One of the best things about family travel is the way you can venture off your normally beaten path, joyfully stumbling into something new and different. It is a great opportunity to expand your family horizons.
We've been doing a bit of exploration during our trip to Florida. We've discovered a couple spots we'd never been to before, tried some new foods and pushed the boundaries of our comfort zone just a bit.
It's been fun, sometimes a wee bit scary and mostly delicious.
For example, the cat fish was yummy... the frog legs, not so much.
Yesterday, we took a boat ride up the Loxahatchee River. We saw an alligator sunning on the bank, a manatee hiding in the warm, shallow waters and lots of birds. Osprey, Cormorants and Great Blue Herons.
We visited the camp of "Trapper Nelson", also known as "Wild Man of the Loxahatchee", who lived in the jungle along the banks of the river for over thirty years. A trapper cum entrepreneur, Nelson built a wilderness compound that included a zoo, picnic grounds and boat house. Wealthy tourists from Palm Beach used to boat up the river for an afternoon of authentic rustication. And alligator wrestling.
I am happy to report that the camp site, while preserved for historic purposes, no longer hosts bobcats, rattlesnakes and alligators. At least, none that we saw while hiking around.
There was apparently a Mrs. Trapper Nelson, but she didn't last long. I guess it was all a bit too far out of her comfort zone.
As we prepare to wind up our time here, I am grateful for our adventures. The time we've spent together -- as a family and with friends -- has been wonderful.
I will miss the sunshine, the warmth and the relaxed interactions with my children.
The alligators, not so much.
Read more about family travel in, "The Importance of Family Vacations."
If you are planning your own family trip, you might need "My Top 12 Tips for Traveling with Kids on Planes."
Trapper Nelson spent most of his adult life off the beaten path. Read about his real-life adventures (and controversy) in Life and Death on the Loxahatchee: The Story of Trapper Nelson, by James D. Snyder.