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Local Business Feature – Plaster Carousel

We are excited to bring you our new monthly feature focusing on a local business that caters to kids. We are lucky to have so many businesses that focus on kids in our area and our goal is to shine light on each such business that you and your family can enjoy.

For our first ever business feature, we selected the Plaster Carousel Family Fun Center located in Coral Springs, FL.  Plaster Carousel has been in the community for over 30 years and not much has changed since they first started because they are doing things right.  With a selection of over 300 projects and focus on providing the best customer service they’re an incredible choice for someone looking to have a fun and creative time with a loved one.  It has been a family favorite for decades. The prices range from $15 to $50 a project and includes paints, brushes, all other supplies plus studio time ( Pro-tip: They will let you come back to finish a project if you run out of time). For parents, quite possibly the best part is that they clean up the mess for you after you are done and provide you with aprons to try and keep the paint off your little ones clothes. The longevity of Plaster Carousel has provided generational appeal, parents who used to come as kids now bring their own kids here.  It’s also a  place to come hangout, put your gadgets away and roll up your sleeves and pick a project and start painting.  A place where time goes slow but memories are made fast, a place where every family member can find something that will interest them.

The Plaster Carousel was recently purchased by Scott and Debbie and they have great love for what they do. Their main focus is providing impeccable customer service and making sure everyone is having a good time.  Debbie is there most days in her painting apron just ready to jump in and help with anything that is needed and Scott is always around with a good story. They both have created a place that is so inviting and relaxing and without any distractions.  It makes for a great place for everyone including people with sensory issues. Scott and Debbie are very accommodating to individual needs and want it to be a place the whole community can enjoy.

If you are looking for a place for a girls night or a date night, Plaster Carousel is a great option for spending good quality time. Recently, they have started special programs for adults where they are open extended hours on certain days for adult only painting time where you BYOB or wine and have a fun evening with friends.  Check out their Facebook page for upcoming events and activities to plan your visit.  Check them out if  you need a place for a kids birthday party, a fundraiser, team building events and camps. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and will be back very soon!

Check out their website

South Florida Waterparks

Summer in Florida means a lot of sun and water fun. Splash pads and water parks are the best places to keep you and your family cool and entertained.


Broward County


Cypress Water Park – Coral Springs

Two water parks, one for toddlers and another one for kids with spouting fountains, water cannons, play structures and slides.  Take a dip in the big clover shaped pool and beat the heat. Also, a great place to host birthday parties.

  • Cost: $3.25 Children 18 years and under and seniors 62+$3.75  Adults
  • Where: 1300 Coral Springs Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33071
  • Hours: Mon./Wed./Thurs./Fri. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    Tuesday 12 Noon – 4 p.m.
    Saturday & Sunday 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Splash Adventure at Quite Waters Park – Deerfield Beach 

Wade into the zero-depth pool where children can play in the water playground featuring slides, tunnels, water spouting animals, hand wheels, water curtains, water dumping bucket and so much more.


Calypso Cove – Margate 

Two slides to keep you and kids splashing down into the cool waters below. Two areas to play in. A zero depth pool for toddlers with a play structure, water spraying animals, palm trees with tipping coconuts and a plunge pool with slides for kids 48′ and over. Lots of umbrellas and lounge chairs where you can sit and relax.

  • Cost – Residents: $4 children 4 years and older and adults. $1 for children 3 and under.  (Resident ID required)
  • Cost – Non-residents: $7 children 4 years + and adults. $1 for children 3 and under.
  • Where: 6200 Royal Palm Boulevard, Margate, FL 33063.
  • Hours: June 10 – Aug 20, Open daily 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.

Civic Center Aquatic Complex – Sunrise

Swim in the 50- meter pool or have the kids splash around in the children’s zero- depth wading pool featuring a curving water slide.


Caporella Aquatic Center – Tamarac

Pool to cool off with zero- depth entry with a double tornado slide.  Little ones can play on the water playground with water spouting at them. Picnic tables and chairs are available to relax and enjoy a snack from the concession stand.

