Kid Friendly Sawgrass Mills Mall and Play Area

Rainforst Cafe Play Area at Sawgrass Mills MallSawgrass Mills Mall offers gazillions (yes that is the technical term) of great shopping opportunities.  It has great kid friendly play areas and rides. Not to mentions store after store after store after store……………… (well you get the idea) of indoor and outdoor shopping.  It’s freaking big!

While the rest of the country is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (the light being spring and the tunnel being winter) we are looking for things to do with the kids that include air-conditioning!

Here are 11 reasons to take the kids to Sawgrass Mills for a playdate.
1.  Crowds:  It’s less crowed on weekdays and far more fun!  It does get pretty crazy on Talking Tree at Rainforst Cafe at Sawgrass Mills Mallthe weekends, so go early in the day if have to go on the weekends.
2.  Air-Conditioning:  I suppose I don’t need to explain the benefits of this one since our heat index can be well over 100 for weeks on end in South Florida.
3.  Feed the kids for free:  Okay, not really free, but with three different food courts, you can walk around and get samples enough to fill a 3 year old for sure!
4.  Carousel:  What more can I say?? What kid doesn’t like a carousel?
5.  Climbing Wall:  One more way Climbing Wall at Sawgrass Mills Mallto wear that kid out!  We love the climbing wall!

6.  Sawgrass Mills Mall Rainforest Cafe and Store:  We love to wonder around the shop and look at all the animatronic animals and cute stuff!  Little ones and big kids a like love to look at the fish tanks too!  They do have reasonably priced lunches and a kids menu.  It’s like dinner and a show!

7.  Walking:  it’s a huge place and all the walking alone will wear out the kids (and you) so you can have a peaceful evening!
Rainforst Cafe Play Area at Sawgrass Mills Mall
8.  Rainforest Café Playground at Sawgrass Mills:  This is a great play area.  If you are one of “those parents” (like me) who don’t like for your child to be out of your site, then this may not be the place for you.  It looks like tons of fun though.  It usually looks fairly clean inside and well maintained, although some of my
Coin Ride at Sawgrass Mills Mall
mommy friends say they have seen it pretty dirty (Maybe during the busy times). There are lots of benches for the parents to hang out on by the entrance, so the kids can’t run off.
9.  Coin Rides:  I don’t know why, but these are so popular and the kids love them.  My daughter loves them even when I don’t have coins for her.  She just likes to climb on them!  There is also a little Coin op Carousel in the mall (can’t remember where) that rides 3.  It’s great because there are usually other kids on it and if each parents donates coins the kids get to ride longer.
Trampoline Bounce at Sawgrass Mills Mall
10.  Bungee Jumping: If the kids still are not tired just strap them up to bungees and let them wear themselves out on the trampolines.  You actually get a decent amount of time on them especially if there is not much of a line behind you!  This is guaranteed to wear the kids out!
11.  Air-conditioning:  Did I mention this one already? Well it’s important!
Sawgrass Mills Mall
12801 West Sunrise Blvd
Sunrise, FL 33323

