On a recent visit to Grove City Ohio. I was taking a walk to the library with my girls, when one of them started having an allergy attack. We were right in front of the old Huntington Bank, now the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Once we got the allergies settled down, Donald Ivers very kindly spent some time showing us around.
What a nice little surprise! He showed us an old cash register (located in the bank vault) that used to belong to the lumber yard in Grove City. It was really neat to hear some of the history of the area that I did not know (even though I grew up in the area).
The Museum is run on donations, so stop, say hi to Don and snap a picture of the old IGA sign. The girls and I were particularly interested in the old record players, Don even got an old Edison cylinder player to play for us.
Thanks Donald Ivers for the impromptu tour, and for sending these photo’s along for us. (I got caught without my camera on this one!)
We would like to thank our sponsor Flamingo Gardens for their continued support as park of the Keeping Up With Kids Family
We love Flamingo Gardens! This tropical paradise in Davie offers visitors the chance to wander through 60 acres of of amazing botanical gardens, orchards and an animal sanctuary.
Flamingo Gardens is home to over 90 species of mostly rescued Florida native bird and animals. It is a wonderful place to learn about the diverse populations, both plant and animal, that are found here in Florida and no where else in the world.
My daughter loves the half-acre free flight aviary that has over 250 wading birds in it. We went so often when she was still in a stroller that she can name many of them! Nothing is funnier than a two year old trying to say spoonbill!
This week we have even more summer fun for you to check out! Keeping Up With Kids is your best resource for summer fun! I have listed below some more making the list of our favorite summer deals and places even longer! This is the way to do summer on a budget!
I realized I left off Libraries on last weeks list!
In case you are looking for cheap, cool, fun, and educational opportunities for the kids this summer, don’t forget about your local library! Most libraries throughout Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties have story times for young kids and even activities for tweens, teens and adults. Many of the Libraries offer shows by professional performers, these can include puppet show, magic shows, and storytellers among others. Look up your local branch now and fill your calendar! Even the smaller branches have shows and programs, so don’t miss out!
Think about it when you travel this summer too, we have been to free programs when we visit family out of town and never been disappointed.
Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern University in Davie is one of my favorites. Their PK and toddler programs are developed with pre-reading in mind. They often have information available for parents to help you develop reading skills in your kids. They also have a great kids section in the library with comfortable places to sit and do puzzles, color and draw, or read with your kids. Computers are available with great software games as well.
Oakland Park Library is a great place to spend some time. It is a small library, but they have professional puppeteers come in over the summer to do shows for the kids as well as other presentations.
Imperial Point Library does story time for the little ones weekly and reading programs for school age kids. I love this library, they are always so friendly and it just has a great vibe.
Wilton Manors Library is a great one too. They have special presentations for kids as well as summer reading programs.
Water Fun! One of our favorites is Coconut Cove Water Park in Boca. Most all the water parks in Broward and Palm Beach County open every day for the summer starting June 5th or 6th.
Castaway Island at TY Park is another favorite. It is a bit cheaper and has a great fenced in kiddie splash pool, big kid slides, a rock waterfall and more!
Pompano Beach Splash Pad is another great day out! Between the playground on the beach, the ocean and the splash pad, how can you go wrong?
You can find many more of our favorite Splash Pads and Water Parks under the menu tab Events and Review, scroll down to Water Play.
Indoor Museums are the best bet for those days that you just can’t face the heat or the summer storms are making outdoor play tough. Boca Children’s Museumis a great one for the little ones (Preschool) or Schoolhouse Museum in Boynton Beach is perfect for younger school age kids! You can find more of our favorite museums under the menu tab Events and Review, scroll down to Museums.
Movies! Imagine you get up on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning and just don’t know what to do! Here is your answer!
Take the kids Bowling for free! If you sign up for free, your kids get to bowl (2 games a day) for free all summer long!
Need a good reason to visit a local (or not so local) museum this summer? Here are several!
Bank of America is offering it’s customers free admission to local museums all over the country. It is usually the first full weekend of the month and you just have to present your bank card at the door. We have been to Museum of Discovery and Science with the program. Basically it means the adults are free (as long as you have a bank card for each person) and you just have to pay for the kids if they are over 2.
