And the turtles, of course…all the turtles are free, as turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.

Happy Tuesday of vacation! Let’s see if I can make this publish on the correct day so I don’t confuse the whole world, what do you say?

Today I slept until SEVEN. I know, totally decadent, right? Oh, wait, no. Not at all decadent. Dammit. Listen, I really am trying to sleep in. It’s just not happening. I wake up and I’m all, “VACATION VACATION WHOO!” and forget it, sleep, you’re out of here.

Dad and I decided today to visit the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet. This was decided because the website had turtles on it. I’m an easy sell when it comes to turtles.

Now, the Marine Science Center opened at 10. And it took about 45 minutes to get there. So of course Dad, who is the EARLIEST PERSON TO GET PLACES IN THE WORLD ZOMG, wanted to leave to get there at 9. I mean, it’s not like you won a PRIZE if you got there first. But my dad gets everywhere early. Like, when I was a kid, we’d get to church at least 45 minutes before mass started and then just sit there waiting. It was the worst. I think it’s just in case there’s some sort of emergency on the way. Like, maybe all the roads possibly leading to our ultimate destination are closed by flood or fire or zombie apocalypse, I don’t know.

So of course we got there fifteen minutes before it even opened and then had to sit in the really hot car waiting for it to open. It’s…well, it’s not the best plan, let’s be honest.

But I was in a good mood. TURTLES!

When you first show up to the Center, from the parking lot, you can see:

A pretty lighthouse! You could also go to the lighthouse park and climb up the lighthouse but that seemed like a lot of work so we decided against that.

Then when you FINALLY get out of the hot car and walk to the center, the first thing you see is:

A room full of tanks – and in those tanks are TURTLES! Soon you get to see those turtles closer, but this is just a teaser. I attempted to tweet this photo to everyone who was ANXIOUSLY waiting to go to the Center with me but at that very moment my phone lost all connection. I don’t want to give you a spoiler alert as to who is the enemy of this post, because you’ll see soon enough, but there is TOTALLY an enemy coming up. And he is WICKED. I’m pretty sure he’s the reason I had no phone coverage in the Center.

Then we went in (and there was a school doing a field trip there today and Dad was all “KIDS KIDS I HATE KIDS THEY ARE SO CHILDISH” and I had to roll my eyes at him fourteen times) and the lady at the desk wanted to stamp a turtle on my hand. Then she took one look at how hard I was eyeing the “touch the stingrays” tank and laughed and said “I’m going to stamp this on your arm, not your hand. I think you’re heading for the stingray tank.” “YES I AM!” I said. Dad laughed at me. Because I was VERY EXCITED.

Turtle stamppppp! I totally have a lot of arm-freckles. Probably that means I'm awesome.

The first thing you see when you enter the center is the gift shop but I told Dad we would come back to that. Because – TIME TO TOUCH THE STINGRAYS!!!

I think I looked like the kind of person that really, really needed to touch a stingray, because the man working there told me in a quiet voice to stand in one specific corner of the tank and put my arm in to the elbow and the stingrays would think I was going to feed them and then let me touch them.

This is the stingray pool. There are also other types of rays, and horseshoe crabs, and other types of crabs, and one out-of-place-seeming fish.

Dad took a photo of me touching some sort of underwater hermit crab thingy. Right after this, the nice volunteer told me, "Probably put it back underwater again, or it will die." I did. Posthaste.

Look! I'm totally the best at calling the rays to me. They LOVE me.

This is the stingray TOTALLY KISSING MY HAND. They loved me because they thought I had food. But also they just loved me. I told the volunteer I was the stingray whisperer. He was both amused and confused. Amfused, then.

Next we noticed that all those children that were annoying Dad were sitting around a man who was HOLDING A TEENY TINY OWL. I think the talk he was giving was FOR the children, but what were they going to do, kick me out of the science center? So I listened to the talk about the teeny tiny owl. And took a photo. Because OWL.

Here is the volunteer with the itty bitty owl. Is it not the CUTEST? It isn't even a baby. This is as big as they get. I WANT ONE.

After owl time it was TURTLE TIME. First, freshwater turtles in a big tank. They were all sunning themselves under heatlamps and had much personality.

This one was my favorite. He was LAID-BACK.

I kind of geeked out about the turtles. I love them so. Also, no one but Dad and I were even LOOKING at the turtles! No one cared. So sad.

Then there were various aquatic tanks, like one with a fish that I thought was a puffer fish but it was actually a porcupinefish. He did NOT want his photo taken. I mean, I did it, but he was not standing still to pose, even when I told him to smile for the camera.

