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Updated: 03/14/2014 08:06:11AM

Priceless family adventure

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By Abbie Banks

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Where do birders take their young visitor’s when they come on vacation to beautiful sunny Florida? My grandson and 3-year old great-grandson arrived and we began a fabulous week of fun. Naturally, the beach entered into the plans for the week. My grandson’s favorite beach activity is snorkeling. In addition to outdoor activities, one evening we celebrated both of their birthdays. Besides all the usual gifts of kiddie toys, Owen, my little 3-year-old great-grandson, received a pair of toy binoculars. We have to start teaching them at a very young age about respecting wildlife.

Our first outing was to Boca Grande. We trekked down to the beach from the parking lot with all of the gear. We were schlepping two umbrellas, a cooler of drinks, snacks and swimmy pull-ups for Owen. Yeah, I felt like a tourist. There were four generations of us: grandmom (me), my daughter, grandson’s mom, who lives in Cape Coral, my grandson and great-grandson. We were quite disappointed and shocked to see the usual beautiful aqua-colored water looking a lot like root beer. Regardless, we all had fun playing in the sand and walking on the beach. Shell collecting is always a part of the beach day. My grandson decorated a wooden box I had with shells they collected as a remembrance of this trip. In addition to Boca Grande, on other days we went to Stump Pass Park and also to Middle Beach, where shark’s teeth collecting was an important project. Thankfully, the water at those locations was clear and green. We were surrounded by noisy laughing gulls, Forster’s terns, sanderlings, willets and ruddy turnstones running back and forth on the beach, foraging at the water’s edge. Even a big, lazy great blue heron flew in to see if he could get a handout from a fisherman. Pelicans skimmed along searching for just the right fish. The day was a perfect Southwest Florida day, and most importantly, the boys were happy.

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