Trip to Tampa, Florida

So, what better way to spend the cold, winter holiday season than with a trip to warm, sunny Florida? Besides, doctors orders, we needed some vitamin D! Our vacation was nice and relaxing (we realized how much we enjoy reading and playing Sudoku again!). Below are some pics that will take you through our trip!

Christmas day was spent on the beach at Fort Desoto Park (ranked in the top three U.S. beaches for a few years running!)

The next day, we went to Big Cat Rescue (, which is a sanctuary for big kitties like lions and tigers who were abandoned by irresponsible owners or traveling circuses. If you’re ever in the Tampa area, this is a day trip you don’t want to miss!

A beautiful Florida Panther at Big Cat Rescue.

On December 27th, Mindy surprised Ligeia with a canoe trip on the Hillsborough River. It was so calm and serene – absolutely breathtaking! Our keen eyes spotted lots of wildlife (Mindy got all fraidy-pants when Ligeia paddled us close to a watchful alligator – see the top picture!). We also saw sunbathing turtles, wading birds, vultures and even some alligator hatchlings!

Hillsborough River

On the 30th, we woke up well before the sun came up and drove to Crystal River (about 90 miles away) to swim with the manatees. We do this every year, and since the weather was so warm, the majority of the manatees were still in the Gulf of Mexico. We did, however, see two sleeping manatees, but our underwater pictures didn’t turn out. The above picture is from the Homosassa Wildlife Park (a sanctuary for traditional Floridian animals that can no longer be released into the wild).

The Homosassa Wildlife park is also home to many, many birds!

This is Lu, the “Floridian” hippo at Homosassa Park. Before the park was a refuge for Floridian animals, it was an exotic animal zoo. When it was bought by its current owners, the non-traditional Floridian animals were sold. Unfortunately, there were no buyers in the market for a big, huge hippo. The citizens of Homosassa, along with the support of the Florida governor, made Lu an honorary Floridian citizen. (p.s. Lu is VERY stinky!)

And, Kerry Jago, if you’re out there, this shot is for you!

We hope everyone had a fantastic New Year’s, and we look forward to reading any comments you want to leave!

Lots of love,
Ligeia and Mindy 🙂 🙂

6 thoughts on “Trip to Tampa, Florida

  1. Anonymous

    That wasn’t nice of you to call Lu “stinky”…Poor little hippo, probably hurt her feelings.

    I mean come on, Ligeia is “stinky” and you don’t point that out on pictures of her.

    Happy b-day Ligeia, and happy late b-day Mindy…

    Chris & Robert

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