Monday, August 26, 2013

Independence Day {part 2}...

After a full day of sight seeing, it was time to go find our hotel.  I had chosen the Courtyard Marriott Downtown because it is right across from Pensacola Bay and that's where they do the big fireworks show.  I really wanted to be able to just park the car and walk to/from the festivities (all that traffic at night is just too much).

I'm really glad I had reservations!  The parking lot entrance was manned by a person with a list of all guests...if your name wasn't on that list, you weren't getting in.  Because of its close proximity to the bay and the fireworks show, they obviously have problems with people trying to park for free in their lot.

We got in no problem, checked in to our room, and proceeded to be as lazy as possible for the next hour or two ;).  While we were lounging in our room, the kids had time to get their Jr. Ranger books mostly done.  We had a dinner of room service pizza (much to my children's delight), and then it was time to wander out and find the festivities.

All we had to do was follow the crowd :).  Everybody was headed towards the bay to claim their spot for the evening.  There were a lot of people there, but there was also a really big open it didn't feel crowded or anything.  We picked a spot, threw down a few blankets, and got comfy.

We had made a stop at the Dollar Tree the day before and I'm so glad we did.  The kids got a variety of glow stick things and they had the best time playing with them while we waited for it to get dark.

I loved the added safety factor they provided...there was no way I could misplace a kiddo with all the glow stick bling they had on ;)!

The fireworks were beautiful, as we knew they would be :)...

We had a great evening!  It was so nice to just walk across the street and go to bed when it was all done instead of having to sit in all that traffic.

The next morning, it was raining when we woke up.  So, we did the only thing we could possibly do in that situation...we rolled over and went right back to sleep. Hehehe...

The rain did quit late morning (it had been raining HARD) and we were able to get checked out of the hotel and on with our day.  It wasn't quite time for the tour of Fort Barrancas, so we drove across the bay to the Naval Live Oaks Visitor Center.  The land there was purchased by the US Gov't in 1828 and Live Oak trees were grown for the Navy to use in ship building...very interesting!

The VC was small, but nicely done inside.  There were lots of hands on exhibits that the kids enjoyed...

Naval Live Oaks is also part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore (just like Fort Barrancas where we picked up the Jr. Ranger books) so the kids were able to finish up and get their badges while we were there.

We didn't have much time to spend at the NLO, we had to leave to get to our much anticipated tour at the fort!  We made it just in time to join up with the Ranger and a small group.  Rather than reinvent the wheel, I'm just gonna let you read what it says on the NPS site.  This is basically what the Ranger told us while touring the grounds, too...

"Fort Barrancas sits on a bluff overlooking the entrance to Pensacola Bay. The natural advantages of this location have inspired engineers of three nations to build forts. The British built the Royal Navy Redoubt here in 1763 of earth and logs. The Spanish built two forts here around 1797. Bateria de San Antonio was a masonry water battery at the foot of the bluff. Above it was earth and log Fort San Carlos de Barrancas. American engineers remodeled the Water Battery in 1840 and built a masonry fort on the bluff between 1839 and 1844, connected by a tunnel to the Water Battery. This is the current Fort Barrancas. A $1.2 million, eighteen-month restoration project led to its reopening in 1980."-NPS

With all the rain that morning, it was really humid.  Hot and humid...mucho.  We still had fun, but I would honestly recommend going during any other time of the year than the summer.  It would be way more pleasant without the extreme heat and the biting bugs...they were there, too.

the bugs were after my girl :(
 Yep, we are definitely planning a return trip sometime in the middle of winter :).

P.S.  Happy {very late} 4th of July!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment