Homestead, Florida   1 comment

Day 12-14

As we left beautiful Ft. Myers, we were alerted by our tailgunners to watch out for the panthers. Of course, I thought she was kidding. But not far down the road, there was the sign, Caution Panthers! Camera ready, but guess what?! No Panthers…..

Beautiful day, beautiful views and arrived at the Miccosukee Indian Village & Museum without incident. That’s always a good day.

The museum was interesting and so were our guests.

And then again, so was the staff.

Everyone got into the act with the alligators.

This year we noticed they taped the mouth of the baby gator before allowing us to hold them. Wonder why, hmmmmmm……..

The “Alligator Wrestler” was amazing.

As he put his hand into his mouth, he said the alligator will not bite what he does not see. So as long as the alligator’s eyes are closed………

Some of these shots, we had to get fast because he only did it once! I DON’T BLAME HIM.

The Village was informative and interesting.

We learned about the Miccosukee culture, “then” and now.

Next was the airboat ride!

What fun that was being in the wild with the alligators, turtled, fish, and birds.

Coral Castle is an engineering marvel that has been compared with Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Egypt. It was built by Ed Leedskalnin (1887-1951), a 5 ft. tall 100 lb. Latvian immigrant, without any help, using only simple tools excavated, carved and moved tons of coral rock with only a 4th grade education.. Ed built the coral castle monument for Agnes Scuffs, the only love of his life who told Ed the day before they were to marry that he was too old for her. He was 26 and she was only 16. He left Latvia broken hearted and finally settled in Southern Florida around 1918-1920. He was a very private person and no one ever saw him working on the castle. The walls are composed of huge stones, the largest weighing 29 tons. Each section of wall is 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide, 3 foot thick and weighs approximately 13,000.

The tower (below right) contains approximately 243 tons of coral.

The upper level is Ed’s living quarters, with his tools in the lower level.

The castle includes furniture of all sorts (below left), bathtub (below right)

Pressure cooker made from the rear end housing of a Model T Ford (above left) and Polaris telescope (above right).

This is such a great tour because if you get tired, you can just take a rest.

The most amazing of the castle is the 9 Ton Gate. It is approximately 80 inches wide by 92 inches tall by 21 inches thick. It weighs approximately 18,000 lbs. What is so remarkable is that Ed found the exact center of balance, which enables the gate to be moved with the push of one finger! The gate has been probed, measured, and x-rayed by many engineers and scientists. To date NO ONE has come forth with an acceptable explanation of how Ed did it.

In 1951 Ed became ill, put a sign on the door saying “going to the hospital.” He took a bus to the hospital in Miami where he died in his sleep 3 days later.

R.F. Orchids Farm has more varieties of orchids than we knew existed. They are growing in pots, on trees, everywhere you look.

The vanilla orchid, picture below, is one everyone will know about. Our guide explained how the vanilla bean is formed from the orchid. No wonder they are so expensive.

My favorite is the turquoise orchid that is like our wisteria

Cherrill hugging on an elephant, …….Mike talking to a bird……what a fun tour!

Next, on to the Bonsai Gardens for a demonstration on how to bonsai. But Bill could not resist a tree out front. It’s the only tree I’ve ever seen perfect for back scratching. Those are thorns all over the tree truck and branches.

We were told to bonsai, the first thing you learn is patience. I want one, but you have to cut the roots and repot once a year. Too much TLC than I can give.

We provided a Taco Salad night for the caravan and what a treat that was! The only bad thing is, I FORGOT TO TAKE PICTURES!!!

Our last day in Homestead was a free day, so Bill and I decided to check out “Monkey Jungle,” humans are caged and monkeys run free. Well, not exactly….. I certainly didn’t feel caged, but many of the monkeys did run free.

It was quite comically as we walked thru the caged pathway, the monkeys above us would jiggle the chain which had a bowl on the end, hoping you would put some food in for them.

The other way to feed them was to shoot your food down thru the PVC pipe.

Before leaving, we enjoyed the “swimming” monkey show.

In he dove when he saw her throw that hardboiled egg into the water.

Everything was nice and calm until we hear screeching, it was a face off!

These monkeys are very territorial. This particular group of monkeys were of the higher anarchy and another monkey had just joined their group a few days ago. The group is not sure whether they will welcome him into their “family.”

I think maybe they reminded him of the rules and finally went about their business. Only time will tell whether he will be allowed to stay.

On our way out, we just had to feed some more monkeys.

How appreciative they are!


Posted March 12, 2016 by carolnbill in Travel

One response to “Homestead, Florida

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  1. I love Coral Castle. It’s one of my favorite wonders of America!

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