I don’t know who replaced my baby with this big kid but 😭. We are loving this age, he’s turned a huge corner from years of screaming and no sleep. I can’t call him easy but life is getting easier. He packed his own backpack yesterday, demanded his hat and even dressed himself. We figured out at the end of the day he was commando by choice. 🤣 Funny story: a few weeks ago he dressed himself in all blue and I told him he looked like a giant blueberry. A few days ago I was walking in to Whole Foods with he and Jude. Z and Jude were both dressed in blue and he announced they both looked like blueberries. Then he took a long look at me and announced I looked like a rotten banana. 😆 Thanks kid! 😂🤣

It’s been 3 months since we stepped foot in a national park and we are super excited about this one!! Day 1 was pretty incredible!

Everglades National Park is huge! We are talking 1.5 million acres and 5 visitor centers HUGE. It definitely took some planning to prioritize our time here. We started our day at the Coe visitor center. Taryn and Jude are in it for the incredible bird watching here!

While the big kids were super excited about this park, I’ll confess I had my reservations. It’s *always* a challenge keeping kids safe in national parks. There are cliffs and drop offs, big water, canyons, you name it. It’s rarely what I would call “safe”. But never have I ever had to break out my special “omg my kid could be swallowed whole by an animal” anxiety. We kept our little guys very, very close because we had some close encounters with alligators…

Our first stop near Coe Visitor Center was Anhinga Trail at Royal Palm. Lots of other families recommended this one! Less than a mile on a boardwalk, easy and beautiful! The real adventure was discovering upon arrival that we needed a tarp to cover our truck because the Jurassic size vultures EAT CARS. 😳 Well, not the actual car, but they eat rubber linings destroying the seal. We will show you in our YouTube video but y’all, this freaked me out. They were chowing down on one when we arrived. 😣 Everglades National Park is not for the weak.

Our first and only alligator sighting at Anhinga was this little baby. He was only about 2 feet long! He was just over the edge of the raised boardwalk and easy for the kids to see close up safely.

Our next stop was Shark Valley. We took an hour drive north because I booked a tram tour. We really struggled on deciding between a tram tour and an airboat tour. Shark Valley has been closed for weeks due to high water levels. They just reopened this past week. We opted for the tram only because it was cheaper than the boat. We are spending a lot on adventures in the next month. I’m so glad we chose the tram!! It was a 2 hour ride and we learned SO much! Total road school win! Not only that we saw over a dozen alligators close up! Some a little too close for comfort honestly. The 3rd photo is the biggest one we saw at over 10 feet long! This YouTube video is going to be a good one! Head up to my stories to see Jonah’s reaction to the first big alligator sighting 🤣 Also, editing these photos freaked me out just as much as seeing them in person. Alligators freak me out but I also really enjoyed the tour. It’s conflicting 😂 Plus the big kids saw TONS of birds. This is a bird haven and they loved every minute!

You can check out our Everglades Youtube video here: