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Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures


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I always enjoyed the Congo River mini-golf place near my house till they closed and a car rental shop took its place. I always enjoyed the scavenger hunt and theming they had going on, pretty nice for mini-golf. How did you guys make it back after the steering gave out, did you go all Macgyver?

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  • 1 year later...

So, it's been over a year since I've updated this thread. I think that makes it officially abandoned. Except...it's not!

 

Here's the deal: I don't have as much free time these days as I used to, and we've gotten really into board gaming over the last two years, so we haven't been oddventuring as much. Having said that, I do still have an update or two up my sleeve, and I want to get them on here, because... *dun dun dun* ...we're going to be leaving Orlando in April.

 

That's right, after four years in the theme park capital of the world, we're bored. So, time for something new. To where are we moving, you didn't actually ask? Well, rather than give a direct answer (because that would be far too easy, apparently), I'm just going to direct you to our trip report from September and let you figure it out.

 

I'm not sure how many more updates there will be between now and April, but I am working on one right now that I'm pretty excited about. So stay tuned!

 

I guess you don't really tune in to this.... Um, keep your eyes peeled...?

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You're moving to Primm! I love Primm. I spent many a childhood day whittling away the hours until Paw Paw would come home to the trailor park drunk from Whisky Pete's. I remember the fond look in his eyes as he backhanded Maw Maw for not having supper out and ready at 2am. The soft purr of me n' meh kin whimpering ourselves to sleep after a rousing game of catch the lit cigarette butt. Good times! Good times! You will love it there! So much to do, so many unmarked graves to dig up. Afterall, Primm is the shallow grave capitol of the United States. It's weird though. No one from Primm was ever burried there. If someone at the park would kick it, the Marshall would just ship em off to Vegas. No one could figure out where all the dead bodies were comin from. You'd just black out from yer weekly Friday night beating, wake up early to get outta the trailor before Daddy woke up angry, head out to tha Desert, and look fer tha buzzards circling. And BAM! Dead body! Maw Maw said that them bodies were bad kids who didn't brush their teeth, went to the cops and told lies about their parents. That Tooth Fairy sure did have a bad temper.

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How many times have we driven by this one? Too many to count. Ah, but today! Today....

 

Fantasy of Flight

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It has a front gate. So that's exciting.

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And a ropes course thingy. Also, it's possible we may have been there a bit early.

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But there's plenty to do, even so! Like, take photos! Or walk around this labyrinth thing, which is all very new-age and meditative and not like a maze at all, unfortunately.

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Is it open yet? No? I'm very excited about a hanger full of old airplanes. COME ON!!!

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In addition to being an airplane museum, Fantasy of Flight is also a de facto tribute to its creator, Kermit Weeks. Maybe, too much so. Here we see an inspirational message from Mr. Weeks regarding the inspirational inscription on the building, also by Mr. Weeks. The reverence of it all might not be so weird if he wasn't so completely still alive. It's like going to a William Shatner museum.

 

Hang on, I have to Google something.

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The main lobby gives you some options: An information counter, restaurant, bathrooms, and Amelia Earhart to the right...

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...inspirational stuff and the gift shop (where you also buy the tickets, for some reason) to the left...

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...and, kind of between those, the entrance to the hangers-full-of-airplanes and...wait, what's this now? "Immersive environments"?!

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I'm a man of the world, if you catch my drift. I've been to some airplane museums. I think I know what to expect at them. I did not expect to begin my looking-at-airplanes adventure today by jumping out of one, even virtually. And yet, here we are.

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I haven't even seen a real airplane yet*, and already this is the best airplane museum ever.

 

*Actually, I've seen like 10 already, just not in a big hanger. Look, just, shut up.

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Ah, the fantasy of World War I, from the trenches!

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Look, it's an airplane! Maybe it'll be friends with us!

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The famous tunnel that connected WWI and WWII.

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By this point, I was about ready to erect an inspirational monument to Kermit Weeks myself.

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Sometimes people ask me what single thing I've taken the most photos of. (Note: No one has ever actually asked me that.) And the answer is: Misty's back.

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But wait, we don't just look at this WWII bomber, we actually walk through it. And we learn something.

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We learn that WWII-era servicemen were a hell of a lot skinnier than we are.

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I include this photo, not because it is good, but because I want to explain how cool this is. See, these are bombs. Well, probably not real bombs. But maybe. I don't really know. The point is, bombs, okay? And below this catwalk thing we're standing on is a video screen that shows your bomb bay doors open up to reveal the sky. Which is cool. Really cool. And, also, the same technology as Harry Potter!

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In addition to loving airplanes, Kermit Weeks is also a big Styx fan.

 

(Please don't. I know. It was just a joke.)

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Leaving the "immersive environments," we find ourselves at last in a big hanger full of old airplanes and the world returns to sanity.

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A view from the catwalks (see background of previous photo). There's a weird thing up here, too. Every 10 feet or so, along the wall, there are either three different photos with the same captions, or three identical photos with different captions. Not sure what I mean? Scroll down!

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See, I would have said "whore," myself.

 

Or, "alien."

 

...

 

Why the hell is she standing in a swamp?!

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Sexy, sexy racism.

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For a bunch more money, you can fly in a real plane. Or, for no extra money, you can sit here and pretend.

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There are lots of little side rooms and workshops you can peek into, as well.

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I have no idea what happens in here, but I imagine it involves manly men drinking manly alcohols.

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This was cute. Except, you know, I couldn't for the life of me remember how to make a paper airplane.

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Hang gliding simulator. Clever idea. Some theme park should do this on a bigger scale.

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There are also lots of educational videos. But you're not here to learn, are you?

