Kid friendly Coral Springs Mall

Coral Springs Mall is hands down the most kid friendly mall in the North Fort Lauderdale area.   The mall is on Atlantic Blvd just before University Blvd in Coral Springs and has everything to make a day of shopping an outing that the entire family will enjoy.  The mall has many childrens’ stores like Gymboree, Macy’s Children’s store, Stride Rite, Build a Bear Workshop, Children’s Place, Rave Girl, Gap Kids, and The Disney Store. I love to shop for my girl there!   This mall has clearly held the comfort of family shopping in its design right down to the placement of small kid tables in the food court.
The bathrooms near the play area are no exception to the thought and consideration this mall has put into the families who patronize their mall.   The bathrooms offer separate private nursing rooms with changing areas as well as separate family restrooms with changing tables.  The family restroom has 2 low toilets with safety seats making it convenient place for potty training little ones use.  Where other malls combine these functions into one room these bathroom services are in completely different rooms making wait times to get into them minimal if at all.
 The play area is moderately sized with lots of hands on activity walls, a small slide, and lots of climbing spots like a soft caterpillar and a boat.  This is a fabulous spot to take a break with a cup of coffee and let the little ones burn off their pent up energies. Make sure to bring a friend with you so you can take turns watching the kids and get a chance to do a little shopping on your own.   The only thing that many parents say is that they wish the play area had a gate to make it a little more difficult for the kids to run out.
Near the play area is the very popular salt water fish tank.  It is a must stop place for all kids and there is never a lack of children pointing out “Dory” and “Nemo”!
There are a wide variety of quarter rides, however most of them are 75 cents.  Kids will love to climb on Thomas the Train, a London Bus, a Space Shuttle and so much more.  I have managed to hide the fact that these things take money so my daughter thinks they are mostly just to climb on!  Another section is for the stuffed animal rides.  The ride has many different animals of all different sizes available for a minimal fee, the kids will love this little safari animal ride.
Last but not least is the Train Ride.  This is the absolute favorite of all kids.  For $2 the kids can climb aboard and ring the train bell.  Make sure to make the train the last activity of the day because the kids are not going to want to leave after this!

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