Though my 16th birthday was back in January, my mom and I just returned from my Sweet 16 birthday trip not too long ago! It was originally set for a ski trip to Colorado, but things kept coming up and it eventually turned into the complete opposite; fun in the sun going to Florida! It was just for a few days, but they were packed with adventure and wildlife...I absolutely loved it!
Our trip started out with horseback riding on the beach. I usually don't go horseback riding since animal welfare is my top priority, but I made sure to thoroughly research this company. We rode with "Florida Beach Horses", and all of their horses are rescues that they care for, even after retirement.
This is a picture of Naomi who was rescued from an irresponsible, overbreeding facility. This was her before the ride, enjoying some hay next to the beach...
Our ride was "Sand and Surf", and I really loved the "surf" part. The "sand" part I felt was rough on the horses, but when we got in the water, it felt that they were enjoying it more!
While everyone else was participating in some activities, Mami and I decided to just hang out with our horses. We didn't want to hurt them or push them into something that they didn't want, so we just sat there with them. Then we went out into deeper water to swim - and Jezamay is a fast swimmer, darting out ahead of the group - and then we raced heading back in. I really loved the horses!
Then, after getting dressed into some clean clothes, we headed on over to our hotel, the "Zota Beach Resort". We checked in and left our things before taking a quick look around...
...it was a great hotel, even though our room was on the older half. There was a pool, private beach, and everyone was really friendly!
Once we'd settled in, we went to get something to eat at "Palmer's Nutritious You", a vegan restaurant that we'd wanted to try. It was a cute little place with a charming interior and delicious food! Usually, I'm not a big fan of the more whole food options, but these were an exception!
And I had this refreshing glass of electric lemonade! It was a regular lemonade with spirulina for some added vitamins...and a nice burst of color!
I will definitely be visiting this place again!
Then, after we'd finished eating, we went back to the hotel to spend some time on the beach and at the pool! That includes the pool bar which had these virgin piña coladas that I loved!
Nice and refreshing...
And at the end of that first day, we went back to our room and ordered a vegan cheese pizza. It was expensive for the size, but it tasted really good!
Then the next morning when we woke up, we started getting ready for our kayaking adventure!
We had a blast! Getting to see some manatees...
...and exploring the Lido mangroves!
We even got to see a raccoon in the mangrove tunnels! He was SO cute!
The whole tour was amazing! The wildlife, kayaking, our guide! I highly recommend "Almost Heaven Kayaking" in Sarasota!
Unfortunately my camera's battery overheated, so I didn't get many pictures actually kayaking :(
Nevertheless, we had a great time, and when we were done, we went to get something to eat for lunch! This time we checked out "Project Coffee", another vegan restaurant!
Neither of us liked the music that they were playing, but the place was really nice and the food was AMAZING! We each got waffles and a breakfast burrito to-go. We had the waffle first and they were the BEST waffles that I've ever had...not just the vegan ones! They were light and fluffy and even a little buttery.
Back at the hotel about an hour later we had the breakfast burritos. They were really good too, but I was stuffed and couldn't finish mine! I still prefer the waffles too...
We spent the next couple of hours at the beach...splashing in the small waves and floating around. We had to get out a little early so we could dry off for our next activity...
...for another piña colada! I told you I loved them! Unfortunately, I was just posing for this photo and couldn't drink them both...one was Mami's :(
And that other activity? Jet skis! And I got to drive! At first I wasn't really good at it, but after a little practice, I was going really fast and felt more comfortable! I have a need for speed!
A little video from our adventure thanks to Siesta Skis...
The pool at our hotel is open from dawn to dusk, but when we got back we were told that if we were quiet we could use it...so that's just what we did!
Then, our last activity of the trip was a day at Clearwater Marine Aquarium...one of my favorite places to visit!
And aside from seeing the animals, which is always fun, Mami surprised me with an animal encounter with Rudy! This was my first time ever seeing a rough tooth dolphin, and I LOVED him!
I loved how Rudy bounced up and down while tapping my hand! He's adorable!
Rudy showing us this little trick of his that he taught himself!
And we got to feed him too!
...and now the worst part; having to say goodbye...
After stopping by all of the animals, it was time to start on our way back home! But before that, we made one last detour to Chelsea's Cashew Creamery. A 100% vegan ice cream shop? Umm...YES PLEASE! It did not disappoint! Their waffle cone bowl with mint chip and choco mint chip ice cream was SO yummy! Mami loved their orange ice cream too!
I had an amazing time with my Mami this past weekend celebrating my 16th birthday! We got to see so many animals and wildlife and I LOVED it! Can't wait for our next adventure!