Canaveral National Seashore! We had never visited Canaveral and I gotta tell you, it was not easy figuring out where to go. From looking online, I could see that there are 3 separate divisions to the park. We chose the closest one, Playalinda Beach, which is also the farthest one south.
When we got to the entrance gate, there was a sign posted saying that the Ranger Station was closed for the day. What??? I pulled off to the side to look up the phone number for a different area of the park to see if any of them were open that day and while I was doing that a Ranger walked by in the distance. I hopped out of the car and hurried over to ask her about getting a few Jr. Ranger books for the kids and she happily obliged :). Yay! She didn't know if any of the other places would be open (they were having offsite training that day), but she said we could mail them in when we were done if we needed to. Ok, good enough :).
After spending some time down on Playalinda Beach, we were ready to head to the next part of the park...Seminole Rest.
It was about a 45 minute drive and at the end was just a parking lot adjoining some restrooms. Hmmm...ok. There were some signs and a path, so we started walking...
The first thing we came to was Mosquito Lagoon. We read the signs and realized that the hill right next to us was actually one of the ancient Indian Mounds that this part of the park is known for. Cool :)!
Following the path, it wasn't long until a pretty house on a hill (the mound) came into view...
This house, called the Instone house, was built in the late 1800's just as the area began to be settled. The owners had the home built atop the high mound and it was this decision that saved the mound from being destroyed. Back then, folks would dig into these historic mounds and use the shells for fill material during road construction, etc. Can you imagine??? SO much history was lost...
We walked along the water...
|that swing looks so inviting :)...|
...then headed up to the house. And, it was closed for the day.
So, we walked around the outside of it and then headed on down the path...
It was right about this time that the mosquito's that the lagoon is named for made their appearance, so we high-tailed it back to our car :).
On to the last part of the park...Apollo Beach.
None of the places in the park would come up on a map when we tried to get directions. So save yourself some trouble and just go by the directions on the NPS website. Way easier :). Ok, so we had another 45 minute or so drive to Apollo Beach. I did actually call ahead first to make sure this one would be open... and it was :)! My second recommendation...if the main purpose of your visit is to see the exhibits and things inside the buildings, call ahead (even if the website says they will be open, cause they might not be).
At Apollo we had fun checking out the turtle shell displays in the Visitor Center and watching the movie. The Ranger was nice, she patiently answered all of the kids questions and then checked over their Jr. Ranger books when they were finished with them.
|4 brand new Canaveral National Seashore Jr. Rangers :)|
We didn't get to see the park exactly the way we had planned, but it all worked out. We were able to see parts of each place and together they gave us a good picture of the area. :)