Sandoway House in Delray Beach Review

The Sandoway House in Delray Beach is a great place to spend
a few hours with family.  The nature
center is housed in a 1936 beachfront home and is on the National Register of
Historic Places.  There is a natural
garden area and a small park with a picnic area and it’s located right across from
the beach.   The whole thing probably won’t take you more
than 2 hours, so bring your suits and hit the beach after.
There are several rooms all filled with biofacts (animal
artifacts) like skins, shells, skulls etc.
The nature center is also home to a variety of Florida native species
like a corn snake, slider turtles, and a gopher tortoise.  The front porch is also home a blue and gold
macaw named Mr. Crystal.
Upstairs you
can find more amazing shells, some that you can pick up, touch, feel and try to
identify.  There is also an upstairs porch
with binoculars available and a stunning view of the beach and ocean.
At some point in the 70’s the family who lived in the house
put in a pool. Sandoway House has
renovated the pool into a saltwater pool that now houses nurse sharks and puffer
fish.  There are daily feedings of the
sharks and this was probably my daughter’s favorite thing about our visit.  She also liked following the ray around the circular tank inside, the ray
seemed to like it too.  The megalodon shark tooth fascinated her and she kept insisting that we should have one at home!
There are two sand tubs full of ocean fossils so that the kids can dig for fossils. For an
additional $1 the kids can search through and take 3 fossils home with them. Be prepared to lift the kids up to the tables though they are quite high so I had to hold my daughter up there the entire time.
The shark exhibit will be there until Oct 2.  Then beginning October 15, they will be home
to the Ice Age Florida Exhibit.
Also, don’t forget to bring parking meter money, there are a few free spots in front of the Nature Center, but they do fill up quickly.
Educational programs are offered to the public at Sandoway
House including: Shark Feedings, Guided Historic Tours, Nature Walks, guest
speakers, Astronomy Nights, Summer Camp and special events such as Earth Day.   It is open Tuesday – Saturday 10 am to 4 pm
and Sunday Noon to 4 pm.
All in all, we love this place and will go back for the next exhibit!
Admission is $4 per person 3 years and up.
142 S. Ocean Blvd.
Delray Beach, FL 33483
561.274.7263
Mr Crystal at Sandoway House
 Sandoway House
 Sandoway House
 Sandoway House
Sandoway House
 Sandoway House
Shark Exhbit Sandoway House
Shark pool at Sandoway House
Saltwater pool Sandoway House
Shark Pool Sandoway House
Shark pool Sandoway House
Sandoway House
Great white Shark Jaw
Shark exhibit Sandoway House
Sandoway House
Sandoway House
Sandoway House
Sandoway House
Sandoway House
Sandoway House

Asheville West KOA Review

Asheville West KOA Kabin
Asheville West KOA Review
309 Wiggins Rd
Candler, NC 28715
So I am on a kick now to take road trips and stop in at KOA’s along the way.  You can rent a cabin, or Kabin as they are called for around $50 a night.  It gave us a chance to get the camping feeling and yet not have to wrestle with a tent.  What is even better is that the cabins have air conditioning and heat.  Most of them seem to have free WiFi and you know that doesn’t hurt either!
Asheville West KOA Kabin
We pulled in to this site in the Blue Ridge Mountains and it was beautiful!  We were greeted and sent round to our cabin to get settled in.  The attendant told us where everything was and mentioned that there was a game room out back.  I groaned silently, but went to peek into it later.  It was actually a game room, you know “no quarters needed”!  There were board games, puzzles,  a tv (with cable), crayons and coloring books, and a book swapping shelf!
Everything at this campsite was impeccably clean!  The cabins were very near the restrooms, which is important when traveling with little ones!  There was a pool, and nice tot lot playground, lots of trails to walk, a cute camp shop with reasonably priced items.  Oh and good coffee!
Asheville West KOA Kabin
In the center of the ring of cabins there was a shelter that had a stove and sink, where meals can be prepared.  There was also a community campfire ring.  I was all set to start a fire to make smores when a storm came in.  It was not problem though, we sat on the porch swing, while my husband sat on the larger front porch of the Camp Store on the free WiFi to get some work done.  Next we went to the game room and had a very nice evening in there.
 I loved the way the cabins were laid out too.  My 3 year old could run out the cabin door and there wasn’t too many ways she could get into trouble in the immediate area.  She could run around a bit and still be within my sight line form the porch.  Her favorite thing was the porch swing!  I love traveling with 3 year olds sometimes.  Expensive dinner?  Boring!  Porch Swing?  Best invention ever!
Asheville West KOA camp kitchen
The campgrounds were quiet and peaceful and there was only one thing that I could complain about.  So here it is, the paper mill!  There is a paper mill nearby and you could smell it, mostly at night. We did run the AC at night just to filter out the smell, even though we really didn’t need it in the cool mountain night.   It wasn’t horrible and didn’t irritate my eyes or anything, but it was bothersome when everything about this mountain getaway was so perfect.  The attendant said that you can only smell it a couple of times a year and then it goes away.  I felt really bad for them at this family owned campground, because it was obvious that they take great pride in their business.
Asheville West KOA Camp Store & Office
The staff were extremely responsive.  We had a wasp starting to build a hive under our porch swing and the maintenance guy came right over to take care of it.  We loved walking the trails in the cool mountain air and watching bunnies from our front porch swing!  We spotted lots of birds too.   I cannot say enough nice things about this place.   We were there in June and it was hot enough to swim at midday and cool enough to warrant a sweater in the evening.
Asheville West KOA Pool
I didn’t get photo’s of the kids playground.  It was really perfect for my 3 year old though.  Little ones do need to be supervised there though as there is a little pond right next to it.  I know that I have been in the south too long because the pond looked exactly like a large alligator hole to me, and I kept catching myself scanning for ‘gators.  Duh, I was in the mountains!  No ‘gators here!  There was an awful lot of poison ivy though, so I would suggest wearing long pants and socks.  The good news is that the cool mountain will make the extra clothing very comfortable.  I wasn’t bothered by a single mosquito the whole time we were there.  I was waiting for them, but I suppose I was just barrowing trouble from my sub tropical home.
Asheville West KOA is less than 15 minutes to Asheville.  We spent a day in this great little artist/hippie town.  It was wonderful!  Great art galleries and restaurants there for sure!  I will be writing about that at a later time!
Asheville West KOA
Oh and they had a large pavilion with a fire place for large gatherings and meetings.  It would be an awesome place for a family reunion!  Even with the stinkie smell, I could have spent a few weeks here.  We had a wonderful visit there and hope to return when the paper mill is blowing the other way.
Asheville West KOA Camp Kitchen
Asheville West KOA  1 of many Trail Heads
Asheville West KOA Walk to the Playground
Asheville West KOA Pool
Asheville West KOA Field
Asheville West KOA
Asheville West KOA Community Camp Kitchen
Asheville West KOA
Asheville West KOA
Asheville West KOA
Asheville West KOA
Asheville West KOA
Asheville West KOA Game Room
Asheville West KOA Game Room
Asheville West KOA Game Room
Asheville West KOA Game Room
Asheville West KOA

