Spring Breaking in Florida

Horizon Honors’ middle school travel club traveled to Florida for the first time over spring break.

Tommy Billings, Columnist

It was 1 a.m. Tuesday, March 15 when the flight to Miami, Florida lifted off of the ground. It was difficult to fall asleep on the surprisingly full flight, but most of the 13 kids on the trip did. Around 7 a.m., the students landed at the Miami International Airport. After exploring Little Havana and South Beach, we headed over to Flamingo Gardens. There were lots of alligators, peacocks, flamingos, and pelicans, as well as an aviary. It was a decent first day. When we got to our hotel at about 10 p.m., all of us were beat, so we had a good night’s sleep.

On Wednesday, we swam with dolphins at the Miami Seaquarium, which was my second favorite part of the trip. Then, we went to Key Largo and visited John Pennecamp State Park where we took a glass bottom boat tour. We got to see the coral reef and lots of fishes. We then had dinner and experienced what real Key Limes taste like.

Thursday was very fun. We got to eat alligator meat and also got to see some in the wild on an airboat ride in the Everglades. Later, we toured the park and had the opportunity to hold baby gators.

Friday was probably the best day. In the morning we took a boat tour and collected fish for the Smithsonian Marine Station. In the afternoon, we visited the Kennedy Space Center and met a retired astronaut.

On Saturday, there was an event at Weedon Island Preserve, a slow and uneventful tour that threw off the tempo of the trip, as well as the Florida Aquarium, which was very cool, but it only took about two hours to walk through when given five hours. The last day was fairly uneventful, we went to the Lowry Park Zoo, which was my third favorite place.

The trip was led by teachers Jessica Davis and Janet McKinney. Our tour director, Rianna, was great. If you decide you might want to go, great choice. You’ll have a blast. There are definitely some things to know before going. You definitely want an underwater camera, a good cell phone or point and shoot camera, a portable battery pack, water shoes, extra pairs of socks, a 22-inch by 14-inch by 9-inch carry-on suitcase, at least $150 in spending money, a light sweater, neck pillow, swim suit, towel, and umbrella. Pack light, but not too light. I made the mistake of packing too light. I had $70 in spending money. I had just enough clothes, which I regret also. Remember to bring extras!

Overall, the trip was a lasting experience that I and other students will remember for a long time.