Click Here for the link to see other participating Museums in your area.
The Summer Saving Pass! We pick this Summer Saving Pass up every year. It is a great deal, you get unlimited admission to four different attractions. The Museum of Discovery and Science, Lion Country Safari, Miami Seaquarium, and Miami Metro Zoo.
The Florida Summer Adventure Pass is a new one this year! It allows you to visit Everglades Alligator Farm, Flamingo Gardens, Jungle Island, Patricia & Phillip Frost Museum of Science, Perez Art Museum Miami, Sawgrass Recreation Park, and Young at Art Museum as often as you like from May 15 through September 30, 2015.
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We pick this up Summer Saving Pass up every year. It is a great deal, you get unlimited admission to four different attractions. The Museum of Discovery and Science, Lion Country Safari, Miami Seaquarium, and Miami Metro Zoo.
We went to Lion Country 2x, and Miami Seaquarium. We spent a great deal of time at The Museum of Discovery and Science on those stormy summer afternoons. You can pick up the pass at the gate at any of the 4 attractions.
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We headed out one morning last summer to the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum in Dania Beach. It is right next to the Tri Rail Station, so if your kids like riding the train, this would be great way to spend the day.
The IGFA Museum participates (along with many other local museums) in Bank of America Free Museum Day, so we thought we would take advance of this great program to go somewhere we had not been before.
We are not a fishing family and I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I just thought it would be an inexpensive morning in an air-conditioned place. It was late July and the South Florida heat and humidity was just more than I wanted to deal with that day.
I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised! This is probably the most high tech, hands on, interactive Museum I have ever been too. It really was way above and beyond! It was super fun, air-conditioned, and it was extremely educational. We hit the trifecta!
As you enter Great’s Hall you will be greeted with an amazing site. The ceiling is filled with fish and sharks from small to large (well actually behemoth!). Who can help but be in impressed with over 160 species of fish hanging over your head. Educational Director, Jeff Mackin say the great white is always a hit and explains that the fish are true to size mounts of All-Tackle and Line Class records from around the world. The fiberglass and hand carved wooden replicas include panfish, basses, catfish, billfish, sharks, among others.
The World Records Exhibit is a huge section with loads of video screens and displays that can be used to look up world records. For me this was my least favorite section, but I know many of my fishing friends and their kids would love it! The information gathered and displayed here is massive in scope. It is laid out in beautiful designed exhibit displays.
The Fish is of my favorite section and includes detailed exhibits about ecosystems and biology. This is a great area to get a look at how the plants and animals all work together to keep the environment healthy. It would be an incredible supplement for any educational group or scout troupe. The unique ecosystems found here in Florida are so important and this exhibit helps to demonstrate how they work together in our own backyards.
There is a small kids Discovery Room area with a boat to climb in, the fun thing here is the fish print rubbing station. There was at least 15 different fish for the kids (and adults like me) to rub prints with crayons. The Wii fishing game is a pretty big hit too.
The Tackle Exhibit includes table where you can practice tying knots. Surprisingly, I couldn’t get my family away from that area! Everywhere you look there is some sort of hands on activity.The museum is filled with interesting items, every kind of fishing gear that you can imagine. Some much bigger than I ever dreamed.
Don’t forget to check out The Catch game room! This room houses High tech virtual fishing games where you can actually feel how hard some of the big fish pull while watching the action on a big screen.
Last but certainly not least is the incredible Wetlands Habitat recreated outside. This four acre wetlands area is complete with alligators and all kinds of birds.
As you walk along the boardwalk you will enjoy an education in Florida’s diverse species of plants and types of wetlands. It is a retreat right in the middle of the city! Don’t forget to pick up a packet of fish food when you enter the museum so you can feed the fish in this areas. What mom, uhem I mean kid doesn’t like to feed fish?
I want also to give a shout out to the youth volunteers who were working that day. These young people are a credit to the museum and were extremely helpful!
IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum is definitely on my Summer Pick list. Adults are $10 and Kids and Seniors at $5 which is very much a bargain! Call for Prices and Hours.
We have been having a lovely trip to the London area this time around. Well, we always seem to. My in-laws claim we bring the heat with us from Florida! It has been near 80 and sunny everyday and the humidity has never been over 50%. There has been a cool constant breeze, so perfect for me! Those of you from Florida will understand that this is perfect weather. Those here in the London area seem to think it is very hot. I will say, that it is perfect outside, but since no one has AC here, the tube and indoor places can be uncomfortable. I can’t believe all the amazing photo’s of the castle’s (sorry, not castles, houses and palace, apparently there is a difference) with blue sky and white, fluffy clouds!
We headed out to Hatfield House, and we didn’t even get to finish seeing everything! We started our day with the House Museum Tour, some shopping, and of course the Gardens! We will have to come back another day to see the Children’s Adventure Playground and the Farm!
The House Museum is amazing! This house is 400 years old, it is still lived in (well a portion of it anyway) by the family. It is truly like walking into the past. There is one section that still has the original floor and you can imagine the people who may have
walked there. The grounds also includes the Old Palace that was used as a nursery for Princesses and Princes of England. (I called it a Castle and was informed that Hatfield House is a House and the Palace is a Palace and neither are Castles. King Henry VIII even owned it in 1558.
Okay, so here is the scoop, if you have really rambunctious kids little tiny ones, I would suggest that you take turns going through the house, while another adult entertains the kids. If you have school age kids ask for the Animal Quiz when you get in. The kids can search each room to answer questions and learn a little history as they go. My 6 year old was impressively good, so you know your kids and what would interest them.
I loved the kitchen and I could just imagine how many people it took to make all that food from scratch, grinding herbs and four, the pastry making room, the ovens, even a scullery!
The Gardens are my favorite part! There are little hidey holes where the kids get a kick out of sticking their heads through to see you, loads of amazing real grass that just screams “take your shoes off and walk on me”. For those with stroller (aka buggies for the Brits) there are paths creating a perfect place for Mommas (Mums) to get out with babies in good weather.
The sculptures change out every September, we had a great time taking pictures with them. Different gardens are open on different days. I also loved the wildflower meadows it also had some sculpture and art.
This area had some shopping and a Cafe. The shopping was fun, the gift shop had some reasonably priced things and also some high end things. Probably something for everyone. They had some unique toys that were very tempting to me, like “How to build a Crystal Radio just like your grandfather did”. I am wishing now that I had bought it. Also they had some great knight, and soldier play clothes. They were around 19 pounds (I don’t have the pound sign on my computer) so that is something like 35 dollars.
The Cafe was okay, the bathrooms were clean and tidy. That is always nice. There was room for strollers inside (buggies) that always makes eating easier for Mommas (Mummies). The only complaint I had was that the cafe had run out of bottles of water (aka still water). I had to hunt some down at the Sweet Shop (yeah, that was unfortunate). The cafe then ran out of trays, then utensils and it was not really very busy.
The Sweet Shop
We were traveling with a friend from the US who (like my husband) grew up in the UK. They had a great time in the sweet shop and said it took them back to their childhood. So you have to pop into the sweet shop and pick up a bit of candy (sweeties).
Our adventure this day included a train ride! Tri Rail stations have free convenient park and ride parking lots at each of the stations. We usually go from Cypress Creek station and parking is always abundant. There are so many destinations to choose from too!
We decided to go to the Norton Museum for it’s Lego Exhibit. The Lego Exhibit will be there until October 20, 2013.
We got off the Tri Rail at the West Palm Station and took the Downtown Trolley. The drivers were very nice and helpful. We asked to get off near Palm Beach Atlantic University at Olive and South Dixie. The Norton is just a few blocks south on Olive, and it is a nice walk across the campus.
The Lego Exhibit was amazing and all the kids seemed to have a great time. We spent a good amount of time looking at the Lego buildings. Their favorite was the hands on room where the kids can build their own creations and put them on a shelf for others to see.