  • Cost – Residents: $2 children 12 and under, $3.25 adults
  • Cost – Non Residents: $2.50 children 12 and under, $3.75 adults
  • Where: 9300 NW 58 Street, Tamarac, FL 33321
  • Hours: 10:00 am – 6;00 pm, daily.

Miami- Dade County 


Grapeland Water Park – Miami 

A shallow play area for kids smaller than 48′ with water shooting cannons, splash fountains, waves of water and two water slides. Children 48′ and above and adults can enjoy the Pirate’s Plunge with three water slides, water shooting cannons, splash fountains, shallow water play area, low rise slides. Float around the lazy river which is lined with water sprayers and fountains.

  • Cost – Residents $7 ages 2-13, $12  for ages 14 and older. ( I.D. required)
  • Cost – Non-residents $7 ages 2-13, $15  for ages 14 and older.
  • Where – 1550 NW 37th Ave, Miami, FL 33126
  • Hours – 10:00 am – 4:45 pm

 

New York in a day….with kids!

This summer we headed to New Jersey for a wedding in the family.  With all the wedding festivities we didn’t have much time to sight see but since the hubs and the kids had never been to New York before we knew we had to make time for it.  We started the  day right by getting some New York bagels overfilled with cream cheese.  That gave us the energy to tackle a long day of sight seeing fun.  We stayed in a hotel in the Financial District, so naturally we decided to head over the Federal Hall to check out statue of George Washington. The  thing about kids ( specially younger ones) is that they are amused easily.  They had a great time hanging around the statue and posing for pictures.  If you not full of of a massive bagel, the Financial District is also a great place for lunch. There were a bunch of food carts and restaurants with mouth watering food.

Next on our list was the Charging Bull but since we were walking everywhere we ran into Trinity Church on our way and had to check it out.  We loved it and  surprisingly so did the kids.  They had so many questions specially about all the tombstones.  Next we headed to our intended destination of the Charging Bull. That area is so full of tourists that it is hard to get close to the bull but we succeeded but by then the kids were tired of waiting and we got some cranky shots in front of the bull.

To rectify the crankiness we headed to The Seaglass Carousel at The Battery Conservancy.  It is a bit of a hike from the Charging Bull specially if you are not used to walking a lot. Wear comfortable shoes not just cute! Bring a baby carrier or a stroller.  The kids are going to whine a lot, be prepared. Bring snacks!  Once you get there though things will get better.  Luckily when we got there we didn’t have to wait in line.  At just $5 a ticket the rides are pretty reasonable. We got our tickets and headed in to the beautiful blue green interior made to look like you are in the ocean.  After hopping on our desired fish we enjoyed our ride while beautiful music played.  Put your feet up, relax and give your tired feet a break.

After a quick lunch of pizza and a short nap back at the hotel we headed out to check out the Rockefeller Center.  We bought our tickets online which saved us a wait in the long long line which is great because you still have a long line for security check and to make your way up the building.  Honestly, this isn’t the most exciting place for little kids and they would have been totally happy if we had skipped this stop entirely but the hubs loved it.

Being the cool parents we are we headed to M&M World next.  The excitement in the kids  eyes was just enough to say that they were in one of the best places on Earth.   After spending far too much time and more money than I care to admit on M&M’s we stopped for a quick bite to eat before we headed back to the hotel.

We weren’t going to leave New York without checking out the Statue of Liberty but since we were short on time we decided to stop at Liberty Park on our way out.  Its a great park with a great view of the statue, that is if you don’t mind looking at the back of  it.  We didn’t and kids didn’t seem to mind either although they did initially wanted to see the front of it.  Once they started playing in the playground they forgot about that rather quickly though.

I was impressed that we saw pretty much  saw everything that we had  planned on in the short time that we had.  It was a great experience for the kids and we came back with awesome memories.

