It's Friday morning. We're 1/2 way through our Sarasota sojourn. A bit of rain in the A.M. yesterday forced us to the Mote Aquarium and Marine Lab, a place we first visited a couple years ago.
The Mote seemed vastly improved/enhanced from the summer of '06 but that is based on my fuzzy 32 year old memory. In any case, we had a very good time.
The Bear was enamored with the starfish, dolphins, seahorses and, most of all, the touchable rays. After a bit of hesitation, she did actually pet a couple rays on their wings. The Mouse, on the other hand, loved the manatees!
Things have not been all peachy-keen down here. The Bear is battling some serious mood swings and is, as I type this, getting put down for a rare mid-morning nap. She has been out of control this morning and needs sleep above all else. Fortunately after day 1, traveling day, I have been able to keep my cool. I shall remain silent on the events of that poor Wednesday. Lesson #1 is never book a super early flight with these two kids. Our effort to have an extra day (we got into Sarasota and we're able to check in to the hotel at 11am!) was thwarted. We got an extra day alright, one with two tired, whiny and pretty much miserable children who were up at 3:30am for the idiotic-ly early flight. Dumb move daddy-o! Other than the Mrs. getting her 1905 Salad from Columbia Restaurant within a couple hours of landing in Tampa, the day was a wash.
The good news is that the time at the beach has been pleasant. Water temp at Lido Beach is 81 degrees, perfect for just wandering right in without flinching. Last night, due to the tide or something, there were huge shells on the beach - the kind you normally have to pay for at those seaside trinket shops. The bear was in her glory collecting as many as she could carry in her little bucket.
After getting cleaned up we headed downtown to Mattison's City Grill. The Bear ate a whole plate of Caprese Salad drizzled with some of the best Balsamic Vinegar ever to pass through these lips - so good that butter was neglected as we dipped bread into the leftover vinegar. The Mouse gobbled up a side of sauteed veggies (carrots, squash and zucchini) and devoured a crabcake with red pepper coulis. Was a nice time as the sun went down and The Venturas, a swinging lil' local jazz band, took the outdoor stage. It served as a nice refresher for the Bear on jazz music, taking solos and such. Then the female singer took the stage and dazzled the Bear. She was transfixed watching her perform with the band and spent the short drive back to the hotel singing the chorus of one of the tunes.