Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Louisiana Swamp Tour

What did I want for Valentine's Day?  just to do something fun with my family.  I had began searching for Swamp Tours back before we left Guatemala because I knew it was something I wanted us to do while in the States.  I started checking the weather forecast for the New Orleans area about a week out to make sure it was going to warm up enough for us to go.  It was predicted to be nice and sunny for the weekend so we headed out on Valentine's Day afternoon.  It was a beautiful day.
The boys slept most all of the way there.  Cruz woke up when we got off at the LaPlace, LA exit.  He looked around a bit and then yelled out "Glory to God!  We going to the village!".  Bless his heart.  I guess he woke up and thought we were back in Guatemala.    We stopped by McDonald's to get a black coffee (for David) and a white chocolate mocha (for me).  Have you tried those?  I am addicted!
Here are the signs when you enter the property-

David and the boys eager to go

Once inside Cruz immediately spotted this large replica alligator and hopped on.  It was no secret that our family had arrived.  If you have ever been around us for any length of time you'll know that we are LOUD!  Everyone there knew our boys were there and I think everyone there was hoping we were taking a private tour, ha. 

Ben was a little more shy about approaching it.  This is about as close as he would get for a while.

I finally held him in my lap to take a picture and he warmed up after that.

This was our boat.  There were around 20 people on our tour.

the scenery was beautiful!

The first alligator we saw.  The boys loved it!

me and my precious boys

We saw a lot of turtles.  I love turtles. 

This was probably the largest alligator we saw.  He was pretty big.

We saw several raccoons.  They were soo cute!!!  When we would see one the tour guide would stop and throw it a palm sized marshmallow.  It would come out and eat in front of us.  They were very entertaining.

We passed this little "motel".  The guide said you could sleep there for $7.00 a night but you had to stay a minimum of 2 weeks.  I have slept in some remote places but you won't ever find me sleeping there.  ha  It's just a little too close to the water for me.

more scenery

I enjoyed seeing the alligators and other wildlife but I also enjoyed the boat ride and the views.  It was so peaceful there and pretty.

About half way through the tour the guide stops and pulls out his pet alligator.  He goes around and lets anyone that wants to hold it.  He started with the kids and mine were the youngest.  No matter how much coaxing we did, Cruz would not hold it.  The guide came back to him three different times to see if he changed his mind but he didn't.  He would pet it, but did not want to hold it.  I think Ben would have if he were able.

an up close encounter with a young alligator

I do not know what possessed me to say that I would try it but for what ever reason I said yes.  I immediately regretted it and wanted nothing more than to get that thing out of my hands!  I was totally creeped out!  I tried my best to smile so David could take a picture but through my teeth I was saying "HURRY UP AND GET THIS THING!!!".  yikes!

Of course David held it with no problem. 

you can see his mouth was taped up

returning back to dry land
We probably saw at least a dozen alligators, several turtles, snakes, raccoons, and birds.  We all had a fun time.  I think it turned out to be a good choice of an afternoon outing.   I am certain we'll do it again someday.  Maybe it will become a Stateside Assignment tradition.  I've been known to start a few of those, ha.

We got the boys each an alligator at the gift shop.  They LOVE 'em.  They have hardly put them down all weekend.  Cruz has taken his everywhere with him.  It was a great buy.

After the Swamp Tour we drove on into New Orleans for the night.  Below is a short video of Ben dancing in the car.  David was scanning through the radio stations and came across a Spanish music station.  Ben immediately started dancing.  You'll also hear Cruz whining "alligator" because he had dropped his behind the seat and we couldn't reach it to give it back to him.   Oh the joys of traveling with small kids.

I snapped these last two pictures after we had tucked them in bed that night.  They both wanted to sleep with their alligators.

Traveling with these two is a non-stop adventure.  David says often, "we are not ever taking them any where else!!!".  It's hard.  It's stressful.  It's chaotic.  But in spite of all of that it's still fun.  It's our life at this stage and as crazy as our days can be I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

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