Melanie and I were a bit unsettled when we noticed a road sign telling us that we had crossed time zones. We did not know there would be a time change, and now we didn’t know if we were going to be getting there in the nick of time or with an hour to spare. Most of Florida is in the Eastern Time zone, so we figured we couldn’t possibly be the only ones making a mistake (if indeed we were). Depending on which side of the line you were on, you’d probably be heading to the park at a different time. We lamented the possibility that we could have slept in, but there was nothing to do at this point. We pushed forward. When we arrived at the state park, there were several cars waiting to get in, pulled to the side by the entrance. A park ranger was approaching the vehicles, telling them something, and they all went in. It was then clear that we, and several other people, had arrived early due to the time change. We pulled up just as they were finally letting people go into the park.
We weren’t too bothered about being there early, but it felt a little bit like salt in the wound when we realized that they would only take 25 of us at a time and space the tours 30 minutes apart. I thought we would be done with our tour by 10:45 a.m. Eastern Time., getting us back to Tallahassee around noon. Instead, we were scheduled for a tour that started at noon Eastern Time. Fortunately, Melanie packed snacks. And although it was freezing outside in the morning (yes, it was literally below freezing), the kids had fun running around and being crazy. The gift shop / visitor center was almost like an old-fashioned fort, and the kids enjoyed standing atop it and pretending to kill passersby with everything from bows and arrows to rocket launchers.
Eddie, with a bow and arrow.
Peter with a rifle or something.
The cave we toured was very cool. It was surprisingly warm. Not uncomfortably so, but not the least bit chilly. I had expected to be freezing, but the tour guide informed us the cave stays 65 degrees Fahrenheit all the time because it’s naturally insulated. It was slightly humid. They said our glasses would fog up when we walked in, but they didn’t. Our camera lens, did, however, and so some of our photos weren’t great. I didn’t realize right away that the lens was foggy, and it fogged up a couple of times. Add to that the fact that we were always snapping pictures rapidly as we tried not to get in the way of other people (a lot of the time, you’re walking through narrow passageways), and the photos leave something to be desired. The cave was much cooler looking than the photos suggest. But I’ll share the few we took.
A friendly young man offered to take a family photo. Creegan wasn't so sure.
Me at my most beatific.
Descending into the cave.
A photo of what the tour guide called "cave bacon" growing on the cavern walls.
Again, Creegan makes his anti-photography sentiments known.
Watch your step! For the record, I only bonked my head five times during the tour. F'reals.
After the cave tour, we played at a nearby playground for a few minutes. We then climbed into the car and headed back to Tally. We had planned on making lunch a part of the deal, but it became something of an early dinner. At 3pm, we ate at El Jalisco. It was a nice way to end the excursion, and a nice finale to February.