Our Trip to Florida and Mexico

Our family has had an amazing summer so far.  As many of you know, we caught up with my family (my sister, her family and my folks) back in May at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We just got back from a trip with Hubby’s family — his two sisters, nephews, niece, parents, etc. etc.  Hubby’s Mom set up time shares for us in Florida.  The palm trees make it look so exotic!

Florida-TimeShare

It took a couple of days for all of our family to arrive (we had family coming in from California, Colorado and Missouri). Then we all headed off on a cruise. (This was a first for me and the kids.) We traveled on the Carnival ship, Paradise. When you hear about all the good food, they’re not kidding! We all ate too much!

Our cruise stopped in Cozumel, Mexico. The kids were SO excited for our excursion. We chose to go swimming with dolphins.  It was a really neat experience. Of course, they charge an arm and a leg for the photos. All I can say is negotiate, negotiate, negotiate!!! We also went snorkeling and that was really amazing too!

Cruise-Dolphin Pictures Mexico-HomeschoolDen

Chankanaab Park also had an archeological replica area.  We also got a taste of the culture of Mexico even though we weren’t able to visit any of the (real) ruins.  Years ago, Hubby and I visited Chichén Itzá and Uxmal in the Yucatan. That’ll have to wait for another trip for the kids. In the meantime, here are a few photos of what we saw last week:

MexicanCulture-Cozumel-Mexico

Because the kids have read some (or all!!) of the Harry Potter books, we decided to get tickets to Universal Studios (rather than any of the other options in Florida).  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was so impressive! We were blown away by the attention to detail on everything. The rides were great, but the atmosphere was so neat.  The kids spent their allowance on interactive wands and the neat thing was that they really “worked.” The kids were able to cast spells in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade (to make things happen).  The kids thought that was really awesome!

The photos just don’t do the Wizarding World of Harry Potter justice.  You can’t really see the size and scale of it all.  It was incredible to have Hogwarts just *towering* over you! The massive dragon you see in the photo below actually spits fire every now and then (and boy, can you feel the heat).  The kids loved Diagon Alley, riding the Hogwarts Express (a full scale replica!), not to mention the rides in Hogwarts, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey,  and Gringotts, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

HarryPotterWorld-UniversalStudios-HomeschoolDen

We also visited other parts of the Universal Parks, which were wonderful too!  The Seussville area was really colorful and my nephew really loved the Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem.

Universal-Studios-Park

What an amazing time we had!  Of course, the best thing for the kids was the wild and crazy times they had with all of their cousins. It was an action packed,  fun-filled vacation for sure!

I hope you’ve been having a good summer (or winter for those of my readers down in the Southern Hemisphere!).

Have you been to Universal Studios or been on a cruise before?  Did your family enjoy enjoy it?

See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page.  There, I have updates twice daily (most days) of some of our previous posts… highlighting many of the activities and printables we’ve done here over the years! As for the blog, I’ll still be posting Mondays and Wednesday throughout the summer.  ;) ~Liesl

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