For a state named the Sunshine State, you would think there would be a law against cloudy days! But apparently not. We did get one good sunny day towards the end which made me a happy girl (to be honest, my idea of an ideal vacation would be laying by the pool reading a book for 6 days straight, working on my tan!).

We played tourist a little bit and ventured down Alligator Alley and went to an alligator farm. They took us on an air boat ride – a first for all four of us! It was really fun!
Not that you can tell from this picture, but this is a manatee…
Following the airboat ride, we went on a swamp buggy ride (yes, it included the requisite redneck southerner driving with the bit of chew in his jaw!). He drove us through the backwoods swamps, regailing us with the stories of his misadventures (apparently he once stayed 3 weeks in the swamp when his truck broke down – but he stayed because he didn’t want to leave his truck behind!)
We drove cross state to Miami …and China (my parents empty nest dog, aka: my new sister) had a blast!
We celebrated Valentine’s Day by Rico and I going to the Calusa Nature Reserve & Planetarium. We thought it would be cool…but it wasn’t, lol. They showed a slide show of the myths and legends of the stars. Most of them didn’t end happily (not very romantic on V-Day). They did take us on a night hike through the woods and we got to pet a bobcat, which was cool. They then led us to a campfire but we left before they started singing Cume Ba Yah, lol!

Rico did a little bit of research and suggested we go eat at Longhorn Steakhouse and oh my goodness was it delicious! It was one of the best steaks I’ve had a long while. Mom and Bucky were suitably impressed as well so it must have been good! Our last night in Florida we went to Iguana Mia. We’d driven by multiple times and they were always packed so we tried them. They had the best tortilla chips! Mom also made pot roast while we were there and it turned out delicious (much better than my attempts so far!).

We left at o’dark thirty on Tuesday morning and didn’t plan ahead…apparently gas stations in SW Florida aren’t open that early in the morning. We stopped at 3 different gas stations – all had their pumps lit up and all took our cards but wouldn’t pump gas (and of course no attendants that early). We sucked it up and returned the rental car on 1/4 of a tank …unfortunately, Budget wanted over $7 a gallon for refilling it, grrr! We’ll know next time though, won’t we?