Prior to a few weeks ago, I hadn’t been to Florida in over a decade. Ryan’s middle brother and parents have all relocated to Florida, and made plans for everyone to visit between Christmas and New Years. It was just a handy coincidence that in Michigan we were just coming off a violent ice storm, which included several days of below-freezing temperatures and power outages. Needless to say, we were ready to go.
Jacksonville is in northern Florida, so December doesn’t exactly bring tropical temperatures, but it was still a great reprieve from snow and ice. The whole family was able to make it to Florida, which meant Ryan, his parents, his two brothers, and their families. Twelve in all, quite the full house! We went on some fun adventures: boating, the zoo, swimming at the house, and a weirdly hilarious nighttime quest to find a copy of Cards Against Humanity! (Which was successful.)
The St. John’s River runs through downtown Jacksonville, and expands into a large lake at times. We took the boat to the zoo, which was a chilly but very scenic ride. This picture was taken while heading back to the boat launch after we were finished.
A macaw of some sort at the zoo! (One very disappointing feature of air travel is having to pack light and sensibly. So I just had my waterproof Nikon AW100. It does a pretty good job, but is still no match for the DSLR!)
Looking inconspicuous at the zoo.
The boat rides were on the cool side, especially with the wind. As someone whose hair definitely does not look beachy and cute after outdoor activities of any kind, I opted for a hat. I call this look something along the lines of “hiding from the paparazzi.”
The boat launch is down a small inlet, so we motored past a handful of really interesting waterfront homes. This is someone’s yard on the corner of where the inlet meets the larger portion of the river, so the property is quite large with all these beautiful willow trees.
One of the joys of childhood is not really caring that the temperature and water are really too cold to swim. Whereas I as wearing a long sleeve shirt, a hoodie, and a jacket, these kids were gung-ho about tubing, and were out there for a LONG time! Hard to tell from this picture, but they all had blue lips when they were finished.
And some sunshine! Although this day was colder than the others, it was beautiful! It will be fun to come back in the spring or summer, during hot weather, to really enjoy the city.
It was a great visit all in all – and of course, went by too fast! It was really nice to see everyone for an extended period of time, usually it’s only a night here or there. If we’re lucky, we may have just established a new holiday tradition!