5 Tips for Camping with Kids

 

Photo Credit: Lion Country Safari KOA

Tip #1:  Do a practice run.  The idea of sleeping in a tent can be so
exciting for kids that the over stimulation may keep everyone from having a good
night.  Families can build up a familiarity with camping by putting the tent up in their own back yard.  Start out slow allowing the kids to play in the tent during the day.   The next day
have dinner out in the backyard to prepare the kids for what it will be like to
have a campground dinner.  Last but not least, spend the night in the tent.  Do
this as many times as needed until everyone is comfortable with and can go to
sleep easily.

Tip #2:  Keep it close to home.  It is easy to forget that there are great campsites within an hour’s drive from Fort Lauderdale.  A first camping trip doesn’t have to be far away.
CB
Smith Park, Markham Park, John Prince Park, and Miami Everglades Campgrounds all offer local opportunities for family camping. Camprate.com can help find a campground and give reviews of the grounds as well.
Tip #3:  Keep it short.  Don’t think a first camping trip should be a week long adventure.Smores Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World
Start out small and work up to longer trips.  Pick a campground with lots to do and just stay one night.  When the entire family learns how to work together and sleep well then make plans for that nice long camping vacation.  State parks also offer facilities like water and restrooms.  There is no reason to go completely rustic on the first trip out.
Tip #4: Be prepared with ActivitiesCB Smith Park in Pembroke Pines has lots to offer to entertain and wear out the kids. There is biking, hiking, boating, and in the summer there is even a water park.  Check out the local area surrounding your campground as well. Flamingo Gardens is a short 15 minute drive from CB Smith Park.  These built in activities can help reduce planning time.
Our Camp Site Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldAnother option is the Kampgrounds of America (KOA). We use the Kabins when we take road trips, check our KOA adventures in Asheville, NC and Savannah, GA.  A local South Florida option is Lion Country Safari in West Palm Beach.  This campsite and zoo is an easy 40 minute drive from Fort Lauderdale and 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.  Jennifer Berthume, PR/Marketing Director of Lion Country Safari says The thing I think is the
coolest about our campground is that you can sleep right next door to hundreds of animals from over 6 continents. You can hear lions and siamangs while camping!”
No one will be bored at campgrounds like these, and parents won’t
have to exhaust themselves planning activities in advance.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground has  just about everything you could ever need while camping.  There is little need to even go into the parks at this campground there are so many built in activities!
Take along a few activities like crafts.  Kids love animals so camping is a great chance to introduce nature activities like birding.  Here is how you can get started with 5 Tips for Birding with Kids.
Tip #5: Check the weather. Florida weather can be extreme, so make sure that it is not going to be too hot, too cold or too wet.  There is nothing worse than a wet night in a tent. Especially if you are new to camping. Florida’s winter and fall generally have the mildest weather and are a great time of the year to camp.  With a little background practice families can be prepared for exciting camping adventures that will provide children with memories for a lifetime.
Check out our review of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground.  It is the ultimate family camping experience!

 

Disney World’s Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Review

Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney Review

Christmas in Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World Christmas in Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World One of my favorite things to do is to go camping at Fort Wilderness at Disney World.  I have always loved to camp, however my dear husband has been dubious at best about it.

We have found the perfect happy place to make it work for all of us!  We can camp here and there are so many things to do, no one is ever bored!

Being there while the campgrounds were all decorated for Christmas was extra special.  It is so much fun just walk around the campsites and see how the campers decorate their sites.  This last visit we stayed in the 2000 loop.  At first I felt like it was too far from the pool, however we Christmas in Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney Worlddiscovered that people had build little bridges across the canal and we could walk to the pool and the camp store in less than 5 min.  We had so much fun “trekking through the wild” to the store (where I could get coffee) and of course to the pool.

Make sure that you look over your schedule when you get there so you don’t miss any of the fun!

 

 

Pools
Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Pool at Disney World
There are two pools, one for adults (which truthfully, I have never been to) and one for everyone!  The pools are heated and there is almost always some sort of entertainment going on there.  There are crafts for the kids in the morning, and dance games, bingo and quiz games throughout the day.  Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Pool at Disney World Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Pool Craft at Disney WorldThe snack bar is pretty good and handy too. Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Pool at Disney World Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Pool at Disney WorldThis last trip was so cold, that we did not swim (well my hubby and daughter lasted about 10 minutes in the water).  However we spent a good bit of time hanging out by the pool, playing games and making crafts.

There is a fabulous kiddie pool as well as a splash slide for the little ones.  I love that the kiddie pool is shallow enough that the little ones can handle it without us parents getting too wet!

Of course there is the giant slide too!  We were lucky enough to arrive first in the morning on one of our trips.  The lifeguard asked my daughter if she would like to open the slide and gave her a train engineers hat and whistle.  She was so proud of herself, she got to announce loudly that the slide was open, blow her whistle and take the first slide down.  She still talks about it.  This is the magic of Disney, where something rather ordinary becomes something special that is never forgotten!

Don’t worry there is a hot tube too!

