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Naples Florida Road Trip - Chihuly to Mini Miniature Golf

Updated on August 21, 2011
Lily Rose profile image

I am a believer in being a tourist in your own town (and state) —so few people take advantage of what's in their own back yards.

Welcome to Naples sign
Welcome to Naples sign

 

So recently I decided to try to do more “family stuff” because my husband and I have been too focused on ourselves for a while.  So on Friday I said to him, “Let’s get in the car and drive somewhere for the day.  How about Naples, it’s only a couple of hours?”

I received the nod and I was off to the computer to see what’s happening in Naples and what to do in Naples with kids.  It’s been at least 15 years since I’ve been to Naples and all I could remember about it for some reason was mini-golf.  It has stuck in my head that they have a lot of mini golf there; well at least they did last time I was there.  I also remember that to get there I rode on the back of a motorcycle across the infamous Alligator Alley.  It wasn’t a bad ride, until we returned home – at night – and had to continuously pull over to clean out helmet shields of smashed bugs, yuck!

Sunbathing alligators off Alligator Alley
Sunbathing alligators off Alligator Alley
Swimming alligator off Alligator Alley
Swimming alligator off Alligator Alley

Back then, Alligator Alley was just a dark two-lane road that went through the Everglades and was the quickest way to get across to Florida’s west coast from the Ft. Lauderdale area.  Now it’s two lanes each way and there’s a chain-link fence along a vast majority of the highway to separate the road from the alligators. 

Are there really alligators right off the road, you ask?  Yes!  Although I expected to maybe see an alligator or two, I was actually astonished at the amount of alligators we saw!  We probably saw nearly 100 alligators total and we actually pulled off the road at one point and got out of the car and walked to the chain-link fence to get a better view.  There was one swimming in the water just 20 feet from us and two huge ones sunbathing on the other side of the water – see my pictures at right. 

This glass sculpture was gigantic and very exciting - it's in the lobby before you actually enter the exhibit and the only one you're allowed to photograph.
This glass sculpture was gigantic and very exciting - it's in the lobby before you actually enter the exhibit and the only one you're allowed to photograph.
The glass ceiling
The glass ceiling
This is the one that almost got me kicked out!
This is the one that almost got me kicked out!

Okay, so it took us only about an hour and a half to get to Naples and we went straight to eat lunch.  From there we went to the Patty & Jay Baker Naples Museum of Art.

When I was searching online for things to do, I luckily came across a site that said that the museum was celebrating its 10th anniversary and that there was a Dale Chihuly recent work exhibit to celebrate the anniversary season.  In 2000, an unforgettable Dale Chihuly show christened the Naples Museum of Art as it first opened its doors.  For four decades, Chihuly has produced a body of work unlike any other; his work helped to revolutionize the American studio glass movement and has redefined the medium itself.  Chihuly has elevated glass blowing from a craft to a fine art.

Glass blowing used to be a solitary process, but Chihuly’s works employ a team of talented and creative individuals that allow him to transform the shape and scale of his glass art.  He and his team together have invented numerous new techniques that have radically changed the 2,000-year-old glass blowing medium.

The exhibit was beautiful and included a “Glass Ceiling” – a small hallway with a glass ceiling that was filled with Chihuly’s works – it was gorgeous!  I nearly got kicked out of the museum for taking pictures, which is prohibited and I had been told when we entered that I would not be able to take any pictures, but how can I go to a Chihuly exhibit and NOT take pictures!  Apparently it’s because it’s all copyrighted and it came directly from Chihuly that no pictures could be taken.  Whatever!  Of course, if you wanted to leave the museum with memories of the works, they had a whole room within the exhibit dedicated to selling Chihuly gifts – no thanks, I got my pictures (a couple anyway!)

We quickly browsed through another couple of exhibits before my daughters started to get antsy, then we were off to enjoy some mini golf, or putt-putt golf as some call it. 