We also walked around the other museum exhibits. There are some great kids activities built in, just ask one of the docents where the activity sheet is for each exhibit. There are pictures of items and paintings on the sheets for the kids to walk around and find. I was surprised at how into the kids were.
It really was a fun day, the Norton was amazing! We took the Trolley back to City Place (with the help of the driver, because we had to change Trolleys) and had lunch.
We decided to walk back to the Tri Rail instead of taking the Trolley, it is only about 4 blocks. However if you do, please be aware of your surroundings as apparently there have been some problems in the neighborhoods surrounding City Place. We didn’t have any problems, but we did observe an arrest of what looked like an intoxicated person down one of the blocks.
I cannot believe I had never been there before! The recent monsoonal downpours sent me looking for indoor places to spend some energy without breaking the bank.
On the way into the Museum, you must be prepared to spend sometime at the Kids Kingdom Playground. It is an amazing magic kingdom with slides, hidden climbing areas, and it is accessible for all children. My advice is to take advantage and bring a picnic lunch before or after you visit the Museum.
The Schoolhouse Museum is housed in an actual preserved 1913 schoolhouse. The exhibits are supposed to represent local history through traditional hands-on play. The entire Museum is a touchable imagination factory, where kids can explore what it must have been like to live and work in old Florida.
Everywhere you look there is something to discover. Even the bathrooms in the lobby! My Little went nuts when she noticed that the murals in the restrooms had the alphabet hidden in them. Such a silly thing, but I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get her out of there!
The first floor of the Museum houses a train where the kids can ring a bell, pretend to shovel coal into the engine. The adventure continues with a visit to the Boynton Hotel where I was served pretend tea and cakes by the cutest little waitress in the world.
Dairy Days give the kids a chance to feed the life sized cow (ping pong balls) and see them come out into milk pails. (Yeah, I know, stop laughing, the ping balls really come out the utters!) The work carries on by placing the “milk” into the pasteurizer. Don’t forget to have fun picking picking peppers at the farmhouse and using leg power to make the conveyor belt move the peppers onto the washing station.
As you move onto the second floor, don’t bother with the elevator! Take the stairs so you can get a great view of the replica of the Jupiter Lighthouse created by Disney Animatronics and the ocean mural. Don’t forget to knock on the lighthouse door! Don’t ask, just do it okay?
The second floor moves you onto main street. Kids can check out the Barefoot Mailman, and find out just what it took for mail to move from Lake Worth to Miami. That is a heck of a walk with a sack of mail on your back.
We had fun stocking shelves and selling merchandise (although my daughter got upset with me when I tried to get her to make change, I suppose that was just a little too educational for her).
The Littles can check out Doc Weems Doctor’s Office and take care of newborn babies, visit the Post Office and weigh, stamp and deliver mail, or explore the Hypoluxo Steamer and explore the swampland.
This place makes for a fabulous day out! You can’t beat the price, Children under 1 are free, Ages 1-17 $4.00 and Adults are $5.00.
The Henry Ford Museum is an absolutely massive and amazing place! There are two parts to the Museum, Greenfield Village and the actual indoor Henry Ford Museum. As I wrote this review I realized that there is simply too much to talk about in one review, so I will begin by reviewing the Village and will review the Museum in another post.
If you listen to nothing else I tell you, make sure that you have two days to see it. We had only one day, and I think we must of have only seen about 1/3 of the exhibits.You need one day in Greenfield Village and one day in the Museum.
After visiting Greenfield Village it becomes obvious that Henry Ford was some kind of genius madman! He meticulously moved historical buildings to this village. Which may be a bummer for the towns from which he moved them, but it does mean they are preserved to an extremely high standard. He paid close attention to the details; right down to having replica’s made of the china pattern that was used in his childhood home. The Model T’s zipping around the village certainly add the ambiance. You can, for a small fee ride a steam engine, take a carriage ride, or ride in one of those famous Model T’s.
There are several sections to the Village, Greenfield has lots of green spaces for kids to run, and fun reenactments of famous people and times. For example the famous Ohio brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright were energetically telling the neighbors about the success of their first flight from the front porch of their house. Oh and yes it was their actual house moved to the Village.
