Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Native Village

Throughout the past few months of us living in South Florida, our church ward has had incredible sets of missionaries.  There are six missionaries assigned to our ward (2 Creole speaking Elders, 2 English speaking Elders, 2 Spanish speaking Sisters.)  With the new temple just being dedicated in our area, missionary work has been on fire as of late.  It's been a lot of fun to get to know these missionaries and feel their testimonies of our Savior.  I posted about Christmas Eve with several of them that you can read about here.  Towards the end of January the sister missionaries asked if Daxton and I would want to join them on one of their "P-days" (missionary term for their preparation day.)  Sister Daines was going to be headed home at the beginning of February and she wanted to check out a local preserve called "Native Village" before finishing her mission.  Of course I jumped at the offer.  I'm always up for a new adventure!

The Native Village is a small preserve; a living museum and cultural center to show native wildlife found in Florida and how the early Seminole Native Americans lived.  The entrance fee was quite low and we were able to get our own tour guide to take us around.  Daxton was a bit of a stinker throughout the entire morning, which made for a VERY tired mommy by the end of our adventure.

Posing with Sister Daines and Sister Merrill

The trails were roughly maintained, which I liked.  It made everything blend into the nature around it.  Daxton had a blast looking at all the different fish, frogs, and other wildlife.  He also loved running up and down the trails and climbing fences; scaring mommy half to death!

There was no one else there but us, so we got to ask tons of questions, take our time, and have several hands on experiences with the wildlife.  Daxton's face below was right after he was introduced to an iguana for the first time.  At least he's still afraid of some reptiles!

Some of the beautiful reptiles we were able to interact with...including baby gators with no tape on their mouths!

There were several different enclosures for alligators of various ages and sizes.  There was supposed to be a gator show, but the main gator was not cooperating and kept hiding in the water.  We finally told the man we didn't need to see it so the gator could continue sleeping.
What was crazy was how quickly this massive gator became invisible in the murky water.  It further testified that you do NOT go into murky water while living in Florida!

Daxton got a kick out of watching all the gators.  Although, he also got a kick out of trying to stick his hands through the fence...once again scaring his mommy half to death!

A little nerve wracking that the tiny fence was the only thing separating Daxton from those hungry gators...
He is quite yummy looking!

There were also lots of turtles and tortoises for Daxton to look at.  He could actually reach down and pet their shells, which our tour guide said was ok.  His favorite though, was when a random bunny came hopping through, stole the tortoise's lettuce, and then hopped away.

Afterwards, our tour guide picked out a baby gator for us to hold.  Sister Daines had a bit of fun with Sister Merrill's fear of gators!


Daxton, once again, had a blast with the baby gators.  He kept playing with it's toes and even leaned over to give it a big kiss at one point.  This age is so much fun!  I love experiencing things with him and watching his eyes light up.  He's a tiny sponge of learning right now and I'm loving every minute of it!
Kisses and playing with it's toes...
My own little "Gator Boy"
It was such a fun adventure with the sister missionaries.  I'm so glad they thought to invite Daxton and I.  Hopefully his crazy antics weren't too distracting for them!

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