Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dima's First Field Trip

Yesterday Dima's class had a field trip to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.  It is a beautiful zoo-like park located right on the Homosassa River.  Our family has been there a few times over the years but it had been awhile.  Dima had never been there so it was exciting to see the park through Dima's eyes.

Do you think he is happy?
It was just the two of us as we meandered through the park and I relished that time I had alone with him.  Dima was feeling very special and it made him want to be in charge.  He would walk ahead saying, "Follow me, mommy!  Follow me!".  I obliged and would giggle listening to his little voice commanding me from one exhibit to the next.  We did not spend much time at each exhibit as his attention span was very short, but he did have two favorite spots.  Lou the hippo and the alligators.

Lou is a massive hippo that weighs a ton and he has been a fixture at the park for many years.  In fact they have a birthday party for him every year.  This past January he turned 53!  Dima's fascination with him, however, was the "dirty bottom" that Lou was aiming at everyone.  There is actually a zone next to his habitat that warns you of being the recipient of spray from Lou's bottom if you are not careful.  Of course Dima really wanted to hang out there.

Dima laughing at Lou's bottom after we safely moved away.

The "zone".
Dima's other favorite exhibit, located right across from Lou, was the alligator habitat.  For as long as we have known Dima he has been fascinated with gators which stems from a Russian animated character:  Gina the crocodile.  Dima has a stuffed Gina that we purchased for him in Kremenchuk and it is one of his prized treasures.  Now that we live in Florida there are "Ginas" everywhere!  It is a love/hate relationship as Dima is also quite scared of alligators or as he calls them, "Ginas".  Seeing the gators in their habitat showed Dima that gators are mostly docile and more afraid of us as we are of them.

Dima carefully observed the "Gina".
My favorite attraction were the manatees!  A manatee is a large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous mammal.  The are also lovingly referred to as "sea cows".  Our neck of the woods is known for manatees because of the warm spring waters on our nature coast.  In the winter they stay in the warmer waters and are not all that afraid of humans.  Sometimes if you are out in the rivers leading out into the Gulf of Mexico they will swim right next to your boat and you can reach out and gently rub their backs.  Yesterday we got to see some up close and personal.

The water is a constant 71 degrees all year.

The Homosassa River.

Gentle giants.
The other part of this exhibit is the "fish bowl".  It is where you can go underwater and see the fish and mantees from a unique perspective.  Unfortunately we did not get to see any manatees in the fishbowl but we sure did see lots of fish!

I wonder who was watching who here.

But more than anything I relished my time with Dima.  It was fun to see him with his friends and see how he enjoyed seeing different creatures that he has never seen before.  I think he enjoyed his time with his momma, too.

Just to add a little postscript:  The boys received their report cards yesterday and all four boys received straight A's for the 3rd quarter!  We are proud of them and all that they have accomplished thus far in school!

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