Sunday, March 20, 1994

1994 Airboat Ride and Kennedy Space Center (3/20/1994)

Sunday, March 20, 1994
David's and Debbie's house
David was off work for the weekend (yesterday he did yard work), but Debbie had to work. Another leisurely start to the day, and we left about 10:00 with David as our guide. He directed us out Rte-50 towards the East Coast, then down Rte-520. After crossing a bridge over the St Johns River, we stopped at the Lone Cabbage Fish Camp that also offered airboat rides. Kent paid the $60+ for all of us and was given a number. We were told we would have to wait 45 minutes. Since it was 11:30, we decided to get lunch, hamburgers and chili. The wait was actually a bit longer. There were lots of foreign tourists, British and Swiss among them. We watched other groups go out on the noisy airboats, flat-bottomed boats with a gigantic fan attached to the back! They travel easily over marsh grasses and even up on land. Brynne and Leah fed potato chips to ducks and gulls.
Brynne and Leah
Returning airboat
Eventually it was our turn, and we got the big airboat to ourselves. Could have fit 10 people, but took us seven. Off we roared, with the wind in our faces no matter which direction we went! Headed through marsh grasses and water lilies. We slowed down to look for alligators. We were where the St John River widens into a shallow lake. We did see several alligators, up to five-footers.
The boats are not supposed to get too close to them. Spent quite a while wandering around searching for alligators, seeing easily a dozen pairs of eyes and nostrils just above the surface of the water. The airboat then zoomed back to the dock.
Traveling through marsh grasses
David, Mike, Leah, Brynne, Kent, and airboat captain
Back in the car we re-traced our way back to Rte-50, then continued east. Drove through the town of Christmas! Flat countryside with some birds, and cows in wet areas shared by airboats. A few orange groves with oranges on the trees. Arrived at a causeway and drove through Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge towards the Kennedy Space Center. We first turned into a commercial enterprise with a large model of the Space Shuttle. Then continued to Spaceport USA, where we split up to go at our own pace. Leah was with us much of the time. Museum, art gallery, and photo opportunities with a spaceman, while wearing a spacesuit, and on a moon buggy.
Kent and Brynne on a moon buggy
Brynne "wearing" a spacesuit
Saw a moon rock and space memorabilia. Skipped the IMAX movie and technical movies. We started through the Satellites and You exhibit, but had to leave through an emergency exit to take Leah to the bathroom. Outside there was a rocket garden, with missile-type hardware. Model of a space station. Saw the space shuttle mock-up that was being built.
Space shuttle mock-up
Went to the Astronauts Memorial, which is a space mirror. It is constantly aimed at the sun.
Astronauts Memorial
Down below in a shallow pool were a couple alligators along with turtle and fish; an up-close zoo-like view that Brynne and Leah did not mind. We had them try Space Dots, the freeze-dried ice cream that comes as tiny balls. A little gummy, but tasted real.
Leah and Brynne eat Space Dots
We also did not do the bus tour out to the launch pad. The Stumpes and Leah were done, and went to sit and wait. The Ws did everything they could before the place closed down! Or at least everything they could that was free! We left about 18:00 and arrived in Winter Springs at 19:00. We went to pick up Debbie from work, where she had had some crisis. We took Dave and Debbie to Bennigan’s to treat them for allowing us to stay at their place. We had a large table in the corner for eight of us. I had a large salad. Brynne was picky eating tonight. Back to Dave and Debbie’s to visit, and to bed at a decent hour.
Next: Walt Disney World EPCOT.

No comments: