2012 Vacation, Day 11

After a wonderful end of Sukkos and Simchas Torah, we said goodbye to the Young Israel of Kendall this morning:

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We drove South to visit Biscayne National Park, where the kids completed the Junior Ranger program there:

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Continuing South, we drove onto the Florida Keys.  I went snorkeling with the kids at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and we then continued down the keys to visit the giant Tarpon at Robbie’s marina:

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We will be camping at Bahia Honda State Park for the next couple of days.

2012 Vacation, Day 8

Shabbos was nice here in Kendall, but really hot and muggy.  So hot, in fact, that I was able to take a perfectly comfortable shower without turning on the water heater, the water being in the mid-90s like the outside air temperature.

Today we drove South for a day trip into Everglades National Park.  Our first stop was the visitor center:

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We went for a few short hikes along the road that penetrates the everglades:

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This species of parasitic tree completely engulfs and kills the host tree:

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Monday and Tuesday are Jewish holidays culminating in Simchas Torah, and we will once again be with the Young Israel of Kendall, Florida.  We’ll be back on the blog on Wednesday.

2012 Vacation, Day 6

This morning we visited Lion Country Safari, a drive-through zoo.  We slowly drove through, passing all sorts of animals as we went: 

Rhea:

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Ostrich:

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Turtle on a decoy:

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The safari also has a couple kiddie rides:

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We fed the giraffes:

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We also fed parakeets peanut butter on popsicle sticks:

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It was a hot day, so we cooled off in the misting station:

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The water park was fun too:

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Tonight we’re overnighting at the Young Israel of Kendall, Florida, where we will be staying through Simchas Torah.  Good Shabbos from Kendall, Florida!

2012 Vacation, Day 5

This morning we left the RV at the campground and drove to the North edge of the bay that separates us, across 12 miles of water, from Kennedy Space Center where a Delta IV Medium (4,2) rocket was launched this morning.  We listened to the countdown on the radio as we waited:

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And liftoff!  Because the rocket is 12 miles away, it took a bit over a minute for the roar of the engines to reach us.  It was loud enough to set off all the car alarms where we were standing:

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Seeing a 20 story-tall, one-million pound rocket claw its way into space is something I’ll never forget:

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After the launch, we drove to a nearby park for our first glimpse of Florida beaches:

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Next we visited Kennedy Space Center.  The bus tour took us past the crawler-transporter used to move the Space Shuttle:

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We also had the chance to walk through a mission control room which recreated an Apollo moon mission:

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Next we entered the main display area:

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We also saw the VAB, one of the largest buildings in the world, where the Shuttle is mounted on its rocket boosters:

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Next we heard a lecture from Jerry Ross, who among other accomplishments flew on seven Shuttle missions:

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The right stuff?

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The kids are enjoying playing with their camera:

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Memorial to astronauts killed in the line of duty:

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Also on display was this mars rover, built entirely of legos:

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Our last stop before closing was the rocket garden:

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Great day at Kennedy Space Center!  Tonight we’re overnighting at a Walmart near West Palm Beach, Florida.

2012 Vacation, Days 2-4

Sukkos, which is a two-day holiday and was on Monday and Tuesday, was interesting.  M had fun riding his scooter near the shul, and we went for a walk through the local part of Raleigh, which has some beautiful homes.  It was very hot and humid, which was not much fun.

Today is the first day of Chol HaMoed, and M seems pretty out of it:

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Today we drove South to Orlando to pick up Trish and B at the airport.  We’re staying at a campground hear Cape Canaveral in anticipation of seeing a NASA rocket launch tomorrow!