Today was a full day as expected. The boys got to FINALLY swim in the ocean. For some, it was their first time. The wind was breezy, and the air was slightly humid. Overall the day weather was beautiful for ocean swimming. As you could see from the video I posted earlier today, the boys were throughly enjoying the morning…except for the water’s saltiness. Roman found out, “That water does not taste good”, but he wasn’t discouraged by it.
For lunch, the boys ate at a restaurant called Long Doggers: Radically Relaxed Grill, and it was radically relaxed. The smiling tattooed wait staff were so nice, chill, and extremely accommodating for our little “groms”. I saw that charming term in the kids section of the menu. It’s Californian slang for a young surfer, mostly for ones under the age of 15 and of respectable skill. I think this is going to replace “padawan”. The wait staff never called them “groms” but they certainly respected the boys’ behavior. One of them stopped by the staff table and asked “How do you keep them so well-behaved? Beat them.” We said “Yes, and shock collars and brainwashing.” No, that’s not true. The boys are well-behaved because that’s what they do. That’s what makes them extraordinary. At meal’s end, they were given jolly ranchers and freeze pops for dessert. Thanks, Long Doggers. When the boys were in bus, ready to leave, Stewart was stopped by the deputy fire chief who was eating lunch in the same restaurant. He loved seeing the boys, and said that he was a choir boy. He sang with an Orlando-based choir in his youth.
Long Doggers gave our groms nourishment for the rest of day spent at Kennedy Space Center. We arrived around 2pm, and started our visit with a bus tour. Our guide Brad told the boys about the Vehicle Assembly Building and other incredible facilities while he drove us to the Apollo/Saturn V Center. There the boys learned about the Apollo missions through a couple short movies and saw a real Saturn V rocket. The bus returned us all to the main area, but in transit the boys got to see their first alligators of tour. The Kennedy Space Center “shares a common boundary” with the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. They were floating in a nearby inlet.
Our next stop was the Atlantis exhibit. They showed a couple short movies about Atlantis, and as the second movie ended the screen lifted to show the real Atlantis Space Shuttle within an immense, multi-storied interactive exhibit. Atlantis was epic, and filled the whole space with command. Around it and under it were several activities the boys participated in. They crawled around inside a replica of the International Space Station (ISS). They slid down a giant slide mimicking the glide degree Atlantis needed for re-entry. They also found a whole room of flight simulators. The last thing for the boys was a spectacular movie in the Imax theater: A Beautiful Planet. It told us about what it was like to live in the ISS and look down on Earth in its stunning vastness.
We spent much of our day Kennedy Space Center. It was 7pm by the time we left for dinner: pizza at the hotel. The boys had to finish their letters, and get settled in their rooms before coming over to my and Aaron’s room for some blog reading and a story about starfish.
They’ve enjoyed a couple days off, and now they get back into the swing of things with a concert in Lakeland tomorrow. On our way we’ll stop by Jungle Adventures. THERE they’ll see many more alligators.