Fieldtripalicious! We spent last Friday at Rock Springs, a park and natural spring north of Orlando and home to swimming, nature trails, and a playground. It's what Floridians do in "fall" when it's still 95 degrees out and everyone everywhere else is complaining of raking leaves and impending snowfall.
We were all ready to go the night before, lunches packed and pumpkins purchased for our homeschool group's annual fall festival. The plan was to meet all the other families at the springs Friday morning for a day of activities, swimming, and pumpkin decorating. The voicemail I discovered at 9:30 that night let us know that the whole event had been cancelled due to a death in the primary organizer's family. Our kids were already in bed, dreaming of the fun day ahead, and we couldn't break their hearts. We offered them the choice of continuing with our day as planned - minus all of their friends *sigh* - or a trip to the beach or zoo. It was a unanimous decision to try the springs, since we hadn't been in four years. The car was packed and off we went!
The place was empty. In addition to enjoying the water, including a trip down the spring in inner tubes (yes, even me), we spent a lot of time on the trails. Imagine our surprise when a family of mule deer watched us from the fringe of the woods, just a few feet from the trail. There were also nosey squirrels, several raccoons, many bird species, lots of fish, and a (99% certain) pile of bear poop directly in our path. Thankfully we did NOT encounter any alligators, in spite of the warning signs!
Although we missed spending a day with other kids, I think we probably got the chance to experience a whole lot more of what the park is truly about than we ever would have if we'd joined up with a gaggle of kids. There's something to be said for doing things on your own.
And stopping at Rita's Italian Ice on the trip home!