Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Daddy-Son Day Pt1 - 2024/02/20

Hello friends! I'm jumping all around with these posts, but here's one that we did recently that was a whole lot of fun! 

For Christmas, as a special treat, Theresa and I told the kids that we'd take them out, one on one, for a special date day! Today, me and Ian are going to be hanging out together and having a lot of fun, while Theresa and Alli are off together doing their own thing! Oh boy, I'm excited for today! 

We were up bright and early to get our day started! 

What's on the agenda? Well, I had Ian come up with some ideas. I added a few to the list as well. In the end, he's got a bunch of different possibilities, but didn't know which ones I actually chose to do. And what's that last one on the list? Really? How did you come up with that one? 
Let's begin our day full of adventures! 

Our day starts at the Orlando Cat Cafe! We'd thought of grabbing breakfast somewhere first, but Ian figured we could get food from the coffee shop attached to it and save time. Works for me! 

We got checked in for the 10am visit with the kitties. Ian lamented that they didn't have any chocolate chip cookies in the case (only peanut butter cup). The owner said "The chocolate chip cookies are in the oven now! They'll be out fresh in 15 minutes!" Just about the same time as we go in to see the cats! 

So, what's on the agenda for the day? We started talking about everything on the list, and then I dropped the big one. 

You put it on there, and I figured out a way to do it. We're going to go pet a porcupine! Awesome! 

Sure enough, 15 minutes later, Ian gets a hot chocolate chip cookie delivered directly to him. 

Delicious! A good start to the morning! 

And better yet, we're the only ones here for the 10am visit with the cats! 
Oh my. This little fellow is named Cheddar Jack. He's a kitten with the most fluffy fur. 

And he's super playful. 

The workers said of all the cats they've had, he's had the most adoption requests out of anyone. And if the timing is correct, he'll be going home with a new family on Tuesday and become the 2500th cat adopted from here since 2016! 

So fluffy!

Want to sit in Ian's lap? 

Teriyaki coming over to say hi. 

Remember me from a week ago? She was a bit more shaved then. Her fur is starting to grow back in. 

Cheddar Jack wondering what Ian is doing in the barrel. 

Ian must look cozy, because he climbed in and made himself at home. 

Definitely made Ian smile. 

Well our time being the only ones here came to an abrupt end. A family of 8 showed up. Then another family of 3. Then another couple. Whew! 

Hello again Vandinha. 

Well that was a great start to the morning! We've got some driving to do though if we're going to get to all the things today. 

Bahama Bucks, a shaved ice store, was on the way and high on Ian's list. When we got there though, we learned that they don't open until 1pm! Doh! Back to the truck. 

It's about lunchtime, but before we grab that, let's grab an Icee! 

A good treat on a hot day. 

And for lunch? Ian picked White Castle! 
He likes to go back and read the blog and asked if we could make White Castle at home again. I told him we could, but did he know there's a White Castle here in Orlando? There's not many in this area, but we can drive to the one that is here. That's why we're here for lunch! 

How many sliders can you eat? 

Yum! Lots of tasty burgers and mozzarella sticks too! 

After lunch, it was a 45 minute drive south until we arrived at Wild Florida! 

Time to go check in for our 2pm visit with a porcupine! 

While I checked in up front, Ian looked around the gift shop, including checking out the baby crocodiles. 

That cat looks pretty tired. 

Zoos always make me feel a little bad for some of the animals. How they're stuck inside a cage that's not much bigger than a bedroom. The kitties at the Orlando Cat Cafe had more room to run around than this Florida Panther.  

There are a whole bunch of alligators here at Wild Florida. The biggest we've seen is Crusher! He's got a daily show, but only if he's in the water. If he's out of his pool, no go. And he's decided to be out of his pool for the past few months now we've heard. Gators only need to eat 6-12 times a year. 

Since he's out though, we can get a close-up view of him, right again the enclosure. 

Honestly, that glass does not seem very thick. Makes for a good picture though! 

