Galleria Mall Santa Review

I just had to tell you all about the wonderful Santa at the Galleria! We went there today just to walk around and to try a cup cake at the new cup cake stand (pretty good by the way).

My daughter wanted to talk to Santa so we headed up to see him. There was one boy and a little girl in front of us who was nervous of the big guy in the red suit so Santa got out his Christmas book and set down on the floor and read to all three kids. He chatted with each of the kids and since it wasn’t busy he seemed very  happy to spend time with them.

This real bearded Santa is such a pleasure to see and even hands out cute little elf dolls to each child.  His seat is extra wide so it’s easy to get photo’s of the whole family or even let a nervous child sit next to Santa at a more comfortable distance.

So, Thank You Santa for making our shopping trip such a pleasure!

Christmas by the Sea Review

Wow, this was a crazy busy event!  The place was packed which made it difficult to let my 2 year old walk around for fear that she would get run over.  That being said, she was out of her mind excited to see Santa in the parade on top of the fire truck!

All and all it turned out be a lovely night.  It was cool for Florida and it felt wonderful!  There were pony rides, the steal drum band, and of course an Elvis Karaoke band that was quit fun to watch.

I know, I know I promised a video blog and I am working on it!  Apparently I am not as talented at movie making as I had assumed.  I will try to salvage something of the video to post ASAP!

I think we are going to check out the lights at Tradwinds park this weekend so I will get back to you on that very soon too.

Happy Holidays!

The Great Scarecrow Exhibit at Flamingo Gardens

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Okay, so we headed out to the Flamingo Gardens for The Great Scarecrow Exhibit on Saturday.  It was so nice to walk around the Gardens in the finally cooler South Florida weather!  What a fun idea!  Flamingo Gardens’ patrons build their own scarecrows and enter them into the contest.  All the scarecrows are  kept on exhibit for the whole month of October.  There were scary ones, traditional ones and even one that used recycled materials in a sort of modern art kind of way.  My 2 year old made it her mission to get her picture taken with each of the Scarecrows that will be on exhibit till the end of the month.
A few updates on the Gardens, the Garden Shop in the front courtyard is closed as is the Fruit Shipping Store and the Snack Bar.  The Snack Bar inside the Gardens next to the Flamingo Exhibit is still open as is the large Gift Shop.
I would love to go to the evening Halloween program, Beware the Lair of the Swamp Witch however the flyers say that it is recommended for 12 years and older, so that leaves us out.  Let me know if you go and post a comment here about it for us.
The gardens will be doing a trick or treat event, Story Time with the Good Witch  for everyone Halloween weekend, which looks like fun.  I will try to get there, but it is a very busy weekend for us.

Best local playground: Flamingo Gardens

Flamingo Gardens in Davie brings together a lush tropical
garden with a historic plantation and a wildlife sanctuary.  It is an easy drive of about 25 minutes from
Fort Lauderdale, and is well worth the trip.
The courtyard area is chock full of shopping things to do.  What is even better is that this area is
outside the actual park so it is free and could easily be a great morning trip
for families.
As guests enter the courtyard the eyes are drawn immediately
to the large aviary exhibits in the center.  Children and their parents will love to watch the Military Macaws, Cockatoos, and Blue and Gold Macaws play, some of them even talk a little.
The courtyard area has a great playground with mulch flooring a large climbing structure with a bridge and lots of slides.  This quiet playground is rarely busy allowing the kids to play while parents watch on from nearby benches.  The playground is fairly well shaded and located conveniently next to the restrooms.
When the children are good and tired from playing on the
playground head on over to the Tropical Marketplace snack bar for a cold drink,
a fruit smoothie or a hotdog.  There is lots of outdoor shaded seating next to the snack bar where guests can enjoy a fresh cold cup of  juice while listening to the
parrots.  Watch out though you may have to walk around one of the beautiful wild peacocks who like to hang out in the area.  Guests can also shop for gourmet
gifts and have fruit shipped to friends and family. The next shopping opportunity is the Garden Shop and Secret Garden, where guests can shop for fantastic garden items and browse through tropical plants that will perk up any South Florida back yard.
Flamingo Gardens is a great local destination inside and out
and is a must see Special Events and Exhibits for any family with kids.

Best local playground: Bayview Park

This hidden gem of a playground is located on Bayview Drive in Fort Lauderdale.  It is immaculate and
offers something for just about everyone.
The playground has several different partially shaded climbing and
sliding structures. Each structure is designed for different age levels and
abilities, there is one for toddlers and the others are for varying
abilities.  This playground is
particularly nice because it has rubber flooring which can give a nice cushion
to the inevitability of tumbling children.
The playground is partially fenced in along Bayview Drive and is blocked
only by bushes on the side street so children must be supervised carefully on
the parking lot side.
Bayview Park has one sheltered picnic area that is available
for parties; however it must be reserved well in advance and it is very popular.  There are additional picnic tables, benches,
basketball court, restrooms and tennis courts.
The park and playground are so well maintained that even the bathrooms
are clean.
The baseball fields are a fabulous place for kids to run off
some extra energy when they are not in use in use for organized games.   Parking can be difficult on peak hours like
weekends or when school is out.  All in
all this is a quiet, clean and beautiful park that is sure to be a favorite
place to get a little fresh air, exercise and sunshine.
Bayview Park
4401 Bayview Drive
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
Tel: 954-828-PARK
Hours: 8 am to 9 pm

The Palm Beach Zoo is a Hidden Wonderland

The Palm Beach Zoo is a quick 40 minute drive from Fort Lauderdale.  This 23 acre park has the magical quality of making you feel like you are walking through a lush tropical wonderland.  The Zoo has several sections focusing on geographic areas; each area brings together the exhibits and the pathway landscaping to create the feeling of walking through a nature park in South America, Florida, Asia and Australia.
The Florida section brings you up-close and personal with everglade species like alligators, turtles and all manner of things that slither through the watershed.  A walk through wetlands provides the visitor with the opportunity to watch otters play on water and on land.  Guests can also view a Florida Panther through the windows of an authentic pioneer house, followed by watching flamingos from a rocker on the porch.  This section of the Zoo will transport visitors to life in Florida before cars were rocketing down the I95.
The Asian and Australian sections allows guest to view rock wallaby from inside the exhibit.  Guests will come eye to eye with Kookaburra, Rhea and Tawny Frogmouth Birds.  The crown and glory of this section of the Zoo are the Malayan Tigers.  These brothers inhabit a beautiful exhibit complete with waterfall and pool and can be seen frolicking in the water on a hot day.  The guest is treated to a misty walk through bamboo pathways once again being transported into another world.
Finally guests are beckoned to walk through the South American section, a tropical Mayan paradise where endangered jaguars sleep in the shade of the overhanging pillars of a scaled down replica of the Temple of 1000 Columns in Chitzen Itza.  This section of the Zoo is home to exotic animals like tapirs, giant anteaters and the rare bush dogs.  Not to mention the beautiful and colorful parrots found throughout the area.

The Palm Beach Zoo is a fun family friendly facility that offers a snack bar, sit down dining, a carousel, animal shows and demonstrations.  The education department offers reasonably priced special programs for kids of all ages including Summer Camp, Stroller Day Tours and Toddler Workshops.  Don’t forget to bring bathing suits for the kids!  The Zoo has a musical interactive water fountain that no child will want to walk by without taking a splash and dance.