Monday, July 14, 2008

When To Visit Orlando

I have been a bit silent with this blog lately because, well it is the off season here in Florida. It is hot and humid and a great time of year to enjoy swimming or indoor activities. It is not my favorite time of year to visit our theme parks; however, that is exactly what I did this weekend.

The picture to the left was not taken by me ( I found it on the web); but, it shows one of my favorite parts of the Blue Horizons show- the whales. There is also a condor that takes part in this show who soars over the crowd in a flash. It is a real jaw dropper!

Anyway, the parks are open late in the summer, super crowded, super hot and usually rainy for at least a couple of hours. Hot, crowded and rainy. Sounds like fun right? Well for non-residents who's children are out of school during the summer it is the time of year that makes the most sense to visit and visit they do.

My trip to Sea World this weekend reminded me of why I try to avoid the parks in the summer. Of course I had a good time; but, it was too hot to truly enjoy the experience. If you live in the area, have an annual pass and don't mind slipping in for two or three hours, the summer isn't so bad in Orlando's theme parks. If you live in some other part of the country, bite the bullet and take the kids out of school for a week or two in the fall or spring. Better yet, visit at Christmas or on spring break!

Look up the websites for the parks you want to visit and check the annual calender for events. Visiting during a special event makes your visit that much more enjoyable and memorable. Halloween at Sea World, Disney and Universal is magical. Have the whole family dress up and take lots of pictures. Christmas at any of the parks is amazing and Disney's hard ticket events are definitely worth the money. Why visit when it's hot and there is nothing special going on?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Wannado City- The Perfect Place To Beat The Heat

This week I have a great indoor activity to recommend. Wannado City! Wannado City is an inspired children's attraction located in the Sawgrass Mall in Sunrise Florida. It is an indoor city made for kids and run by kids.

I have to admit, the first time I visited Wannado City I was amazed at what I saw. A real city. There were buildings, streetlights, a firestation, hospital, mines, a circus, a chocolate factory and more. As soon as we enetered I sent my son, Justice into the bank to open an account. I was not allowed in. This is a kids only kinda thing.

He received a few dollars in Wannado currency and headed off to work with me trailing behind. For each job he performed he got paid. For each attraction he went to he had to pay some of his hard earned money. It was really cool.

For the parents there is a nice food court with free Wi-Fi and a great places to eat, as well as ATM's, stroller, wheelchair and locker rentals. In addition to that, they also supply mandatory WannaFinders for $3.00 a piece to each member of your party. This links everybody together and helps to locate lost children quickly. They also man the exit and only allow children to leave with whomever they came with.

I think this is the perfect solution for entertainment during the hot summer months in South Florida. It's totally inside and air conditioned, you can surf the net while your kids play if they are old enough to roam on their own and even if you are too old to play, it's pretty darn cool to look at.

Right now, for the summer of 2008, they are offering a summer pass which included 5 visits for $49.95! The pass is good for 2 adults and 1 child, but it does not include teh WannaFinder fee. It is good until September 21st, so there is plenty of time to visit even after school starts.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Enjoying the summer

Due to the extreme heat in South Florida during the summer, we tend to lay low. We are prone to hybernating in the AC or immerse ourselves in a pool or ocean of water. We do this because almost anything else is unbearable for any length of time. If my summer suggestions seem a bit redundant, I'd like you to think about how nice it is to have a few months off. Off from festivals, holidays and too many things to do. It is time to relax before next season. Enjoy this time. Relish it. I think as Americans, living in a heavily populated area, we tend to overlook this rare treat in today's rat race.

Take this weekend to just be. Be with family, by yourself and with God. Put together a summer reading list for you and your family. Buy at least one book and start to read it. Turn off the television a little early each night and relax with your book. If you have a lake near you, go out and read there in the early evening. Breathe in the fresh air. Read on the beach while listening to the waves crash about you from the safety of an umbrella.

That's it. That's my challenge to you this weekend. Relax, swim, make a book list and begin reading.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

May 16-18

I'm going to make a change here and start weekly posts. This is a relatively new blog for me and I will be trying out new formats and tweaking it until I settle into a routine that makes the most sense. I will also be adding pictures to make the posts a little more interesting.

As we are in the off season now, the number of festivals and goings on have dropped dramatically; but, that doesn't mean there isn't anything to do! I will be suggesting a-lot of anytime, anyday ideas over the next few months. These things are good to keep on file for when there doesn't seem to be much to do. This week I want to challenge you to take a piece of paper and pen and label it "Random Things To Do". Write down at least 3 anytime, anyday things you and your family like to do and post it on your fridge. For me it might say- Lake Worth drive inn, Beach, Board Games. As the months go on, if you like any of my suggestions or come up with your own add them to the list on the fridge. By the time season comes, you will have a great back up list for days off and weekends!

Friday May 16th

Game Night

- pull out your favorite board games and let the fun begin.
- have snacks and fun drinks to add to the fun. How about virgin Bacardi chillers in the frozen section of the grocery store?

