My Children Weren't the Only Animals in Florida
I would never visit the Naples Florida area again -- too much driving, too much development, too many strip malls, and too many cars -- but the paradoxical thing is that in between car rides (and boat rides) we saw an enormous amount of flora and fauna; we visited several parks (including Delnor-Wiggins State Park, Barefoot Beach, Keywaydin Island, Big Cypress National Preserve, and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary) and here is an incomplete list of the stuff we saw: Cuban brown anoles, Cuban tree frogs, snowy egrets, ladyfish, lizard fish (apparently, you can put any word in front of "fish" and it is a legitimate fish) blue runner, mangrove snapper, spanish mackerel (we were catching these fish in a boat, and as we reeled them in the dolphins almost ate them, and -- according to my dad's friend-- the owner of the boat-- dolphins occasionally jump in the boat chasing a fish . . . and after we caught the fish, we fed them to the dolphins, which was very fun) a bunny, a bald eagle catching a fish, osprey, pelicans, cormorants, LOTS of big alligators, a baby alligator, a wood stork, a hawk, blue herons, green-backed herons, tri-colored herons, a yellow-crowned night heron, vultures, ibis, sandwich tern, kingfishers, woodpeckers, raccoon, big turtles, snook, alligator gar, a giant water spider, and a school of rays (which Alex and I saw while standing on a paddleboard, and from that vantage point you realize that there's all kinds of stuff swimming around you in the gulf, and that it's best not to think about it).