Savannah South KOA Review

KOA Campgrounds Store
Savannah South KOA
4915 US 17 South
Richmond Hill, GA 31324
On our very long drive back to South Florida from Ohio, we stayed the night at the Savannah South KOA.  I am quickly becoming a fan of the KOA, as we stayed in two of them this summer.  This particular campsite seems like it would be a great getaway for a couple of days this fall or winter since it is about 8 hours from Fort Lauderdale,  The KOA is less than 20 minutes from Savannah, and if you have never had the chance to walk around there it is a fabulous walking town!
Our KOA Kabin
Our KOA Kabin
The cabin cost us around $50 a night so I felt it was a great deal.  It had AC and heat, one full sized bed and a set of single bunk beds.  The bathrooms and showers were a short walk away.  There was a BBQ Grill and a picnic table and you could park your car nice and close to the cabin.
We pulled into the site around 4:30 pm, it was extremely hot and the dashboard said it was 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  The staff were all very friendly and helpful and directed us back to our cabin.
The cabin was clean and set on a lake with a small front porch and bench.  There were all kinds of ducks and swans roaming around on the lake and the scenery was amazing.  I could have set out on the porch all evening if the heat had not been so oppressive.
The good thing about staying in a KOA cabin is that they, as I have mentioned, have AC and heat.  It worked wonderfully for us while on our road trip.  I love to camp, but when you are traveling with a little one the idea of dealing with a tent can be a bit overwhelming.  If you are arriving on a very hot day, I would advise that you call when you about an hour away and ask them to turn on the AC so it can start working.
From our KOA Kabin doorway
KOA Savannah Georgia
KOA Savannah Georgia
KOA Savannah Georgia
KOA Savannah Georgia
The AC in our cabin was a bit small for the space and it didn’t really work all that well.  It kept the cabin bearable but if you like it cold, this unit just couldn’t compete with the unusually high temperatures the area was experiencing in June.  Free wifi is also available and you know that is important to me.
The bathrooms, cabins, and laundry room were all pretty clean and seemed to be well within the KOA standards.

We had a lovely evening there, we took a walk around the lake to look at the birds, kept cool in the pool and tried to play on the playground.  The pool was clean and large and kept us cool in the excessive heat.  The shop had any extras that you might need for very reasonable prices.  They also have a great selection of wine, however just remember that you can’t buy alcohol on Sundays in Georgia, so plan ahead!

