Thursday, March 8, 2012

Our Florida Getaway - Part 1

We started out the trip at 6:00 on Saturday night after leaving the boys' band concert.  We were hoping to make it somewhere between St. Louis and Memphis.

We drove until midnight, finding a room at the Holiday Inn Express in Cape Giradeau, Missouri.  

We had some tired kids when we got to the hotel in Cape Giradeau, but as you can tell, they already had their jammies on and we just had to carry up a couple bags with the next day's clothes already set aside.  After a good night's rest and more hours of driving, we finally arrived at our hotel.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort which is right on the beach in Pensacola Beach, Florida.  To get to Pensacola Beach, you have to take a 3 mile bridge to Gulf Breeze and then take a toll bridge ($1) to get to Pensacola Beach. The Holiday Inn Resort is less than a year old and we stayed in their kid's suite.  The kid's suite has a nook area with bunk beds and their own tv and play station 3 as well as a microwave and fridge. I would try to get a gulf view next time, as cloudy and foggy as it was, the view really didn't matter much.  The hotel has their own restaurant and kids eat free ALL THE TIME.  We also got the package with free breakfast which was a huge buffet every morning.  We also had a few other meals at the restaurant since the kids were free and all were delicious.  I loved their burgers and Pat enjoyed their wings and grouper sandwich.

Pensacola, Florida has a Naval Air Base and is the home of the Navy's Blue Angels.  There is this working lighthouse on the base.  It was built and began operation in the late 1800's and is still operational today.  I wasn't sure I could make it up to the top (177 steps) once I saw the old iron stairs and spiral staircase, but we all made it and the view was amazing.  If you remember my height and closed spaces issue with our St. Louis Arch experience, you will know that this was tough for me.  But, I would do this over the Arch any day!

Going back down the steps was tougher than going up.  The kids were troopers and were patient with me as I took one step at a time with both hands on the railing.  Phew! 

After the lighthouse, we went to the Naval Air Museum.  The museum is HUGE and filled with lots of different types of planes.  

Future pilot Patrick enjoyed getting into one of the Blue Angel cockpits and giving it a try.

Reagan is giving a Presidential wave as she enters Marine One.  

One of the Blue Angels outside the museum.  

I highly recommend visiting both the Lighthouse and the Naval Air Museum if you are in the area.  The lighthouse does cost to climb up to the top.  You also must have proper shoes or you will be required to go barefoot.  The Naval Air Museum is free and has many Veteran volunteers who are happy to talk to you and your kids about the planes and you maybe will even get a few war stories!  If you ever have an air show come to your area with the Blue Angels performing, I would highly recommend that you go.  They come to the Quad Cities Air Show every few years and always put on a great show.  

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