27. March 2013 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 41: Navarre Beach Marine Science Station · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
The Navarre Beach Marine Science Station is run by Santa Rosa County and the Santa Rosa County Schools. Its mission is to promote environmental awareness through education of the county's marine ecosystem.

The Navarre Beach Marine Science Station started in August 2009 and is run by Santa Rosa County and the Santa Rosa County School District. Its mission is to promote environmental awareness through education of the county’s marine ecosystem.

Just before the kids’ Spring Break, I had the chance to partially chaperone for Timmy’s class trip to the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station. My sons have taken field trips with their classes every school year they’ve been living here, and I suspect it’s an annual tradition for all the Santa Rosa County School District kids who live on the coast.

Nostalgic note: When I was growing up in Norfolk in the 1980s, my school system also had a Marine Science Center. I’m not sure if the program still exists, but I fondly remember an annual field trip to Crossroads Elementary School, where we’d spend the day petting horseshoe crabs, learning about turtles, flounder, the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and our community’s nautical history. 

The Science Station is really close, it shares a parking lot with the Navarre Beach Park beach access that our family uses quite often, only about 10 minutes from our house. It started in 2009 after the Navarre Beach State Park property was turned over to the county after suffering extensive hurricane damage in recent years.

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10. February 2013 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 37: Navarre Beach Mardi Gras Parade · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

Last year we went to Mobile and experienced some pretty serious Mardi Gras-ness. This year we kept it local, so here’s some pictures from the Navarre Beach Mardi Gras parade, sponsored by the Navarre Krewe of Jesters.

You had to get to the route quite early, since they close the bridge from the mainland to Navarre Beach 30 minutes before the parade started. We got a great viewing spot towards the end of the parade route.  I thought it was the beginning of the route, oops. Which mean the beads were being rationed by this point. That’s okay, nothing will beat how much we got last year.

Also, we didn’t realize how many people brought their pets to the parade! There’s so little around here that welcomes pets, we didn’t even think to ask.

Our waiting spot for the parade. We arrived 90 minutes early, we had great viewing.

Our waiting spot for the parade. We arrived 90 minutes early, we had great viewing. We brought plenty of drinks and snacks.


This is a very brave gentleman. Very friendly too.

This is a very brave gentleman. Very friendly too.

He was happy to take pictures with everyone.

He was happy to take pictures with everyone.

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06. April 2011 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 8.5*: Kayaking! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

*I’ve had to do some re-numbering with my Florida Discoveries posts, so instead of re-numbering everything, I just stuck a “0.5” in there.

How many of you remember this video from Sesame Street?

For years and years and years this was my perception of kayaking.  Being sealed into this fiberglass tube-thingy as if you have no legs and navigating river rapids.  And of course being able to flip around like this guy (allegedly Jim Henson) does at the end.

Last week as a surprise for my sister and nephews, we borrowed a 2+ man ocean kayak from our friend/neighbor/former commander Mike D.  This is different than the traditional, competition kayak that I was more familiar with (but had never done).

I’d been canoeing many times — Girl Scouting, in college, in Louisiana on the Sabine River — but kayaking is somewhat different, and in many cases it was easier.

The first day we took the kayak out to Navarre Beach, we were mortified at how tall the waves were in the Gulf (it was chilly and windy), so we packed everything up and ran about 500′ across the parking lot to the Santa Rosa Sound side where things were much calmer!  We all took turns taking short trips out.

After my sister’s family left last weekend, we took a trip to the beach again, this time so Dave and the kids could try out the kayak.  The gulf side was nice and calm, and we all got a chance to paddle out towards the dolphins!

Here are pictures from our two kayaking trips.

I believe it was a 130″ long kayak (just under 11′).  So here’s how it looked packed into our suddenly-small-looking SUV.  Luckily we were only transporting it about 5 miles, or 10 minutes drive.
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21. March 2011 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

It’s been Spring Break here. Extremely early, I know, but allegedly my boys’ school district here had some problems with their calendar and now the timing is “off” compared to the other school districts around here. Most kids I know of are having their Spring Breaks later in March, or even in April…with Easter being late this year.

Unlike other Spring Breaks we’ve had, this time around we had nothing significant planned. We visited the Air Force Armament Museum (for another blog post) and as the weather slowly warmed up, by midweek we took our first “real” trip to the beach! We’d been a couple other times since we moved here, but it was not really to play…more to look around.

My boys LOVE the beach.  They always have…they seem to be transformed into angel children.  They play hard, they play well together, they’re polite, they don’t fight.  They even eat the healthy snacks I bring for them — without complaint!  And they are worn out enough that I can even enjoy the good behavior for the rest of the day, and they go right to bed at bedtime.  Now that both boys swim decently, I don’t have to be in the water with them, and I can even blink a few times while watching them from shore.  It won’t be long before I could possibly read a book at the beach!

On Wednesday we were lucky enough to set up near another neighborhood family and our kids had a great time playing together…so much so we got together again on Friday!

Timmy let the girls bury him…unlike other “burials”, the older kids dug a VERTICAL hole!

Timmy did amazingly well with this — even waiting for me to come back from the restroom to take a picture of this!

We could see schools of fish swimming in this clear clear clear water!  The sand really IS like sugar here!

Jacob liked the purple umbrella when I was umbrella shopping at Walmart.  It turned out to be unique enough, it’s easy to see where we’ll be parked on our beach outings!

The kids really enjoyed just lazing around…

Timmy and his new friend would hold hands floating around…I don’t think it’s romantic, I’m not worried!

On Sunday, with Dad not having to work, we spent yet another afternoon enjoying the beach. This time we hung out further east than before, where there are less people, and the waves are less active because of a sandbar about 100′ out that takes the brunt of the wave action. After about 3 hours out, the boys and I took Dad to our new favorite hangout: Tommy’s New Orleans Sno Balls!

What?  I’m in front of the camera???  Whoo hoo!  I brought some margarita on the rocks with us to enjoy.  Don’t worry, I only had one…

Timmy is face-planting himself here.  Trying to make a face-print…seriously.

He regretted it afterwards….

Timmy lost his first front tooth over the weekend…we found a baby crab, but I think he was dead.

Tommy’s New Orleans Sno Balls — it opened up a couple weeks ago and every time we pass the place there’s a line.  But it’s yummy and cheap!
Tommy’s Sno Ball stand is just north of the Navarre Beach Bridge.  A seasonal stand, it’s been HOPPING this week!