Day 238 – 4/26/21 Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Clearwater Beach

We had a nice day visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and Clearwater Beach.

It was a quieter morning with everyone sleeping in, at least close to the time I usually wake up the girls.  Bia woke up a bit before 8:30, and so did Carol.  Bella had to be woken up as she was still sleeping as we got close to 9.

I was able to get my writing done before everyone was up, and also did some catch up on emails.  I got Bella’s school work for the week printed, and got the girls started with school, then went for a run.  Oh, and before I left, I let both girls know we will have a two day screen detox, so no electronics or watching YouTube today or tomorrow, and they can resume on Wednesday.  They were both fine with that, but did ask me once or twice later if they could anyway, I said no and we had no issues.  I took the trail to the left this time and liked it even more.  I felt the trail was even wider that way, and almost right away it goes over a canal with mangroves, etc.  It’s a very nice trail.  I looked this trail up later and it is huge and goes through a large area of the coast around here, and I could see it went all the way up to Clearwater at least.  I definitely want to take the bike on this path and explore it a bit more.  Anyway, I had a great run, added a mile in there to make up for the weekend and it was great.  After I got back I showered, finished a proposal for work and sent it, then started working on packing for today’s adventure.

Carol was busy all morning.  She did the laundry, towels and bedding.  She cleaned the trailer and bathroom, vacuumed the floors which had a good amount of sand from all these beach days.  She also made lunch, which were empanadas, and turned out awesome.

The girls had a good day of school.  Bia had a shorter day than usual and was done before lunch.  Bella had a normal day, but was not all done by time we decided to leave right after lunch, so she has a few extra things tomorrow.  With Bia done for the day, we finished packing after lunch and left for the day. While we were getting ready, Bia decided to vacuum the truck to take the sand out, that was nice.

Our destination was the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  I took the longer way there, which was going through all the beaches.  We drove by Madeira Beach first, and I went check it out and get pictures, it’s a nice beach.  Then we drove through Redington Beach, Indian Shores Beach, and Bellair Beach, before getting to Clearwater.  Bellair Beach called our attention with some massive beautiful homes right by the water.  Carol looked some up and they were in the 15-20 million dollar range, wow!  All those beach cities looked very nice, and their beaches looked nice.  This is a very nice area overall.  I wanted to stop and check out every beach, but Carol didn’t want to so we drove straight to the aquarium, and we got there around 1:30.

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is where they filmed the Dolphin Tails movies, and we had watched the first one with the girls before.  Carol really wanted to go there and knew the girls would love it.  Overall, it is very cool to visit, see the areas where the movie was filmed, see some animals from the movie, especially Winter which is the main subject of the first movie.  That dolphin is still there and on a big new tank now.  The girls did get a kick out of seeing the old section which is where the movie was shot.  They recognized the areas, the Dolphins and even the pelican from the movie.  Bia even said a few times “I can’t believe we are here, where they filmed that movie, this is so cool”. 

We paid extra to see a VR (Virtual Reality) show where they go under water to see dolphins and whales.  That was pretty cool, and even though it was a bit glitchy at times, it was a cool experience to see the under water VR adventure. 

We also paid extra for a behind the scenes tour, where they take you to see the water treatment plant, where they make food for the animals, tell you more about the hospital work they have, and first response, etc.  It was cool to learn a bit more.  Overall though, there is not a ton of animals to see.  That is a hospital and treatment center, and they only have a handful of permanent residents, so while it was cool to visit, I felt the price was a bit too high.  The girls definitely enjoyed it and were talking about Winter for a while later in the day, and how they’d tell their friends this or that. 

We left there around 4:30 and went to Clearwater Beach.  I picked a spot just a few blocks from the pier, where I had seen a restaurant by the water with parking next to it.

We went to Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, mainly because of location.  It took a few minutes to get a parking spot, but we got one right there, and were in the restaurant just before 5.  We ordered a bunch of portions of seafood, grouper, shrimp, crab cakes, and Bella ordered a Taco meal that came with 3 chicken tacos.  We got some cold drinks, and were sitting inside, but right by the beach. 

Bella must have been hungry because she ate all of her Tacos!  wow.  The first portion of shrimp that arrived was cold cocktail shrimp, and it was for Bia and she didn’t like it, so we ordered another one of fried shrimp, and she loved that one.  We ate all of our food, and were ready to go for a walk on the beach. 

We headed out towards the water, foot in the sand.  And wow, that sand is amazing.  It felt so great to step on that sand.  It is super thin white powder type of sand.  Just awesome.  Earlier in the day when we were packing, Bella said she did not want to go to the beach.  Now that we were walking on this sand, and then walking by the water, she wanted to go back to the truck to get her swimming suit. hahahaha… too late, we’ll have to come back tomorrow.  The water was nice and clear, and just warm enough to feel great.  There were a lot of people around, but with the amount of space it did not feel packed. 

We walked by the pier a little, then walked back, putting in about 40 minutes and just over a mile.  Carol and the girls grabbed a few shells in the process too, and we did plenty of people watching.  There were a lot of younger people at this beach, which is the opposite of Naples :).  The sun was setting and I got some nice pictures as we walked back.

From there, we got back to the truck and headed back home.  On the way back, we planned that once we got home we’d all shower and watch a little bit of one of the Dolphin Tales movies.  So that’s what we did.  The girls showered, Carol folded laundry, I did the dishes from lunch, and we were all set.  We were able to watch the first half of the movie at least before it was time to put the girls to bed.  It was cool to see all the scenes in the places we were just in, and the girls recognized all the little spots and animals..  After the girls were out, Carol read a book, and I just checked Facebook for a while before falling asleep.  I did put some biking stuff out, so I was mostly ready for tomorrow.  I want to bike on the Pinella’s trail tomorrow.

We had a really nice day at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and also checking out Clearwater Beach.

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