I just stared at this one - gorgeous! Such an awesome promise!
Within the sculptural garden, there was a children's sculpture garden area and it was so cute!
I wish I had a panoramic function on my camera because this oak tree alley was stunning - the picture soooooo doesn't do it justice.
Inside the butterfly house:
He didn't even realize he had a "friend" on his shoulder:
It was so stinking hot and humid in that butterfly house - we were all super glisteny (if it's not a word, it should be).
Ok, y'all - this is where this place got mind blowing for me. This is their indigenous aviary, aka local bird house. When we approached the aviary and went to open the door I could see all the birds lining the boardwalk and I was like "what the heck - are those real"? I mean, you could reach out and touch them!!!!!!!! It was a mixture of cool & creepy but mostly cool. Kennedy is so mine - she's just doing what we do - pet whisper ;).
We couldn't stop staring at the birds while we were in there and I couldn't stop saying "this is awesome" but Tim and I were joking that the birds were probably like "what are y'all staring at - we do this every day all day!!!".
On to the otter - c'mon, who doesn't love an otter?! We were the only ones there when we saw the otter and I swear he/she was playing with Kennedy. Kennedy would run up and down the tank and the otter would follow her whirling and twirling - so precious!
Up next were the gators.
The Mr. up close and back and to the left is the Mrs.
We saw several of these while we were in SC and as disgusting as they are - they are kind of crazily magnificent too.
We saw this eagle, vultures, and we entered another walk through aviary that housed owls and hawks.Although you can't tell in these pictures, the sky opened up towards the end of our visit and we got completely and utterly soaked! I can't really put into words how hard it was raining, how miserable the kids were and how depressing yet comical the entire situation was. I mean, here we are 1/2 mile from the car (which is jam packed by the way) all three kids are crying and I'm racking my brain about how I'm going to get us in the car without soaking everything in the car and into dry clothes plus figure out how to dump out our stroller which had standing water in it at this point and get it packed in the car too. Having children has taught me to make light of situations that I never would have been able to make light of before kids. My thought process basically looked a little something like this: well, we are soaked now and there's nothing we can do to change it so I'm just going to put one foot in front of the other and eventually we will be in our seats and on our way home laughing about this entire situation. Kennedy was really upset over how loud the rain was and honestly how bad it stung hitting our arms and faces so Tim stopped off with her under a shelter and I bit the bullet and ran back to the car in my strappy target sandals, inadequate chest support and totally normal clothes, pushing my crying babies in the double jogger all the way. The entire time I was pushing the babes through massive puddles on the way back, I was trying to develop some sort of game plan - you Momma's know what I'm talking about: you gotta have a game plan! So...I decided I would get to the van, strip the kids and put them in the van naked and then I'd get in and find our beach towels and changes of clothes so I could get them dressed and in their car seats before dealing with myself and our gear. I parked the stroller next to the van and pushed the automatic door slide button and the when it opened, the van door struck the front of the stroller perfectly so that it knocked it backwards and so the front wheel was up in the air and the rain was pouring in on the crying babies faces at this point. AWESOME!!! omg...seriously?!?!? I freak out and fix the stroller all while trying to comfort them and talk to them...but please keep in mind it is still POURING and my interior where the door is open is getting soaked. I strip Ave and toss her in standing up, wrapped in a beach towel and then do the same with Grey but as I'm standing in the van trying to find their clothes I'm soaking everything around me because I'm drenched! About the time that I was about to lose it, Tim and Kennedy come running up so I put him in charge of Grey and I take over with Ave while K just sits in the van crying..bless her sweet heart. We finally get everyone dressed and in their seats and then I set to work getting the stroller packed up before getting back in the van. I find Tim, Kennedy and I a change of clothes and we basically all strip in the van and change (Praise the Lord for a minivan). I said, while changing "well, we've just made family memories" and we did. After lots of laughter, some tears and way too much rain we got all the wet stuff bagged up and we got on the road. We decided we all needed a sweet treat and stopped to get milkshakes for everyone and after we finished those and headed down the road this happened:
What an adventure it was and it wore us all out but it was fun! Two days after we returned from our trip the wet adventure came back to haunt us in the form of mildewed vehicle carpets: SO SMELLY! Thank God for google and all it's amazing recommendations when one is looking because I found some great recommendations on dealing with vehicle mildew and after some good ole fashioned elbow grease, a carpet shampooer and a fan things are back to normal.