Zoo welcomes two new babies!

Baby animals are my weakness. You know those videos of the sleeping kittens twitching in their sleep? I cry.

So when Gulf Breeze Zoo announced the birth of not one but two new zoo babies, I was ecstatic.

On July 24, reticulated giraffe “Gabby” went into labor just after 3:00 pm inside the giraffe exhibit. Patient zoo guests anxiously watched her deliver a healthy calf, “Gus,” two hours later at 5:00 pm.

Gus’s literally dropped into the world from six feet up since giraffes give birth standing.

“Giraffe give birth standing up, so Gus had a six-foot drop into the world, which may be surprising to some, but that’s the perfect birth if you’re a giraffe,” said General Curator, Jamie McMaster

She and the Animal Care Staff had been anticipating the birth for the past fifteen months, the typical gestation period for giraffe. Although Gabby had full access to the privacy of the maternal stall in the giraffe barn she elected to give birth in the exhibit yard.

After the birth, Gabby unfortunately displayed no interest in caring for her new offspring and did not demonstrate any protective instincts even when staff entered the exhibit to examine the calf.

But Gus was in good hands.

Zookeepers stepped in to care for the “little” guy (who was born taller than me!) They already had a nursery stall set up and a special milk formula on hand just in case. As with any baby, Gus requires around the clock care and feedings.

Less than a week later on July 30, a dromedary camel calf was born.

“Lexington” is the first baby to “Ladybug” a six-year-old dromedary camel. With knobby-knees and fur like a sheep, he is adorable.

While Animal Care Staff were eagerly anticipating Lexington’s birth, they were unsure how Ladybug would do as a first-time mother. Soon after the birth it was clear that animal care staff needed to intervene for the well-being of the new calf and he was moved to the nursery to receive immediate care.

In his new enclosure, the little camel has no problem making himself heard. He is known for “sassing” his keepers by bellowing every time they come to check on him. He’s saying “feed me,” even when feeding time isn’t for another hour.

While dromedary camels are still relatively common in the wild, reticulated giraffe are not. Scientists estimate that fewer than 9,000 of this giraffe species remain in their native habitat of East Africa. “With many wild populations in peril, every giraffe birth should be met with great excitement,” said McMaster.

Both calves are very healthy and can be viewed daily, weather dependent. “Gus” the giraffe calf can be viewed in the giraffe nursery yard from 11am to 3pm, by the Giraffe exhibit.  “Lexington” the dromedary camel calf can be viewed daily in the baby yard.

Come meet Gus and Lexington. Book your vacation at navarrelistings.com

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More than $2.4 million in improvements coming to Navarre Beach

There’s a lot of “coming soon” going on at Navarre Beach this week.

That’s because we are investing more than $2.4 million in grant money to make our fantastic beach even more fantastic.

The funds come from the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) grant through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) as part of the money set aside to make improvements following the BP Oil Spill. The oil is long since gone and our local wildlife have recovered, but these funds are being invested to make the beaches even better than they were before.

Visitors to the beach will have an all new facility to munch on their lunch and cross over onto our white sandy beaches on the Gulf side thanks to construction of an additional picnic pavilions and parking area in the Navarre Beach Marine Park.

The Navarre Beach Gulfside Walkover Complex will be constructed between the two existing walkover complexes. It will provide additional shade, 24 new picnic tables under several new reservable pavilions (cook out party anyone?), a new restroom and a wheelchair friendly boardwalk that will carry our visitors and locals over the dunes. (Yay, protecting sea oats!)

Capitalizing on interest in the local wildlife, the complex will also feature a 14-foot-high elevated bird-viewing area allowing visitors to get a look at nesting shorebirds, such as least terns, and their fluffy chicks.

Also coming to a lovely beach near you will be similar improvements to access for the Sound side of Navarre Beach. Protected by the barrier island, the beaches of Santa Rosa Sound offer gentle, nearly non-existent surf and shallower salt waters perfect for families with small children.
In an area we locals call Mother’s Beach (because that is where mother’s often take their little, little ones), we will be investing in an all new boardwalk system.

The Soundside Navarre Beach Coastal Access and Dune Restoration boardwalks will allow visitors, including those with limited mobility, to access the water without damaging our local sand dunes, and we will be restoring the existing dunes to their former glory (again, yay sea oats!). There will also be a new kayak launch.

Work will start on these projects after Labor Day and will likely be completed by June 2019. Visitors in the meantime will still be able to enjoy the beach at the existing crossovers and pavilions while construction is underway.

Whether you are planning to be one of the first to check out our bird watching platform or you will be seeing the new construction on your return trip to our lovely shores, you can book your vacay at navarrelistings.com

Here fishy, fishy: Navarre Beach gets new reef

Navarre Beach is just weeks away from having a brand-new scuba diving reef, and our diving community is so excited.

The team at Walter Marine has already begun the process of placing humongous reef modules to create an artificial habitat for the marine creatures that call our area home.

The reef is 2 miles wide and located a mile from shore near the end of the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier.

This giant artificial reef will include a variety of manmade structures designed to create new habitat and support aquatic plant growth. Navarre Beach Marine Park guru and avid local diver Mike Sandler said the modules that make up this reef are massive.

And he isn’t joking.

