When we first arrived in Florida, we stopped in Apalachicola / St. George Island for 2 nights, and found it to be relaxing and enchanting.  The first 3 photos show this area, including a wonderful park that we could walk to from our motel.  We sat and read there for quite a while.  The whole neighborhood around the park and motel was great for walking.
 
Next we visited the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park (4,5,6), which showcased manatees up close and a learning session about the extraordinary creatures.  There were many birds there as well, and some pretty cute looking owls.
 
The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore (7 through 10) were, perhaps, the most incredible find of our journey.  This huge area is owned by NASA, and is just north of the Kennedy Space Center (see more on that on our next posting).  We shared the seashore with only a very few others, and the water was as pristine as any place we’ve been before.  There was also a great expanse of salt marshes, in which we saw many wild birds, including a Roseate Spoonbill.
 
As we started north and west on our Florida loop, we came across a beautiful botanical garden in Gainesville (11 though 14), which featured giant bamboo trees, a little waterfall, and many kinds of flora.  You can also see how moss hangs from many of the trees, which is typical of Florida. 
 
We love to hike, so naturally we stopped at several Florida state parks to do just that (15, 16).  We encountered one that had quite a bit of flooding from previous heavy rains (15).  Indeed, the natural side of this state is quite alluring to us.  However, we did the Disney thing as well.  We’ll post on that and NASA soon.
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