Sunday, March 13, 2022

The Flowers Explore - Florida's Showcase of Citrus

Uncle Donald is visiting from freezing cold Michigan, but he's only here for 1.5 days. We've got to get out and do something fun together! Just up the street from our RV campground is the Florida Showcase of Citrus! I've driven past it a few time already, always intending to stop and check it out. This will be the perfect opportunity! 

Even though Donald is escaping the cold weather of Michigan, it's just a little chilly down here in Florida today too. We opted for jackets and long pants. 

There's lots of souvenirs here to let you know you're in Florida. Preserved gator heads, t-shirts, jerky from lots of different animals, etc. 

Where we're going, no backpacks are allowed. I had to run ours back to the truck. I had a few water bottles and other things in there that I should have just hand-carried, but I forgot to grab them. 

Here's the map of the grounds. There's quite a few varieties of things and it's all pretty spread out. 

Everyone here has their wristband. To enter the grove, it's $5 per adult and $2 per child. 
Instead of paying by the pound, you pre-buy a bag to fill. A white bag for $10, that will hold 5-6 pounds, $20 red bag for 10-12 pounds, or $30 green bag 20-25 pounds. We opted for a red bag and we'll see where that gets us. 
I know the Orange Bird is a Disney Character created in 1969 as the mascot for the Florida Citrus Commission in exchange for them sponsoring the Tiki Room here at Disney World. I guess any of the orange growers can use it? 

The first thing we noticed when walking through the orange groves here was the smell. 

Fresh orange blossoms, along with lemon blossoms, is one of my favorite scents ever. 

And these trees are full of blossoms. It smelled heavenly. 

The bees were hard at work, investigating all those blossoms. I bet Orange Blossom honey is amazing. 

I wonder if this is a wild ladybug, or one that was released to help against other insects, instead of using pesticides. 

I'm glad we're all wearing closed toed shoes. Those plants with irritating thistle that get under your skin are no joke. 

While we were walking, we were passed by one of the other forms of entertainment here at the Showcase of Citrus. Many people have opted to take a ride on the largest Monster Truck in the World. These Monster School Buses take guests through the orange groves for $25 per adult and $15 for children.

We all walked to the furthest end of the property and our noses were assaulted with a horrible smell. Up on this end of the property there must be a cow pasture nearby. 

We hustled our way back over to the sweet smelling trees to get away from it. Ian put his mask back on to help block the smell, but it didn't work so well. 

Let's get to picking! With so many varieties, we're going to do a taste test later to figure out which kind is our most favorite orange. 

Ian found lots of seashells on the ground while we were walking through the orange groves. Apparently Calcium is very beneficial for citrus trees and growers make sure to provide extra. 

We made our way through the different varieties, picking the brightest, most orange fruits we could find. 

Alli had to have a picture by the pretty pink flowers. 

When the best fruits are up high, the kids got a little boost. 

Perfect Ian. 

Theresa loves trees that provide fruit. 

To our good fortune, the clouds that have been keeping the temperatures cool started to burn off and the sun came out. It was getting quite toasty and all the jackets soon came off. 

The best fruits are in the tops of the trees, and I found a giant 20 foot ladder! The kids attempted to climb it...

But were too far away from the oranges to pick any. Standing up was a little too unstable. 

This will have to do. 

They thought this looked like a Christmas tree with ornaments. 

Ornaments that you could pick!

It was a great day to hang out in the orange grove. 

And Donald was happy to be here in Florida with the warm sunshine. 

We strolled by the baby gator nursery, not seeing any baby gators today. Theresa had the kids take a wide berth. 

That's a lot of tasty oranges! I'm excited to try them!

Along with Orchard and Monster Trucks, there is also a small pen with lots of different animals. We'll have to watch out for those biting and farting ponies. 

The animals are pretty tame, coming right up to the fence. 

No problems with the pony. It was just disappointed that we didn't have any food for it. They sell cups and buckets of food for $3 and $12 respectively. 

This ostrich is huge! It kept wanting to take my hat and eat it!

Some animals just like a scratch on the head. 

Before we go, Uncle Donald promised the kids a treat. They've got something here that I know is going to be delicious! 

Citrus Swirls! Our options are either frozen orange juice or frozen lemonade, with either vanilla soft serve or key lime soft serve.

After getting samples of each, we all figured out our favorites. Lemonade and vanilla for the kids, lemonade and key lime for the adults. 

We took our treats to the dock to look out over the water and enjoy. Ian didn't believe me that they caught this shark here. 

Being a Monday, it wasn't even crowded!

The Showcase of Citrus was a great place to visit for a few hours today. The sun was bright, it smelled amazing, and now we get to go home and taste all these delicious oranges!

1 comment:

  1. That's a cozy-looking thatched roof spot on the dock to enjoy those refreshing citrus swirls...looks so relaxing with the Florida sun & blue skies as the backdrop (so glad the sun broke through the clouds...couldn't have Uncle Donald not experience that Florida warmth before heading back to cold Michigan!) Fun time picking different oranges and smelling the lemon & orange blossoms. Looks like Alli has pink flowers atop her head in that one picture because of where she stood for her picture...perfect alignment :-) A human ladder is always portable and helpful for those high reaches. Interesting tidbit on calcium benefits for citrus tree growth. EOM