Not a very photogenic porcupinefish.

There were also these pretty fish: lionfish, I think. I should have taken notes.

Then Dad was all, “Oh, crap, THIS is going to eat your face” and I turned around and saw THE FACE OF EVIL. I’m pretty sure this is why I didn’t have cell phone service in the Center AND the cause of all evil in the WHOLE WORLD.


This is the evil moray eel. It had EVIL BEADY EYES and SHARP JAGGEDY TEETH and if you walked close to the tank it DARTED its HEAD at you like it wanted to be eating your brain out of your ears. Also, its eyes followed you in the whole room. It was a very dark force and probably the last thing we will all see before we die. EEEEEVVVVIIIILLLLL.

Then we went into the turtle rehab room that I showed you a photo of earlier. You could look down from a walkway into tanks of turtles being rehabbed. There was another talk going on for those children, so of course we listened to it. And I met my long-lost daughter.

Lady giving the talk: Here are our turtles.
Child 1: Why are there turtles?
Child 2: I like turtles.
Child 3: Did you know that turtles live in the ocean? I think you should put that turtle in this tank. Also, I ate shrimp for dinner last night. Did you ever go on a boat? Would that turtle let me touch him?

I told Dad I thought that child was my long-lost daughter and he said, “Because she NEVER SHUTS UP” and I said, “And is also quite awesome. Don’t forget that part. That she’s also awesome.”

This turtle was almost better and ready to be released. He was very active and kind of perky and awesome.

This turtle had a band-aid on its shell and that was sad. It had a very dejected air. I wanted to hug him.

Then we went to the gift shop, where I bought turtle-related items, and also gifts, and jewelry. I am kind of helpless in the face of that much turtle goodness. I almost bought a stingray necklace but Dad and I decided it was not as pretty as the turtle necklace. Even though I already have a number of turtle necklaces. Yes, I have a NUMBER of turtle necklaces. What? Doesn’t everyone? No? Well, what’s wrong with you, then?

Then we went outside, and realized there was ANOTHER part of the Center we didn’t see. BIRD REHAB!

A bald eagle! He was very patriotic. My dad said he was AMERICAN. I wanted to laugh and say "America! Fuck, yeah!" but I didn't think that would be wise.

A kestrel! He was beautiful and swooped around in his cage a lot. I love raptors. I wanted to bring him home with me and kept coming back to talk to him.

A beautiful owl! I LOVED this owl. He had pretty eyes.

A Great Horned Owl! He was the STAR. I LOVED him. I spent a good twenty minutes in front of his cage. He was FANTASTIC.

What’s that? You want MORE Great Horned Owl photos? You can have them. I took a million and a half. I knew you’d want them. Also, I named him Shelby. I mean, once he’s my pet, he’ll need a name.

This is Shelby looking sad. He wasn't the happiest. He'll be happier once I adopt him, I think.

THEN, Dad made a really good owl noise. Shelby got very excited and looked curious!

Then Shelby realized the owl noise was coming from Dad, and gave Dad the BEST DEATH GLARE EVER ZOMG. I am in TEARS over how funny this is, STILL. Like HOURS LATER.

Finally, we saw pelicans!

Then it was time to go home. Oh, wait, no, one more weird thing. An asshatty guy came up to Dad and was all, “HOW DO WE GET IN” in a totally obnoxious way and Dad was like, “Um, you don’t? This is pretty close, right?” and the guy was all, “THIS IS A SCIENCE CENTER THEY HAVE TO ALLOW US IN THERE IT’S THE RULE” and Dad was like, “Whatever you say, buddy” and the guy walked off all huffy. But he was FURIOUS he apparently couldn’t get INTO the cages with the injured birds? I wanted him to get in with Shelby. Shelby would have ripped that guy’s face clear off. But then the asshat’s wife was all, “Um, honey, we’re not in the Science Center, that’s up the hill?” and the guy was all “THIS IS MISLEADING SHIT SHIT SHIT” and stomped off. Shelby glared at him as he left. Shelby doesn’t like asshats, I can tell. We should have told that guy to put his whole arm in the moray eel’s tank. Would that have been close enough for him, do you think? Dad’s been pretending to be that guy all day. “Amy, I HAVE TO GET CLOSER TO THE OCEAN IT’S THE RULE.” It’s cracking my shit up.

Now we’re lounging around and we watched an old Clint Eastwood movie, and that was nice, and Clint Eastwood was hot AND a badass, and I do so like both of those things. Then in about an hour I will go pick up more shells on the beach in the sunset. I think if I lived here year-round and didn’t have to work I wouldn’t be sarcastic anymore. But then, what would I blog about? Nothing. The answer is nothing.

