Mei Mei is too short. Again, she's 9 years old and still hasn't hit 48" tall (except when we stuff her shoes to ride roller coasters but that's another story…heh). In order for us to have fun as a family on the Zoo's ropes/ziplines we would have to split up. No go. Weren't gonna do it.
So…..we did a little research. We wanted Nature Girl's birthday to be a big bash. She's turning 13 after all! We found out that Gatorland (yes, the official cheesy, touristy icon that has been around since 1947) has one of the top rated zip lines in the entire USA. AND……AND……AND……AND…..Mei Mei was tall enough. Yea, go ahead and check out their link…..nasty gators and all. If there's one thing that I can't stand about the Florida wilderness that we live in it's snakes and alligators. And here we go considering PAYING MONEY to throw our bodies into mid-air, hurling ourselves 25-30 mph., over swamps filled with Nile Crocs and American Alligators. Did we do it?
For Nature Girl……and for the sake of family team building…..yep today, we did. (Thank you Groupon). This Mama doesn't particularly like heights. In fact I hate them. I was so excited about surprising Nature Girl with her grand adventure that I neglected to read that they take you up 7(!!!!!) stories, hang you on a wire then shoot you across flailing and screaming over GIGANTIC alligators to the other side…..(all while praying to Jesus you don't die and that dang wire doesn't break from the weight of your backside). But I had agreed to do this and that child was so gosh darn excited. We all suited up.
I almost backed out once we had climbed to our start point. That first tower was a doozy…..however our guide talked me out of my heights funk. Finally he pushed (yep, he did) me over the edge and I never looked back (or down….or side to side….and I may, just may have had my eyes closed all the way through that first zip). Heaven has never heard so many prayers in that nano-second. But after that first one (which was not the tallest) I began to relax and enjoy the adventure. In fact….at the end of our day I was ready to go again. The whole Zip adventure takes about 2 hours….and then you can finish your day in the park where there's Alligator Wrestling, exotic animal shows and Mom Jo who will take you for rides on her motorized scooter….. (last part so very true). Who would'a thunk?? Happy Birthday Nature Girl! We did this for you….and us….but mostly you. We had to show you how amazing we think you are!
|Our Zip group and guides. Our fam count was 7.|
|The Birthday Girl went first. Not a peep of fear….just excitement as she hurled herself into space. Here it's about 3-4 stories up.|
|8 year old Cade…..no fear.|
|Jay….fresh off a plane from the West Coast.|
|Blondie was nervous….and quiet….but went for it. Oh, and notice….no cast!!|
|This little bit FLEW because the guides enjoyed sending her off with a mighty push.|
|Me at the beginning…..after the guide pushed me off. I was nervous….and loud about it. I got over it.|
|Us after our first Zip! Of course….we had no idea what was coming next. Heh.|
|Yes, it was this high. Yes those are Nile Crocs. Yes you go right over them. Yes, he loved it.|
|Yes, that is our 9 year old…..hanging above the tree line over a pit of alligators. She was not a bit afraid…..|
|I love that you can see Cade waiting for Mei Mei. He was cheering her on LOUDLY. They were hilarious.|
|The Doc…..who thought this was the greatest thing EVER.|
|About now I was praying I didn't have to cash in our life insurance. Insane thoughts go through your head at times like this. At least in my head they do.|
|Nature Girls turn…..examining all those crocs as she went.|
|Sure hope she remembers this birthday as a good one……heh.|
|I pretty much hate all alligators…and all heights…..but this was pretty cool…..after I prayed and asked Jesus to protect my stupidity for wanting to do this in the first place.|
|Our jet-lagged son.|
|Sweet Blondie. One day she'll thank us for making her an adventurer. I think.|
|High above the trees.|