Dale Chihuly Recent Work
Dale Chihuly Recent Work
Dale Chihuly exhibit.
Dale Chihuly exhibit.
Glass ceiling exhibit by Dale Chihuly.
Glass ceiling exhibit by Dale Chihuly.
Coral Cay Miniature Golf
Coral Cay Miniature Golf
Coral Cay Mini Golf
Coral Cay Mini Golf
Coral Cay Mini Golf
Coral Cay Mini Golf
Doesn't say adults only, does it?
Doesn't say adults only, does it?
My daughter, very proud of herself (the red ball is hers).
My daughter, very proud of herself (the red ball is hers).
The little one is quite proud, too, as evidenced by the hand on hip stance.
The little one is quite proud, too, as evidenced by the hand on hip stance.

Before venturing on our road trip I located a cute looking mini golf place – Coral Cay Miniature Golf - and printed out an online coupon for $1 off each person, up to 6.  We plugged in the address into my GPS and were off!  When we arrived, I was impressed at how grand it seemed for a mini golf – it was a very tropical setting with caves, waterfalls, reefs, and a harbor.  My daughters were very excited; this was their first time playing miniature golf.

The experience was a lot of fun, with two exceptions.  The first being that darn coupon! 

The cashier, who looked to be 15 years old, got annoyed when I handed it to her after she rung up the fees in the register; she had to start over.  She then told me that she took $1 off the adult prices and I asked why not the kids and the response was “well, the kids are only $3.50 anyway.”  I said “Yes, and with the coupon they’ll be $2.50 each.”  That didn’t sit well with her and an older man then stepped up to see what the problem was. 

It was at about that time when my husband left the building with my kids – apparently he wanted nothing to do with me and my coupon!  The man told me that the coupon is only for adults.  I asked him to show me where on the coupon it states that (it doesn’t) and he said that it should.  I replied “Until it does, it says $1 off per person and my children are people, so you’ll gladly take $4 off our admission.”  He directed the young girl to go ahead and take the $1 off each person, so she rung it up and I gave her my debit card. 

When she gave me the paper to sign, it had an amount on it of $26.50.  Ok, you do the math:  regular adult admission is $9.50, children are $3.50.  My math skills tell me that the regular price would be $26, and after the coupon it should be $22.  Not only did she not take off the $4, but somehow an extra $.50 got added onto it!  Ultimately, they gave me $4.50 cash – probably to get me out of there.  My husband was embarrassed – I don’t know why because I was not at all in the wrong for wanting what I was owed.  If you’re going to advertise something you have got to stand by it, right?!  The moral of this story is, well, there really is no moral as I’d still go back because my kids loved it and I love to watch them having fun – just make sure you’re charged correctly; who knows how many people they’re ripping off! 

Would you push the issue for $1 off per person?

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That brings me to the second exception to this good time we had – when my 3 year old potty trained daughter decided to tell me at the last possible minute that she had to pee, then proceeded to pee all over the second hole!  All I can say about that is that payback is a bitch (not my daughter, the mini golf personnel!)

After the fun, we got back in the car and drove the hour and a half home. It was a great family day road trip and I can’t wait to plan the next one – maybe to the keys for a day?  Next time I’ll remember to bring extra underwear! 

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    • Lily Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Lily Rose 

      7 years ago from A Coast

      kiwi91 - backroads with alligators inches away sounds exciting, yet scary! My in-laws recently visited and we drove across Alligator Alley and I was a bit disappointed this time as we only saw a handful of alligators and I wanted my inlaws to have a "better experience." It was still cool, though!

      @ MOSKI - thanks for stopping by and enjoying the pics - I absolutely LOVE Chihuly masterpieces!

    • kiwi91 profile image

      kiwi91 

      7 years ago from USA

      Alligator Alley was surprising to me too. Those gators are right off the road, hundreds of them. We took a backroad through the Everglades near Naples and found hundreds more that were inches from our car (it was a long dirt road). Needless to say, we didn't get out of the car. Great hub!

    • Lily Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Lily Rose 

      8 years ago from A Coast

      Good morning Hello, Hello and thanks!

      BPop - sorry I couldn't provide you with more info on Naples for your trip!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      8 years ago

      Great hub and very timely for me. I am going to be in Naples in two weeks for a short stay.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you very much for a lovely trip alongside you.

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