Category Archives: Tampa/St Pete

Tampa/St Pete

Enjoy the view

Every now and then, you find a spot in front of a tank that has some rockers and/or benches set up. Can you imagine if you could have a huge tank as one of the walls in your living room? You would not need TV for entertainment; just plop down and listen to the tank and watch the coral waving and the fishes doing their fishly things… ahhhh!

American Victory

A battle ship is parked outside the aquarium. The name on the side is American Victory, and there was a sign advertising tours. I will post a bigger pic of it later, on my website.

Horse conch

The Florida state shell, it had its operculum in place. However, the rest of this display was sort of suspect; a lot of the species on display didn’t look like they come from Florida.


There was a huge tank in the “rotundda” full of all different varieties of starfish. It was a touch tank, and Nieceling got herself good and fishy (she’s 11 but still loves this stuff). The color makes it look fake, doesn’t it?

Out of order from Saturday’s dinner

Nieceling says these are 'whole wheat napkins' lol

Yeah, so this is pretty ridiculous – photos showing up on the blog a day and a half later!

I c shells

Out of order again. These were actually the first shells I spied in the tanks. And no, I did NOT reach in to collect them; I have have a whole cookie jar full of whelks on my kitchen counter that are in MUCH better condition than these!


It looks like a grouper, but if it is, the pics are out of order again…. I LOVE grouper! I think he was at least 4.5 ft long, if not 5 ft. He was swimming in a huge tank with rocking chairs and benches set up in front of it.

Otter !

He was SO fast! Between his speed, and the damned plexi-glass, it was really impossible to get a good shot of this guy. Y’all know how much I LOVE the otters! We went back after lunch to see a demonstration of his training. He’s really quite clever. He cannot be returned to the wild; he’d been raised by someone who thought it would be cool to own a river otter, and then decided it wasn’t so cool. So he’s probably got to live at the Aquarium for the rest of his life. The reason he is trained is because he is so quick, the veterinarians cannot examine him properly. So they train him to do tricks like run and jump and swim/dive and hold still for as long as they want him to. In this manner, they can observe if he is functioning normally, and maybe treat a wound here and there. They reward him with little fishes (dead).

I plead plexi-glass

As it was yesterday at Busch Gardens, most of the animals in the Aquarium are behind plexi-glass, and therefore the photos have all these weird ghostly images superimposed upon them. These are the reflections off the glass of people standing around, including me. Anyhow, this little smiley-faced guy was only about two feet long; they didn’t have any super-sized gators at this exhibit.

We started in the Wetlands

I see some of the pics arrived out of order. Anyhow, we started in the Wetlands section, and saw those cool Florida soft-shell turtles, which are the ones that hang out in the lake out back of my house (formerly known as The Tinkness Monster).


Yes, we’re getting here at noon-ish. It’s funny. My brother used to be the one getting up at some gawd-awful, commando time of the morning on vacation, waking my ass up by either phoning me or sending the Nieceling to pound down my hotel door. Now it’s the other way around. I’m the one waking up spontaneously at 6:00 or 7:00 am, and he’s the one taking his sweet-ass time getting a move on in the mornings. Go figure! So anyway, here we are, finally arriving at the Florida Aquarium.

Our day at Busch Gardens Tampa

I’ve filled in some explanations for the photos I’ve been blogging all day. Additionally, if you surf over to My Adventures *~*~* , you’ll be able to see more pictures that I’ve uploaded from the Canon.

I think we’re going to the aquarium tomorrow… stay tuned!

A dragon

None of the “real” dragons were out and about, so I had to take a pic of this one.

What a voice!

This girl has an incredibly powerful voice. Why isn’t she on Broadway starring in Dream Girls?

The final story

The final story was about persevering through a flood that destroyed all. The woman telling the story had an amazing voice.

Frogs In Love

The next story was about frogs in love. The animals were very colorful and bright!

The Caterpillar Story

The next story was about bugs; in particular, about a caterpillar who didn’t know what to do with herself. In the end she becomes a butterfly, finding her place.


Can’t see it well, but that’s a peeled, half-eaten banana being carried off by red ants

The first guy told a story about a little monkey playing and growing up in the forest. In the beginning, the little monkey was played by a puppet. When he grew up, he was played by an actor/acrobat.

Katonga – Musical Tales from the Jungle

The premise of this 40 minute show is that there is a Master Story Teller and 4 wannabe master story tellers. They all get to tell their individual stories to see who gets to be elevated to Master. In the end, it is determined that their stories are all connected, and they all become masters.

Tortoises doing the nasty!

We could hardly believe our eyes – and our ears! The male pokes his head in and out and emits these amazing grunts with each thrust. When he was done, he looked like he was smiling, but she didn’t.

A couple of 22 year old hyenas

We were told that today is their 22nd birthday, and that they usually only live in the wild about 12 years. The handlers cleared the lions out of the pen, and placed wrapped birthday “gifts” around, containing food. Then they let the hyenas in. They are a lot bigger than I pictured hyenas, and it was fun to watch them play-fight over the treats.

A "cub"

This lion is a good deal younger than the one in the previous shots. There is a section where there are a jeep and a truck sort of embedded in the plexi glass; if you sit in the cab of the truck, the “cubs” (he’s got a couple of sisters) will jump in the back and look in at you.


There’s a whole section where there are lions on the other side of plexi-glass. They come right up to the glass.

In the barn with the Clydesdales

They also had the donkey from the commercials – the one where the donkey aspires to be a Budweiser Clydesdale.

Did you know that there are no statues of the Clydesdale horse anywhere in the park? Couldn’t find hardly any merchandise with them on it at all!

Festive holiday display at restaurant

These little scarecrows (about as big as a Barbie, but cuter) were really adorable – wish I knew where to get me some. This display was in the lobby of the restaurant.

Dining ambiance

This was the view from our window table at the Crown Colony House. Not too shabby! Also, there was a big ol’ upright piano close by, and an old dude came in and started playing mostly show tunes, providing atmosphere just right for a family of former community and regional theater rats. Thumbs up!

Crown Colony House Restaurant

The food at this sit-down establishment was pretty good. I had the Angus beef rare, mashed potatoes, and grilled veggies. We all shared a fruit platter to start, with whipped yogurt to dip – really, REALLY yummy. We were all too stuffed to have dessert.

Tut’s tomb was so lame….

I had to console myself with a purchase. This medallion is “mood” and you can see that it is bright blue in the photo. However, sitting here in the (over) air conditioned hotel, it is currently a light amethyst. It’s a $12 piece of junk, but I love it!


Story: the hotel has free breakfast, which includes two huge baskets of fruit. We scoped it out, but first wanted coffee, and took it outside. When we came back in, there was ONE banana left in the huge vat. My SIL saw a woman being wheeled by another woman in a wheel chair, and her oversized “purse” was FULL of bananas.

So I took the last ONE banana that was left, and peeled it – and it was about 40% black and bruised, so I threw it on the table in disgust.

When we got to the park, I went into a food court and they only had oranges and apples displayed. So I asked the woman behind the counter if there were any bananas at all in the park, and she went somewhere and got me one. Yay, potassium!

Hotel Bar

The hotel bar, which is out by the pool, is call The Parrot Cove

For My Sanibuddies

There’s a restaurant down the road a piece from the hotel called Shells! We had dinner there. The grouper was exceedingly fresh, and the rum runners are very potent – whhhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Heading to Tampa

Meeting up with Chez Bro and da fambly for a foray to Busch Gardens in Tampa this weekend. Here we go!