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Memorabilia. Interestingly, it all has price tags. Because it's for sale, or they're just bragging...?

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The Compass Rose Restaurant is in the main building, but outside the area you have to pay to go into, and attracts lots of folks from the nearby campground. The food's pretty decent, too.

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The gift shop is nice enough.

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One of these things does not belong.

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This tram takes you across the street to view other buildings full of incomplete and as-yet-unrestored airplanes. Its schedule never properly matched ours, however, so I can't tell you much more about that.

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A properly flying airplane! Behind, I mean. I suppose we could still do that. I certainly wouldn't object to returning to Fantasy of Flight. And Misty and I both heartily recommend that you visit, as well.

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Well?

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Wow, FoF looks really cool. I've passed by it a million times and have never been there thinking it was just a bunch of old planes sitting in a building. It looks far more interesting. I do miss however, the old display they used to have along I-4 of the "crashed" airplane with the guy hanging out of it. I always found that to be quite funny, but read that the local sherrifs office found it to be annoying because of the clueless tourists who constantly called about a plane crash along I-4. Now the plane sits there as if its taking off. Oh well, so much for lost humor.

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I haven't been to Fantasy of Flight in a while, but it still looks great. I should stop by to eat at the Compass Rose Restaurant again one day.

 

Now you need to visit another attraction down the street you've passed by many times...the waterski museum!

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To elaborate on what Misty said: We were going to possibly do the Water Ski Hall of Fame the same day as Fantasy of Flight, since they're quite close to each other. However, their hours are 10-5, Monday through Friday.

 

I feel like I need to highlight this point: The Water Ski Museum is closed on the weekends.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The Jacksonville Zoo had been on our list for a while, being in Florida, as it is--but it wasn't until our friends Corinne and Lauren moved up there that we finally decided to make the trip.

 

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

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Yay, a new zoo credit!

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Let's start with the aviary! Or, more precisely, an aviary. Because this zoo has a few of them. Which is good. I like aviaries. There's no joke here. Move on.

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Most of this zoo is very nice. There are a few rough sections, but this isn't one of them. It's laid out fairly well, too.

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This is the cheetah exhibit, allegedly. As almost-zoo enthusiasts, we can tell you, you're never going to see all the animals any zoo claims to have.

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"So what? I'm way cooler than any cheetah!"

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I really wanted to go on the train, but Corinne and Lauren were all like, "No, trains are stupid. Shut up, Erik."

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BFR, yo.

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YES

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NO

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This lioness was very disappointed by the fake zebra.

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No further explanation was provided, but we don't really need one, do we? I'm sure nothing bad happened. Why would anyone even think that?

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There were actually two bald eagles, but I only took a picture of one. Well, actually, I took photos of both of them, but I'm only going to show you one, because the other eagle was ugly.

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Yes, he's asleep. But very out in the open, so that's a zoological victory, really.

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Corinne, Smisty, and Lauren in front of some kind of plant monster?

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In addition to aviaries, this zoo also has lots of reptile houses. Which is, again, a good thing.

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This is a type of snake.

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And this is a frog doing pantomime.

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There's even a nice old lady exhibit. It's hard to make her out, but she's there, in the back, asleep.

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Jacksonians love feeding giraffes. This was the only thing in the zoo that was swamped.

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The gardens were a bit underwhelming--but, to be fair, it was February.

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The main restaurant was surprisingly nice.

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I didn't take a photo of the food, because I didn't want Corinne and Lauren to think me weird. In retrospect, taking a photo of the menu was probably just as bad, though....

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My favorite part of the Jacksonville Zoo was The Lost Temple. A nicely South American themed reptile house inside, and Jaguars outside.

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I'm not sure what I was going for here, but I think what I achieved was a look of smugness...?

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A mother jaguar having a sleepy lick-fight with her cub, for those of you who are into super cute things.

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And, another aviary!

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I'm not sure what kind of bird this is, but he's very excitable.

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Hmmm, I see where the kids' entrance is, but how do adults get into the maze?

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Hey, a carousel!

 

That adults can't ride, because screw you, Erik & Misty.

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Penguins. But the stupid kind you can see anywhere.

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Lauren is perplexed at how to brush a goat in a bucket.

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It's like they couldn't agree on what excuse to use....

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The rear end of the zoo. Or, as we almost-zoo enthusiasts call it, the back part.

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Corinne is sad because she paid a dollar to feed lorikeets but none of them are hungry. Serves her right for not letting me ride the train.

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"We are not dead," insists this rather suspicious sign.

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Randomly, a pier that you can walk out on to for legitimately no reason.

 

See, now, this is the reason we go places. Because, seriously, there's no reason for this and it's awesome.

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The, um...the what now?

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The Asia section is new, but has so little in it yet as for me to question why it's open at all.

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Heading back toward the front, we get some hot lemur action. By which I mean, here are some lemurs.

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Some of the primate areas were quite run down. But, to be fair, there didn't appear to be anything in those areas, so I guess that's okay...? And, anyway, this isn't a photo of that. This is a tiger.

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I actually did make everyone ride the train with me. Come on...it's me.

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The view from the train. And Erik is happy. Oh, yeah.

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An elephant and a giraffe.

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I have no idea what that is.

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Corinne is sad again because we didn't get to see the Great Ape Fight House.

 

And, also, she's just sad a lot.

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Lie to all your friends about the animals you saw at the Jacksonville Zoo via your refrigerator!

 

Thanks for reading. And thanks to Corinne, Lauren, and Alex (never properly shown, sorry) for hanging out with us and showing us around J-Town!

 

J-Town. That's a thing, right? I'm just assuming it is.

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