One of the things that I love the most about all the Disney Resorts and Fort Wilderness are the lifeguards.  As a former lifeguard myself, it is clear that they are all well trained and super alert.  They are professional and always have an ice pack at hand for the occasional bump or boo boo.  I know this because my daughter is adept at needing a ice pack!

WildlIfe
Wild Turkeys Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldIn our wanderings around the campgrounds we have seen loads of deer grazing, bunnies, all kinds of birds, a hawk, an oriole, and some turkeys.  Once a duck flew into the pool too, which the kids thought was hilarious.

 

 

Hidden Mickey in the bathroom Fort Wilderness Campgrounds  at Disney World
Hidden Mickey in the bathroom Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World

Facilities
Each camping loop has a couple of “Comfort Stations”.  The bathroom, the loo, the toilet, the privy, the throne…..you get the picture.  The bathrooms are always clean.  Seriously, I have camped here when the grounds were completely full and the bathrooms have never been gross!  Mind you I still wear my flip flops in the shower, but really they are pretty darn good.  All the showers have a disabled shower in them too, this is particularly handy for those of us with little girls, being able to pick up the shower head to rinse out little ones hair (especially long hair) makes things a lot less ratty (pun intended).

Smores Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World Our Camp Site Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World

Our Campsite Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldMost sites have water and electric, there are tent sites and also big rig sites. So it seems that they can accommodate just about any type of camper that comes their way.  I should not forget to mention that they have cabins for rent too.  We have never gone that route, but if a tent is a bit too much for you it is always an option.

Most of the sites are pretty secluded so there is some privacy.  Although, as a parent of an only child, I don’t mind that we can see all the kids playing in the center field of the loop.

Playgrounds
Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Playground at Disney World Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Playground at Disney WorldDisney did not forget that kids love playgrounds!  There are playgrounds tucked in here and there and everywhere and there always seems to be kids who want to play.  Which in our case is a very good thing! The playgrounds gave loads of shade and are almost always surrounded by picnic tables and benches.

 

 

 

 

 

Cinderella’s Horses
Tri Circle Farms Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldTri Circle Farms is housed on site near the beach and the Trails End Restaurant.  This is seriously cool!  The kids (as long as they are under 48 inches) can ride on one of Cinderella’s horses.  Yes, they are the very same horses that pull Cinderella’s Carriage.  This time my daughter got to ride Bandit.  As I was leading Bandit, I thought to myself How cool is this, I am leading one of Tri Circle Farms Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldCinderella’s horses. At that moment I looked back at my daughter and she was grinning ear to ear and she said “I am riding Cinderella’s horse!”  For $8.00, this is a memory that will be special for a long time!

Even if you are too big to ride, you can walk through the yard and visit with the horses.  Don’t forget to check out the barn and see the working Calliope, see the Clydesdale and learn a little about Walt’s love for horses!

Tri Circle Farms Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldYou can also take the family on a trail ride at Fort Wilderness, the horseback riding barn is at the front of the campgrounds near the reception.  I don’t know what the fees are, but I can’t wait to take my girl on ride soon.

Tri Circle Farms Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World

 

 

 

 

 

Campfire Sing Along, Bonfire and Movie
The campground hosts a Chip and Dale Sing Along and Bonfire that is included in your camping fees.  You can buy marshmallows and a stick (or just bring your own).  I prefer to do our smores at the campgrounds as it gets a bit much with tons of kids running around with sharp sticks and fiery marshmallows.

The Beach Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldFireworks and Electrical Water Pagent
Ask when you come into the campgrounds what time the fireworks and the Electric Boat Parade are.  You sit on the beach in the evening and watch the fireworks at Magic Kingdom. The kids love it and while maybe not quite as impressive at it is in the parks, it is still a great view and a great time!

Monorail and FerriesThe Beach Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World
Not going into the parks this trip?  No problem, you can still take a boat across to Magic Kingdom or the Wilderness Lodge.  From Magic Kingdom you can take the family on monorail ride.  The little ones love this and think it’s the best ever!

 

Christmas in Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldTrails End Restaurant
They do a sit down breakfast and dinner.  We prefere the breakfast, however it is a little expensive.  We don’t do it every time, but I love it.  The food is really good and of course they have my favorite, Mickey Waffles!

Trails End Breakfast Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World
Trails End Breakfast Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World

Did you forget the hamburgers or did it rain on your hotdogs?  Both of these have happened to us, the Trails End Restaurant is available to walk up order pizza or breakfast items, and i thought the prices were pretty reasonable.  They also have a bar with a walk up window which makes waiting on the beach for the fireworks a bit more fun for adults!

Camp store Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldThe Trading Post store (there are two on the campgrounds) should have most things you might need.  Everything from snacks to food, souvenirs and of course coffee!  I always come prepared to make coffee at my campsite, however you can never have enough coffee in my opinion.

Disney has not forgotten the extras.  Right outside the restaurant they keep a plastic horseshoe game and loads of hula hoops.  It was so much fun to sit on the patio there and watch all the kids playing in front of the Christmas Tree.

