Skip to main content

Vacation to Orange Beach, Alabama

On the actual day of our 14th anniversary, we pulled up stakes and headed south, with the kids and my mom in tow. We left home at 5:10 a.m. (not too shabby as we had a 5:00 a.m. goal) and drove and drove and drove and drove and.... finally at 4:50 p.m. we arrived! Where?


Orange Beach, Alabama! It was our third trip as a family to the Gulf, but our first time in Orange Beach (which neighbors Gulf Shores, Alabama, and the Florida state line). In the past we've visited Destin, and Seaside, both in Florida, so this was our first vacation at the Alabama part of the Gulf coast.

View looking down from our 12th floor condo at the outdoor pool.


Girls ready to go for a swim!

Boy ready for a swim; girls getting feisty!

Even the parents got to get some sun!

The condo we stayed in was gorgeous. We'd never been there so it was a little worrisome, but it turned out to be really great. It was huge, and very clean, and had a great view. We went at a good time - after all the loud spring-breakers, but before the crowds of summer vacationers. It's probably the best time to go.






The first day, the weather was nice, but not HAWT in the morning, so we decided to take that morning to go to the Gulf Coast Zoo. It was about a 15 minute drive from our condo, and I guess was featured on an Animal Planet TV show after it was being rebuilt after a hurricane. It's a cute little zoo. Most of the animals can be fed - goats, sheep, little horses, etc - though they had a huge alligator, two lions, two tigers, and a couple of camels too. The best part of the zoo is that you can pay an extra $10 for a lemur encounter. You get to go inside this little enclosure with a zookeeper and 2 live lemurs. They will climb on you and you can pet them. It was interesting and kind of gross, and Lucy was disappointed that they didn't climb on her more. The zookeeper said they are nearing the end of the 'encounter career.' They are a year old and at 18 months they are fully grown and will no longer interact so much with humans. So it was a little bit of a letdown, but still a neat experience to have. 






These little yellow guys were my favorite. Such expressive little hands and faces! I could have watched them all day.

One day, it was rainy and chilly all day, so that was a perfect chance to visit the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. It was about 20 minutes east of our condo. The museum is amazing. It's free to get in, and there are dozens, maybe hundreds, of aircraft, most of which can be climbed in, on, etc. They also had outer space type stuff, which was cool to see.




Probably our all-around favorite excursion was the dolphin tour. There are many companies in the area that will take you on a 'dolphin tour' but the reviews are wildly mixed. My mom's boss recommended one to her that he had used, so we went with that, and it was a great choice. They were friendly, the boat was nice, and we actually saw quite a few dolphins! It did get chilly (it was a 5-7pm sunset cruise) so they handed out blankets to the passengers. We also got to go in Wolf Bay and see some of the native plants and learn about those. 






And, finally, what trip is complete without a trip to the souvenir shop? There were two pretty cool looking ones.





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

My Abortion & When I Used Planned Parenthood

I don't post much political stuff on this blog or even on Facebook. I figure, people have political opinions based on their own values and their own experiences, and reading someone else's will rarely change anything. I am, however, deeply disturbed by the way a particular issue is playing out in American politics right now, and so in addition to this blog post, I am sending letters and photographs to all of my elected officials to ask them to consider all angles of a topic rather than listening to one very vocal group who views all abortions as pure evil.

First, I have been a patient of Planned Parenthood in the past. As an uninsured college student and even un- and under-insured newlywed in my early 20s, a trip to the gynecologist for an annual exam plus a monthly prescription for birth control would have been far outside my financial means as I worked (sometimes part-time, often full-time) while going to school. Planned Parenthood's sliding fee scale meant I could have …

Aw, snap! (goes Truman's arm)

We didn't get any calls for foster placements for several weeks. It was starting to bother me - why not us? Then I saw on our local foster parent Facebook group a woman asking for respite care for her three little ones for a weekend. I could do that! She and I made arrangements to meet Friday at 3:30 after I picked up Lucy from school and we'd have the kids through Sunday afternoon, then Dave and I would be leaving to go see U2 and Beck in Indianapolis for MY BIRTHDAY.

Friday was going along just fine, and I had just gotten my purse and keys out so I could be ready to leave in a minute to pick up Lucy and the little foster kids. Jacinda was napping and Penny was playing on the computer. Truman had been jumping on the trampoline for about fifteen minutes. Suddenly, Truman screamed.

Not a 'ouch' scream.

The kind of scream that kicks your parental instinct into overdrive and you drop everything you are doing to run to the aid of that screaming child.

I went out the back d…

love that has nowhere to go

Several months ago, someone shared with a card that said, "Grief is love with nowhere to go." As I've thought of that over and over again, I believe it is entirely true. Grief is not just sadness or depression. It's a constant presence of dark despair. It's a feeling of wanting to speak to or hold someone who just isn't there, and there seems no possible way to alleviate it in any other way. It leads to disturbing impulses like to dig up my baby's grave so that I can hold him again, or long for death so I can be with him again. The love needs a place to go.

Another thing I have thought about often is "For me, to live is Christ." I heard this on a song on the radio one day and didn't understand what it meant. I came home and googled the phrase - it's from Philippians - where Paul is writing and telling people that whether he lives or dies, Christ is glorified. He says (I am paraphrasing) that he would prefer to die because he'd be wit…