Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Swamp thing

When we planned this trip I don't think we realized just how much driving we would be doing and I don't think the kids got the memo that no fighting is allowed when you're on vacation. The driving wasn't necessarily a high point of the vacation, although somewhere along those Georgia highways Jason discovered his undying love for Justin Beiber and made us listen to "One Time" until we could sing the lyrics in our sleep.  It was a sad day when we "accidentally" left the CD in the rental car. You can guess what Kylie bought Jason for his birthday when we got back. Anyways, back to the gators....on our way down to Florida we wanted to stop at the Okefenokee swamps.  Kylie has this recurring nightmare involving alligators and is petrified of them so I thought it would be good for her to face her fears.  This sign as you enter was a little unnerving, though....

and this didn't do much to ease her fears as we arrived at the Swamp park...
I, on the other hand, was very excited to see some alligators because I am convinced they are only fast in the water and not on the land (and please don't tell me otherwise) so I figured we could just outrun any that we came across.  We were all scouting out the water and I got so excited when I spotted one on the bank as we were walking into the visitor center.  I think I nearly put Kylie into cardiac arrest.  She told me her heart was about to jump out of her chest and I was no longer allowed to get excited if I saw one, instead I had to use my calmest quietest voice to inform her of any gator sightings.  In the swamp park they had alot of gators in captivity and I think that helped Kylie to view them in a cage and see that they are possibly the laziest animals on earth. They never move.

The hundreds of vultures swarming overhead and hovering in the trees were a little unsettling though...

Maddox's "scary" face whenever he saw one. He wasn't a big fan. 

We went to a demonstration put on by quite possibly to most deep south redneck ever, but he grew on me (the times I actually understood him).  He must get a kick out of scaring the kids in the audience.  They were equally fascinated and frightened by his stories. Like when he told them that if they find a snake in their house that they should let it live there as a pet because it eats the rats and you would rather have a snake then rats because rats will chew off your fingers, toes and noses while you sleep.  It also didn't help when he told them that people would flush baby gators down the toilets and now there are alligators living in the sewer systems in every major city in the U.S. That didn't do much to help comfort her that alligators don't live in AZ and now she's convinced more than ever that an alligator is just going to show up in our swimming pool one day.
He was also kind enough to let us know that if this snake bites it isn't deadly, it will just bleed for about 10 minutes. Right before handing the snake over for our 2 year old to pet.

He was also nice enough to let our kids get up close and personal with the baby gator on their head and face, right after it peed all over another lady.  He was quite the character to say the least.

After that we ventured out beyond the confines of caged in gators to the "real" ones. The swamps really are creepy. No wonder Kylie is a little freaked out.

We took a train ride, which was pretty much lame (but it was either that or a boat ride through the swamps and that was definately not happening). Although it did help fuel Maddox's current train obsession.

Then came the fun part.  A park ranger took us over to a lake and said he would call some gators for us.  Jason and I looked at eachother like he was a kook.  He started calling them like they were dogs but nothing happened so Jason and I just sat there smiling, trying to appease the poor old man.  And then all of the sudden we see about six pairs of little evil beady eyes making their way through the water heading right to us.  We were all in shock and awe until the ranger informed us most graciously that "ya'll best be movin' outta the way, he's fixin' to come after ya'll..." As it was literally no more than 10 feet away from us climbing onto the shore hissing.
Of course this only piqued Jason's curiosity and he was determined to be the next best gator caller these swamps had ever seen.  So after the ranger was out of sight he started trying to call the gators over. The kids thought it was so cool at first, but then they quickly got freaked out when it started working.

(I don't know if Kylie was more scared of the gators or mad at me for taking her picture. She gave me the silent treatment for about 20 minutes after this)

Maddox kept trying to pull Jason away from the bank and out of harm's way

I don't know if the whole "face your fears" was a successful therapy for Kylie, but we all managed to walk away in one piece and had a little fun while we were at it.


Janessa said...

What a fun thereputic family outing. I love all the pictures capturing the fear on their faces. Too bad you don't have a dark hole at your house that you can scare the kids with alligator stories:) Actually it sounds like they heard enough stories to be scared of alligators (and smakes and rats...) for a life time. I'm impressed that Jason mastered the alligator call so quickly. I love the way Maddox was trying to pull him to safety. What a sweet boy! Glad you all survived!

Chelsea said...

oh, i love your posts. I just need to tag along on your family vacations. What an adventure! and seriously how scary, I'm with Kylie, and I know I have heard that they are very fast on land! I loved the hillbilly ranger, and is that an alligator tooth necklace he's wearing? awesome.

Jodee said...

You got some pretty great pics there! So fun! I thought I always wanted to do something like that until we went to Costa Rica and saw some in the river.. that's enough for me thanks. Love the silent treatment pic.

Tyler and Margaret said...

Can not stop laughing!!! Kylie has had some classic pictures lately. Can't wait to see you guys!!