May 30, 2011

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, Ponce Inlet, Florida

Today we visited the tallest lighthouse in Florida located in Ponce Inlet.

The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Museum includes several original residences used by the families of the principal, first assistant and second assistant lighthouse keepers.

This building, while not built until 1992, is based on plans drawn in 1883 for a multiple family residence at the lighthouse. The plan was scrapped to give the families more privacy by building separate houses instead. This building serves as the museum's entrance and gift shop.

Doug pauses before starting the 175 foot climb up 203 steps.

Is this where we are going or where we have been? Or both?

The panoramic view at the top of the lighthouse includes Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, the Halifax River and the Atlantic Ocean.

This is the First Assistant Keeper's Dwelling where he lived with his family. Built in 1887, it is furnished the way it would have been in 1900.

The Lens Exhibit Building was built in 1995 to house the museum's collection of skillfully restored Fresnel lenses and other lighthouse artifacts.

This Cuban refugee boat washed up on the beach in Volusia County in 1989. The orange life preserver tied to the mast indicates that the occupants were rescued by the Coast Guard while at sea.

Watch this video for a quick 360 degree view from the top of the lighthouse.

Looking out over the crowd at a Volusia County Beach from the boardwalk late afternoon on Memorial Day.

For more pictures, click here .

To be continued...

May 29, 2011

Fort Christmas Historical Park, Christmas, Florida

After departing Jungle Adventures Nature Park & Zoo, we drove through the town of Christmas, Florida.

Here we found the Orlando Wetlands Park which we will have to visit on a day trip from home sometime. The park, which appears to be FREE, is 1,650 acres of man-made wetlands.

With over 20 miles of trails to explore, the park is home to many different animals including raccoons, river otters, white-tailed deer, bobcats and over 200 species of birds.


We happened upon the park's study of plant life of the wetlands.

These can also be found in the park. This one was not even afraid of us.


This display reminds visitors of the Christmas Spirit every day of the year.

Next we visited Fort Christmas Historical Park. This 25 acre FREE Orange County Park features a replica of an 1837 Seminole War fort which houses a museum and video presentation about the Seminole Wars.


In addition to the Fort, the park includes no less than 10 authentic buildings from the late 19th and early 20th century such as this one.

This lunch room from circa 1932 features all the modern conveniences from the kitchen throughout the years.

Probably the newest building on the property is the Partin House from the 1950's.

Each building is furnished with the appropriate furnishings for the time period.

Some might remember these washing machines.

On our way back home, we got this perfect view across the water toward Cape Canaveral.

For more pictures, click
here pictures 99-146.

To be continued...

Jungle Adventures Nature Park, Christmas, Florida

The World's Largest Alligator, Swampy, welcomes you at the entrance to Jungle Adventures Nature Park and Zoo in Christmas, Florida.

Hopefully this is the only time we will see an alligator's mouth from the inside.

We made it just in time for the Wildlife Show.

We all got to hold this well-behaved snake and a baby alligator.

Lunchtime.

This alligator likes to bathe in high-protein duckweed...that's the green stuff.

Safari Todd showed us how he had progressed in his training of the alligators.

Here is an alligator opening wide for a nice chunk of chicken.

Then we were ready for a Jungle Swamp Cruise.

This alligator nest was built about a year ago by an expectant mother. You can see an alligator slide in front of the nest. This is how alligators enter the swamp.

The entire swamp is covered by duckweed and contains nearly 200 alligators.

Mr. Black Bear was very friendly. He was lying down sleeping when we walked up but hopped right up and sat by his feeding tube when he heard us arrive.

This alligator appeared to be sleeping with his mouth WIDE open.

This alligator wanted us to share some nuts with him.

The snake shows us his best side.

For just a few bucks, visitors can get food for most of the animals in the park. This will allow you to make friends with this wolf.

Doug as a 16th-century conquistador.

Fort Mees is a replica of a 16th-century Spanish frontier fort and is located in the Jungle Adventures swamp.

The park also has several Florida panthers, which are part of the cougar family. These animals have been on the endangered species list since 1967! Fewer than 80 remain in the wild.

Some animals were not interested in the zoo food as they had already eaten but this fox was hungry.

This one seemed hungry too.

In case visitors think swimming in duckweed would be refreshing, the staff have warned that swimming tourists give the alligators indigestion.

Here is a video of alligator feeding time.

For more pictures click here pictures 1-98.

To be continued...

May 27, 2011

Mount Dora, Florida, Howey Estate & Rain

On the way to Mount Dora, we stopped to take a picture of the Howey Estate, the former home of the founder of the town of Howey-In-The-Hills, William J. Howey.

The estate fell on hard times in 2010 as the property went into foreclosure after being refinanced for $1.2 million.

On the Register of National Historic Places since 1983, the property was deemed too costly for Lake County or the state of Florida to purchase as a possible museum site.

Further up the road, we found our destination for today, Mount Dora, Florida and down Royellou Lane, a narrow alley, we found the Mount Dora History Museum.

As expected, the museum contains artifacts from the history of the city founded in 1880.

One of the town's claims to fame was its use in the 1980 movie Honky Tonk Freeway starring Teri Garr, Howard Hesseman, Beau Bridges, Jessica Tandy and William Devane among many other well-known names.

The entire downtown area was painted pink for the movie.

Mount Dora is known for antiques, the arts and the many festivals held in the city each year.

On the way back to camp, we stopped at Trimble Park on the shore of Lake Beauclair and saw several of these little guys peeking their heads out of the water.

When we returned to the campground, a storm was brewing.

After about two hours of rain, we were glad we weren't checking out until tomorrow morning.

Watch the storm.

For more pictures, click here .

To be continued...