On the Saturday of Spring Break, we loaded the van with six adults and six kids and drove down to Everglades National Park.

We were in the car for a few hours. I loved how Aunt Megan helped keep everyone happy by telling stories and singing songs, including “Making a Purple Stew” – one I’ve never heard before. Our family’s version included purple pasta, purple zucchini, purple pacifiers, purple hair, a purple toilet and purple eggs and ham. What would you include? You can watch someone else singing the song over here.

Arriving at the Royal Palm Visitor Center, we discovered some activities especially geared to children. So, we started with experiencing what it would be like to be a fire fighter, and learning what it would take to be a Jr. Ranger.
Then it was off to the Anhinga Trail!
What are we looking at? First it was some turtles and birds, including the anhinga.
Then it was some alligators!
Then it was some bromeliads.
The Anhinga Trail was a bit on the warm side, so it was nice that the next trail, the Gumbo Limbo Trail, was on the cool side. The first one was in the sun, the second in the shade.
After a long drive and a couple of hikes, we had some hungry people, so the next stop was the picnic area, which is by a beautiful little pond (although the tables close to it were all taken).
 

The lunch stop restored everyone’s energy. Off we went to the next little hike, the Pahayokee Overlook.

Isn’t that a beautiful view?! Next up was the Mahogany Hammock Trail, another mostly shady trail.

 
Rock Reef Pass sign along the main park road
The final hike for the day was the Pinelands Trail. To get to it we crossed Rock Reef Pass – with an elevation of a whopping 3 feet above sea level. This is strenuous terrain, people! But, seriously, when everything is “flat”, an elevation change of just a foot or two makes a huge difference. You can see that this area is quite a bit drier than the last one.
Before leaving the park, we stopped at the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center, arriving just in time to help fold the flag. What a great experience for our young Cub Scouts! I loved being able to return to places we had visited several years ago, and was pleasantly surprised to recognize a lot of the different spots.

I imagine we’ll be back again, and maybe it won’t take another 15 or 20 years!

Bonus picture of a hungry little boy!