Day Trippin'

It's 2014 and my love affair with South Florida continues. One of our family hobbies is taking day trips. Our home base is western Broward. Anything within an hour drive or so is fair game. Hence, the reason why I love where we live. I can guarantee that we could take a different day trip every weekend of 2014 and end up somewhere fantastic. Wait a second! Light bulb moment. I just figured out my new year's resolution. I resolve to try my best to go somewhere great every weekend and write about it.
Ok. I have a disclaimer. I'm sure there will be a weekend or five when we will not go somewhere worth posting about. This will not be due to a lack of options. Someone will be sick or I will have seven loads of laundry to wash. But what I will do instead is post about a great place we have already visited. Deal? Deal.
To start off, I want to make a short list of the places/activities I haven't been to yet, but would love to experience sometime in 2014:

Venitian Pool (pictured above)
Bluefoot Pirate Adventures
Funky Fish Ocean Camp
Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum
Yamato Scrub Natural Area
Deerfield Island Park
Coral Castle Museum
Funderdome Indoor Play and Cafe

Happy New Year!


Westfield Family Fun Days

My friend Heliana is one of those moms who always knows all the good activities for the kids. She told me about Westfield Broward Mall Family Fun Days.
I am so glad we decided to go. The theme of the event was Paris. As soon as we got there, K. sat down and started working on her beret. I love when she works on arts and crafts outside of my house. She gets to practice her fine motor skills and develop her imagination, but I don't have to clean it up. Then she got her face painted for the first time. This in itself was an event. She wore that purple butterfly with beaming pride all day because it was imperative that her daddy got to see it when he got home from work. By 6 pm it was looking more like abstract art, but she didn't care.
At the Family Fun Day, they also had book readings, dancing, and snacks. My one year old's favorite part was snacking on pretzels, pop corn, and ice cream. He has very little interest in anything other than eating, running, throwing, and unrolling toilet paper when I'm not looking. 
The event was well-organized and it was relatively educational, if the kids payed attention to the books. Most of them didn't. There was a lot going on. It was definitely age appropriate and the entertainer was sweet and attentive with the kids.
The only downside to the whole thing was that it was crowded. I imagine once the kids go back to school it will thin out. I won't be enjoying it because I'll be hanging out with some inquisitive middle schoolers by then.
Oh! another great thing is that they separate the big kids from the little kids by holding different fundays at different times. Very clever. And it's all free! The next one is Wednesday, July 25 from 11:00 am to 1:00pm at the JCPenney Court.

Also, at the event, they gave me a savings card that got me 15% off The Children's Place. You also get other offers and discounts with the card. I wasn't supposed to spend any money, but I couldn't help myself. I mean the little pink shorts were right there.

This is from their website:
WFamily Days (2-5 yrs)
Every 2nd & 4th Wednesday
We ́ll travel to distant lands this month as we continue our theme of “Let ́s See the World!” Two books will take us around the globe as we explore many wonders far and wide. We ́ll also enjoy a healthy snack.

WFamily Days (6-12 yrs)
Every 3rd Tuesday
The fun continues for big kids! This month, they can let their imaginations go as they build their very own unique dream house out of graham crackers and then decorate it any way they want!


Our Incredible Miami Day

One of the reasons I love living in South Florida is because I can get the kids in the car and drive a relatively short distance to so many great places. For example, on Saturday we invited my mother-in-law to come along and decided to have a Miami Day. We went to 94th Aero Squadron for lunch. I'm not sure if I recommend this restaurant for little kids. Older kids, definitely. Warning though, it is pricey. Now, the coolest part of this restaurant experience is the airplanes. They have headphones next to the tables and you get to listen to the air traffic controller from the airport. And you get to see airplanes land take off every couple of minutes. K. was mesmerized. She would not take the headphones of the whole time we were there.

Next, we went to HistoryMiami for their Free Family Fun Day. K. had a great time painting at one of their stations, working on puzzles, making a guayabera, and "riding" an old Miami trolley. Totally worth the drive, especially because it was all free.
K. tracing at HistoryMiami.
We also went to the Miami Art Museum since it's right in the same plaza and they also had free family activities going on. My favorite part was Needle Woman by Kim Sooja. You walk into a large room with projections on the wall whre you see a woman standing in the middle of a crowd. You watch most people ignore her and some of them react to her. She chose 8 of the most populated cities in the world. It was interesting trying to figure out where she was. Also, it was fascinating to see how different cultures reacted to her. We had fun talking about what the exhibit meant to each of us.
My husband, mother-in-law, and my two kiddos watching the big ship sail away.
Then we went to South Pointe Park in South Beach and it was just awesome! We got there around 4:30 pm so we got to wave goodbye to the outgoing cruise ships. A. loved the big boats. He was even waving to the tiny people sailing away on vacation. This park just has so much to offer. We also walked to the beach, the kids entertained themselves in the playground, and we all had fun watching the people, dogs, bicycles, etc. at the park. This park is a must-see. One thing. They were charging $20 for parking! I know. Ridiculous. We just parked a little ways down the road at the meter parking and walked over. The walk was great because we got to see all the fancy new buildings next to the park.

