Since we had the day off from brave camp, we decided that we'd see if we could sneak in an animal related adventure for Tiny, who - as far as creatures go - is one of our more adventurous children.
Instead of the zoo, or the seaquarium, or even the well-paved Monkey Jungle, we decided to head a little bit off the beaten path towards Safari Ed-ventures in Homestead, Florida.
The whole experience can be summed up in two syllables:
What was I thinking?
It is not an exaggeration to say that the heat, my herpetophobia, and generalized anxiety - this is what my version of hell would look like.
My first clue should have been the entrance:
We probably still could've gotten our money back after the bathroom. The latch (or lack thereof) clearly indicates that nobody's getting too comfortable in there anyway. The massive spiders hanging from the ceiling damn near spelled out Charlotte's Web style: "Get out!", and I'm pretty sure there toilet tank was pulling double duty as housing for the Burmese python.
The rest of the exhibit exhibited of twisted leaf-strewn pathways through the jungle - you know, the kind of brown, dead foliage that copperheads use to raise their families.
But even that I could handle. There was a little bit of ashphalt I could run to for safety. It was this right here:
Why no running?
I mean we're outdoors in the great-wide beyond, so why the big concern?
I'll tell you why:
We paid $55 to walk into somebody's science experiment. God only knows what was lurking in the underbrush at this place, I swear a compsagnathus ran right across my foot - on it's hind legs! (I found him later by the cockatoo cage smoking a pack of camels and smack talking the lemurs).
I wasn't afraid of anything I actually saw there - including the python, tarantula, African bullfrog or alligator, all of which which I willingly admired and touched. It's what I COULDN'T SEE that was freaking me out.
But it wasn't all creeptastic. We also get to pet a kangaroo, hold a chinchilla and a ferret (Tiny's favorite). There was much oohing and ahhing over petting the sloth, and we got to walk into the wolf enclosure and pet all of the wolves too.
Then it was a quick stop for fresh fruit smoothies and then back to the hotel for more cousins, more pool, more adventure.