Toes in the Sand: Anna Maria Island

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Part two of our Florida getaway brought us to lovely Anna Maria Island, just outside Sarasota. We arrived at our destination to find both my parents, and my grandparents...much to C's approval and delight! After a long afternoon of sitting in the car, C was soooo excited to get out and play at the beach house. Of course, he immediately grabbed a bouy meant for decor off the coffee table and started using it as a bat with his little toy fish. Luckily, he didn't get himself into too much trouble, and we all joined in on his game after seeing his excitement.

Have I mentioned how much C LOVES to play in the sand? He could sit and scoop or dig for hours. Of course, he wanted nothing to do with wearing a hat, but at least he wore his sunglasses! I've started calling him 'Hollywood' around here since he wears them so much...usually when we are in the house and he can look at himself in the mirror. LOL.

We were so happy that our trip coincided with Grandma J's birthday, and C got to surprise her with a delicious coconut key lime cake from our favorite Hometown Desserts bakery on the island. Seriously...if you are ever in the area, highly recommend. They also offer delicious salted caramel iced coffee - perfect for a hot day! - and cake by the slice. Their carrot cake is sooooo good!

The rest of the week was filled with all kinds of fun adventures. Along with many walks on the beach, hours spent by the pool and playing in the sand, trips to The Donut Experiment, and pancakes at Ginny & Jane E's coffee shop on the island, we ventured out a little more and spent time at the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, St. Armand's Circle, The Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, shopping at the Ellenton outlet mall, and boating in the Gulf of Mexico. Busy busy, but so much fun.

C loved our visit to the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, and had so much fun watching the octopus, sharks, turtles, fish, and manatees. A great stop if you have a little person on vacation with you in the Sarasota area! His favorites were the octopus, sharks, and enormous manatees. When he saw them, his shouts of 'WOW!' were so excited that the adults at the aquarium all had a laugh and made room for him to get right up close to the glass to watch.

So tired after our trip to the aquarium!

During the evenings, we usually tried to get out to the beach for a walk and to watch sunset. This was one of C's favorite times so that he could play in the sand, watch the seagulls and ocean birds, and run into the ocean to get his toes wet. Wish we had sunset views like this at our house! So beautiful!

One particularly warm day, we made the 1hr trip to Tampa to check out the Lowry Park Zoo. It was the first time we had taken C to a zoo, and we had so much fun. He was particularly enthralled with the big elephants and giraffes, and took to grabbing our faces to turn them to the action to make sure that T & I were seeing what he was seeing. There is a great kids section at the zoo for kiddos that are a little older...think splash pads and I can see why Parents Magazine has ranked this zoo as the best zoo for kids. A TIP: For anyone traveling with little kids, cups with lids and straws are not available due to animal safety concerns at the zoo. This is all great, but trying to get a not-yet-2yr-old to drink from an adult cup was incredibly difficult, not to mention messy. Save yourself the trouble, and take a sippy cup with you! Sippy cups are also available for purchase at the gift shop...which of course we didn't check out until we were leaving.

I think this is my favorite picture of C & I ever. We were just relaxing by the pool after our trip to the zoo, and he crawled right up on my lap to give me a smooch. So precious. 

The following day, keeping to the theme of the week of 'busy, busy, busy', we were off to the marina for some boating on the gulf. C had so much fun helping uncle T push the cart with all of our supplies for the afternoon. As you can see from the above picture, he was none too pleased about not being able to 'help' drive the boat. LOL. 

Boating is hard work!

No trip to Florida would be complete without plenty of time spent playing in the pool. Luckily, Papa T & Grandma J were more than happy to oblige. C spent the greater majority of our time by the pool dumping water from bucket to bucket, and was perfectly content to do this for hours at a time!

Have you ever seen a more relaxed kid? After watching Grandma J all week with her favorite Diet Pepsi, C thought he needed to join the club. He loved to open the fridge (yes, he is quite talented these days), grab out a can of cold Diet Pepsi, walk over to the rocking chair, put his feet up and get comfortable, and then 'pretend' to have a pop. As you can tell, he was pretty proud about the entire situation!

Spending the week in Florida enjoying the sun and warm weather was so much fun, and a definite highlight of the year so far. We are so thankful to have been able to share our vacation with family, and will cherish our memories forever.

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Thanks for visiting! Let me know if you have any suggestions of recipes I should try, fun ideas to do with the kiddo, or a suggested adventure to add to our bucket list!

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