It had been a long time since I took an actually vacation as most of my days off from my day job went to running up to NYC to shoot celebrities and hang out with my paprazzi friends. Those days are numbered, as I forgot how much I enjoyed taking vacations and not running around trying to get the next story/picture. I get all that enjoyment just by doing PCC now anyway.

Last week Mike and I travelled to Florida for a little R&R, visiting relatives and seeing nature. First stop was a visit to Mike’s Aunt Bernie & Uncle Bob in Naples, Fla. Naples is a thriving community with lots of culture, shopping and sunshine. Years before I started photographing the exciting happenings of Philly & Charities, I used to shoot nature scenes and landscapes. The first stop on my trip was to Corkscrew Swamp. Unfortunately, Florida has been suffering from the same cold spell we have and many of the animals that would normally be active have either died or gone into hibernation.
The Red Bellied Woodpecker, although Mike and I didn’t notice a red belly on him.
A hawk of some kind, birders anyone what is this hawk. I do love this shot though.
Blue Heron
Striped bird. Over 5% of the manatee’s in Florida have died because of the cold weather.
Saddleback Poisonous Caterpillar
Naples Beach Sunset

Mike and Dino the alligator at Wootens I highly recommend them for the all around package of air boat rides thru the everglades, Swamp Buggy Rides thru the Hammock’s and a nice little zoo filled with alligators and turtles.
Naples Pier Sunset
Everglades, Florida – Every year I go to Royal Palm in the Everglades. This year I traveled to Naples and explored the park on the West Side as I wanted to go to Shark Valley which is the other popular entrance. Unfortunately we went there on Presidents Day and the place was packed, so I went to Royal Palm again and took a few pictures. I highly recommend the Royal Palm nature trail as there is lots of wildlife to see on the trail.
like alligators
Anihinga’s – The Royal Palm’s Anihinga Trail has a mile long raised boardwalk that takes you thru the Everglades and above this little pond where there are lots of birds and alligators. Hawk in a tree, I really should take up birding to ID these birds.

Wood Stork
Another Day Mike and I went to the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon. It is here they nurse injured dolphin back to health, plus they have shows, and a swim with the dolphin program. Flipper is also buried on the grounds. (It was freezing the day we were there, but people got in and swam with the critters)
The Keys are made up of a series of islands and bridges. Often you are on a long stretch of road or bridge with water on both sides. The Gulf in the north the Atlantic Ocean in the south. It doesn’t matter where I am in the Key’s when it’s sunset I stop my car and enjoy it.
Talk about enjoying, another place Mike and I enjoyed was the Key West Butterfly Conservatory.

A little spawning for the next generation of butterflies
Key West Sunset
Key Deer on Big Pine Key. These cuties are an endangered species and only grow to about 4 feet
Friday we went to Monkey Jungle, which was just fantastic. It’s on the western side of Miami, not too far from the Royal Palm entrance to the Everglades. Here Mike stares down an Iguana.
Too much mardi gras
Stop you’ll get hairy palms
mama and baby
I love how she’s checking out her nails
I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine
Then it was back to the Everglades cause Mike wanted to record some video, which I might play in the future.
He was fascinated with the gators.
Blue Heron at sunset

Gator in the pond
Pelican’s enjoying fish. I don’t know if you can see but there is a tail of a fish hanging out of the pelican’s mouth on the right.
Some days we stayed closed to home and hung out on the lanai, got some sun, enjoyed mom’s home cooked meals. I have no idea why they call patio’s lanai’s in Florida, but they do.
We had some delicious dinners out, one of our favorite spots is Lazy Day’s in Marathon.

The view is spectacular.
The sunset on our last night was breathtaking