Art By God and Other Misadventures

It was supposed to be a Sunday Funday. It started out the way most Sundays do, slowly and with great difficulty leaving the house. We finally made it out after Ella’s second nap. Ella is still recovering from her tremendous cold, so this was our first real adventure in over a week. She doesn’t love the car in general so I was skeptical of how she would do on a forty minute journey to try and find some manatees in the wild. My husband’s brother is a marine scientist and he knows about these things, so he told us where to find some real live manatees. I have always loved manatees, I’m not sure exactly why, something about their weird gentleness and their funny shape strikes me as incredibly interesting and endearing. I even had a pair of manatee earrings when I was about nine. Let’s just say the silhouette of a manatee was not made for jewelry. I loved them anyway. When Mo suggested taking a drive to a random waterway in Coral Gables I thought it was a terrible idea, but my love for the strange gentle creatures overwhelmed my common sense and I agreed. He was so excited and I wanted to be a good sport. We all packed into the car, drove twenty minutes to find a food truck which was not in its supposed Sunday location. This was already the beginning of the end because I hadn’t eaten lunch. We had some apple slices but apple slices do not a nursing mama’s lunch make! I usually bring better snacks but I guess I was off my game today. I started getting stressed, we had so much further to go to see the delicate river creatures, and where would we eat? Clearly neither of these things are emergencies in any way. I was apparently not aware of that at the time as I filled the car with dread. Luckily, we soon drove past an amazing Miami landmark that we read an article about in the Biscayne Times not too long ago, Art By God. It is a store which is really more like a small museum full of the collection of a man named Gene Harris. There are dinosaur fossils, stuffed real animals of all shapes and sizes (my favorite Ben quote about this was, “If they’re real, why aren’t they moving??”) and an amazing collection of gems and stones from all over the world. No one else was in the store and the women who worked there followed us around at a distance as we browsed, I’m assuming to make sure we didn’t let the kids slobber on any ancient artifacts. They said we shouldn’t take photographs, but that we could take one or two if we didn’t tell anyone that they had let us. Sorry ladies, I can’t resist posting them, the place was just too weird to be true!

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Photo by Mo (along with most of the well balanced, artsy photos on the blog)

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Oooh fossils!

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Um…hi there. Note the “When do we eat lunch!?” stressed out look on my face.

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No comment.

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Overwhelmed!

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Any guesses what kind of skull this is??

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My favorite of the day. So pretty! So magical!

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Brings back memories from my days of making beaded necklaces in high school.

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I love stuff like this.

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Awesome fossils

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AMAZING. Love that kid!

From there we continued our tour of the city, driving all the way through downtown until we got to Coral Gables. Here were a few highlights:

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Helloo Miami!

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Double take!

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Eyes on the sky

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What’s up Invader!?

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When animals attack

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Older building + high rise = favorite city juxtaposition

We finally made it to the random inlet where manatees supposedly congregate during the season, which is supposedly now. Let’s just say I wasn’t overly surprised that we didn’t see any. A couple of other manatee watchers showed up looking for the cute water animals, which was at least a confirmation that we were in the right place. They told us that there is a better chance to find them there on a chilly day. Alas, today was lovely and warm.

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Pretty river, no manatees.

At this point there was still no lunch so I was freaking out a little bit. After two ridiculous fails from Google maps (I may or may not have had a minor meltdown along the lines of “I quit! I want to go home!) we finally found our way into downtown Coral Gables and got some smoothies. Ella liked them so much she said a new word, “MO!” seemingly meaning “more.”

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Blueberry banana deliciousness!

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MORE!!!

We made our way home after a meandering day that involved way too much time in the car and happily ushered the kids through the bedtime routine and to sleep. Really not so bad for a misadventure…better luck next Sunday!

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View from 95 in Miami is a little nicer than the view from 95 in New Jersey…

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