Monday morning we were still not quite used to the 2-hour time difference. Kyle woke us up around 10:30 (which is 8:30 Utah time, and his usual time for waking at home) and, much to the chagrin of my siblings, set about waking everyone else up as well. We ate a leisurely breakfast and then hit the beach.
They had beach umbrellas and lounge chairs set up all along the shore and, to our surprise, there were still some available! We quickly commandeered a few spots and set to lounging around. We soon found out why there were so many chairs empty, however...a lifeguard came up and asked us if we wanted to rent them. The cost? $30 for the day. SERIOUSLY?!?! "No, thank you," we said, and moved along.
Kyle hung out with Papa, and the two of them had fun walking towards the waves (while still maintaining their distance, because of both Kyle's hesitation and my dad's tendency to be a mite overprotective).
After getting our fill of sun and sand, we headed back to our rooms to clean up and eat lunch. We attended an "orientation"-type meeting in the resort's activity room, where the activities director gave a rundown of both the on-site and off-site activities the resort sponsored. The draw for the meeting? Free mimosas! We, of course, did not imbibe (in fact, when we declined, one self-proclaimed "southern belle" offered to take all of ours for herself!), but we did get our fill of lemonade and free snacks. Attending the meeting turned out to be quite profitable, because we got ideas for several of our own off-site activities there. We also got to see two older and not quite sober people (including our mimosa-loving "southern belle") engage in some "horse racing" (think sticks with horse heads on them) to win discounted tickets for a big dinner show. Totally worth every second.
After the meeting ended, we decided to check out one of the attractions described in the meeting: Barefoot Landing, an extensive open-air shopping center -- Gateway on steroids, basically. One of the crowd draws for Barefoot Landing is the opportunity to see and take pictures with baby tigers.
They had gorgeous adult tigers as well. In the back is a Siberian tiger, the middle, a Royal White Bengal tiger, and in the front (my personal favorite, which also happens to be quite rare), a Golden Tabby tiger.
They had several baby tigers in glass-walled enclosures, waiting their turn to have their picture taken with eager tourists. The cost for such a picture STARTED at $79. My dad actually said he considered getting our picture taken, but after watching a few of the shoots, we realized that $79 got you about 3 1/2 seconds of holding the animal (basically just long enough to have the picture taken) -- totally not worth it. He said that he would have sprung for it if the handlers let the tourists ACTUALLY hold the tigers.
Since we're dorks, we had to get pictures taken at those ridiculous face cut-outs that are so ubiquitous at touristy locations:
Kyle actually LOVED them, and had to get his picture taken at each one. In this picture, he wasn't quite tall enough to get his face in the hole, so I'm holding him up with one arm and stretching to fit my face in the other hole.
Kyle's favorite store was called "American Vintage." It was actually really cool -- it had all kinds of nostalgia items and statues of old movie stars (like Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and the Blues Brothers). You could even buy sodas in 12 oz. glass bottles. Kyle managed to find a Thomas the Tank Engine train whistle and suckered Papa into buying it for him. He was on cloud nine from then on.
Here he is, blowing the train whistle for the umpteenth time of the afternoon:
Barefoot Landing also has what is called the Alligator Adventure -- one of the largest reptile zoos in the world. We meandered out toward the entrance to find out that they were closing in an hour, so we didn't actually go in (who wants to pay a full day's admission for an hour?). Later, I saw pictures of what the Alligator Adventure looked like, and I decided we didn't miss much. It looked like it was a bunch of alligators laying all over the place. Everyone knows the fun of seeing alligators comes when you have to search for them...right? (Incidentally, we did get an opportunity to see alligators during the trip in a more natural setting, so we definitely didn't miss out).
After calling it an afternoon, my dad took Chris and Brittany back to the condo because they were on dinner duty. The rest of us trekked to Wal-Mart (it's not a complete day in the Kenner family without a trip to Wal-Mart!), where Daniel and Cole tried their hardest to drive my mom crazy (Cole has the annoying habit of filling the basket with useless items, and Daniel did his best to egg Cole on in this). We picked up groceries to last us the rest of the week, and headed back for dinner. Chris and Brittany made delicious tacos, which we INHALED. We settled down to watch Leap Year (good movie!) before hitting the sack.
In tomorrow's post: a giant toy man, car trouble, and a blackwater river.