Welcome Back to Our Fabulous Sponsor Flamingo Gardens

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We would like to thank our sponsor Flamingo Gardens
for their continued support as park of the Keeping Up With Kids Family
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Flamingo Gardens

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.

Wood Stork at Flamingo Gardens
Spoonbill at Flamingo Gardens

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!

Scarecrow Contest at Flamingo Gardens
Scarecrow Contest at Flamingo Gardens



I have two favorite events at Flamingo Gardens that I have written about a lot over the years.  The first is the Christmas Lights event they do every year!  The second is the Halloween Scarecrow Contest.  

Flamingo Gardens offers many great events throughout the year, but some of my absolute favorites are coming up soon!




The Week Ahead Events List for South Florida 9/26/13

Flamingo Gardens Bear

Flamingo Gardens BearI hope everyone is having a fabulous week!  I am waiting impatiently for the cooler weather!

My Pick of the week is Flamingo Gardens and the new Bear Habitat.  Last weekend we went to Flamingo Gardens to see their new Bear Habitat and Josh the Bear! It is one of the biggest and beautiful habitats I have ever seen.  Josh the bear seemed so happy there.  One of the volunteers told me that he had never touched grass before, so it is an amazing thing the Gardens and Wildlife Rescue was able to do for him.

We had such a great time, I really love that place, it feels like I have walked back in time to to a simpler place that may, or may not be be inhabited by dinosaurs!  If you like to to take photo’s this is the place for you.

Here is your list for week, don’t forget to check out the list and sort for Holiday in the  category drop down and get your Halloween fun sorted out!

CLICK Here for this weeks super fun family event list!


Boo at the Zoo at the Palm Beach Zoo

Boo at the Zoo Logo
Child Trick or Treating Boo at the Zoo Logo

We love Boo at the Zoo!  It is going to be held for 2 weekends this year, making it easier for us to hit all of our favorite Halloween Events!  We love the Palm Beach Zoo and you can find a review and more pictures HERE.

There are always fun things to do at the Zoo! As usual  the Zoo will be presenting all it’s fabulous daily shows and presentations, in addition to:

  • Trick-or-Treating throughout the Zoo
  • Paint-Your-Own Pumpkin Patch
  • Hay Stack Hunt
  • Costume Contests
  • Face Painting
  • Sand Art and Spin Art
  • Storytelling and Children’s Entertainment
  • Bounce House
  • Games and Crafts
  • Animal Encounters
  • Halloween Themed Keeper Talks and Animal Enrichments
  • Paws for a Cause Animal Art Expo with Art Created by Zoo Animals


Boo at the Zoo  Spider Monkey with a Pumpkin Enrichment
Jaguar at the Palm Beach Zoo

Summer Saving Pass at Lion Country Safari

We headed out to Lion Country Safari with our Summer Savings Pass this last week.  We had a great time!

They have lots of camp groups come through, but Jennifer (Marketing Director) let us know that they are usually in the walk thru park between 11 and 2. We didn’t get their until late so we drove through the Safari first and then headed into the walk thru and saved the water park for last. There were still groups there, but the the park is so big that it doesn’t feel very crowded. By the time we got to the water park, we really needed it!  It felt so great!

They have added a new attraction to the walk thru part of the park.  It is called water wars.  Basically you get three of your best (or worst) friends and you get to have a water balloon fight with them. Only in this battle you use a sort of slingshot type of contraption.  It was loads of fun and a great way to cool off on these hot summer days!

This place is a full day! There is so much to do. Our favorites are always feeding the giraffes and petting / feeding and brushing the goats, oh and don’t forget the mini golf.  Thanks for inviting us Lion Country!  You are on Keeping Up With Kids list of great reasons to live South Florida!

Click Here for more pictures and details about Lion Country Safari.

Safari Nights at the Palm Beach Zoo

Beat the heat of the dSafari Nights at the Palm Beach Zooay and head out to Safari Nights at the Palm Beach Zoo will be held every Friday in the summer evenings usually from June through October / 5:30 – 9 p.m.  (Please check Up Coming Events for exact dates and times.) If you have never been to the Zoo in the evening, this will be an amazing treat for you!   Every Friday night the zoo comes alive with children’s entertainment, roving animal encounters, complimentary rides on the Wildlife Carousel, live music in the Fountain Plaza, and much more! Additional fees apply please contact the Palm Beach Zoo for fees. Click here for a full review of this local treasure!

