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Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures


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^^^ ^^ ^ You guys are the best!

 

I've been toying with the idea of a 1-photo update since the Smoky Mountain thread, and now I've finally done one. So...yay.

 

Expect a proper update tomorrow. You may not get one--but, you know, expect one.

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The Key West Aquarium is the worst aquarium we've ever been to--because it's tiny, ancient, and funky. Of course, it's also the best aquarium we've ever been to, as well--because it's tiny, ancient, and funky.

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The aquarium is in the Mallory Square "tourism-central" area of Key West.

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Hey, way to ruin the shot, brat.

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Just inside the building is this "maritime history" display.

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By far the best thing about this place is the place itself. Which is to say, the building--which I'm pretty sure was built by Battlestar Galactica's Colonials, or at the very least the ancient Egyptians.

 

Now, take a close look at this photo. What's your first thought? If you're anything like me, it was probably, "Okay, it's not very big, but their thing is touch pools and they have a bunch of them. In fact, the whole middle area is touch pools." But, like me, you'd be wrong. Only the front pool is an actual touch pool. All the low-level pools beyond that are what are technically known as "incredibly dangerous."

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Speaking of the touch pool, this is a conch. Looks tasty, don't it?

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Me, I would have painted a mural of swimming fish. But sure, dudes unloading crates of dead fish from boats is cool, too.

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"Hey baby, got any eggs you need me to carry around for you?" *wink, wink*

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"I found that joke offensive, thank you very much."

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Yes, it's the true mark of thoughtful animal husbandry, inviting your guests to shine a flashlight into sleeping animals' eyes!

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"I'd really rather you didn't."

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There's a guided tour if you wish. Which is funny because the entire aquarium is, like, 8 feet long. Honestly, the place is so small that there's no real way to *avoid* the tour once it gets going.

 

This middle pool contain sea turtles and stingrays, by the way. Which aren't really that dangerous, I guess. Still, most places try to make barriers that are higher than your center of gravity.

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Here's what I learned from the tour: The reason this turtle is so ugly is because it has scoliosis. No, seriously. I didn't know they could get that, either. But don't worry, the aquarium is working on making the turtle a nice vest it can wear.

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Hey, what's in this pool?

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Holy crap!

 

Oh, by the way, don't put your hands in there.

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Now, I know you really want to pet a shark, so don't worry: One of the employees will just haul one up out of the water for you to pet.

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"Dude, that chick just totally pulled one of the sharks out of the water! It's dying!"

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"Go ahead. Pull me out of the water."

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There is slightly more to the aquarium than just the main building. In fact, there are two seperate outdoor areas. This is the one for midgets.

 

(Okay, okay--the archway isn't actually as low as the photo makes it look.)

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Ladies and gentlemen, fish *outside*!

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Smisty spots something out of sorts....

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"Um...I'm not a fish. Or even a mammal. I'm a bird. Can you, um, let me out now?"

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"Dude, relax. We got a good thing going here!"

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This is a weird photo. But then, the Key West Aquarium is a weird place.

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"Hey, thanks for the mulch, toolbags! It's just like back home in the swamp!"

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The second outdoor area, unsurprisingly, is also weird.

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"Hey, wait a minute! 'Turtles bite'? Fudge you! Humans bite! Oh...wait, you meant...? Oh, yeah, okay, we do do that. Sorry."

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Most times I just stare at the photo until a caption comes to me. But that's not working in this case.

 

There you go, a little glimpse into my "process."

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Turns out that door isn't really supposed to be open.

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Hey, that's cool, a touch pool in a row boat.

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"Hey, this isn't a touch pool! But they only put up two little signs! And they never even come check on us! It's...it's horrible!"

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A conch display. Delicious conch.

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Now, hang on here. Are we seriously to believe that the Key West Aquarium is inviting us to put our mouths on this thing?

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An overview of the back area. I kind of get the feeling that this used to be the front entrance, though, based on the sign.

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Heading back in, looking down the length of the building.

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The educational portion of this update. Yeah, I know you're not gonna read it. Let me just summarize: It was the Great Depression, so the government sent a bunch of hobos down to Key West to paint stuff. Ta-da!

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The Goliath Grouper waves goodbye.

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"Look kids, it's Nemo! And he wants us to leave!"

 

The Key West Aquarium: Terrifyingly awesome!

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Great photos! Oddly, the Key West Aquarium reminds me of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. It has the same type of mismatched "feel" to it.

 

I guess I need to venture to the Clearwater Aquarium as you are somehow persona non grata there.

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I guess I need to venture to the Clearwater Aquarium as you are somehow persona non grata there.

 

No no, they're not unhappy with us (so far as I know), we are boycotting them!

 

/Clearwater = evil.

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I want to check out the Clearwater Marine Aquarium sometime. I live maybe 15 minutes away. Besides Winter (the dolphin that uses a prosthetic tail), there's Panama the dolphin, who they recently discovered is deaf, plus they just rescued an orphaned baby dolphin that's going to share the pool with Winter once she's big enough. They also have some turtles and river otters along with some other stuff.

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If you follow either Smisty or myself on Twitter or facebook, then you already know how excited we were for this next one....

 

The Great American Pie Festival

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Ah, Celebration, the town Walt Disney didn't build.

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There was an exotic car show in town at the same time, but that's not really our bag.

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It's the pie-nal countdown!

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There is nothing that isn't funny about this sign.

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From the website: "The American Pie Council® (APC) is the only organization dedicated to preserving America's pie heritage and promoting America's love affair with pies."

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Simply awesome.

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We decided to start with some real food. Er...sort of.

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Yes, this is a cheeseburger with brisket on top. And yes, it was amazing.

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The "world's largest pinball machine."

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I'm on a pie-way to hell!

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I'm so happy I could pie!

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Yes, they're about to open up the best thing here: the Never Ending Pie Buffet.

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Must...not...be...distracted.

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The buffet consisted of six or seven different companies offering 4-6 of their best and/or most interesting types of pie.

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Honestly, I'm not sure how many different types of pie there were altogether, as many companies had overlapping offerings. Still, there was plenty of variety.

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Wait...shellfish?

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White Chocolate Cherry Dream ended up being my personal favorite.

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Publix grocery was also there, offering pie, ice cream, and swag!

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And Village Inn gave out little binocular thingies (in addition to pie, of course).

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It's 92 degrees out and there's almost no shade. Who wants coffee?

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The topping bar looked interesting, but turned messy pretty quickly. We passed.

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The California Raisin Marketing Board brought some pretty interesting pies. The one pictured turned out to be Misty's favorite, and she doesn't even like raisins.

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S'cuse me while I kiss this pie!

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Smisty is not unimpressed.

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Sometimes I just can't resist pie-eling it on.

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Heading back for round two, we find it's...picked up a little.

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Isn't Key Lime pie supposed to be green-ish? Oh well, it was really good!

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And this week's 'Misty is going to kill me photo' is....

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Moving away from the pie buffet we find plenty of other pie-related activities.

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A dream come true, for me. Check one off the list.

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Cooking demonstration? Check. Me misreading the sign as "demon station"? Check.

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Okay, so we paid $2.00 for a bottle of water at the food truck, it's free in the buffet area, and here it's...I don't even know.

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Spin the wheel for a free prize! Also, there was a drawing for the grill.

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Which Misty won.

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Bounce house!

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And, for some reason, a parrot.

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"Piecasso" pie-pan decorating. I approve of this pun.

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And last, but certainly not least, bored children waiting to do something fun.

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At last The Pie Judge arrives and it's time for the pie eating contest!

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Good job, kids! We're not laughing at you, honest.

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It was hot, it was crowded, and we had to carry this damned grill all the way to our car--but we had loads of fun!

 

And about 17 slices of pie, between us.

 

I want to pie like an eagle, to the C...! (Celebration, that is.)

 

Pie pie now.

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It's 92 degrees out and there's almost no shade. Who wants coffee?

 

Old people that's who! Seriously, old people could be on the surface of the sun and they'd still want bad hot coffee!

 

Awesome report! I don't like pie, but this is always an event I watch on the food network and would love to check out. Did you see any of the contest reveals or anything like that?

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Isn't Key Lime pie supposed to be green-ish? Oh well, it was really good!

I don't claim to know much about pies, but I do know that the best Key Lime pie is brownish in color. The green is usually the cheap stuff.

 

A few points about the report:

-Loved it.

- It was nice to see a bit of Celebration again. The place is somewhat creepy in a "Truman Show" sense, yet fascinating at the same time. And I do love the golf course there as well.

- The second pic was obviously my favorite.

- My wife would probably be in the coffee line.

- Congrats on the grill.

- Did you play the pinball machine?

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Some of us were told we could no longer mention pie in these here parts many moons ago. A true travesty, at it should be it's own food group.

 

We almost moved to Celebration way back when they were building it. I hate my parents for not doing it. And now I have an even bigger reason why!

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Koreans love their hot coffee too. I'll never forget thinking I was starting to get Heat Stress at Everland, where I could find NO A/C at all. I get in line for a bottle of water, and the jackass in front of me orders an espresso. It was 95 and humid. And of course, it took a couple minutes to make for him. Meanwhile, my vision is blurring.

 

-RO

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Did you play the pinball machine?

 

Well, it wasn't really a pinball machine, is the thing. More like plinko. So, no.

 

 

Which day did the two of you go?

 

We were only able to attend on Sunday. Got there early, but were wiped out (by the sun) by 3:00pm.

 

 

Did you see any of the contest reveals or anything like that?

 

I assume that stuff happened on Saturday. There didn't seem to be anything like that while we were there.

 

And, in closing, let me just say: Pie!

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