Just Florida Things: Epic Beach Crawl: Theater of the Sea
Very rarely do we go anywhere unscripted. Having full time jobs means limited and fairly inflexible time off, so when we go somewhere, we go with well-planned purpose. With our travel style requiring ample relaxation/down/nap time, we've found we enjoy our trip most by limiting our plans to 1 morning & 1 evening activity per day, of varying length and energy level.
On our epic Florida Keys road trip, for my birthday, we had planned to spend the morning on a Key West beach, then drive several hours north & arrive just in time to check into my birthday splurge resort and enjoy the amenities for the evening. For one reason or another, after a long walk on the beach, instead of lingering beach-bumming, we hit the road. Meaning, we had a few extra hours to fill before check-in.
When planning this trip, our theme was an Epic Beach Crawl (yes, in the Keys, yes, we heard there's not many there, yes, we found plenty anyway!), so we had largely skipped many of the museums, marine hospitals, & other similar attractions. Justin's quick Google search stumbled upon, among many contenders, Theater of the Sea, a marine animal and bird park that even advertised exactly what we were looking for: "plan to spend 2-3 hours in the park. Perfect!
We arrived just a few minutes before the next Sea Lion show. Thankfully, the seats were shaded, providing relief from the sun, if not from the mugginess of Florida summers. We forgot all about any discomfort once the show began. The sea lion was so close! Full of tricks and trained behaviors, and both comedic and informative, we were absolutely delighted – and this was just the beginning!
Much to Justin’s sunburned skin’s relief, nearly everywhere we walked was shaded by tall, mature trees. To my delight, the loveliest orchids – my favorite flower – were everywhere. As we were looking into the natural pools bordering the walkway, a large creature’s movement in the water caught our eye. We were stunned to see it was a nurse shark! And on the other side of the bridge, barracuda! Beautiful birds, rescued sea turtles, colorful tropical fish…so many creatures and all so close to see.
By the end of the day, we were shocked that we could have skipped coming here were it not for a few spare hours to fill. Even during the dolphin show, the last thing we did, I remember telling Justin that it was the best dolphin show we’ve ever seen. I don’t think it could have been better short of our actually being in the water! By the time we had walked through the whole park, watched every show, and more than adequately filled our spare time, I was trying to convince Justin to swim with a sea lion or, at a minimum, go around to all of the shows again…next time.
Have you been to Theater of the Sea? Have you been to another amazing animal park we should add to our bucket list? Tell us about it in the comments!
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Our Favorite Photos from the Trip:
Top Tips & Notes for Next Time:
1. Plan to visit! To think we would have skipped over such a fun day!
2. Try one (or more!) of the animal interactions. Since we only had a few hours and no prior planning, we didn't do any. The park was awesome regardless, but the day could have been, well, awesomer!
3. Check out Theater of the Sea at TheateroftheSea.com
About our Epic Beach Crawl
One random Saturday, Justin and I were discussing our hopes and dreams and landed on the topic of our chosen home state of Florida and how little of it we’ve seen, even after living here for several years. One thing lead to another and the question popped up: “How long would it take to drive around the entire coast of Florida?” According to Google Maps, roughly 24 hours give or take. And thus, the Epic Beach Crawl idea was born. Fortunately, after beginning our research, we came to our senses and realized there is far too much to see and do, especially since our modus operandi is along the lines of long walks on the beach paired with mid-afternoon naps! And so, we have split our Beach Crawl to End All Beach Crawls into Epic Beach Crawl part 1, the Florida Keys, a 10 day adventure we took this summer, to eventually be followed by Epic Beach Crawls 2-infinity, TBD.