Thursday, March 24, 2016

Caving With Kids

Last weekend we made a quick trip to Florida (without Daniel) to spend some time with my sister and her family as a part of their spring break. 

With Jack in preschool only 3 days a week, we have some flexibility to enjoy longer weekends.

My brother came over from Nashville to make the drive down to Tallahassee with us.

The morning of the day we were supposed to leave, my sister texted to say that it was expected to rain all weekend. So our tentative plans for a beach day were nixed.

We proceeded with the trip, knowing that the kiddos wouldn't really care what we did, as long as they could play together.

Once we were in Florida, we enjoyed visiting, a few new restaurants, and the kids played as much as possible outside.

For our Saturday activity, my sister suggested we visit the Florida Caverns State Park and take a little tour of a cave. I thought that was a fun suggestion, so we packed a picnic and drove an hour to the park.

Since it was spring break in Florida, there were a ton of people at the park (a lot of Boy Scouts!). We managed to snag an 11 o'clock tour, but that left us with an hour to kill. 

The kids enjoyed the visitor's center where park rangers taught them about different Florida animals and they even got to make a craft.

The cave itself was about 3/4 mile in length, and fairly well lit. There were a couple of passages that took us through narrow corridors and sections where you had to duck to get through. 

Izzy and the little boys had no problem walking through the entire thing. My 6ft tall brother had to do the most ducking!

I initially had Isaac strapped to my back, but moved him to my chest as we entered the cave. About 10 minutes in, he became fussy, so I had to carry him in my arms. Talk about a workout – one hour of holding a 27+lb baby!

There was a wedding cake room, a cathedral room and many other formations similar to what I have seen in other caves. 

We saw rim pools and cave curtains (also called drapes or cave bacon). Soda straws hung from the ceilings, and there were of course lots of stalactites, stalagmites and columns. 

Toward the end of the trip, our guide turned out the lights to let the kids experience true darkness. That is always one of my favorite things about caves. Though I don't think the kids had the same love of the dark as I do.

During our tour, Jack kept complaining about being tired and would sit on the floor while our guide talked. Later I discovered he had a fever. Poor guy.

The tour was informative and brought back a lot of memories from my college days – caving trips with my dad and my siblings. And also the trip where Daniel and I met. I did a lot of caving in college (wild caves) and it was sweet to share that with my boys.

We will have to take them to a wild cave when they are bigger, I'm sad that Daniel missed out on this trip, but I'm sure it won't be the last time we find ourselves in a cave.

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