We had our dolphin experience in the morning. Maddie was so excited for this. She had gotten a dolphin pillow pet for Valentine's day and has delayed naming until this very moment when she would meet her dolphin. Then, to our surprise, we met three dolphins. We met with and petted Dash. Then we got a ride from Dexter. After a few rides, Dexter wanted to do his own thing, so we borrowed Rascal from another group. Maddie had so many names to chose from. She pondered and pondered. She finally chose Dash. By the way, Maddie still pronounces "dolphin" with a slight "ah" between the "l" and "ph" making it sound like "dollaphin". I wouldn't want it any other way.
Maddie looks lovingly at Dash.
We spent some time in the aviary with the birds. This is Maddie's favorite bird - the mohawk bird.
See its green mohawk? It also had a bright pink section under its wings. Maddie really enjoyed the birds.
We went to go in the stingray lagoon and Maddie decided it wasn't a place she wanted to be. The stingrays are about 18 inches across - small ones. Their stingers have been removed, but she would not be fooled. She likened them to cockroaches - just really icky. So then we proceeded to the coral reef for some snorkeling. She really wanted to look at the pretty fish. She put her face in the water in the shallow end. Then she saw it: The table sized stingray swam by right up on the shallow part. NO WAY. She kept tyring to go in, but she just couldn't. I got a little snorkeling in, but not much. We snorkeled around the tropical river, which is just like a swimming pool - no fish. We even fell asleep in the sun.
After that adventure was over, we drove an hour to Tampa, found a Five Guys to eat at, and went to our hotel for the night. Next morning we were up and off to Busch Gardens. It was a wonderful day to go there. There weren't any lines on any rides. The day was sunny and warm. Maddie had done her research and made a list of the rides she wanted to ride. She packed that list, and then she made sure to have it with her as we entered the park. Upon seeing one of the "approved" rides, she changed her mind and crossed it off. We rode two water rides and were completely soaked so we didn't feel the need to ride a third. We browsed in stores.
We fed the lorikeets.Maddie got a henna tattoo. I am a firm disbeliever in tattoos, but this doesn't bother me. It is like finger nail polish or hair dye - not permanent. She picked a pretty hibiscus flower design.
After the tattoo, we walked around a little more. Maddie noted that her list was checked off and she was complete. So, she was ready to go home. I'm sure if friends had been along, she could have stayed the rest of the day. I didn't mind as it wold put us home around 6:30. We headed off for the 3 1/2 hour drive home. What a delightful time with Maddie. She was always thoughtful and so fun to be with. We laughed a lot. I'm so glad to have had that time with her.