December in Tampa, FL – Part 2

Fun & Friends in Florida!

Friends! Just another example for the “but how will the children socialize!?” argument we heard a few times. Along this journey we’ve had quite the social life…all of us! During our time in the Tampa area we were able to connect with a wonderful friend and her son (who is a great friend of the boys) who were visiting the area from NJ. We enjoyed a fun day catching up while the boys swam for 5 hours straight.

We also connected with a family I’d “known” virtually for YEARS but had never met in person. We all hit it off instantly and were able to get together a couple times. Quinn and Callum are already asking when we’ll get back to see L & M again.

Finally, just before we were to head out, I was able to connect with another virtual friend who’d I’d known (online) for more than a decade. I was thrilled to meet this beautiful woman after all this time.

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Fun! I have to admit, it was a little weird staying stationary for a solid month. Even though we were new to full timing, we’d quickly found a groove staying places for one week at a time. It gave us some incentive to get out and see things since we didn’t have much time. We didn’t have that same incentive when we were in one place for a full month. We got a bit complacent. “Oh, we’ll get to it.” And honestly, we got some serious pool time, Grandma time and time to do a little housekeeping on Malarkey the Airstream. Plus, spending Christmas with family was important to us. So that was all good. Here’s a peek at some of the stuff we did in/near Tampa. Check out the pics below the list.

  • Honeymoon Island State Park – beautiful beach, not to be missed
  • Manatee Viewing Center at Tampa Electric – dozens of manatees flock to the warm water output of the power plant…great visitor’s learning center and it free
  • AMC Veterans 24 movie theater—where your seat is a la-z-boy recliner
  • The super cute town of Safety Harbor
  • Smuggler’s Cove Adventure Golf just south of Clearwater – very fun, very expensive
  • The Conch Republic Grill in Redington Beach – conch fritters, YUM!
  • Wall Springs Park in Palm Harbor – fantastic playground, walking trails, boardwalks, birding and room to picnic, run and play
  • Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry – it was part of our museum passport program so entry was free, but I would have been livid if we paid the cover price to get in. I’m sure the National Parks IMAX movie would have been great but we missed the ONLY showing…the rest of the museum was really lacking in interesting, engaging, participatory exhibits. (If you’re ever in Baltimore check out the Maryland Science Center for an AMAZING example of a science museum!)
  • Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo – sometimes zoos can just make me sad…those regal wild animals stuck in small pens, pacing back and forth in clear distress. But Lowry Park Zoo made me HAPPY…the enclosures were HUGE (for the most part) and so natural and the animals seemed to have lots of interesting toys and other things to keep their minds and bodies occupied. Beautifully done Tampa!!
  • Frenchy’s in Dunedin on the Causeway – well…it was unbearably loud, the service was awful and our food was so-so. But the boys LOVED their soft pretzel in the shape of a fish skeleton…so it had that going for it.
  • Glazer Children’s Museum – although it skewed slightly younger than our 8 and 9 year old, this was a very cool children’s museum. Loads of fun hands-on exhibits (and also free with the museum passport program!)
  • Cuban Breezes Restaurant – OHMYWORD…delicious Cuban food and ridiculously cheap. The Ultimate Beans and Rice for $2.99 could be an entire meal and was delicious!

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