The playground is not designed for small children at all.  It has one of those old really high slides and metal teeter totters that big kids will love, but look really dangerous for small kids.  I put pictures of it below so you can make up your own mind on it.  If you have little ones you will also need to keep in mind that there is at least one alligator in the lake, so keep your eyes on the little ones at all times.  There is also fishing and canoeing available.
There was a game room with a TV (I didn’t check to see if it worked) and two pool tables (you need quarters to play).
The other rather odd thing is that the pool does not open until 10:00 or 10:30 am (can’t remember which) according to the sign.  I wanted to have a quick swim before we pulled out in the morning and when I asked at the shop at 9 am they unlocked it for us anyway.  Not sure why they wouldn’t unlock it earlier, but they did accommodate us.
We stayed at another KOA near Asheville NC on our way to Ohio and I will get that posted ASAP!
KOA Savannah Georgia Camp Store
KOA Savannah Georgia Camp Store
This just struck me funny for some reason
KOA Savannah Georgia Coin Laundry
KOA Savannah Georgia Coin Laundry
KOA Savannah Georgia Bathrooms
KOA Savannah Georgia
KOA Savannah Georgia
KOA Savannah Georgia
KOA Savannah Georgia
KOA Savannah Georgia Play Ground
KOA Savannah Georgia Play Ground
KOA Savannah Georgia Play Ground
KOA Savannah Georgia Play Ground
KOA Savannah Georgia Play Ground
KOA Savannah Georgia
KOA Savannah Georgia
KOA Savannah Georgia Play Ground This was our friend who humg out under picnic table!-
KOA Savannah Georgia
KOA Savannah Georgia
KOA Savannah Georgia
KOA Savannah Georgia
KOA Savannah Georgia Game Room
KOA Savannah Georgia Game Room
KOA Savannah Georgia Game Room
KOA Savannah Georgia Game Room
KOA Savannah Georgia Camp Store

Boca Raton Children’s Museum Review

Photo Credit:KeepingUpWithKids.com
This is such a fun place, it is really small, but the kids have a wonderful time there.  If you are expecting fancy, flashy technology, then this is not the place for you!  The Children’s Museum itself is located in “Singing Pines” house.  It was built about 1912 and is considered one of the oldest unaltered buildings in Boca Raton.  It is filled with fun, music, and art set up in such a way as to inspire a child’s (and their parents) imagination with creative play in a simple and beautiful way.
Photo Credit:KeepingUpWithKids.com
Each room in the house has a fun educational theme.  Kids can go to The Bank and pretend to be a bank teller with pretend money that can be placed into a vault.  The Grocery Store is where they can use a mini grocery cart and pick what they want to buy from shelves full of healthy food choices, or they can even pretend to be the check-out clerk.  Kids and adults can watch butterfly’s out the window with binoculars, dress up in traditional costumes from around the world, or be creative with magnetic building blocks.  Oh, and there is a sailing ship on the front lawn that seems to call to every child’s wildest imagination!  Kids can climb aboard set their imaginations free.
Photo Credit:KeepingUpWithKids.com
The museum offers children the chance to use their imagine, make noise and simply be children.  Annual Memberships are available and they also do birthday parties.
Boca Raton Children’s Museum is Participating in BAMM (Broward Museum and Attraction Month).
A visit here usually lasts about 2 hours for us and is well worth the $5.00 entrance fee.

498 Crawford Blvd.
Boca Raton, FL 33432
561-368-6875

Hours: Tues. – Sat.: 12pm – 4pm

Photo Credit:KeepingUpWithKids.com

Morning hours from 10:00am – 11:45am are reserved for School Groups, Moms Groups, and other private groups such as Birthday Parties

Admission: $5 per person, infants are free

Photo Credit:KeepingUpWithKids.com
Photo Credit:KeepingUpWithKids.com
Drawing Station at BCM
Kids can touch and play with everything at BCM

