Sunday, March 1, 2009

Family Vacation: Monkey Ruins

My older sister Tiffany and her family came south for a visit and I gave them the whirlwind tour. It was a quick trip with not a lot of time to look around - but here's her recap -

Remember that scene from Vacation…"Clark, don’t you want to see the Grand Canyon?"

Well, this is the Berish Family vacation. In two days we drove across the Everglades to Pete, toured the hometown of Venice, walked down memory lane in Ft. Myers, had an awesome airboat ride on Lake Trafford, drove back across the Everglades, and took a 3 mile hike through the Green Cay Wetlands. We came we saw. We geocached. We had fun.

I grew up in Florida and in the 21 years since I met my husband, he has never been to my hometown (by the way, we live in his hometown up in Massachusetts). So, with two kids in tow, we drove across Alligator Alley to meet up with Pete and MaLe to go see what has changed in Venice in the last 21 years. A LOT! We visited where we grew up. Even though the house was no longer there, it was surreal to walk around the area.

The entrance to the Florida Monkey Sanctuary 35 or so years ago. The cone-topped building was a "corn crib" and 10 of these structures housed dozens of monkeys.

The one building remaining is "the monkey building" where monkey chow and other supplies were kept.

Tiffany, our mother and a monkey - November 1972

What remains of the cage 35 years later.
Bopper the Java Macaque posing on the edge of the pool in 1975

Abigail posing at the edge of the pool in 2009.

Jungle Pete in 1983 after the completion of the bridge to "the island". The bridge was built by my father, Zak Kelly and myself. The island seemed massive and we would spend hours exploring it as kids.

The bridge remains, with railings, but Abigail discovered that one person at a time is possibly one too many. Walking around it might make sense. Most of the vegetation has been removed and the island looks much smaller.

More of Tiffany's flashback photos tomorrow.


  1. Love the post. I'd like to see the coconut thief video. I prefer your "super model" pose on the bridge vs. the present day pose haha

  2. the recent photo looks like I was struggling to stand. I was just afraid the thing was going to collapse.