Fred and Wilma - 'The Keys' to 'The World' - Day 8
Sunday 19th August – I’ll have the alligator…and make it snappy
We all slept very well last night and it was 9.15 before we were ready to leave this morning. We had planned to have breakfast at the Harbourview Café, just down the street from our hotel, but there were no available tables and not even any open spots at the counter.
Rather than hang around, we opted to see what was available on St George Street. We ended up at the Spanish Bakery, which was just about to open at 9.30. Unfortunately, they only had coffee on offer to drink so no tea for Gary. We bought three cinnamon rolls ($4.50). Sadly, the frosting was maple-coffee flavour and the rolls just weren’t that nice. Neither Daniel nor I liked ours very much and Gary ended up eating most of them.
A poor excuse for a cinnamon roll
In search of hot tea, we set off down the street and, on a whim, I popped in to Luv Berry, who did sell hot tea but, unfortunately, had run out of tea bags. They recommended the Bunnery Bakery and Café at the other end of the street. This place was more like it. We ordered a tea, orange juice and chocolate milk and Daniel and I decided to have another attempt at breakfast so we also got a cinnamon roll and a chocolate croissant, which we shared. Both were delicious.
That’s more like it
After breakfast, we walked down to Potter’s Wax Museum, where we caught the Beach Bus to Anastasia Island (the beach bus was free with our trolley pass), where the Alligator Farm is located. We exchanged our tickets and got our hands stamped with a snazzy little alligator tattoo. St Augustine Alligator Farm is the only zoological facility which exhibits living examples of all 23 species of crocodilian and, it has to be said, that they certainly do have a lot of reptiles :scared1:
St Augustine Alligator Farm
Get ready, get set, run for your life…
Daniel was in his element here as he loves alligators, lizards, snakes etc. He was making little notes to himself as we went round so he could tell Dogster all about it when we got back. Dogster, apparently, loves alligators too.
The first creatures we spied were the albino alligators, which are rather strange looking. They just don’t look real at all, more like giant marble statues.
Next, we came across the main alligator enclosure. There were literally dozens of gators here and some of them were pretty big. Gary joked that anyone who fell in would probably be quite safe as they all looked well fed.
Big fat gators
This really was a great park with lots of really cool benches and sculptures, carved out of wood.
It’s an alli-bench
Daniel lost his head
Next, we went in search of Maximo, a 15-foot ‘saltie’. Sadly, he was half-in, half-out of the water so it was hard to get an idea of his size. His rear end certainly looked impressive though!
The back side of a ‘saltie’
And the front!
After Maximo, it was time to visit a much larger (but less harmful) croc! At a massive 18 feet long and weighing nearly 2000 lbs, Gomek was one of the largest crocodilians to ever live at a zoo. lived out much of his adult life at the Alligator Farm and is now tastefully preserved and displayed for visitors to gawk at. He is pretty impressive.
One of the most awesome things about the Alligator Farm is a wooden bridge/walkway which crosses the alligator swamp. Surrounding the area is the wading bird rookery. There are some amazingly beautiful birds hanging out in the trees while literally hundreds of alligators swim underneath and around you. It is pretty amazing.
Gators, gators everywhere
I’m no ornithologist but I think that’s a heron
Next, it was time for the gator feeding. This is where one of the park staff foolishly climbs in with these huge, man-eating beasts and offers them a measly bit of chicken when in fact I’m sure they’d far rather eat her!
After watching several hungry alligators eyeing up a tasty piece of meat, we went to explore the crocodile exhibits. As I mentioned before, St Augustine Alligator Farm boasts that they exhibit every single species of crocodile – and who knew there were so many.
In a lot of the enclosures, the crocodiles were actually submerged in the water and it was good fun trying to figure out where they were.
This one was my favourite – I just wish I could remember what species it was.
I like to call it the ‘Pinocchio Croc’
As well as crocodiles and alligators, there were also a huge variety of birds and other reptiles, such as snakes and lizards, and some small monkey species too. Daniel’s favourite was the reticulated python – go figure!
Polly want a cracker
I can’t stress any more how enjoyable this park was. If we’d been staying longer, we would have definitely returned for a second visit, there was just so much to see. Before we left, we bought some drinks. After the blue slushie episode the day before, I made Daniel get an orange slushie. We also got a diet coke, which came in a souvenir cup. Sadly, the orange slushie just turned Daniel’s mouth orange – not quite as bad as the blue but still not attractive.
From the Alligator Farm, we caught the beach bus back and hopped on the trolley to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! We had toyed with visiting a Ripley’s museum on several previous visits to Orlando but never got round to it so decided to take the opportunity while we were here.
