Capel Manor Gardens Enfield London

Ruins at Caple Manors Gardens in Enfield UK
Capel Manors Gardens

We had the great privilege to go to London last summer.  We saw many wonderful places and had an amazing summer. We had the chance to see The Harry Potter Studio Tour ( we loved it) and The Princess Diana Memorial Playground which was the most amazing playground I have ever seen  We found the The Doctor’s Tardis and even visited Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station!  (Yes, we really did, you can read about it in my blog What Geek Families Must See in London!)  Even with all of this, Caple Manors Gardens and College in Enfield was one of our favorites!

I wasn’t sure the kids were going to enjoy it, but my daughter and her cousins seemed to have a great time.  Oh and if you are a photographer you will think that you have died and gone onto heaven!  It didn’t hurt that we were there on a rare sunny London day either.

We were there for the Heavy Horse Show and the kids got to go on a carriage ride, and see many, many horses as well as see the amazing gardens!  The Gardens offer many Events throughout the year.

There are many different landscapes throughout the gardens and there is one to meet everyone’s tastes.  If you like modern stylized gardens or wildflower filled fairy lands you will be amazed.  There was even a garden designed for people with allergies!

My daughter had two favorites parts.  Part one (and yes I liked it too) was the ruins.  They are not actually ruins, but they replicated to be the most beautiful setting for a wedding, photo shoot or just to sit and read a book.  We spent a good amount of time hanging around on the benches and letting the kids run around the ruins.

Lastly, if your like me, you will expect to go into a hedge maze on a trip to England. Caple Manors will not let you down on this expectation.  The kids had a great time, as did we!  One (hopefully) unnecessary word of warning though, Do not enter the Hedge Maze if you have any inkling that you may be needing the restroom anytime soon.

I almost forgot the animals.  There are a few goats and couple of pigs for the kids to see as well.

We had a beautiful day with the family and took some candid shots of our family that we will certainly cherish for a long time to come.

Capel Manor Gardens and College



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

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

The Great Scarecrow Exhibit at Flamingo Gardens

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.