On the 4th of July, we walked all the way to the top of the bridge in Fort Pierce. It was fun! We saw boats going under the bridge and there was a boat parade through the marina. We were so hot from walking that we got a slushie! And was really, really cold. Later that evening, we saw a cannon. They blasted the cannon off every hour. It was very loud. Then we went to eat our favorite gelato as a special treat.
At 9pm there were fire works over the water. It was so beautiful. I could not imagine it being any better. It was a great day!
With 2 kids on board Exit Only, we are always on the lookout for things to do. We have discovered several interesting and fun places to visit in the Fort Pierce area. This area is known for its citrus industry. Just 50 years ago, this entire area was covered by orange groves and had little development. We visited a citrus farm called Al’s Farm which was just on the edge of town. The girls and I learned about how oranges are grown, harvested, and packaged. We got to taste lots of delicious oranges and fresh juice.
Just down the road from the boatyard is the FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. They have opened a very nice Ocean Discovery center in the last year which is free to visit. We have been able to visit multiple times and the girls have had a great time. Zoe was very excited to visit because the researchers here were involved with the rescue of a special dolphin named Winter. Winter is the subject of a fun movie called Dolphin Tale that Zoe has seen multiple times.
Inside the Ocean Discovery center, we were able to learn about the different types of research being performed at the FAU Harbor Branch facility -- everything from marine agriculture to immunology. They have some wonderful graduate students who help to run the visitors center and give tours. The girls were able to feed fish, taste seaweed, learn about the local dolphin community and learn about helping our oceans stay clean. They have a guided tour into the facility and you can actually see some of the submersibles that are used for research. We haven’t yet done the guided tour as it is a little longer and costs about $15. But I highly recommend this free and wonderful visitors center to anyone who is in the area.
Fort Pierce also has a Manatee center right on the waterfront that is perfect for a day visit. You can often see manatees in the canal right next to the Manatee Center. The volunteers at the center are very knowledgeable about the local Indian River Lagoon. Just across the south causeway bridge is a small aquarium, great parks/playgrounds, and beaches.
We also enjoy almost daily visits to the library while at the City Marina. They have a very nice kids section and a lovely librarian, Ms Giselle. Storytime and STEAM activities are scheduled twice a week. Over the summer, they have had several kid friendly projects and activities. We learned about tectonic plates while making smores and had a local park ranger visit to teach us about the locks leading to lake Okeechobee.
Once we are sailing, we may not have access to this variety of activities. But we sure look forward to meeting some other boat kids and learning all about the new places that we are visiting.