Fern Forest Nature Center Offers Nature Exploration for All Ages

Fern Forest Entrance Photo Credit:C Buckley
As the summer rains and mosquitoes move in take advantage of the end of South Florida’s hiking season by heading on over to the Fern Forrest Nature Center in Margate, Florida. This is an amazing place to spend a few hours with the kids. Entrance to the 247 acre park is free and offers guests a serene respite from the hustle of the city. Take advantage of these last few cooler days of spring to take a walk along one of Fern Forests five trails.
Raccoon Tracks Fern Forest Photo Credit:C Buckley

Hiking trails include a low boardwalk through tropical hardwood hammock, and cypress-maple swamp. It is an ideal place to spot birds, armadillo and even turtles.The boardwalk is perfect for small children who may have difficulty navigating uneven trails. Listen carefully as you wonder easily on the boardwalk and the rougher often muddy Maple Walk Trail for the scratching of an armadillo or the knocking of a woodpecker.

Nature Center, Fern Forest Photo Credit:C Buckley
 Be sure to check out the marker board at the trail entrance to find out what kind of wildlife has been spotted recently. The marker board will also let you know the mosquito levels as the wetland trails are great breading grounds, so be prepared with protective clothing and repellent as these little blood suckers can be disease carriers.
The indoor nature center offers a chance to see a very large Indigo Snake. Indigo Snakes are a rare and threatened species in Florida and the nature center offers guests a chance to find just why they are so important to Florida’s wildlife and its wetlands. The nature center offers several small exhibits demonstrating the importance and different types of habits are found South Florida.
Fern Forest, Photo Credit:C Buckley
Fern Forest, Photo Credit:C Buckley
Nature Center, Fern Forest, Photo Credit:C Buckley

St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoo Review

Zoo Review
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park
999 Anastasia Blvd.
St. Augustine, Florida 32080
Accreditation:   American Zoo and Aquariums Association
Geographic Focus: World Wide
Large Animals:  Saltwater Crocodile, 15’3” and 1,250 lbs
Endangered and Vulnerable Species: American Crocodile, Cape Griffon Vulture, Galapagos Tortoise, Golden Conure, Hyacinth Macaw, Indian Gharial, Malaysian Gharial, Mugger Crocodile, Orinoco Crocodile, Palawan Peacock Pheasant, Pesquet’s Parrot, Philippine Crocodile, Red Fronted Macaw, Siamese Crocodile, South American Yellow-Footed Tortoise, Southern Cassowary, Umbrella Cockatoo, West African Dwarf Crocodile
Total Species: UNANSWERED
Kid Friendly Features:  Kids Zone Playground
Smoking:  Non Smoking Facility
Cleanliness:  TBA
Education Programs: Day Camps, Summer Camps, Holiday Camps, Over Night Camps, Birthday Parties
Research and Conservation Projects:  AZA Species Survival Plan participants include Chinese Alligator, Cotton-Top Tamarin, Cuban Crocodile, Geoffroy’s Marmoset, Golden-Headed Lion Tamarin,Goeldi’s Monkey, Komodo Dragon, Palm Cockatoo, Spider Monkey, Toco Toucan
Size: 8 Acres
Green Status and Recognition:  Recycling
Price:  Adults 12 & up $21.95, Kids 3-11 $10.95, 2 & Under Free
Review:  To Follow  Check back often!  I can’t wait to visit and review this park!  You know  I am a reptile girl at hear!

Lion Country Safari Review

Zoo Review
Lion Country Safari
2003 Lion Country Safari Road
Loxahatchee, Florida 33470
(561) 793-1084

Accreditation:   Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Geographic Focus: Includes animals from 6 of the 7 continents
Large Animals:  Rhinos, Lions, Giraffe, Water Buffalo, Wildebeest, Watusi, Zebras, Eland, Nilgai, Waterbuck, Greater Kudu
Endangered Species:  Endangered  Vulnerable South American Tapir, Sarus Crane, Southern Ground Hornbill, African Spurred Tortoise, Rhino Iguana,  Threatened Southern White Rhino, Rhea, Blackbuck, Goffin’s Cockatoo, Blue Streaked Lory.Chimapnzee, Kulan, White0handed Gibbon, Siamang, Spider monkey, Water Buffalo, Nile Lechew, Cuban Crocodile.
Child watching Ostrich at Lion Country Safari Photo Credit: Erin Franklin
Child watching Ostrich at Lion Country Safari Photo Credit: Erin Franklin

