Every day is a day to be thankful for but there are days that make an impact on you that you won’t forget. Today was one such day! Our plan from the beginning was to get going to Biscayne National Park to explore Convey Point and Boca Chita Key with the hope of spotting a manatee some time during this adventure. There was a dilemma that arose a week ago which required some difficult decisions and examining our priorities. I fully enjoy exploring National Parks and all they have to offer and was really excited to see Biscayne. The issue that conflicted with that was one of the sports teams I follow was in the playoffs and I really wanted to watch the game. My resolution before today was to miss the first half of the game and leave the park a little early. Well this came with a further examination of priorities as the day wore on. In the end, all worked out well. Let me explain:
I don’t follow a lot of sports teams with any regularity and am content with just hearing scores most of the time for a few teams around my area. There is one team I have followed for much of my life and they are the Green Bay Packers. Well, a week ago they earned the right to play in the NFC Championship game with the winner going to the Super bowl. Unfortunately the game was scheduled for mid-afternoon at a time I was planning on enjoying the sights and environment of Biscayne National Park. After doing some soul searching and examining my priorities I came to a conclusion. I may never be back to the park and there is a probable chance the Packers will make it to the playoffs again in the next decade or two so the park held a higher spot on my list of priorities. I decided to leave the park a little early (probably only by an hour) and that should allow me to watch the second half of the football game. That seemed acceptable to me and a good compromise.
The Lighthouse at Boca Chita Key
Apparently that was not a close enough examination as our plans were called into question once we arrived at Biscayne National Park. We had planned on taking a boat tour out to Boca Chita Key which was listed as departing once in the morning and once in the afternoon. As we were getting ready for this tour we were informed that there was only an afternoon trip which would not get us back until the football game was almost over. Our decision was to either miss the trip to the key or miss most if not all of the game. I didn’t want to do either but could not do both. Ultimately the decision was to take the boat trip and hope we could see the end of the game and the highlights. With technology there was another option, I could watch the game on my laptop as long as I could get reception. A nice way to enjoy a bit of both the park and the game.
Watching the NFC Title game at Biscayne
After deciding to take the boat tour the day began to fall into place and ended up being a day I’m sure I will remember for a long time. As we began looking at the displays in the visitor center and learning about the park I had a gentleman ask me to take some pictures of him and his girlfriend. I agreed and began to follow him outside when he further explained that he was about to propose to his girlfriend and where so that I could take some pictures for him of these important highlights. I was very happy to do this and be a part of something that can be so significant for two people. After this the day went to fast as we explored Biscayne N.P. and searched for the elusive manatee. We enjoyed seeing many fish and birds along with the amazing scenery of the landscape and ocean all the while seeing the city of Miami in the background. On our way back to the hotel I managed to find a radio station to listen to the football game and did make it to the hotel to see the last few minutes of the football game and watch Green Bay win to move on to the super bowl in 2 weeks.
In the end staying with your priorities, even when they are challenging to determine, will allow you to be confident in your decisions.
I am excited to go to Miami in this cold weather. Biscayne National Park looks and sounds really cool too. So it isn’t just to get away from the cold weather. Biscayne National park has a lot of things I would like to do and see. “It protects a rare combination of aquamarine waters, emerald islands, and fish-bejeweled coral reefs.” according to their website. Now that sounds really interesting! It has 10,000 years of human history from pirates and shipwrecks to pineapple farmers and presidents. I hope to see a lot of wildlife out there! I also would like to snorkel.
I like to look at the colors and designs of fish. I like blue fish the most though. I’ve never seen a manatee and would like to. There are many tiny creatures to look out for too. Boating would be fun too! I like to feel the breeze in the air. There would be a lot of breeze too according to the website. Camping would be cool but I don’t think we’ll be camping. Biscayne was established for its natural history! Almost every island at the park has evidence that the native people used it. As stated in the Biscayne National Park website: “underwater, shipwrecks lay as silent witnesses to one violent moment of time, having a promise of teaching us about our collective past.” I would like to see a shipwreck and see how I feel about the history. I like to learn about history whenever I get the chance. I’ve learned so much already. You could even hear the story of how the park got established from one of the people who actually made it happen! I would love to hear that story!
I will become a Junior Ranger for this park. You do a little booklet at your level and to complete it you have to venture around the park for the answers and use your knowledge. After completing it you get a badge with the parks name on it and if you’re a Girl Scout, or Boy Scout you can add patches to your vest or you can just get them for fun too if you aren’t! It is a really fun activity for kids and family. A glass bottom boat over Biscayne’s coral reef would be a great experience, but to see the reef well you would have to swim from the boat to the reef. It would not only be fun for me but a very good sight and experience. I don’t think anything could replace a trip to this park! You can learn so much from traveling in a fun and an exciting way, especially if you go as a family. That’s how I like to travel at least. Like I said, I am so excited for the trip and to see even more National Parks!
While I’m sure we could spend many days exploring the Everglades National Park, we have chosen to visit nearby Biscayne National Park as part of our excursion to Southern Florida. This destination is not on our National Parks edition of Monopoly but is a place we highly look forward to experiencing. It is common for us to add non-board destinations to our trips which help both in tiring us out and packing more experiences into each trip. We have planned for one full day at Biscayne National Park so I hope the weather is nice. This is not enough time to do all that we would like to do I’m sure but does give us a taste of this park which is the intention of our visits to all of the National Parks on our board.
Most of Biscayne N.P. is underwater (95%) which is one of the features that really draws us to it. Snorkeling is a favorite activity whenever we are in tropical waters with reefs. Kristy is anxious to travel to Southern Florida as this will be her first attempt at snorkeling. This will be Lysa’s second time snorkeling. Her first experience was in Cozumel, Mexico three years ago. I am excited to take them and let them experience life on a reef. They have both looked over pictures of reefs and fish and we have a small saltwater aquarium with corals and fish but to be able to see everything going on at a natural reef is so much more mesmerizing. Fortunately by watching how different animals work together in our aquarium, Kristy and Lysa will have the opportunity to notice many things that can be missed when snorkeling such as how the cleanup crew (snails, crabs, shrimp, and sea stars) scavenge around the reef and interact with the fish. Watching all of this will make the day go by exceptionally fast!
While snorkeling appears to be a great way to explore Biscayne National Park, there are other activities that highlight the diversity of this park. There are hiking trails, the Dante Fascell Visitor Center at Convoy Point, boating, fishing, and a lot of history according to the National Park Service website. The beginning of the Florida Keys is considered by many to be in Biscayne N.P. – Elliot Key. Since we won’t have a boat to freely move about the reefs and keys, we need to plan ahead to use the park vendor for boating excursions in order to be able to experience this area and see what we can. I would like to see the lighthouse on Boca Chita Key and Stiltsville in Biscayne Bay along with snorkeling. Kristy and Lysa enjoy becoming Junior Rangers at all of the national parks that we visit so this will be a priority at Biscayne National Park as well.
Camping is allowed on Elliot Key and Boca Chita Key which would be a great way for us to really enjoy and explore this wondrous area. Unfortunately, we are limited by our arrival to Miami late the day before and have commitments early the day after. I would love to watch the sun set and rise again from a key while star gazing and surveying the nighttime Miami skyline. These are some of the things we may have to explore on another trip after completing our National Parks Monopoly Board.
As I write this I am looking forward to this trip more and more. Maybe it is time to stop writing about this national park and focus on the upcoming holidays.