Saturday May 17th


-Grassey Waters Preserve
- 10:00-11:30
- 561-804-4985
- Bring water, wear sunscreen and bug spray!
- This is a fun way to see what lives in the marsh
* The picture above is of my son Justice at the preserve. This might be the area where they do the dipnetting.

Sunday may 18th

Swim day

- Go to your favorite pool or beach
- Pack a cooler with sandwiches and drinks
- Relax and enjoy Florida
- Maybe pick up a frisbee or kite at the dollar store and get moving!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Headed For The Lazy Days Of Summer

We are nearing the tail end of Season and headed for the lazy days of summer; but, that doesn't mean we have to hide away in our air conditioned houses until October. There's still plenty to do; but, what I really appreciate about this time of year is the slower pace. By the end of April each year, I'm so exhausted from running to this festival to that fair, I just want to REST!

I've been pretty busy with life, so I'm doing a mini 2 week update to keep you up to speed with the local things to do.

April 25-27

Friday April 25

It's movie night again!

-Tonight I suggest either renting movies, ordering pizza and lounging on the couch or if your budget allows, dinner out then a show!

Saturday April 26

Butterfly Walk

-John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
-call 561-624-6950 FOR RESERVATIONS
-There is a small fee to enter the park, and there may be a fee for the walk. Call for details and directions!

Mini-Canoe Trip

-Grassy Waters Preserve
-1-2 pm
-RESERVATIONS ARE A MUST, we tried to do this last month without reservations and were VERY disappointed!
-call 561-804-4985 for details and RESERVATIONS

Sunday April 27th

Beach Bum Day

-Get a nice umbrella, fill a cooler with cold drinks, sandwiches, fruits and chips, then head to your favorite beach or TRY A NEW BEACH.
-Please don't forget the sunscreen and remember to re-apply every so often! Skin cancer is gross. Don't get it!

May 2-4

Friday May 2

Snow White And The Seven Vertically Challenged Individuals

-Pompano Beach
-Emma Lou Civic Center
-1801 NE 6th St
-Google it, it sounds interesting.

Saturday May 3

Stargazing kayak Adventure

- 7-9pm
-Adults, $27 Kids, $22
-kayak under the stars, then roast marshmallows by the campfire.

Sunday May 4

Pool Crasher Day

-I'm serious! One of our favorite things to do in the off season is crash one of the many beautiful resorts style hotel pools. Google the hotels in your area, check out the pool pictures, then walk in there and have fun.
-Most hotels don't mind if you do this as long as you are generally quiet, polite and order from the bar or poolside eatery. In the off season, the locals help to sustain their income.
-When I do this, I never bring a cooler with me. I "pay" for their service by ordering a couple of Coke's and maybe a sandwich or two.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Boredom Busting March 19th-April 19th

March 19-23

Easter is fast approaching and it's time to dye eggs! Even if your kids are a little old for egg hunts, they still make nice decorations and provide some quality family time while dying.

There are so many egg dying kits out there; but, this year I found the coolest one I've ever seen. Camo by Paas! Seriously, I bought it at the Lake Park Publix.

Egg tips

- Don't let your eggs sit out too long on display or they won't be edible!

- If you want to display your eggs in a basket, fill a zip lock bag with ice and place a thin layer of grass over it. This will allow you to display them longer. Be sure to check the bag to see if the ice has melted.

- On Monday make egg salad for sandwiches or cracker toppings, make deviled eggs or peel them for a quick breakfast. Pair boiled eggs with fruit and whole grain toast for a nice change.

Friday March 22, 2008

Movies on the Square- Delray Beach

- FREE outdoor movie at Old School Square in Delray Beach
- The Last Mimzy rated PG
- Bring your own blankets, chairs and coolers, but please leave the pets at home
- The do have a limited concession stand
-51 N. Swinton Ave
- 561-243-7922

* I have gone to many outdoor movies here. I love the relaxed family atmosphere and watching a show under a blanket of stars.

Saturday March 22, 2008

Kelsey Park Annual Easter Egg Hunt

- Lake Park
- 9:15 am
- Be sure to bring a basket to collect eggs and your camera for pictures
- Bring a couple of bottles of water along and don't forget the sunscreen!

*Don't be late!!!! Egg hunts are over almost as fast as they begin!

Vintage Easter Vigil Service

- 700 Park Avenue in the MosArt Theater
- 5:30pm
- A beautiful service tracing the time of creation up to Christ's death

Sunday March 23, 2008

Easter Sunrise Service and Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast

- Lake Park Harbor Marina
- Sunrise (call 561-881-3142 for time and details)
- Nondenominational, all are welcome

Vintage Easter Service and Brunch

- 700 Park Avenue, Lake Park
- In the MosArt Theater
- Service is at 10:30 am with a free brunch to follow

March 28th-30th

We've been busy with Easter and Season, so this will be a more low key and CHEAPER, weekend!