Ripley’s – Believe It or Not!
Continued in the next post....
We paid the entrance fee ($40.25) and spent a couple of hours, wandering around and being amazed by the exhibits. There was some fascinating stuff here.
Jack Sparrow made from spare parts
I loved this amazing Harry Potter ‘magic’ knitting
Looking straight on
And from the side
Wow, he is TALL!
Daniel had his fortune told by Zoltar. Gary and I told him that he mustn’t wish he was big! Of course, it was completely wasted on him – but not on the couples around us of a certain age.
I wish I was big
One of my favourite things was an interactive shadow machine. You had to hit the light, then strike a pose in front of the screen. When the light went out and you moved aside, your shadow got left behind.
Strike a pose
There was so much to see here, it was definitely a great choice to visit and I will certainly bear it in mind for something to do on a rainy day in Orlando in the future.
We exited through the gift shop and went out to catch the trolley. Unfortunately, it was absolutely pouring and, on the open-sided trolley, we got absolutely soaked. We took the tour as far as the nearest stop to our hotel, taking in some of the sights through the rain.
Back at the hotel, we changed into dry clothes and sensible shoes, and then headed back out into the rain. It really was pretty unpleasant walking around so there was nothing else for it – to the bar!
Remembering how wonderful the lemon drop martini had been and how good the food smelled last time we were at Scarlett O’ Haras, we decided to head there and wait out the rain – and maybe partake in a couple of drinks and some snacks at the same time. I am a huge fan of ‘Gone with the Wind’ and I absolutely love this place, with the pictures and memorabilia displayed inside.
It was a short walk from our hotel and we were soon happily seated inside, with a couple of drinks.
Lemon Drop on the rocks
Note the bad hair – even Lee Stafford can’t protect my hair from curling in the rain.
Our server brought us some menus and we decided to just order a bunch of appetisers.
I’ll have the Southern fried gator tail – and make it snappy
The staple - mozzarella sticks
The food was delicious, particularly the wings and the gator. None of us had ever had gator before – it tasted just like chicken with the texture of pork. It really was very tasty. After another round of drinks and feeling slightly squiffy (what is it with drinking in the afternoon) we headed out into the fresh air. It wasn’t raining quite so hard now so we walked back down to St George Street. At the bottom of Hypolita Street, I spotted a place which had been Number 1 on Tripadvisor for places to eat in St Augustine – The Hyppo. This place serves gourmet popsicles – whether that is sufficient for it to be ranked number one on a list of ‘Restaurants in St Augustine’ is debatable but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give it a try.
We ordered a couple of popsicles – strawberry basil for Gary and pineapple for Daniel. I can’t get excited about ice lollies so I passed on this occasion.
Strawberry Basil – sounds weird and…tastes weird too
Pineapple – what’s not to like
I only had a little taste and neither of them were flavours I would have chosen myself so I can’t really judge how good they were. All I will say is that, if you are in the area and happen upon The Hyppo, give the popsicles a try – but at $3.50 a pop (pardon the pun), I would rather have a Magnum (or a Mickey Bar) any day.
Back at the hotel, I needed a little snooze so we chilled out for a couple of hours. We had planned to have dinner at Mango Mangos but it was still really dull and miserable outside and I was reluctant to get showered and changed. Luckily, my stomach got the better of me and, by 7, we were ready to go. Mango Mangos is situated on the A1A at St Augustine Beach and it is really more of a beach café rather than a restaurant. It gets great reviews on Tripadvisor so we thought we’d give it a shot.
We had to drive out over the Bridge of Lions and I managed to get a great shot of one of the stone lions, which had been absent when we last visited (they were in storage for 6 years while the bridge was being reconstructed).
It’s not Aslan
Mango Mangos – So good you have to say it twice
Although the place was quite busy, we were seated straight away and our server, a friendly young girl who looked like she should be at school, took our order. She was very knowledgeable about the food and made a couple of recommendations. Gary ordered the Island Coconut Chicken with rice and yucca fries. Daniel opted for the kids’ popcorn shrimp with fruit salad and I chose the Hawaiian Chicken Sandwich with fries. The food took a little while to come out but we were kept entertained by the various football games that were showing on TVs around the restaurant. Our server was quick to refill our drinks too.
When the food did arrive, it looked great.
Gary’s chicken was delicious. The yucca fries were interesting – it was mashed yucca, shaped into a ‘fry’ shape and deep fried. The rice was pretty good although it had a spicy kick and the mango pineapple marmalade served with it was really tasty.
