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night owls and ghost crabs




Our beach is a national park.  It’s always been a national park, I think, but when I first moved here, there was no entrance fee and it was open all the time.  As the years have passed, more and more restrictions have appeared.  Now, the park is open from 8:00 a.m. to sunset and there is an $8.00 per week entrance fee (or a $25.00 for an annual pass).  I still think this is an amazing deal and honestly, it helps to keep the beach from being too crowded.  One of the things that I have missed though is going out to the park late at night.  Yes, I could go to one of the beaches by the condos further down the road or to the open access beach that is even a little farther down.  But, those beaches have one thing that the park doesn’t have.  Namely, light.  Lots and lots of lights.  It’s just not quite the same.

So, I was really, really excited when I learned this spring that our park has something called a Night Owl Pass.  (I have no idea how long this pass has been available – I have apparently been living on another planet).  If you have an annual pass, you can purchase a Night Owl Pass for $30.00 and you have access to the park any time you’d like. I was very excited and filled out the paperwork and got my pretty blue pass as soon as I could.  We’ve used it several times – we took the telescope out and looked at the Super Moon; we took some friends for a picnic dinner and some fun with sparklers.  I plan on using it some early in the morning for walks and pictures.

On Friday night, we took my sister and Ruby and Emmie so they could see how cool the beach was at night.  I also took a bag full of glow-in-the-dark fun.

I ordered these White Lightning Sticks from Steve Spangler Science.  They were so cool and the girls had fun drawing with them.  I put my camera on the tripod, hooked up my remote shutter, put the camera on Bulb setting, and fired away.  The pictures turned out really neat, I think!


When I was about 13, I saw the Northern Lights in Virginia.  I was completely blown away and remember standing in my back yard in awe.  This picture reminds me just a little bit of them.

Here’s Ruby, Emmie, and Abigail each holding two of the sticks.  They started at the bottom and arched the sticks up over their heads.

Here’s Abigail by herself.  I love how you can see her behind the light.

Then, we switched to little laser rings that I found on Pick Your Plum for some ridiculously low price.  (Side note here:  I love Pick Your Plum – they really have amazing, fun, inexpensive stuff!).  The girls really had fun with these.  They each had four rings:  one each of red, green, blue, white.  These made equally as cool, but totally different pictures from the lightning sticks.


Doesn’t this look like a treble clef?


Abigail going crazy with hers!



Here’s Emmie’s “E”.  It’s difficult to write with light! 

I also brought a glow-in-the-dark sand ball but it didn’t give off enough light to get pictures.  Gracie loved it and spent a lot of time tossing it back and forth with Steve.  We were all pretty tried from our crazy, busy week, so we didn’t stay too long.  On our way out, we stopped and looked at a ghost crab.  These guys are always running across the street between the Gulf of Mexico and the Intracoastal Waterway.  I have no idea what makes them do that but we always see more than a handful of them scurrying from one side of the road to the other.


I love doing these kinds of things with the girls and I love sharing them with my family, too!   I know I’m biased but I think we live in a really amazing place!

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