Bikes at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World  Canoeing at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World Canoeing at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldCanoeing, Fishing, Archery, Wagon Rides, Boat Rentals, Fishing, Bike Rentals, Jogging Trails, Arcade, Walking Tours, Segway Tours, Bike Rentals, and Golf Cart Tours.
This last trip we took a canoe rental around the canals.  It was fun, and rather comical.  The young man who helped us get out the canoe indicated that we could not get lost, however that did not turn out to be the case.  Anyhow we made it back to the Bike Barn (where we started) and we had fun.  They have rental bikes for all sizes and even helmets too, so if you can’t get your bike to the campgrounds you are covered.  All of these things do have extra fees.  The Canoeing at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney Worldcanoeing was pretty reasonable, at around $6.50 for a half hour for all three of us including life jackets.

 

The Week Ahead for South Florida 12/3/14

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Disney World
Cinderella's Castle Frozen over by Elsa
Cinderella’s Castle Frozen over by Elsa

I wanted to get the list out early this week since the Boca Raton Holiday Parade and the Christmas Tree Lighting at Downtown Delray Beach  are tonight.   I hope you are all enjoying the Holidays and getting into the mood.

We have some big news, we took a camping trip to Disney World!  We camped at Fort Wilderness and went to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  We had a great time!  I am halfway through writing the review now, so you can expect to see pictures and read about it very shortly!

My pick of the week (going with the Disney theme) is Downtown Disney.

Here is your link the full list of local events!  I have listed below a few but there are many, many more.

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The Week Ahead for South Florida 8/28/14

Lego Store Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney Balloon RideWow, another week has flown by!  I hope everyone is doing well.Why is it that whenever school starts I begin feeling the “Disney Urge”.  It is still too hot for me to go, but I just can’t wait for the cooler weather.  So, my pick of the week this week is Downtown Disney!  Loads of fun for the family, without the Disney price tag.  Play with Lego’s, eat with dinosaurs or even take a balloon ride!  Check out my full review with some great pictures by Clicking Here.

Click Here for this weeks list of upcoming events!T-Rex Cafe Downtown Disney

How you can help keep this site running.
If you have found this site helpful and want to keep me writing please use the Donate Button on the right side of this page.  This helps us pay for our domain, ip address and hosting.  Some sites require membership fees in order to pay for their site.  We really want this information to be free and available to all.

Thanks for your support!

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Disney Springs (Downtown Disney) Review

T-Rex Cafe Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney

Disney Springs, formerly Downtown Disney,  is one of the places we always stop when we want to do Disney without going into the parks!  On our latest trip to Orlando we stopped into Downtown Disney.  It is a great place to wonder and window shop.  Be careful though you can spend a bundle easily here!  However, there is loads to see for free here too!  I would suggest you go on a weekday in the afternoon, the weekends and evenings get crazy busy.

T-Rex Cafe Downtown Disney

We spent a fair amount of time this trip at the T-Rex Cafe.  I am not a fan of the Rainforest Cafe food, so I assume that its the same at the T-Rex. However the restaurant itself is amazing!  The T-Rex (like the Rainforest Cafe) is filled with animatronics they “come alive” periodically and move and make sounds.  It is really neat and pretty real!

We had a gift card for Build a Bear and guess what!  T-Rex has a Build a Dino by Build a Bear!  Yeah, something different and not another build a bear.  She picked out a purple T-Rex and put some wings on it.  It is kinda cute and nice change from the usual.

Dinosaur Dig Downtown DisneyT-Rex Cafe has a Dino Pit where the kids can take paint brushes and brush away the sand to reveal dinosaur bones.  You don’t have to eat there to go in and play, just walk into the gift store and you will see it.

 

Geodes at T-Rex Cafe Downtown Disney Geodes at T-Rex Cafe Downtown Disney

They also have a Geode table, where the kids can pick out a geode and crack it open themselves (with a little help from a staff member).  We picked up one of the small $5 ones that is supposed to be about 11 million years old.  They have bigger older ones that probably are a lot more beautiful, but my daughter was thrilled with hers!

Ghiradelli

We can’t go to Downtown Disney without a stop at Ghiradelli’s.  They usually hand out samples in there so who wouldn’t be happy here.  The hot chocolate is the best I’e had this side of Paris.

 

 

Boat Ride Downtown DisneyBoat Ride

Hop onto Disney’s free water taxi and go to any of the resorts you want, or you can just walk down the street and take the boat back.  My daughter thinks its great and I do too!

Characters in Flight Balloon Ride

This one costs but looks really neat.  This balloon takes you up 400 feet in the air.  It is about $18 per person.  I bet you can see the Magic Kingdom from up there!

Lego StoreLego Store Downtown Disney

My daughter likes to have her picture taken with each of the Lego creations.  My photo’s aren’t so great this time because it was overcast, but it is pretty impressive.

 

 

Splitsville Bowling Alley

Downtown Disney BowlingWe heard all about this new bowling alley Downtown Disney, and I will admit it was neat.  We just went in and looked around, the decor was hilarious and fun.  It has several bars, a sushi bar, and it is a restaurant.  Pretty snazy place!

 

There are many, many more things to see and do, it is worth a taking a lazy afternoon stroll down the waterfront in Downtown Disney for sure!