Tomorrow, we will be visiting the zoo! Kookaburras! Caracals! MANY PHOTOS! Oh, the world is an exciting place, isn’t it?

(Title’s from Dr. Seuss’s Yertle the Turtle. But you knew that, right? Of course you did.)

About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

45 responses to “And the turtles, of course…all the turtles are free, as turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.

  • sj

    Oh, this post made my day. Thank you Amy. Thank you Amy’s dad!



  • elaine4queen

    SO much going on here!

    first of all, that owl is completely contemptuous of your poor dad. i bet he didn’t even know that look until he had to deal with humans day in day out.

    then of all, how cool is it that you found your doppleganger daughter.

    and then of all, the thing about living on a beach and have nothing to blog about. this is pretty much my problem. i mean, the river lea is a river and not a beach, but it’s really like being on holiday all the time. absolutely nothing happens. i have to rely on my shonky mind and the internet and the slim slim shards of ‘events’ on the towpath.


  • Domestic Goddess in Training

    This post cracked me up… Going to the center with your dad reminds me of doing these types of things with my husband… I bet they would get along well.


  • thesuniverse

    I’m going to have to steal that guy’s line. BECAUSE IT’S THE RULE.

    I think you and your long-lost daughter and Shelby would be very happy together.


  • Kristen Armstrong (@krispix24)

    The Great Horned Owl Death Glare is the best thing! I so needed that laugh. Thanks for sharing.


    • lucysfootball

      Isn’t it the best? I was SO GLAD I got a photo of that. I cheered out loud when I saw the camera worked for that one. He made that face for a long time, too! He had all the personality. I loved him!


  • Rich Crete

    How is it that you named an owl Shelby and not a turtle? Brain…..hurts……….


  • jbrown3079

    “Would that turtle let me touch him?” Imagine being a turtle that hates, hates being touched. What does it do? Try to move away faster? How frustrating would that kind of life be?


    • lucysfootball

      Aw, that poor turtle! You’re right! These were sea turtles, though. They could probably swim away? Now I worry that all the animals I want to touch HATE to be touched. Yikes!


  • ProfMomEsq

    Shelby is my hero. I needed that laugh so bad, because I am sitting on a plane to NYC and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Which is very unfunny. But, you are so the opposite of unfunny. Which is the RULE! That and I think Shelby needs to be your new profile pic. :-)


    • lucysfootball

      You’re going to NYC? That’s awesome! Work-related, I assume? Will you have any time to enjoy the city? I hope so, it’s my favorite city of them all!

      Isn’t Shelby the BEST? He had SUCH ATTITUDE. I wanted him to be my pet so badly. He gave the best withering stares of “you are a douche” that I’ve ever seen. I loved him so much. I just kept going back to his cage over and over.


      • ProfMomEsq

        Not at all work related, so Yay! I’m originally from CT and still have family there, so here for a visit. The BEST.
        Hope the trip is going well. I’m way behind on e reading but will get caught up.


        • lucysfootball

          Hope you’re having the best time! My vacation’s winding down. I’ll be home on Sunday. Sigh…but also a little yay. I always miss my home a little when I’m traveling. And of course Dumbcat!


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    ZOMG so many comments in my head I think it might explode!

    You touched sting rays?! That’s totally awesome! Did they feel rough like sandpaper? When I petted some sharks in Norway many years ago, their skin felt like sandpaper. Did the sting rays nibble your fingers? I envision they’d be quite gentle.


    • lucysfootball

      It was so so cool! They were smooth, not rough at all. They felt like…um…I don’t know if I have any comparison, other than they felt like a dolphin, the one time I got to touch a dolphin when I was a kid. Muscley, and so smooth, with a little give. They DID nibble my fingers! Very very gently. They tested to see if I was food, and when they tasted you and realized you weren’t, they let you pet their heads and backs. It was honestly one of the coolest experiences of my life. I was squealing like a little kid, I was so excited!


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Moray eels have a bad rep, which is completely unwarranted. They are really peaceful creatures who almost never nibble on humans; and when they do – usually by accident – they feel really bad about it. You can actually get them to be quite domesticated, feeding out of your hand.


    • lucysfootball

      But he was SO SCARY, Andreas! With creepy eyes and sharp sharp teeth! But if you say they’re nice, I believe you. I told my dad my Science Fellow said the evil moray eel was actually nice so it MUST be true. He was skeptical, but I am not. I know you’re the best Science Fellow. And always right about sciency things.