Unlike the existing snorkel reef, with its man-sized reef modules, this new reef will be composed of structures larger than an automobile and nearly 15 feet tall. They are called tetrahedrons, three-sided pyramids with hollow centers and holes on all sides. The structures allow fish to easily maneuver in and out, creating habitat.

“Some of these things are going to be really huge. We are talking like 10 or 15 tons. Some of the others will be three or five tons. By comparison the ones we have for the snorkel reef are about 1.5 tons,” Mike said. “These are going to be some beefy structures that are not going to really move once they are deployed.”

Using GPS tracking and a massive crane the deployment boat has been slowly working its way along the reef area, placing the reefs in a specific grid pattern.

Once the reefs become established and plant growth spreads, it will attract a variety of marine life including sea turtles, sharks, octopus, a wide array of fish species, crustaceans and more.

And divers will be able to sneak a peek at all of them.

The reef also means a higher likelihood of catching some prize fish along the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier located less than a mile from the northern edge of the reef structure. Placement of the massive reef modules should be completed by December.

If you want to come dive the reef or cast a line for the critters it attracts, make your reservation with us today at navarrelistings.com.

Visit us this Labor Day

All too soon, Summer fades from view.

Labor Day is upon us and that means Summer fun in the sun is coming to a close. It feels like the season just swept past so fast. Kids are heading back to school. It can feel like the load at work is heavier than it has ever been. Minds are turning toward the upcoming autumn and all the accompanying holidays.

I actually spotted Halloween decorations in several stores already. *Gasp*

Before the crazy and cold seasons come to call, I have some great news for you: it is not too late to squeeze in just a little more fun in the sun.

Here on beautiful Navarre Beach, the weather is still gorgeous. We will have temperatures in the 80s and sunny skies for months to come. We are still working on our tans, toes in the sand, drink in hand, man-oh-man that sunset is pretty.

Don’t you want just one more taste of vacation? One last hoorah before the funs over.

Labor Day weekend is a perfect time to visit.

While other beaches will be crowded with the tourists desperate to eek out a last sun ray before the monotony of the colder months set in, you could be enjoying the same pristine natural beauty where the locals go. Splash in the waves. Take in the sunset while relaxing on a beach front balcony.

Seriously, our crowds are low even on the busiest of days and there is a spot of sand just calling your name. You’re welcome to lay your towel next to mine because that’s exactly where I am spending my Labor Day weekend.

Come soak up the last rays of summer sun with us on Navarre Beach this Labor Day weekend. Book the family a condo (or maybe a romantic condo for two) today at navarrelistings.com.

Five ways to keep home safe while your away

As we prepare for fun in the sun, the last thing on our minds is home security. We load up the car and hit the road for a fun few days in paradise.

But taking steps to keep our property safe is essential. In the U.S., a home burglary is attempted every 20 seconds. Too often we hear of intruders smashing into a home when no one was there. Homes that are obviously unattended are prime targets.

So, before you make your way to Navarre Beach for that relaxing vacay, read these five tips to make sure there isn’t an unwelcome surprise waiting when you return.

Tips were sourced from a variety of sites including Safr.me, Cornerstone Home Lending Inc. and Smarter Traveler.

Tip #1 Stop your mail

When leaving town be sure to contact the post office to hold your mail for the duration of your absence. Piling up mail over a few days on the door step or in the mail box can let potential thieves know that no one’s home.

Tip #2 Get a house sitter

While it can be a pain to pay someone to watch the house, having someone there means a lot of thieves will steer clear. In addition, someone regularly checking the house can catch any other problems, feed pets and water plants.

If it is easier, ask a trusted neighbor to watch the house while you are gone. And return the favor later. If you do have a neighbor check on the house, they can also check your mail if you would prefer.

Tip #3 Ditch the spare key

It is no mystery as to where you keep the spare key. It’s under the mat. Or in that conspicuously fake rock. Or under the flower pot. Or in the power outlet cover.

A potential thief is going to know where to check, so don’t give them a chance to find your key. If you are leaving for an extended time, take the spare key with you or leave it with the person you have watching the house.

Don’t make yourself an easy target.

Tip #4 Triple check your locks

It goes without saying that you should check all your locks, but you would be amazed how often we mistakenly leave them wide open.

Just last week, I went out back to water my flowers and came back in without thinking about the lock. I had done the routine hundreds of times, flipping the latch back after attending my garden, but for whatever reason I forgot. It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized the lock had been undone all night!

When you leave for vacation take a moment to check all the doors and windows. Double check. Even triple check. That last look over before you leave is just an extra peace of mind. That goes for cars too, or better yet, lock them in the garage.

Tip #5 Don’t post it online

It’s very tempting to announce your vacation on social media. You are excited. You want to scream from the rooftops “I’m about to have so much fun!” But don’t do it.

While your friends and family are wishing you safe travel on that Facebook post, nefarious folks may see it as an opportunity to take advantage of you being gone.

That goes for posting while you are on vacay as well. I know that breathtaking beach sunset is just begging to be shared on your Insta but wait. Better safe than sorry.

Take this opportunity to unplug and be together without the cellular distractions. Facebook and Instagram can wait until you return for all the highlights and cute group selfies. Post away once you are back and take a moment to relive the whole thing over again.

Vacation confidently and securely with these tips. They are by no mean full proof, but they can help. Book now at Navarrelistings.com