Paradise Cove Splash Park at C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines

C.B. Smith Park
900 N. Flamingo Rd.
Pembroke Pines, FL 33028
Office: 954-357-5170
I recently had the opportunity to spend the day at this Broward County Water Park.  CB Smith Park is a gorgeous and huge park!  The splash park is too!  There are four areas, Crazy Creek, Sharky’s Lagoon, Parrot’s Point, and H2Whoa.
Parrot’s Point
Parrot’s Point:  5 and under
There were two areas that were best for those of us 3 year olds.  Parrot’s Point is the one we spent the most time at as it is a zero entry splash ground with two slides.  There were lots of fun handles and cranks for the kids to turn.  The slides are big enough to be extremely exciting to the little ones and they splash out into only 12 inches of water.  It is easier if you have more than one adult with you so that one of you can stand at the top of the slide, and the other at the bottom.  Be prepared to man these stations for quite awhile though, as the kids never get tired of these slides.
Crazy Creek:  All Ages
Crazy Creek
The second favorite with the little ones and adults alike, is the Crazy Creek .  I have to admit this was fun.  Imagine floating down 410-foot-long lazy river.  Don’t get too comfortable though because there are many area where water may splash down on you to help keep you cool.  We did this when we first got there and then again right before we left.  The kids were so tired that they practically fell asleep in our arms on the tubes.  There is a line to wait for tubes, we had to wait about 8 minutes so it wasn’t too terrible, (as long as you have water shoes on while waiting on the hot pavement).
Sharkey’s Lagoon
Sharky’s Lagoon: All Ages
I didn’t get to spend any time in Sharky’s Lagoon, the sign says that it is for all ages and looked like I could have taken my 3 year old there.  She was so happy where she was, I figured we would save it for next time.  It did look like fun though.  The water in this area is 18 inches deep and it has three waterslides of varying length.
H2Whoa:
The last area I was unable to even get a picture of because it definitely isn’t for 3 year olds!  Sure looked fun though.  H2Whoa is a 450 foot water slide.  The sign says that you must be at least 42 inches tall and you have to be a able to swim.
Price:
We went on a Saturday and it was pretty busy.  I really don’t like crowds and it was not bad, even for me.  It is fairly expensive at $9.50 per person.  So for just the two of us it was $19.  On the positive side there is no limit on how long you stay like at some of the other local parks.
Cleanliness:
The park itself looked great, the equipment and pools were all well maintained and clean.  The bathrooms were a mess at 1:00 on a busy Saturday afternoon.
Food:
There were two concession stands (Paradise Grill and Sand Dollar Concessions) and an Arepa stand.  We got a hot pretzel and ice cream sandwich form the Sand Dollar.  The pretzel was great, but the sandwich came out of the freezer melted, making it nearly impossible for a 3 year old to eat.  Paradise Grill smelled really good, but we didn’t eat there.
Shade:
Funbrella
They have these really cool “Funbrellas”.  You have to rent them in advance though.  I am sure during the week it is easier to get in the shade, but when we went there was no shade to had anywhere.  Also, If you take any advice that I give you here today, please wear water shoes!  I made my daughter wear them and I was so glad that I did!  I didn’t have any for myself and I really regretted this.  The pavement is extremely hot so I will be making a stop to pick myself up some before our next trip.
Check the Park Calendar for the schedule; it is open 10-5 most days.  If you are planning on going often the summer pass is most economical choice.
Parrot’s Point

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