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Shelby looked like a proper gentleman! So he didn’t take kindly to your dad mimicking an owl then? How odd. When we went to the wildlife park, my fiancée had a long conversation with an owl. They really got along.


  • 35jupiterdrive

    Okay, I’m totally behind on all of my blog reading, so I’m sorry but you know how it is.

    I think the little tiny owl is a saw whet owl maybe? My mother had one for awhile when she was young. (It was hurt and they were taking care of it and then released it.) I have a cool picture of her at like 16 with it on her shoulder.

    A stingray killed the crocodile guy, Steve Irwin.

    One of my exes has/had (? I haven’t talked to her in years so I’m not sure of the appropriate tense as tortoises live forever but who knows) a tortoise. He hibernates a great deal. Also, he’s very slow.

    Shelby is an awesome owl. Perfect.

    In my dream life where I have my own house and I keep bees and there is a huge cutting garden of flowers in the front with a sign that says help yourself, I am also a licensed raptor rehabilitator. I want that soooo badly. I will say that raptors don’t care at all about us. I’ve known a few falconers (who mostly flew hawks) and those hawks were cranky crankorous. Nonetheless, I totally want to do rehab.

    I really need to write a best-seller or win the lottery. Either or.


    • lucysfootball

      Not a worry at all! I’m just glad you’re here!

      I know, Dad was so worried those stingrays were going to kill me. But they were very nice. I don’t know if they were domesticated, or what was going on!

      Your dream house and mine are very much alike. Mine also has rehab for all the animals. Especially goats. I want a lot of goats. If you win the lottery and get ALL the money, throw a little my way? Then we can BOTH have awesome animal rehabs! :)


      • 35jupiterdrive

        That would be a fun thing to do with a lottery, wouldn’t it? Set people up in houses and land with rehabs for animals and birds. I would be really good at winning the lottery. For one thing, I’d mostly give it away. I have many ideas around this actually.

        Also, I think owls think we’re idiots at times. Or at least, they think I’m an idiot. At least, one did. I had an owl experience a few years ago that I’ve never forgotten but the abridged version is I thought it was one of those plastic owls people insist on putting on rooves or in gardens except this was in a tree. And I was thinking that and it turned its head and looked at me with such a long-suffering gaze. Like it was thinking, ‘Really, human? Plastic? Plastic? You are hopeless.’


        • lucysfootball

          I have the same thought about winning the lottery – I already have plans for which worthy organizations I’d donate to. Thing is, I never play the lottery, because I don’t have the money to. :)


  • blogginglily

    I’m commenting all these with my phone. So many comments warring with my hatred of phone commenting!!

    I’ll have to come back. Wait, no, I’ll sum up.

    Eel-Flotsam and Jetsam
    Shelby-the Secret of Nym
    Rays-they let you touch the rays at thePittsburgh Zoo. Also they have a clear tank and a tunnel to crawl under so you can watch the rays swim over you. Also Polar bears.
    It’s the rule-reminds me of a story…another time


    • lucysfootball

      I can’t believe you’re writing all this on your phone! Aw, thanks!

      Wait, there’s a zoo in Pittsburgh? And here I was all excited about the Erie Zoo and you have a zoo, too? MUST COME VISIT YOU SOMEDAY. Polar bears? There were no bears at all on this vacation. Decided lack of bears.

      I want the it’s the rule story. I will try to remind you. My brain’s kind of running on sleep-deficit, though, so if I forget, it’s not because I don’t want to know.

      (I’ve never seen The Secret of Nym. I think I had a comic book of it when I was little, though. Was there an owl?)


  • blogginglily

    Okay. . . I came inside the house to comment more, cause I totally forgot to sum up a couple things:

    1) Yeah. . . Yertle the Turtle O’ Marvelous Me. . . I’m on it.
    2) The story. When I was a kid our football team (i was a spectator) went to State. we were playing in the championship game. We ran the ball in for a touchdown but the referee called it back. The women behind me were SO indignant. “But he put his hands in the air. He put his hands in the air!! It’s a touchdown!” My friends and I mocked those women. It was like. . . “it’s the rule!” or. . . “No takebacks!” So for months we would say (in response to any reversal of position of anything anyone said), “You can’t do that, you put your hands in the air, if you put your hands in the air it’s a touchdown!”
    3) Emma and I got to pet a tiny little owl like that at the Pittsburgh Zoo. There was a lady who talked about him, what he ate and when he slept and that kind of stuff and then she called all the kiddos up and let them pet him one at a time. She loved it. Also, that guy in the picture could skip a couple meals and not suffer greatly.


%d bloggers like this: