Please bear with me guys as I’m still in recovery mode from two back to back trips and trying to play catch up with my content. I have LOTS of stuff from the past few weeks to share with you guys, starting with my son’s 13th birthday with a ton of pics. Y’all know I get carried away with the pictures lol.
I can’t believe that I have a 13 year old. Yes a 13 year old. My does time fly. I remember the day he was born as if it was yesterday. His first birthday party. His first day of Kindergarten. Now my baby, wait let me rephrase that, my young man is 13 years old. It was a very sentimental day for me and I found myself really emotional, which I didn’t think would happen. I should’ve known better. To celebrate we had dinner at one of Esean’s favorite brick oven pizza restaurants, Barboncino in Brooklyn.
Fresh from the oven Margherita Pizza
After dinner we headed to his favorite doughnut spots, Dough (Brooklyn location.)
If you haven’t tried Dough you are truly missing out. Doughy puffs of goodness in decadent flavors that melt in your mouth. Featured here is Chocolate Salted Caramel, Chocolate with Cocoa Nibbs, Passion Fruit and Cafe au Lait. Yum.
Since 13 is a big birthday, Esean’s gift was a surprise trip to Tampa Florida. Well it was a surprise until my big mouth sister spilled the beans the week before lol. He was nervous to be on a plane since he hasn’t flown in years but he quickly got over it and enjoyed the flight. To make the best of our trip I purchased two Tampa Bay City PASSes so that we could enjoy five attractions for the price of one. First stop was the Museum of Science & Industry while we waited for our room to be ready. We had a good ol’ time for hours and it was so much to see.
By the time we got back to our hotel, the Hampton Inn & Suites Tampa North, it was time for the guest reception where on the house dinner and snacks were served, including fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. The hotel was one of the highlights of our stay. We really took advantage of the delicious huge continental breakfast served every morning, the complimentary shuttle to nearby attractions and the pretty pool in which we enjoyed that evening. We got up bright and early the next morning to enjoy breakfast and head to Busch Gardens.
Neither one of us are fans of roller coasters but Busch Gardens is so much more than just roller coasters, it’s like a giant zoo and amusement park in one. We were brave enough however to get on the Skyride (above) for an overhead view of the park, along with the Congo River Rapids, bumper cars and enjoyed a ride on the Serengeti Railway to tour the park and see the animals.
We also got in a few shows and games, and enjoyed watching others on the roller coasters which was quite amusing. We got rained on, I mean really RAINED on and had to run through the park to make it to our shuttle back to the hotel. We stopped on the way to get dinner from Chic-fil-A…
Every time I’m down south I have to hit Chic-fil-A as we don’t have this simple pleasure in NYC, except for a heat lamp location at NYU. However it’s currently in the works and coming soon. Since I’m now a Pescatarian I’ll have to enjoy just the fries and milkshakes *tears* 🙁
After dinner we got in some more pool time.
The next day was a long but fun filled one. First stop, The Florida Aquarium. We did the trivia challenge and had to find sea creatures based on clues given in riddles. We quit half way through though because we were bored and just did our own thing.
Next stop, Channelside Bay Plaza for lunch at Thai Thani, which was quite the treat.
We then headed over to the Lowry Park Zoo where we enjoyed a bird show, the animal attractions and a African Safari ride tour with an up close view of safari animals.
There was a special event going on at the zoo after dark, the Zoominations Chinese Light Festival. I had tickets but we had a 3 hour wait before it started so we met up with my friend Key and her cutie Seven to get some ice cream from Bo’s while we waited. Best soft serve I ever had!
Cookies ‘n Cream & Fudge Brownie
We really enjoyed Zoominations. The lanterns were a site to behold, so beautiful!
We got back to the hotel really late and just relaxed for the night and the next morning before we headed back to the airport. As a huge fan of Uber it was my best friend during this trip and I used it to go to and from all of the places that my hotel shuttle didn’t cover including the airport, aquarium and zoo. It was pretty inexpensive, made it easy for me to get around and I didn’t have to worry about carrying extra money for cabs. If you’ve never used Uber, you can get your first ride free (up to $20) if you sign up through my link here or use my code ericam127. Disclosure: I’ll get a free ride as well up to $20, but it’s a win win situation so give it a try. Anyway, as if I haven’t posted enough pictures you can see more pics from our vacation in the slideshow below.