 

 

Palm Beach Zoo

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Gather the kids and head over to the Palm Beach Zoo for a day filled with animal fun! The zoo welcomes you with a big interactive fountain right when you enter it and it is the best sight for a hot sunny Florida day! Don’t forget to bring your kid’s swimsuit or better yet put it on them, they will want to play in the fountain as soon as they see it. Parents can sit on a shaded bench and watch their young ones squeal  with all that fun!

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The zoo is perfect for little legs.  Even though it has hundreds of animals and birds it is just the right size for little ones to enjoy without getting too tired.  Most of the habitats are beautifully designed to look like natural habitats of animals.  This means that kids and parents can observe the amazing animals in a natural setting.

Along with all the animals and birds you and your kids will enjoy, there is a kids zone which has a Wildlife Carousel and a Safari Train. The rides cost $3 each and benefit the zoo’s animals. At the Explorer’s Play tent children can experience hands on activities, educational games, animal encounters, story time and meet and greets. Click here for the schedule.

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Costa Rica Adventure

Every couple of years my husband’s extended family takes a trip (13 people, 5 kids, 8 adults), 3 years ago it was Disney World, this time Quepos, Costa Rica. We rented a house through HomeAway for our Orlando trip, so thought why not do it again.

We picked Quepos, on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, near the Manuel Antonio National Park mainly because of the options we had available. We looked at HomeAway and found the perfect home for us, overlooking the ocean, fully staffed and a pool. (Quepos Home)(we do not receive compensation for including the link, but because it was such an amazing experience we have included). Flights from S FL we very reasonable, we found a JetBlue flight from FLL to San Jose for under $250 roundtrip. We were looking to rent a van, but my brother-in-law had a friend whom frequented Costa Rica refer a driver and we were sure happy for the help. Not that driving in Costa Rica would have been difficult, we just had one more person to show us around, Costa Rica.

Once we made it to Quepos, we had the pleasure of finding the house, now for a family originally from Montana the terrain seemed to be fitting, it was in the middle of nowhere and if it had been the rainy season we would have needed 4×4.  The fact that it was in the middle of nowhere was ideal because we were secluded and felt like we had our own slice of Costa Rica.

While in Quepos we enjoyed the man offerings the area had to offer, we took a boat ride to watch the dolphins and snorkel.  We visited a Vanilla plantation to see how vanilla is cultivated…we also got to sample some great cookies and ice cream.  We also took a trip to a waterfall (which was really just a small stream), which to our drivers surprise because it was the first time he had taken tourists to such a place, it’s something they normally do as locals.

By far the biggest delight on the trip was the kids were able to have fun with their cousins.  One found memory is the little zip line on the road to Manuel Antonio park.  The zip line isn’t something we would have to do if it were for the kids as it is very small but affordable.  Keira was super excited to go on it, so she went first and as she was waiting for her cousin to go (because she thought it was a little scary), Keira asked the employee if she could go again and they were happy to let her go for free.  After talking herself out of the ride Keira’s cousin decided not to do it, so we left.  After our lunch and site seeing around the Manuel Antonio area, Keira’s cousin decided to try the zipline…which meant Keira had to go again…three more times!  In all, Keira did the zipline 5 times that day.

It was a trip none of us will forget and we don’t typically travel to places we’ve already been, but we might make an exception for Quepos!

 

 

 

Lion Country Safari

If your family loves animals, you cannot miss Lion Country Safari. As Florida’s only drive thru safari its the best place to be on a warm sunny day.  You can watch all the animals while in the comfort of your air conditioned car. At the entrance you get a CD that guides you through all the animal exhibits and it feels like you are getting a private tour at your own pace.  You can spend as much or as little time as you want watching the animals.
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With over 900 animals, encounters, animal feeding experiences, various conservation programs, rides and a water spray ground there is enough to keep your entire family entertained.  They offer various programs for toddler all the way to adults that are designed to give you an experience with the animals at the safari through stories, crafts and animal presentations, lectures and enrichment programs. Check out the petting zoo to feed and brush the sheep and goats. You can also feed the Giraffes and Budgies for a small fee for the food.