The Village was immaculately clean, even though it was quite busy. There were very few
lines for anything, and we even got on the train in a timely manner. If you live near here, this would be a great place to get a family membership in order to see everything. There are many shady areas that looked perfect for a picnic!
There are interpreters and presenters everywhere! These presenters and interpreters are some of the best I have ever had the pleasure of observing. They could certainly give Disney Character Cast Members a run for their money. The staff is friendly, polite and extremely knowledgeable, they are just incredibly impressive! Have I mentioned how cool it was to see the Model T’s zipping around the streets? I didn’t get to ride in one though.
The Historic Districts are as follows:
Railroad Junction Includes: The Edison Illuminating Company’s Station A and Smiths Creek Depot.
This section includes a steam-powered rail line and an 1800s small-town train depot. This is certainly worth doing, as it gives you a chance to see more of the park, than you otherwise would. You even chug by the Henry Ford Magnet School that is house in, you guessed it, a train! How cool would it be to go to school in a train!
In this area you also get to take a walk through an actual 19thCentury Detroit, Toledo & Milwaukee Roundhouse. Kids who are fans of Thomas will flip out! It was pretty special to my Mom too, as her Dad worked in the Columbus Roundhouse for years and it was kind of special for her to get a feel for what he was doing during those long hours of work he spent away from them when she was kid.
Experimental Laboratory, Stony Creek and William Ford Barn.
Okay, the kids and I really liked this section and we were more interested in it than any of the others. This is a working 19th-century American Farm called Firestone Farm. It includes wagons, livestock and fields of vegetables and soybean. It is supposed to be a snapshot of scenes straight from the nation’s agricultural revolution. There are many demonstrations and presentations in this area to help visitors get a feel for how farmers lived off the land, without our modern conveniences.
Edison at Work Includes:Sarah Jordan Boarding House, Thomas Edison’s Fort Myers Laboratory, Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Complex, Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Glass Shed, Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory, Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Machine Shop, and Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Office & Library.
I really liked this section as well. It includes a replica of Edison’s Menlo Park complex at about the time he began to develop the incandescent light bulb. Here you can see Thomas Edison’s workplaces, and the first buildings to be illuminated with electric light. Again, these are buildings that were meticulously taken apart, moved to Greenfield Village and then put back together!
Porches and Parlors District Includes:The Ackley Covered Bridge, Adams Family
Home, Chapman Family Home, Edison Homestead, Farris Windmill, Noah Webster Home, Plympton Family Home and Robert Frost Home.
Some of the houses in this area are as old as the 1650’s-1930’s. It’s pretty neat to show the kids a very different way of life from our Modern Cell Phone driven lives!
I was disappointed not to have time to investigate this section as it really appeals to me. I am fascinated by things like glass working, pottery and weaving. Next time maybe I will get to see some of these century old skills in action.
Main Street District includes: Eagle Tavern, Grimm Jewelry Store (which is actually a candy store), J.R. Jones General Store, Logan County Courthouse, Martha-Mary Chapel, Phoenixville Post Office, Town Hall, and , the Wright Cycle Shop (One of my favorites, I am fascinated by these guys!).
When you stroll down this street you can really get a sense of a busy little town with automobiles and carriages, events and amusements. Loads of scenic American history and heritage are to be found here. Make sure you try the Hobo Bread from the Grimm Jewelry Store. Yummy!
Henry Ford’s Model T District includes: Bagley Avenue Workshop, Ford Home, Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford Theater, Miller School.
This district follows the life of Henry Ford, industrialist and innovator. You will be amazed at the things he worked on and invented. His childhood home is here as well as a replica of the factory where he built his first automobiles.
Most importantly, this is the section where you can ride in a Model T. They really buzz through the streets of the town too! Just in case you are wondering, no, you cannot actually drive one, you are merely the passenger which is pretty exciting really!
I have included photo’s from the indoor Henry Ford Museum below as well. That area would take an entire 2nd day to explore. We tried to do it all in one day and missed an a whole lot of things.
Oh, and if you are photographer, this place is seriously fun!