Say what you will about Facebook, but I find it an awesome tool for staying in touch with friends from around the world. Just like in Microadventure #4, I, once again, discovered an old friend was in Florida. This time, the friend was Christine, someone I’d met in 2017, the year I was working at Mutual of Omaha. Christine was vacationing on her own in Tampa. I gave her a call and found out she only had one day left of her vacation and she’d made a new friend, Kellie, at the airport, who she had plans to meet up with.
Two friendly, single, independent women make perfect Microadventure Buddies! I asked if I could tag along, and received a welcoming thumbs up!
We all met at Kellie’s beautiful new home in Ruskin, FL, which turned out to be exactly the half-way point between Sarasota (where I’m staying) and Tampa (where Christine was staying).
The Gulf Coast is going through a bit of a cold, rainy, cloudy spell right now, so the weather wasn’t exactly the tropical paradise that one would hope for, but still nice, compared to the weather most of the rest of the nation was experiencing.
Our adventure started with a lovely hike at the Wolf Branch Nature Preserve in neighboring Apollo Beach, FL
I just love those big trees with their draping Spanish Moss creating romantic canopies. Bailey, Kellie’s dog enjoyed the expansive trail, too, and was always ahead, scouting the way for us.
Our next stop was the Manatee Viewing Center, offering up more pretty walkways, gift shop, an opportunity to pet stingray, and, of course, the main attraction – a manatee viewing area. The manatee are supposed to be more observable during rainy, cold days, but, unfortunately, we didn’t see any. However, I discovered, you can use Webcams to see them via your computer from anywhere, too! This worked a lot better than the live viewing! They were all over the place!
You can zoom in and adjust your camera, so it’s very cool!
However, of course, being there in person was very fun and I loved seeing all the stingray swim by in the stingray petting area.
Our final stop was the Sunset Grill and Beach Bar, a cute lunch spot on the beach. You can’t go to Apollo Beach without going to the beach, right? Even though it was a bummer that it was a rainy day, it was fun to listen to the live music and enjoy some warming seafood bisque soup.