Photo Credit: Erin FranklinTotal Species: 921 species include over 900 individual animal

Kid Friendly Features:  Carousel, Flying Elephant Ride, Kiddie Train Ride, Mini Golf, Giraffe feeding, Lory bird feeding, Budgie feeding, Petting Zoo, Ferris wheel, Safari Splash water sprayground, Water Wars, Camel Rides
Smoking: Smoking in Designated Areas only
CleanlinessVery Clean
Education Programs: School Field Trip Programs, Scout Programs, Toddler Programs, and Birthday Parties.
Research and Conservation ProjectsChimpanZoo Volunteer Program, AAZK (American Association of Zookeepers) projects including Bowling for Rhinos (Rhino Conservation), Cheetah Chili Cook-Off (Cheetah Conservation), Staff Art Show (Benefits winner’s choice of Conservation Charities), Cell Phone Recycling Program.  AZA Rhino Species Survival Plan, Rhino Advisory Group and Chimapnazee Species Survival Plan
Size: Total Acres 320 acres
Green Status and Recognition:  N/A
Price: $26.50 ages 10-64, $19.50 ages 3-9, 2 and under complimentary. Admission includes entry into both the drive through safari and walk through amusement park.
Review: 
Paddle Boat at Lion Country Safari Photo Credit: Erin Franklin

As you pull into the Driveway to Lion Country Safari, visitors are met with what can only be called “King Kong” Gates.  The attendants are always extremely courteous and hand over a CD that will narrate the journey for the entire car and serenade you will sounds and music of the Serengeti.   The Safari is broken up into sections that are separated by gates.  There are rubber band looking things on the ground that appear to discourage animals from walking across them into the next section.

Lion Country Safari Photo Credit: Erin Franklin

In 2005 a fence was put up to protect the lions from the people in the cars and vice versa.  Jennifer Berthiaume Marketing Director at Lion Country Safari explained that the fence was added as a safely measure between the lions and guests.  “It allows the lions to roam more freely and made it possible for additional shade and climbing structures to be built”.  Jennifer goes on to say “We realize that this change may be a disappointment to some of our guests who are accustomed to having the lions come right up to their vehicles; however, we believe that the added safety and other benefits were a necessary compromise. Lion Country Safari offers the largest display of lions in a North American AZA institution. We are proud to have the space to house a full pride of lions (as opposed to just one or two lions) and educate the public about these amazing creatures. With that education, it is important that we respect these wild animals”.

The drive around the Safari takes about an hour or less depending on the speed of the car, but it well worth it to see all the antelope, giraffe, rhino’s and especially for the little kids the Ostrich of all things!  It never fails to amaze us how truly large and powerful these birds are!

The photography opportunities on the Safari drive are limitless as you are surrounded by so many different kinds of animals.  It is a photographers dream!
Don’t think that the drive around the safari is all there is, because there is so much more!  After you drive the Safari you can park your car and go into the walking park.  This area has more animal exhibits and lots of rides for the kids.  There is enough to see and do in the walking park to spend a whole day there alone!  Guests will be able to ride kiddie rides like a carousel and mini train, feed sheep, lorikeets, and a giraffe.  You can ride a camel, go on a boat tour, see lots of animals and generally have a  great time.  If you go the LCS web site you can print out a coupon that discounts $6 per person.
Photo Credit: Cynthia Buckley
Photo Credit: Erin Franklin
Photo Credit: Erin Franklin
Photo Credit: Erin Franklin
Photo Credit: Erin Franklin
Photo Credit: Lion Country Safari
Photo Credit: Lion Country Safari
Photo Credit: Lion Country Safari
Photo Credit: Cynthia Buckley
Photo Credit: Cynthia Buckley
Photo Credit: Cynthia Buckley

Last but not least is the Kampgrounds of America (KOA) located at Lion Country Safari in West Palm Beach.  This campsite provides facilities that will keep the family happily entertained at all times.  Lion Country Safari often offers specials for two free passes to the park with a night of camping, and it even has a pool.  The best part is you can sleep right next door to hundreds of animals from over 6 continents. You can hear lions roar and siamangs sing while camping!”  No one will be bored at this campground and Zoo, and parents won’t have to exhaust themselves planning camping activities in advance.

