Friday, December 9, 2022

Ice, at Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN

This is a short post about our experience at the Ice exhibit at Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. Year after year, Opryland hotel offers a great Christmas experience. They have lots of activities and they decorate nicely. Every few years we visit the Ice exhibit and spend the evening walking around inside the hotel. One of our fist experiences at Ice was the Peanuts themed exhibit in 2017. We saw large ice sculptures of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, and the rest of gang. 

This year (2022) was themed after the classic movie, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. The monstrous sized abominable snowman stood roughly 18 ft. tall and was probably the most impressive sculpture in my opinion. Another of my favorite sculptures depicted Santa in his sleigh, being drawn by his reindeer with Rudolf at the helm. In all, it takes about 30-45 minutes or so to walk through the exhibit at a leisurely pace. That includes taking time to go down the ice slides a couple times.

The best tip that anyone could give for this activity is, "don't forget your gloves". The entire exhibit is made of ice so the temperature is well below the freezing point. When you enter, you will receive a thick coat to wear, but they do not have pockets. At first I was surprised by the missing pockets but then I wondered how many sets of keys and cell phones would be left behind if the coats did have pockets. 

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Jubilee Deep Sea Fishing Review, Panama City, FL

Deep-sea fishing during our fall vacation is quickly becoming a family tradition. This past fall, we were in Panama City Beach Florida for the week and the deep-sea fishing did not disappoint. After doing our research, we settled on Jubilee Deep-sea Fishing and the entire trip was top notch. The fishing was good, the crew was friendly, and the boat was clean! Continue reading for more highlights.

We stuck with our tried and true plan of grabbing a biscuit and a coffee from the McDonald's drive thru. We arrived at the dock on time and the check in process was very easy. Prior to boarding the Jubilee, a 90ft. party boat, the captain gathered everyone together. This was the first time this had happened prior to a fishing trip like this, and I liked it. First, he went over a few safety instructions, then he told us about the onboard concessions, and finally he informed us about the current conditions at sea. Based on this info, I only took a fourth of a Dramamine and I was totally fine the entire trip. 

Another thing that he mentioned was that Jubilee provides family fishing experiences. They do sell beer at the concession stand, but he specifically mentioned "no hard liquors are allowed onboard". He went on to say, "we want everyone to have fun, but lets watch the language and behavior because we do have children on board". Considering that I have an impressionable 9-year-old, I appreciated this policy.

On the way to our first fishing stop we saw a dozen or so dolphins and huge jelly fish. The captain and crew were awesome and pointed out the dolphins as we approached. We did not book a dolphin spotting tour but I guess that is one of the perks of fishing in the gulf. Of course, they can be one of the  downsides of fishing in the gulf. We had no run-in's with the dolphins on our trip but the crew told us horror stories of dolphins stealing fish as passengers reel them in. 

The only downside that I found about the entire trip was the "assigned seats". As you check in, you are given your assigned fishing location. Most other charters we have been on are first come, first serve. We like to fish at the rear of the boat, but on this trip we were sitting along the side. We were told by one of the deck-hands that you can request the back at booking but there are no guarantees that the request will be granted. 

The captain of the Jubilee was great! He stayed in constant communication with the deckhands and announced what types of fish that were being caught over the intercom. Each time fishing slowed he was ready to take us to a new location, we ended up fishing in four different locations on this trip. As we finished the trip and headed inland, he allowed parents to bring their little ones up for a chance to drive the boat. 

After unloading we carried our fish next door and had them cleaned, we ended up keeping several lady fish and a nice size porgy. As is tradition, we stopped at a local hook & cook restaurant for a delicious lunch and then headed back to the condo for a lazy afternoon at the beach. 

Jubilee Deep-sea Fishing was top notch. They offer a great family experience and a chance to catch a load of fish. Be sure to give them a call if you are in the area!

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