this bridge out in the middle of the ocean, with no land in sight.) There was a tiny island about two miles into the bridge, that you could only get to from the old bridge. And there were a whole bunch of little islands off to the sides of the bridge. So, worst case, if the bridge collapsed, you could pretty easily swim to either the old bridge, or another island without much of a problem. And really, the map said the water was a maximum of 6 feet deep all along the bridge, so even if you couldn't swim, you could just climb on top of Ben's head, and you'd be fine.
Bahia Honda beach was lovely. The water was shallow for a long way out to sea, and so we built a sand castle in the middle of the ocean. Amelia thought that was so fun! Both Ben and I said this was one of our favorite things about our vacation; we would love to go back there.
After naptime, Amelia and I went back to the kiddie pool at our condo. She loves swimming with the inner tube!