Giveaway: Win a Kids Dine Free Card

Do you LOVE free kids’ meals?  With the KidsDineFree.net card, you can say good-bye to coupon clipping. Head over to their Facebook page, “like” them, and tell them Palm Tree Playground sent you. All “likes” will be entered into a drawing for a FREE Kids Dine Free card.  A random winner will be selected July 20. Make you tell them Palm Tree Playground sent you to be entered in the giveaway. Best of luck! Please let me know if you win!
Here's the link one more time:www.facebook.com/kidsdinefreesouthflorida


Great Discount on Kids Dine Free Card

A couple of months back I got a Kids Dine Free card. The card costs $19.95 and it lasts for 90 days. During those 90 days, whenever you visit any of the participating restaurants, you receive a free kids meal. One kids meal for each card. Now whether this is a good deal for you depends on how many times your family goes out to eat and whether you frequent the participating restaurants. We go out to eat more often than I would like to admit. And we often go to the places included on the card. I think like 100 different locations are included. The list is extensive. I found the card to be a good deal for us. However, now it''s a much better deal because I spoke with them today and they are willing to give Palm Tree Playground readers a $5 off discount. I'm so excited because it's the first discount I'm featuring on my blog. I fell so cool. lol. When you go to purchase the card, enter the code "ptplayground". It should take $5 off the price. Please let me know if you buy a card and Kids Dine Free would like any feedback that you can provide. Enjoy!


Fun Friday Nature @ Long Key Nature Center

I love to be pleasantly surprised. That's what happened last Friday when we went to Long Key Nature Center for their Fun Friday Nature program. I figured they would have a couple of puppets, some coloring pages, someone would read a story, etc. When we walked into the center's discovery room, I saw many tables set up with all kinds of different activities. The theme was bugs. As a teacher, I immediately appreciated the amount of planning and coordination that went into the lesson. It made me think of a vibrant, hands-on kindergarten classroom. The activities included memory games, magnets, dead and live bugs in small containers, a very creative butterfly life cycle activity using pasta, etc. My daughter was busy and engaged for a good hour. She didn't want to leave. When she completed 10 stations, she earned a little prize. She was super happy with her heart-shaped plastic, pink bracelet. The program was educational, enjoyable, and engaging. Another bonus was the volunteers. They were seated throughout the room, helping and guiding the kids through the projects and games. I loved to watch all the kids enjoying themselves while learning about nature. I think that when kids learn about nature it makes them broad-minded, appreciative, and, hopefully, more responsible. The naturalist truly does a great job planning and coordinating the program. Here is some information for the next Friday Fun Nature event: (It says on the calendar that there is one on 7/13, but that is a mistake.)

Fun Friday Program – Can You Dig It?
Date:                     July 27th
Time:                     10a-1p
Cost:                      $5 per child
This program focuses on dirt!  Activities for “Can You Dig It?” feature geology, archaeology and paleontology – in other words soil, rocks and fossils.  Children will learn the importance of soil, how it is formed and what it’s made of.  They will find out why Long Key is called “Long Key” even though it isn’t part of the Florida Keys.  Participants will learn what Florida looked like thousands of years ago and how changing sea levels have shaped the peninsula.  They will explore the ancient animals of Florida’s past and compare modern animals from Africa, Asia and South America to their ancient cousins from Florida.  They will also learn what an archaeologist does and why some of them might don wet suits and SCUBA gear to dive off the coast of Florida in search of artifacts.  A collection of real and replica fossils and geologic specimens will be on display.  Games and hands-on activities will help the children learn and apply the concepts. 

Fun Friday Programs – General
Fun Friday Programs are aimed at children who are out of school on vacation.  We offer several Fun Friday Nature Programs during the summer and at least one during Christmas and Spring Breaks.  Each program has a nature and/or science theme and focuses on the Florida connection to the theme.  Most activities feature native Florida plants, animals, and ecosystems, as well as Florida’s native peoples.


Meditation Class at Weston Yoga for Suggested Donation

The is no doubt that being a parent can sometimes knock you off your center. That's why it's a good idea to pick up a healthy habit or two, such as yoga or meditation. Weston Yoga is a beautiful studio filled with knowledgeable, kind teachers and a full schedule of yoga and meditation classes. They often have "suggested donation" events. For example:

Free Meditation & Pranayama
July 15th
Aug 12th
Sundays, 7-8 pm
($10 donation suggested to benefit Hope Outreach Center)

For additional information or to register give us a call at (954) 349-6868


Food Trucks at Flamingo Gardens

July 6, 2012
First Friday Food Trucks
5pm to 9pm

Enjoy the lingering daylight of summer at July's Food Truck event with gourmet food trucks to tempt your taste buds while DJ Mike spins the tunes. Plenty of picnic tables and seating in the courtyard parrot Aviary. Free parking.

Confirmed July Food Trucks:
Big Ragu Truck
Cajun on the Go
Chamos On Wheels
Dolci Peccati Gelato
Fire Foods
Freddie's Pizza
Fry Daddy
GastroPod Miami
Jefe's Original Fish Tacos & Burgers
Kratos Greek
Latin Burger
Mojo on the Go
Ms. Cheezious
Nacho Bizness
The Real Chill
Taco Heat
Top Fries

Family Fun Days at History Miami

family fun day at HistoryMiamiJoin History Miami the second Saturday of each month from 12 to 5 p.m. for FREE things to do, learn and experience with the whole family!
Spend the afternoon exploring the history and culture of our vibrant metropolitan city.

Family Fun Day Schedule

Passion for Fashion

July 14, 2012
Strike a pose in celebration of our new exhibition The Guayabera: A Shirt’s Story. Learn how clothing can tell stories about the past and present on our “Time Travel through Textiles” tour of the galleries, and enjoy a guayabera-inspired craft activity.

Summer Games

August 11, 2012
Come play with us! Celebrate the closing of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London with a full day of games and sports. Visit a variety of game stations throughout the galleries, learn about local athletics and create your own Olympic gold medal.
Family Fun Days are presented with the support of Miami-Dade County, The Michael and Diane Rosenberg Foundation, The Bachelor Foundation and The Carnival Foundation.