 

The safari has a bunch of rides like the Carousel, El Paso Train, Flying Elephants, which are all complimentary.  There is a mini golf course and a maze that you can enjoy free of cost too. The paddle boats and the Safari queen are available daily and also at no additional charge.

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If after a long day you are looking to cool down than you need to head to the Safari Splash which is an interactive water spray ground with 23 water options. Then head on over to the two water slides to continue the water fun. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit, you don’t want to miss on all this fun.

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Lion Country Safari is also a great place for birthday parties. They have party packages available that will fit your needs and provide tons of fun for your party guests.

Check out their website at www.lioncountrysafari.com and click here to print a discount coupon.

 

Exploring Flamingo Gardens

 

This summer we got the Adventure Pass and I am glad we did.  It was amazing to check out 7 different attractions for one price. One of our favorite attractions on the pass was the Flamingo Gardens. We have been there 3 times this summer  and the kids ask to go back every weekend. Here are some of the things we love about this awesome place:

The wildlife:

Besides the gorgeous flamingos this place has bunch of other animals and birds too.  We LOVE the beautiful peacocks running around and  if you are lucky they will stop and pose for pictures.  Their Koi pond is filled with some beautiful fish that you can feed. Just remember to take some quarters for the fish food.  There are plenty of iguanas and lizards around too. They also have Florida Panthers, an alligator and a Black Bear.

The Tram Ride:

This tram ride is pretty incredible. They take you on a tour of the 42 acre property  and you see a bunch of different trees and plants. My favorites are the mango tress. The tram drivers do an excellent job of pointing out different wildlife and have great knowledge of the  plants and  trees. Keep and eye out for huge iguanas as they drive by the water. The best part of the tram ride is that it is included in the ticket price.

The Aviary:

If you are interested in looking at birds up and close this is the place to do it. They have so many different variety of birds and you could spend a lot of time watching them. Just watch out for some….umm bird poop!

 

One of our visits there was their back to school event and the kids had a blast. They had a bunch of water slides, pony rides, games, food and music. I think this is partly why the kids want to go there every weekend! Click here to check out their website.

Tax Free Holiday August 3rd-5th

Tax free holiday is August 3rd-5th. No Florida tax will be collected on certain items.

School Supplies- $15 and under per item
Clothing, shoes and accessories  – $60 and under per item

Click here for more information.

A day at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center

If you haven’t yet checked Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, you should. They have a beautiful butterfly garden, outdoor aquarium and sea turtles.  They also have indoor and outdoor feedings.

Monday-Saturday:
Mangrove and Nearshore Reef Aquariums:  10:30 a.m.
Tropical Coral Reef and Shipwreck Aquariums:  12:30 p.m.

Sunday

All Outdoor Aquariums:  1:30 p.m.

Check out there website for more details: www.gumbolimbo.org

Everglades Airboat Ride

My sister and nephew came to visit us for the first time since we have been in Florida and we decided that we have to take them to the Everglades. I had never been there either so it was a great experience to share with my sister and the kids. I contemplated leaving Ella at home because I thought at 3 years old she might be too young and the air boat might be too loud for her (she is not a fan of loud noises) but in the end I decided on taking her. It was a great idea, she had a blast and also gave her some bonding time with her big cousin. I left the baby at home with daddy.

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We went to Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, www.evergladestours.com . It was pretty amazing.  The ticket for the air boat includes their animal exhibits which is awesome because we had a little bit of a wait before it was time for the airboat ride and we had a good time checking out the alligators, snakes and iguanas.

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The best part is definitely the air boat ride. I LOVED it. Can you beat that view! We saw one alligator and that was enough. The Captain pulled the boat closer so we can get a good look and sat by it for a few minutes while the alligator checked us out.

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I love the feeling of the wind in my hair and the openness of the Everglades. It was a gorgeous day to be out there and I can’t wait to return for another ride and I actually don’t even care if I see an alligator or not.  Just the ride itself is amazing.

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The baby girl had an awesome time and of course my sister and nephew did too.  Waiting for the next visitor to come so we can go back there again.

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