We ended up being on the tour with a student group. I didn't realize until later but Sundays are not typical days for tourists to go on the tour, hence the student group.
The boat ride to the island is about 45 minutes. It is pretty neat because you are in the canal where some of the large ships pass through. One really doesn't realize how large the boats are until you are right up next to them in a small dinky boat. The large ships seem to be the height of a skyscraper.
When we got to the Smithsonian Research Center located on Barro Colorado, it seemed like there was a lot of wasted time while the staff got organized. We had some time to grab some water and have a snack. Then we watch a slide show of the potential bugs and animals would we see on our tour.
Initially, I was very excited to go on this tour because I thought we would see a ton of wildlife. After we had been walking in the jungle for about an hour, we decided that we were all jungled out. At this point, it really wouldn't matter what type of animals we saw. We had been in the rainforest and jungle enough on this trip and so we were ready to be done about the first half hour. I think this is largely due to the fact that we had a really busy two weeks with activities planned almost every day and that we had so many early mornings. We were at the end of our ropes.
We did end up seeing some wildlife we hadn't seen before (monkeys) and some that we had seen every time we had been in the jungle over the last two weeks (frogs). When we saw the monkeys, they were right above our heads and there was a baby too. So we did end up getting some great pictures.
After the tour, we ate lunch in the cafeteria. It was kind of weird because it felt like we were at school. There are a bunch of class rooms and researchers at the Research Center. It was not what I expected. Lunch was very good and we were happy to just be sitting and relaxing.
We were suppose to go to the museum and gift shop after lunch but it was raining buckets and none of us felt like getting wet. So we just hung out and waited for the boat to leave.
Overall, this tour was kind of a waste of time for us. I think had we not spent time in the jungle previously, we would've enjoyed it a lot more. Given the early hour and the many delays during the day, I think we would've preferred to sleep in and explore Panama City on our own.
Tonight we were desperate for some "American" food and good beer. So we went to TGIFridays. We ended up watching one of the games from the world series so that was pretty neat. It was nice to have a relaxing evening. I have heard that the night life in Panama City is pretty fun. With me being pregnant and given our early morning and long day, we were happy to have some nachos, beer (ice tea for me of course) and a baseball game.