Hawaiian Chicken Sandwich
My sandwich was a chicken breast, basted with pineapple, papaya and mango juice, served on sweet Hawaiian bread with ham, cheese and a grilled pineapple slice. It was a really great combination of flavours, very Polynesian, something which most definitely would not be out of place at Kona Café or Captain Cooks. The bread was similar to that served with dinner at Kona Café, a gorgeous soft and sweet bread, which I have tried (and failed) to reproduce at home. All in all, it was very enjoyable.
The check came to $33.08 and we left $40 since the service had been pretty good.
Next, it was time for dessert – and we just had to try the Marble Stone Creamery. I love a good ice-cream and I absolutely adored the idea of being able to mix different flavours and toppings. For those who don’t know, you pick your flavour (or flavours) and toppings, then they mix them all up on a cold marble slab. The ice-cream doesn’t melt but instead gets deliciously creamy and all the flavours and textures meld together deliciously.
Daniel opted for caramel cheesecake ice-cream with caramel sauce and gummy bears.
Daniel asked for a medium but, being the mean Mum that I am, I wouldn’t let him and made him have a small one. Although it was supposed to be a small, the girl behind the counter obviously thought he needed fattening up as she gave him a massive serving. Needless to say, he ended up throwing half of it away. In the battle of Daniel versus food, Daniel lost – epic fail!
A weird and wonderful combination
Gary chose strawberry ice-cream with marshmallow fluff and butterfinger pieces and I went for the classic combination of dark chocolate and mint ice-creams with Oreo cookie crumbs
Back at the hotel, we packed up what little we had unpacked and sorted everything ready to leave early the next morning. Yes, we are on the move again.
that Hawaiian Chicken Sandwich looked yummy! x
Great post, the Alligator place looks fun too, the kids would like that.
I'd seen someone doing the ice cream on a marble slab before and wondered what that was about.
Great day :thumbsup2
Hi Joh! I thought I was following along but I was stuck at your Day 2 review! ;) Oops!
I'm fascinated with the gator farm... and a little creeped out that the gal would go inside the enclosure to feed them. Makes me want to hold my breath until she gets safely out of there! And to think that you ate gator at Scarlette's - wow, you are adventuresome. I was at a restaurant in Louisianna years ago and apparently that is a common item on the menu. Uhhhh, I'm not brave enough to try it!
So cocktails in the afternoon was a regular occurrence? Ha! Love it! :thumbsup2
Hope all is well - take care my friend!
Great to see another day posted Joh - makes my lunch break pass just that bit quicker.
Lovely day and love all your food choices especially the coconut chicken and the delicious sounding icecreams
Glad you managed to track down a worthy breakfast after the couple of abortive attempts. The Spanish Bakery needs to go and check out the competition for lessons on how to turn out a good cinnamon roll!
I've never really thought about it before, but alligators really are the weirdest looking things! I was trying to work out whether the albino one was real or stone before I read the accompanying text. The allibench is pretty impressive.
When the girls were younger, we visited Ripley's in Orlando on most trips. I always thought it was well worth the entrance fee - plenty to hold the attention for several hours.
I'm liking the look of Scarlett O'Hara's (especially, and unsurprisingly, the Lemon Drop!). Sharing appetisers instead of ordering an entree is our favourite way to eat. They're invariably the best items of any menu.
I wouldn't normally eat an ice-lolly, but I'd have to have had a go at strawberry basil! You've got me curious about other flavour combinations. They seem pricey, but I guess they're all handmade from fresh ingredients.
Mango Mangoes looks right up my street and the food all sounds delicious. I've never tried the bread at Kona Cafe, but when I want to make sweet bread (which I usually do for burgers and pulled pork sandwiches) I just use the dough recipe for cinnamon rolls. Have you experimented with that?
I always think I'm going to treat myself to an ice-cream on holiday, but never get around to it. I think I'd make extra effort for the Marble Stone Creamery's offerings, though!
St Augustine looks really great; I'd love to go and see the gators one day :goodvibes
Wow does that ice cream look yummy :thumbsup2
I think I'd have needed a few more lemon drops before I would try to eat some alligator! Although deep frying makes everything more appealing!;)
Another fab day
Absolutely brilliant ... how come we missed so many great restaurants when we were in St Augustine ... can't wait to go back now and try Mango Mangos and that ice cream place !
St Augustine is on my to do list after reading your report Joh. Another fabulous well planned day and lots of great photos to boot. Planning, planning....
Thanks for sharing x
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