Photo Credit: Cynthia Buckley
Photo Credit: Cynthia Buckley
Photo Credit: Cynthia Buckley
Photo Credit: Cynthia Buckley
Photo Credit: Cynthia Buckley

Palm Beach Zoo Review

Palm Beach Zoo Review
1301 Summit Blvd
West Palm Beach, FL 3333
Palmbeachzoo.org

Child looking at Jaguar at Palm Beach Zoo

Accreditation:   Association of Zoos and Aquariums, World Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Geographic Focus: Tropical Rainforests; Asia, Australia, Central & South American, and Florida
Large Animals:  Jaguars, Malayan tigers, Florida Panther, American Alligator, North American Black Bear, Siamang
Endangered Species: not entire list: Baird’s tapir, Bali mynah, Cotton-top tamarin, Fennec fox, Giant Anteater, Goeldi’s monkey, Golden lion tamarin, Jaguar, Komodo Dragon, Malayan Tiger, Ocelot, Queensland Koala, Red-bellied lemur, Red crowned crane, Red-ruffed lemur, Ring-tailed lemur; Siamang, Spider monkey, Swainson’s toucan, & Yellow-footed rock wallaby
Group of Children looking at Box Turtle
Education Program Photo Provided by Palm Beach Zoo
Total Species: 305 species / 1,404 specimens
Kid Friendly Features:  Interactive Play Water Fountain, Wildlife Carousel, Wings Over Water Bird Show, Wild Things Show
Smoking: Non Smoking Facility
Cleanliness:  Very Clean
Education Programs: Summer Camp, Toddler Workshops, School Field Trips, Outreach Programs, After School Programs, Night Owls Overnight Adventures, Home School Classes, Stroller Safari, Behind the Scenes Tours, Birthday Parties, Teacher Workshops.

Research and Conservation Projects:

Rhino Rearcher from Palm Beach Zoo with Rhino
Rhino Research Photo Provided by Palm Beach Zoo

On Site: Center for Conservation Medicine, Species Survival Plans (SSP), Population Management Plans (PMP), Nutritional Studies in Multiple Species , Avian influenza testing and surveillance,  Goeldi’s monkeys contraception study

Off Site:  Carnivore Conservation Work in South America,  Research and Conservation of Endangered Sea Turtles in Venezuela, Mexico Pronghorn Project,  Wild Howler Monkey Health Evaluation Project, Black Rhino Translocation and Anesthetic Evaluation ( Namibia), White rhino translocation, anesthetic eval. & comparative blood value study ( South Africa and USA ),  Nutritional analyses and comparisons in free-ranging and captive elephants  ( South Africa and USA), Perdido Key Beach Mouse Captive Breeding and Reintroduction Program , Hawksbill Sea Turtle Program, Native Wildlife Rehabilitation Program, Jaquar Species Survival Plan, Development & Validation of Multi-species Field Test for Screening for TB in Wildlife ( Mexico & Brazil).  A Full list and details are listed at http://palmbeachzoo.org/conservation.html

Size: 23 Acres
Green Status and Recognition1st Gold LEED certified zoo animal hospital in the country, Green Non-Profit Certified , Named “Sustainability Leader” by the Community Foundation of Palm Beach/Martin Counties two years in a row
Price:  $16.95 Adult, Seniors (60+) $12.95, Children (3-12) $11.95, 2 and under are free. Group Rates are Available
Easter Bunny with Children at the Palm Beach Zoo
Breakfast with Bunny Photo Provided by PBZ
Review: 
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.
Image of Skittles the ConureThe 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 endangered species 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 a dance. 
Children playing in Giant Eagles Nest
Children in Life Sized Eagles Nest
Zoo Keeper presenting a Dingo
Cynthia Buckley Presenting Mick the Dingo
Wood Storks Feeding at Palm Beach Zoo
Photo by Cynthia Buckley
Crowd at Wings Over Water Show
Wings over Water Show
Spider Monkey Island
Trainer Melissa and Wilbur the Sloth
 

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