We used a bridge to walk out into the wetlands of Hawk Swamp. Didn't see any hawks. 

Ian - You have to send a picture to Alli! 
She does loves these raccoons. And she's furrow her brow at you if you call them trash pandas. 

What's in here? 

The sign says it's a two-toed sloth! Ian got close to the fence and counted 3 toes! 1 bonus toe for free! 

It's 2pm and it's time for our Animal Encounter! 
There's a few different animals you can see here. A few people were coming to visit the sloths. A few more for the capybaras. No one for the ring-tailed lemurs. And just us for the porcupines! Yes! A private visit! 
Meet Megan! She's going to be our Animal Experience handler today! 

We hadn't made it over to this part of the zoo, so this is our first time seeing them! 
Ian - I have a guess for his name!
Megan - What's that? 
Ian - Sir James McQuills Junior. 
Megan - No, that's not it. There's a boy and a girl. His name is Spike, and her name is Stella. 

Here we are! The Africa section! 

These are not the North American porcupines. These are a lot bigger! 

Meet Stella! Spike is shy. 
I recorded the whole encounter, which I'll include at the end, but here are a few snapshots from it. 

If you're comfortable, you can climb on into her enclosure. 

Feed her one of her favorite treats! Corn! 

She really really loves that corn. 

Look at those giant quills! 

Do you have any more corn? 

Climbing up into his lap. 

Gently petting her head. 

Giving her a hug. 

What does a porcupine's breath smell like? 

Take a whiff Ian! 

Megan suggested it smells like maple syrup, and honestly, wow, it really does! 

Giving her a kiss on the head. 

Thank you for letting us meet you Stella! 
She was so gentle. Like a big puppy. 

Goodbye Stella! 

We had a lot of fun meeting her! 

And a great big Thank You to Megan! Thanks to her, we had a really awesome Animal Encounter! What kid can say they've gotten to pet, hug, kiss, and smell the breath of a porcupine! I know this one can now! 

As a special souvenir, Megan collected a few of the quills from Stella and Spike's pen, including one that Stella dropped right in front of Ian. Those are going into the memory bin! 

Well that was a whole lot of fun! 
Next, we explored the zoo, going back to the section where we can pet the animals. 

They have feed that you can purchase, but Ian grabbed hay from the bins and offered it to them instead. These pigs are so lazy. 

A goat getting into the hay. 

More goats! 

Baby goats! They were born only a week ago. The workers asked people not to pet them quite yet. 

But they are so cute though! 

More goats. 

Seeing the kangaroos and emus. 

As we were walking out and getting another look at the gators, Megan came out behind me and asked a little slyly "do you want to pet an armadillo?"
Um, yes! Absolutely! 
Meet Armando, the three-banded Armadillo! 

She said he's like a little Pokemon! He can curl up into a complete ball and he's the only armadillo that can do it. 

And Ian got to hold him! 

Doing his ball trick. 

We even got to see him running around on those little claws of his! So cute! Thank you again Megan! You made our day so amazing! 

But our day isn't over yet! There's still more fun things we've got planned! 
Before we go, one more look and goodbye for Stella and Spike! Hope to see you again soon! 

1 comment:

  1. Wow...what a visit at Wild Florida! Didn't think "pet a porcupine" could happen, but boy was I surprised with the news...what an experience for Ian (and you)...not only did he pet one, he also got to hug, kiss, and even smell the breath of Stella (maple syrup smell!...very unexpected)...special souvenirs straight from Stella's & Spike's pen, too. Then the extra bonus of petting an armadillo and seeing Armando show off his balling trick! Getting up close to the alligator was quite a sight. That Wild Florida visit will be an unforgettable experience for Ian. His morning Cat Cafe visit set the tone for the up-close-and-personal day with animals! It's been a full day already (not to forget the special food treats, like the fresh chocolate chip cookie...yum, yum) The Daddy-Son day is such a special way to bond one-on-one. EOM