Tuesday, February 21, 2012

SkatePark of Tampa - Day 1

We flew into Tampa last night.  Although it's been a relatively mild winter at home, we were delighted to walk out of the terminal into a glorious evening:  sun setting over the gulf (no, we couldn't see it, just knew it was out there somewhere to the west) and clear skies at a balmy 63°F or so.  With the hotel directions set in the phone app, we picked up our economy car ("Mom, it's so small!) and headed onto the highway.  One wrong hotel later (phone app sent us to the right chain in the wrong location), we arrived, checked in, and headed back out for a fabulous Thai dinner at a local restaurant.  Sk8terdude was begging to head to SPoT to start skating, but I reminded him that he was still on restricted activities and he would just have to wait one more day...

This morning he was up bright and early and eager to get a start.  Unfortunately for him, SPoT opens at noon during the week except during school vacations and, although it is our school vacation time, Florida operates on a different schedule.

So we took a side trip to the Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach where we saw manatees.  Or, should I say we saw PARTS of manatees.  A flipper here, a tail there, an occasional snout or back cresting above the water...at no point was it possible to see a manatee in its entirety.  But that's okay.  We had a great time, enjoyed an hour or so in incredibly beautiful weather, and then turned back north to find our way to SPoT.

With five minutes to spare before they opened, we were here.

And precisely at noon, the magic door opened wide.  After one signed waiver and a swipe of the credit card, Sk8terdude was skating and I was settled, not so happily, in the parent lounge - by which I mean at the picnic table:

Don't get me wrong, it's a perfectly lovely picnic table.  It's in the shade.  It's near a working outlet.  It's conveniently located next to the vending machine.  The free wifi is working.  And from the table I have views of one part of the skatepark

and (looking outside) part of the giant half-pipe.

And now that they've turned down the music (at my request), I can almost hear myself think.  Almost.  But with that big garage door open to the outside, it's a little toasty in here - even with the giant fans that add to the cacophony...

It could be worse.  It could be snowing.

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