Palm Beach Zoo Merry Go Round at Night
Palm Beach Zoo Fountain at Night

Christmas with Chimps Review Pictures and Video Blog

This years Christmas with the Chimps will be held on Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 10:30.

Chimps receiving their Christmas Presents

This event is so much fun.  I cannot believe that I didn’t know about it before!  You get to drive around the safari and see the animals, then you get to actually park and get out of your car at the Chimpanzee Island.  The first thing that struck me was the sounds that the Chimps were making!  They were running around and making such a racket!  They are not stupid and knew exactly what was going on!

The Chimps were on one of the islands and Santa and his helpers rowed out to the empty island and placed all kinds of wrapped gifts around the island.  Then Terry Wolf the Director of Lion Country Safari came out and opened the bridge between the two islands and the Chimps headed out after their gifts.  They received things like stuffed animals, fruit, clothes, and toys.  There was one little guy who got a stuffed animal and he carried it around with him afterward.  It was really cute!
Santa and his Elves hiding presents for the Chimps

If you haven’t been out to Lion Country Safari, you really need to get out there.  It is worth the drive!  There is of course the drive through animal park, but then there is a huge walking park with more animal exhibits and lots of rides for the kids.  We had such a good time and were completely exhausted by the time we left.  We rode rides, feed sheep and a giraffe, rode a camel, went on a boat ride, saw lots of animals and generally had a great time.  you could easily spend an entire day there.  I will be posting a full review on the park very soon so check back often.

If you go the LCS web site you can print out a coupon that discounts $6 per person.

Chimp with a stuffed animal present
Chimps waiting for Santa’s arrival
Crowd at Lion Country Safari Christmas with the Chimps

CLICK HERE for a coupon!

Santa Weekends at Flamingo Gardens and Holiday Lights Review

We love this event.  The Gardens have all of their lights up and it is fun to wander around looking for cute little light displays hidden in the trees.  It is usually a quiet day and Santa hangs out at the Wray House with some of the resident Bird of Prey and their volunteer handlers.

I have to admit it was tranquil and lovely the temperature was cooler and it made such a nice change to walk around in jeans and long sleeve shirts!  This is a low key event and if you are looking for a mellow, beautiful place to spend a few hours in the late afternoon with your family, this is it!

Click Here for this years(2014)  event information

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Flamingo Christmas Tree Cracked me up!
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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.
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

Take the kids strawberry picking in Delray Beach, Florida

Photo Credit: Erin Franklin
You may have driven past this place a hundred times and you would only think it was a store front in a strip mall!  However, if you walk into the cute little store, you will realize what you have been missing!
Walk through the store (if you can get past all the delectable homemade treats) and out the back door to be greeted with fields of organic hydroponics!
The Girls Strawberry U-Pick in Delray Beach, Florida is more than just a strawberry U-pick; it is an experience where children and adults will be thrilled to pick these sweet, juicy organic treats right off the vine.  This tranquil and beautiful farm offers u-pick strawberries in a unique setting.  The strawberries are grown organically and hydroponically.
The hydroponic plants require less bending and kneeling to pick because they are up off the ground.  Those of you who have visited Disney World and seen the hydroponic gardens in Epcot will have a good idea of what to expect.
The experience doesn’t end there.  After you have picked all the strawberries you want, the next activity is to take a walk in Grandma’s Garden.  Here guests have a chance to hang out and relax in a beautiful gazebo, visit with miniature donkeys, tortoise, swans and birds.  I took my parents and there lots of cozy little places to sit and rest, all while being surrounded by bright strawberry artwork.  The Girls also offer Cherry Tomato picking and other vegetables seasonally, and I have got to try it!
Photo Credit: Erin Franklin
Last but not least is the Organic Gourmet Country Store, where you will want to pick up some homemade treats that will make the whole family happy.  You can buy tasty baked goods and of course The Girls perfect hand-dipped and custom decorated strawberries.  This is where my daughter was introduced to chocolate covered strawberries.  She was so happy!

The farm also does walking tours for groups so there is literally something for everyone here.  Don’t miss out on some of the best tasting treats and fun in South Florida.  The Girls Strawberry U-Pick offers barrels of fun for the price of a pound of strawberries.

Photo Credit: Erin Franklin
Photo Credit: Erin Franklin
Photo Credit: Erin Franklin
Photo Credit: David Yates
Photo Credit: Erin Franklin
Photo Credit: Erin Franklin

Palm Beach Zoo Review

Palm Beach Zoo Review
1301 Summit Blvd
West Palm Beach, FL 3333

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
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