Amazing Pelican Pouch

Brown Pelican Pouch Open

Brown Pelican Pouch Open

Brown Pelican Face On

Brown Pelican Face On

Brown Pelican Head Down

Brown Pelican Head Down

Brown Pelican Stretching

Brown Pelican Stretching

Brown Pelican Pouch Inside Out

Brown Pelican Pouch Inside Out

Brown Pelican Looking Left

Brown Pelican Looking Left

Brown Pelican's Expanded Pouch with Fish Inside

Brown Pelican’s Expanded Pouch with Fish Inside

Vintage Pelican Postcard

Vintage Pelican Postcard

Pelicans have incredible pouches.  The expandable pouches are used to scoop up food, and can hold up to 3 gallons of water and fish!  Brown pelicans are the only pelicans that are plunge divers.  They drop from the air with a big splash, and then scoop up the stunned fish.  We watched this funny brown pelican stretching at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Florida.  In the process, we got a great look at its amazing pouch.

Florida’s 500th Anniversary Celebration: El Galeon Tall Ship Tour

El Galeon at Port Canaveral

El Galeon at Port Canaveral

El Galeon: Front of Ship

El Galeon: Front of Ship

El Galeon: Wooden Deck

El Galeon: Wooden Deck

El Galeon: Wheel

El Galeon: Wheel

El Galeon: Bell

El Galeon: Bell

El Galeon: Admiralty Anchor

El Galeon: Admiralty Anchor

El Galeon: Cannon

El Galeon: Cannon

El Galeon: Crow's Nest Lookout

El Galeon: Crow’s Nest Lookout

First Official Map of Florida (1584). Note Cape Canaveral is already on map.

First Official Map of Florida (1584). Note Cape Canaveral is already on map.

El Galeon Sailing at Sea (from Visitor Movie)

El Galeon Sailing at Sea (from Visitor Movie)

This year 2013 marks the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s landing in Florida (“Land of Flowers”).  In celebration, a replica 16th century Spanish tall ship named El Galeon is stopping at ports along the state’s Atlantic coast.  It is on a path similar to that taken by the explorer.  The ship is currently at Port Canaveral from May 1-12, 2013.  It is a real beauty!  The ship is 170 feet long and weighs 495 tons.  The anchor alone weighs over one ton.  The ship has 6 decks, and 3 masts with 7 sails.  Most striking is the wood, which is found throughout the ship and is gorgeous in scale and detail.  Below deck are interpretive displays.  UPDATE:  This ship will be featured in the NBC TV show “Crossbones”, and will return to port in St. Augustine in 2015 to celebrate the city’s 450th birthday.  More info is at:  https://www.facebook.com/elgaleonandalucia/

Nellie the Dolphin’s 60th Birthday!

Vintage Postcard of Nellie's 20th Birthday Celebration

Vintage Postcard of Nellie’s 20th Birthday Celebration

Today is Nellie the Dolphin’s 60th birthday!  She was born at Marineland, Florida, on February 27, 1953, to mother Susie and father Happy.  She was famously in several television shows in the 1950’s and a Timex commercial in 1961.  In 1970 she became the mascot for Jacksonville University, and was awarded a master’s degree in marine science.  Nellie is doing very well and is loved by everyone who visits her.  The picture shows a vintage postcard from Nellie’s 20th birthday celebration.  Marineland’s birthday tribute to Nellie is at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTIAnCfaoC8

UPDATE:  Nellie passed away at the age of 61 on May 1, 2014.  The previous May (2013) Nellie was given an honorary Ph.D. in health science and longevity by Jacksonville University.

Florida: Birds at Sebastian Beach

Sebastian Beach:  Beautiful Blue Water

Sebastian Beach: Beautiful Blue Water

Adult Brown Pelican

Adult Brown Pelican

Young Brown Pelican

Young Brown Pelican

Wood Stork

Wood Stork

Black Skimmer and Royal Terns

Black Skimmer and Royal Terns

The beaches are perfect here in Florida in January.  The view is absolutely gorgeous, and the birdlife is amazing.  Come and visit to enjoy the warm sunshine!

Florida: Big Talbot Island Driftwood

Driftwood on Beach

Driftwood on Beach

Driftwood on Sand

Driftwood on Sand

Driftwood Logs

Driftwood Logs

Big Talbot Island State Park has the only beach in Florida that is covered in driftwood!  The wood comes from trees that have fallen from the eroded bluffs above the beach.  Over time the wood is polished by the sand and surf.  The bleached-out trunks have given rise to its popular name “Boneyard Beach”.   More info on this unique beach north of Jacksonville is at:  http://www.floridastateparks.org/bigtalbotisland/

Florida: Marineland

Marineland 1938 Sign

Marineland 1938 Sign

Vintage Dolphin Statue

Vintage Dolphin Statue

Vintage Dolphin Wall of Fudge Kitchen

Vintage Dolphin Wall of Fudge Kitchen

Vintage Neptune Statue

Vintage Neptune Statue

Vintage Photo:  Dolphin and Sunbonnet Lady

Vintage Photo: Dolphin and Sunbonnet Lady

Vintage Photo:  Dolphins and Songbook

Vintage Photo: Dolphins and Songbook

Vintage Marine Studios Sign

Vintage Marine Studios Sign

Three Dolphins Jumping

Three Dolphins Jumping

Marineland Entrance Sign

Marineland Entrance Sign

Marineland was one of Florida’s earliest tourist attractions.   It debuted in 1938 as the “World’s First Oceanarium” (south of St. Augustine).  The attraction’s original name was Marine Studios, because it catered to both tourists and film studios.  Movies and television shows filmed there include Tarzan, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Sea Hunt, and Benji (which featured the first scuba-diving dog). 

In 1951 Marineland was rated number one in Florida tourism.  I can’t help but smile when I look at those vintage photographs.  Marineland’s beloved dolphin Nellie was born there in 1953, and is now 59 years old.  She is one of the world’s oldest dolphins! 

Although the facility fell on hard times in the 1980s, the future looks much brighter now that it was bought by the premier Georgia Aquarium.  I especially like Marineland’s authentic feel.  Besides, where else can you feed a dolphin for $29?  More info is at:  http://www.marineland.net/index.html

UPDATE:  Nellie passed away at the age of 61 on May 1, 2014.  The previous May (2013) Nellie was given an honorary Ph.D. in health science and longevity by Jacksonville University.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center – Sea Turtle Hospital

Sea Turtle Hospital Mural

Sea Turtle Hospital Mural

Green Sea Turtle Patient in Hospital (doing well)

Green Sea Turtle Patient in Hospital (doing well)

Green Sea Turtle Patient in Personal Swimming Pen

Green Sea Turtle Patient in Personal Swimming Pen

Loggerhead Hatchling Patient and Sargassum Weed

Loggerhead Hatchling Patient and Sargassum Weed

Sea Turtle Hospital Quiet Sign

Sea Turtle Hospital Quiet Sign

Exhibit of Jupiter Inlet Near-Shore Coral Reef

Exhibit of Jupiter Inlet Near-Shore Coral Reef

The Loggerhead Marinelife Center is a sea turtle hospital, research facility, and education campus in Juno Beach, Florida.  Sick or injured sea turtles are brought to the center for veterinary care.  Turtles receive treatment and are rehabilitated for release.  Visitors are welcome to view the exhibits, watch veterinary care, and get a close-up view of current patients.  More info is at:  http://marinelife.org/

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