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Amelia Island River Cruise + Final Florida Weekend | Black Kite Express

Our last weekend in Florida was good! It was hot, sunny and full of family time.

Friday: Amelia Island River Cruise

On Friday morning, my parents, sister, and our kids took the hour-long drive to Amelia Island for a river cruise. My mom brought up the idea with our gang earlier in the week and when I read about the Shrimping Eco Tour option, one that involved deploying a trawl net and raising ocean creatures to catch and release, I knew our kids would love it.

Amelia Island Shrimp Eco Tour

The tour left at 10:30 am and the first half of the tour involved learning some local history while we sailed and enjoyed the sea breeze. Chase, in true Creature Man style, spotted a jellyfish from the bow of the boat within the first 30 minutes. The marine biologist on board then used a large net to scoop it up and dropped it into a small aquarium so everyone on board could watch and touch it.

Amelia Island Shrimp Eco Tour Chase Ryder

The jellyfish was a cannonball jellyfish and had no tentacles so it was safe to hold and touch, which was really cool and definitely added to the excitement for all the kids on board.

When it was time to deploy the trawl, the excitement level increased even more as we all started predicting what kind of sea creatures we might see 15 minutes later when we reeled in the net again. A gigantic horseshoe crab left us all speechless (it was very fun to see it come out of the boat and fall back into the mudflats) and the net was also full of various types of fish, crabs and squid that we later observed in the tanks on board.

Amelia Island Shrimp Eco Tour

The kids got to work releasing the creatures back into the water as we made our way to a cove where we saw a pod of dolphins and adorable baby dolphins hunting for fish and swimming around. While thanking the captain and crew, we all agreed that the river tour was a really great experience and is one that we would highly recommend to anyone visiting the Amelia Island area, especially those with children who love rivers! animals!

Amelia Island Shrimp Eco Tour Chase Julie

(Sandals: Farm Rio x adidas / Beach bag: Amazon / Skirt: J.Crew – for a long skirt, this one was not attractive at all thanks to the chiffon material! / Top: Target but old)

Once we got home from the river cruise, we relaxed with some free time at my parents’ house. When Ryan finished work, we were ready to have some outdoor fun again and spent the rest of Friday at the beach and pool.

ryan chase ryder

rhett 3 years

Our kids really enjoyed boogie boarding and riding the waves during our visit and they had a great time surfing!

Saturday: Celebrating Ryder

Our Saturday was mainly focused on our middleman! Ryder will turn 6 on June 18 and when we asked him what he wanted to do to celebrate his birthday earlier this month, he said he wanted to have an animal-themed party with our family. He seemed excited about the idea of ​​celebrating early in Florida and requested a party in Aunt Leslie’s backyard, so that’s exactly what we did on Saturday!

julie ryan ryder

Earlier in the week I found an awesome 10-foot inflatable pool at ALDI that worked well for water play, and Ross blew up his family’s bounce house, which transformed into a sort of bounce house for all the kids. They had a great time splashing around (Leslie’s neighbors also came to join in the fun as our kids love their kids) and we also planned some fun games for the kids.

In case you’re looking for some easy party games to integrate into a low-key kids’ birthday party anytime soon, here are some of the games we planned for the kids that were especially big hits:

  • Animal safari: We hid a bunch of stuffed animals we already had in the backyard so the kids would work together to try to find them and win a prize.
  • Tracking that animal: We had 3 individual cups lined up and the kids watched as we hid a small animal figure under one of the cups. We then mixed up the glasses as they tried to track the glass with the animal underneath it to find it when the glasses stopped moving. If they found the animal, they won a prize. (Spoiler alert: they always found the animal.)
  • Pin the tail on the reindeer: Ryder is still obsessed with reindeer (remember Halloween when he dressed up as Rudolph?) and this game had kids and adults alike laughing out loud as we ran around blindfolded and tried to pin the tail on the reindeer Christmas sign. . (I’ll never know how we’ve never played pin the tail on the donkey at a kids’ party until now with 3 kids in the mix, but there’s clearly a reason this game is a classic because it was great! )
  • Piñata: I guess this isn’t really a game, but piñatas are always a hit at parties and this one was no different!

Our game prizes were also a hit and included bath bombs with surprises inside, sensory squeeze balls, and mini crafts to paint and dip in the pool toys that we found at Five Below.

lucas ryder

Ryder had been eyeing a strawberry ice cream cake at Publix since I requested an ice cream cake for my birthday in April, so it was easy for us to select his cake on Saturday! He wanted to help decorate it with little deer and forest figures and I love how his cake looked so much like him!

The kids ended up playing in Leslie and Ross’s backyard for hours, so we didn’t have as much time as we thought to go to the beach in the afternoon, but we still made some time at the beach and pool before the rains so necessary. Pajama time and movie night!

Sunday: fishing and beach time.

Sunday started in a way that Ryan and I found a pleasure. My parents offered to watch the kids while Ryan and I got a quick workout and then went for a long walk on the beach. It was a wonderful way to start the day!

When we got back, my dad had a cooler packed and was ready to take the big kids on a fishing adventure at his friend Grady’s house. Ryan, Chase, Ryder and my dad went fishing for a few hours and I stayed with Rhett and my mom.

Rhett was thriving with all the attention from Mom and Mae and had a great time bathing during the day, going for a walk to get a cupcake, iced tea, and a puppy cup for Pepper, making peach cobbler with Mae, swimming in the pool with mom and picked out a new remote control boat at Five Below to replace the one that lasted 3 hours on Saturday after he accidentally submerged the remote underwater in the pool. (Oh, the horror that followed when that happened…)

It's great

julia pepper

When the big kids came home, they were excited about their big day of fishing with the boys and excitedly told us about everything they caught and the boat ride they took with Mr. Grady.

chase ryder pop

Then we spent the rest of Sunday flip flopping between the beach and the pool before my sister and her family came to my parents’ house for dinner, homemade peach pie and ice cream.

pop rhett

As for next week, Ryan is going to New York for work today and I’m staying in Florida for a couple more days before heading back to North Carolina with our group of friends and Pepper. I hope to pop back in with another blog post or two later this week, but until then, I’m off to enjoy our last few days of family time in Florida! Enjoy your week, my friends, and thanks for stopping by the blog today!



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