Friday March 28th

Movie Night!

Option 1

Rent some movies and settle in with some take out for the night. Before the movie starts, make some pop corn and pour yourself a glass of something yummy to drink.

Option 2

Trail Drive In

- 3438 Lake Worth Road
- Call 561-965-4518 for show times
- $6 adults, $2 kids 11 and under
- Bring lawn chairs
- You can bring your own food/drink, but they do have a reasonably priced concession stand as well.

*This is one of my favorite things to do. When my son was little it was so nice not to have to worry if he was making noise. It's a very laid back atmosphere and you get to see more than 1 movie. They almost always show a family friendly film first.

Saturday March 29th

A day in the park

- pack a lunch and picnic blanket and head for your favorite local park
- For this week I suggest the Imagination Station on Indian Creek in Jupiter

Grassy Waters Preserve Mini Canoe Trip

- Ages 6 and over
- $5 adults, $1 kids
- 8264 Northlake Blvd (west of military trail)
- 561-804-4985
- South side of park

* Don't forget the bug spray and cold drinks!

April 4th-6th

Friday April 4th

Family Game Night

- Either purchase or use a game you already have. Spend some quality time around the table and most importantly HAVE FUN! I have recently rediscovered the joy of "Aggravation" and found it's fun to introduce my son to games I loved as a child.
-Make sure your games are good for everyone. It's no fun being left out.

Saturday April 5th

Beach Bum Day

- Gather up the kids, a cooler, and maybe even a kite or some new sand toys and head off to your favorite beach. This is a great time of year, because it's not too hot yet!
- Don't forget the sunblock and cold drinks!

April 11-13

Saturday April 12th

It's story time!

- Head off to your local library for some story time. Pick some books off the shelves that your kids have never heard before and read to them at one of the miniature tables.
- Check out the new Chick-fil-A on Northlake Blvd. in the K-Mart Plaza afterwards. Let the kiddies burn off some energy in the indoor playground.

For a slightly less local attraction you could try...

Outdoor Festival at Sugar Sands Park

- 12-4pm
- 300 South Military Trail, Boca Raton
- 561-347-3900
- This is a festival to celebrate puppetry. They will have a Giant Puppet Show, walking puppeteers, Lion dancers, a DJ and more. The have an incredible science playground that puts the imagination station to shame and more. I have loved everything I've ever done at this park....except the somewhat lengthy ride to get there.
- Call for directions! MAP QUEST DOES NOT HAVE ACCURATE DIRECTIONS, judging from my last 2 visits.

Moonlight Concert at McArthur Beach Park

- 7-9 pm
- 561-624-6950
- Sit under the covered pavilion or on the grass in your own lawn chairs. Bring the picnic basket and relax.
- At intermission they will have telescopes set up for stargazing. How cool is that!!!

April 18-20

Friday April 18th

Top Chef Night

- Take some plain pieces of paper and fold them around your child's head (and yours if your adventurous). Mark the spot where it fits snugly around the head, then staple it together (don't staple while your wearing it, lol). For adults you may have to staple 2 sheets together to make this work. Let the kids color or decorate their chef hats with whatever you have on hand.

- Now it's time to cook. Earlier in the week, find a cool desert recipe your family will like or just use a box mix for ease. Let everyone join in and cook together. When the dessert is done- enjoy! It's nice to reap the fruits of our labor.

Saturday April 19th

Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Race

- Kendal- Tamiami Airport, 1471o SW 128th st, Kendall
- 305-223-5197
- 6:30 am..... yes this is a super early event!
- They will be launching over 35 hot air balloons! There will be music, games and food.
- Get there by 6am- the balloons are launching at 6:30!
- Parking and admission is free, but they do accept donations.


- Loggerhead Marinelife Center
- 10am-6pm
- 561-627-8280
- There will be crafts, games, a bounce house, turtles and more.
- I went last year and it was very nice.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Boredom Buster

I can't count the number of times I've been on the phone with a friend or family member and hear the words "I'm bored." And every time I hear those words I wonder why, because it seems to me there is always something to do. Maybe that's because I hate to be bored myself or maybe it's because I suffer from a chronic case of cabin fever. Whatever the reason, I always find something to do and I've often heard others say "Wow, you always know what's going on. How can you afford to do all of these things?" Quite simply put- research. I do extensive research and find out what's going on, how much it costs, how to get a discount if one is available and more importantly how to plan ahead and save myself a few dollars on restaurant food and forgotten items.

I've decided to share my wealth of information with anyone who cares to read. After all why should I be the only one who gets to have so much fun? Each week I will post my top picks, focusing mostly in the Palm Beach County area. I will also post short reviews of the things I have done, as well as money saving tips. You will find free,cheap and not so cheap things to do in your own living room and city, as well as day trips and weekend getaways, all in the state of Florida.

If I leave something off that you've enjoyed or if you took a suggestion and wanted to give it a thumbs up or even a thumbs down be sure to leave a comment. I'd love to hear what you think!