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Busch Gardens Animals Find Ways to Beat the Heat

July 3, 2009

Natural Behaviors Keep the Animals Cool During Summer

Florida is the land of year-round Summer-like weather, but our summer’s can be extremely hot. Luckily for the animals at Busch Gardens in Tampa, knowing how to beat the heat comes naturally.

Because most species in the park are native to Africa or other tropical or sub-tropical climates, they have natural adaptations and behaviors to help them thrive in high temperatures. Hippos and Asian small-claw otters spend time in the water to cool off. Rhinos wallow in mud pits to beat the heat.

Also helping the animals to stay cool are the naturalistic habitats at Busch Gardens. Lush forests, waterfalls, rocky overhangs and plunge pools in exhibits such as Myombe Reserve, Jungala and the Edge of Africa mimic the animals’ environments in the wild, providing shade in the summer and sunny areas in winter.

For more information on Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, visit


Kayaking Down the Weeki Wachee River

March 13, 2009

The Weeki Wachee River may be one of Florida’s best kept secrets.

Weeki Wachee Springs Offers Beautiful Views

Weeki Wachee Springs Offers Beautiful Views

If you want to see what’s left of part of the “real Florida”. You have to check it out Weeki Wachee.

Weeki Wachee is in Hernando County, Florida, located about an hour north of Tampa at the intersection of Highway 19 and State Road 50. It’s crystal clear waters twist through tons of stunning scenery to flow 12 miles west into The Gulf of Mexico.

The naturally beautiful springs are home to one of Florida’s oldest attractions, Weeki Wachee Springs, famous for its live underwater shows featuring beautiful mermaids. (Fun for little girls, and grown men.) It recently went from private ownership to become a Florida State Park. It’s still the same as it was when I went as a kid, which is not a bad thing. It’s a nice respite from today’s modern hyper-active world. They also have the Buccaneer Bay Water Park.

Weeki Wachee Springs Park dates back to 1947. I went there as a kid in the 70’s, re-visited in 2000, and made my latest visit in November 2008 over Thanksgiving weekend.

We spent a half day for the park, and half a day to kayak and canoe down the river. Going down the river was by far the most enjoyable for getting away from the hustle and bustle and seeing the real Florida.

The Canoe and Kayak rental says, “Your self-guided adventure averages about 2.5 hours”.

I feel sorry for the people that paddle through it that quickly. We took about 4.5 hours, stopped to enjoy the lunch we packed, took beautiful pictures and relaxed in the comfortable light breeze, warm sun, and tranquility of the Weeki Wachee river.

There were many people that just whooshed past us with their mouths just blabbering non-stop, missing half the sights and sounds, and breaking the tranquility like scraping of nails on a chalk board. We let them pass and then resumed our enjoyment.

Wildlife we saw included turtles


Turtle Getting Sun on Weeki Wachee


Comcast Broadband TV Commercial Rejects

There were snakes and racoons…


Snake Swimming in Weeki Wachee River


Racoon Drinking Crystal Clear Spring Water

We also saw many different types of birds, fish and ducks. There were Manatees too, but I missed the shot as too many people scared them away at the end of the trip.

This was a fun, interesting and relaxing day. It was great being away from the hectic world, enjoying peace and quiet, nature and stunning natural beauty.

Weeki Wachee River

Weeki Wachee River

Book your canoe or kayak trip at

Learn more about Weeki Wachee at

See all 69 pictures in the full gallery - Weeki Wachi Kayaking

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