A Trip to Wild Florida

May 1 – 6 Wild Florida had free admission to the park, so my best friend of almost 20 years and I took our kids for the afternoon. It was a typical warm (ok, so I was roasting), sunny Florida day and I had no idea what to really expect from the park. I heard they all kinds of animals there, to include a Zorse and a Zdonk… I was really confused when I learned that both of these types of animals existed. I had to google to make sure these were real animals… but, they do in fact exist… I still find that whole mating combination incredibly strange.

We walked through part of the park that was supposed to be swamp, but there was no swamp. This is the worst draught I’ve ever seen this area of Florida go through. I’m still re-aquainting myself with where I grew up, and seeing all the ponds and different areas where the water is either way below normal or completely dried up makes my heart hurt. Seeing the swamp area without a swamp made me wonder where all the life that normal lives in that condition went.

The park had some of the most beautiful animals and birds I’ve ever seen. Gators are normal for Florida, and at one point when we were walking across the walkway to get to the other side of the park, it seemed to look like one of the people working at the park was playing with a few of the gators, and doing tricks! The gator would back up into the water a little and come back out depending on what the guy was doing with his hand, and then he’d give the gator some sort of treat. I can’t say I want to play with a gator like that, but it’s neat to see that sometimes they can be playful. (I’m sure that takes a lot of training for both the park employee and the gators.)

There was a white bird that when you walked by would say “Hello” and “I love you.” He (I say he but I don’t actually know if the bird was male or female) at one point brought a stick over to one of the other people who were looking at him, and would follow him around to whatever area of the cage he would be.

And just before we left, we got to see my main squeeze. Nate texted me before we left for Wild Florida saying he was going to be there putting in a gator pond for some gators that the park is expecting to receive in the next few weeks. It was really nice being able to see him for just a few minutes in the middle of the work day and see a little of what his work entails.

 OrlandoDocumentaryFamilyPhotographer