Keli Francis

Studio Updates

Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Took a little field trip to Sarasota Jungle Gardens with the older kids today while my youngest was in preschool. This was the first time my daughter had been and second time I'd brought my son, Julian this summer. We weren't sure if the thunderstorms were going to pass us or pour on us but either way, we were just glad to be out of the house.

We arrived within a few minutes of the reptile show start time shortly followed with the bird show. Kara has been the reptile show host both times and we've really enjoyed the hospitality she's shown us. We scored a seat right in the front row and when Kara asked for a volunteer, Allison was eager with a hand in the air. Not knowing what to expect, Kara surprised her with a ball python necklace. Good thing she's a good sport!

After the reptile show we paid the extra fee to have additional close encounters with the animals of the show. The baby American alligator, Sergeant, was donated to Jungle Gardens by the sheriffs department after raiding a drug house and found the alligator malnourished and under-sized. The ball python drapes around the kids shoulders as they hold Sergeant. Then there's the uromastyx or spiny-tail lizard who won my heart. 

We enjoyed the lush tropical landscape as we came up on the flamingo pond. We made sure to bring quarters so we can hand-feed them as well. This is my favorite part of visiting jungle gardens. They're quite unaware of personal space so it you fear the presence of giant birds, you may want to view from a distance.