It's been a long time since we've taken a day trip to the coast. No time like the present, huh?

Kayleigh raised $100 for sea turtle research back in the spring. We've been trying to get to The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rehab Hospital for a tour and so she could give them her donation. This was our first stop of the day after a two hour drive.

If you've never been to the rehab hospital you should go. Admission is cheap, less than $20 for a family of 5. The volunteers are highly informative and our whole family walked away knowing more about the sea turtles on NC's coast and how we can help protect them.

There are 2 rehab areas. First you can look through windows into the ICU bay. This is where the sickest turtles are. Then you walk through the larger rehab bay where the turtles are in their labeled pools and the volunteers relay details about each one through the tour.

All the turtles are rehabbed with the intent of being released. In summer they release them right off the beach. When winter creeps in they are released 45 miles off shore in the Gulf Stream to prevent cold stunning. Attending a release will be next on our list!

Kayleigh received a nice certificate, thank you card, embroidered plush turtle and a visor for her donation. We are really proud of her!

Once we finished up with the turtles we drive across the draw bridge onto the island for some lunch. Tacos from School House Tacos were great! The coconut rice was a real star. The air was super humid today. Enough that Clara's hair curled! Look at that curl-hawk!

Ella doesn't eat tacos and we grabbed her a chicken nugget happy meal as we left TopSail and journeyed over to Fort Fisher.

In Fort Fisher we stopped by the aquarium.

Our last destination was Carolina Beach State Park. First we drove out to the marina and explored the shoreline. This fallen tree was smooth from the elements and easy to walk across in our bare feet.

The nature trail at Carolina Beach State Park is really neat. The pine forests are a unique habitat here. Venus fly traps are native to the area. We spotted several clusters on our brief hike. Also seen were pitcher plants and prickly pear cactus among other flowers I now can't remember the name of. The fly traps are surprisingly hard to spot.

After a full day of adventuring we wanted to stop for dinner before we headed west towards home. After a quick look at Yelp we decided on a sea food place near by. Dinner was good and best of all the kids were really great! When everyone is sweaty and exhausted things can go downhill quickly. That wasn't the case today. The girls sipped their Shirley Temples and ate their dinners. It was as enjoyable as a nice dinner can be with three kiddos. Another proud moment of the day. The crab cakes were delish! With full bellies we are half way home and longing to sink in to bed.