Besides time spent at the beach and pool. we tried to take the kids on trips to some attractions in Sarasota which are appealing to their age group. As we have every year we enjoyed hours at Mote Aquarium and had lunch at the New Pass Grill which we have visited every years since 2007 when we first came to Venice. We walked, played and had lunch at the Marie Selby Botanical gardens where the pool of koi with a serene looking statue of Buddha and the temple bell which they could strike themselves were a delight to Sofia and Clara. And we finally located and visited Jungle Gardens, an older style Florida attraction which has been in business since 1940. My high school friend Mary Alice has been promoting this since the first year we were here, but this was the first time we were able to get there. It was fun. The girls loved the reptile show and the fascinating birds and trails. But we had a bit of slightly scary experience when we found ourselves in the Flamingo Lagoon. Flamingos are large birds and since the park sells food to feed them, we discovered they can be a bit aggressive about trying to get it from the visitors. Poor Clara ended up having her leg nipped by one. This was not a serious injury, more of a simple scratch, but it frightened her quite a bit.
My daughter has taught them to say, “No thank you,” when someone is doing something they don’t like. Indeed, she says, “No thank you” to them when she isn’t happy with what they are doing. So for the next several days we heard Clara’s firm little voice declaring, “No thank you, Mingo!” at random intervals.
Both girls got small stuffed animal flamingos as souvenirs of Jungle Gardens and have been reenacting the flamingo “attack” ever since. I’ll be interested to hear in a few years what Clara’s memories of this will prove to be. But it seems they are working through it quite well just now!