Since I haven’t been able to talk in 12 hours, I figured now would be a fun time to put some words out in the world. God knows, this is hard for me and I still have six days to go!
Ryan drove me to the surgical center, or so we thought. We accidentally drove to the wrong place and ended up arriving a little later than we were supposed to. More talking time for me though so, winning! I finally went back to surgery around 7:30 and I think the procedure took no longer than 25 minutes. I definitely had no urge to talk once I was awake. My throat felt like I had something less than strep. I was however, extremely sleepy and woozy on my feet for a long time. I’ve basically been sleeping all day and stopped to eat some food and drink a smoothie. Nothing too exciting today, but I’m glad its one day almost done!
I’m so thankful for my mother in law keeping my girls busy today and helping them understand why I can’t talk to them!!
Things that made today bareable:
Smoothie Factory- strawberry, apple, kale, cinnamon (omg tastes like apple pie!)
Vanilla pudding with crumbled Nilla wafers
Pretty faux eyelashes and my blow dried hair (thanks Revlon brush) that everyone complemented me on
Homemade paper link count down with the kids (thanks Jennie)
Alone nap time!
Some semblance of ASL (but mostly me so maybe not so much)
Text to Speech app. It’s not the best but its better than nothing
Alexa app to make announcements via text on all my Alexa devices
Here’s to hoping Day two goes great. Thanks to everyone who reached out to me last night and today. It’s been so nice to know people love you.
Little Miss. Georgia turned three over the weekend. Her little party was a huge success, if I do say so myself. In the south we love to have beautiful parties and that includes children parties as well. The first step is to come up with a theme, then everything else falls into place.
G’s birthday is in July, she is really into The Little Mermaid and we live right next to a splash pad. It took me no time to come up with the idea to have a mermaid party at the park. We invited our friends over using this Paperless Post invitation, tweaked to the wording I wanted. This has been my first paperless invitation for a birthday party, and I have to say it was fantastic. Not only were we saving some trees, it was super simple to invite guests, and track and change details using the app from my phone!
We all know the devil’s in the details, so here they are:
The party was a total success. Children are easy to please. Throw on their swimsuits and give them treats and they’re happy as clams! The rest of the fluff is really for the adults. For example, our perfectly curated outfit details. Obviously when planning this soiree, I had to make sure the family was picture perfect for the occasion.
Edit: I forgot to mention this incredible table my husband and father made for the party. It was a simple idea that a friend had shown me. She knew someone who had purchased a piece of plywood and put it on cinderblocks so the kids had a place to eat. Of course Ryan and my dad couldn’t just have plywood on cinderblocks! They immediately came up with a simple idea and let me tell you, it was a hit! If you find yourself needing a little party table for kids here’s how to do it:
Buy plywood and a wooden fence pole
Cut the pole into eight, 11″ pieces
Drill in each pieces of pole with 3″ nails from the top of the plywood into the pole
Sand down edges and/or place table cloth on table
Georgie’s birthday was such a wonderful day. We are forever grateful to the friends and family that make days like this so special. More important than the details and outfits, is the fact that we were all together celebrating this little one’s life. Now, it’s time for all of us to rest because dang this day was a lot of work!!
I got it in my head that for Georgie’s third birthday I wanted to gift every child a sensory box from Young, Wild, & Friedman. This is completely Jada Leigh’s fault ((@jadadleigh)) with her daughter’s gorgeous T.B.B.C’s Darien Daisy themed party. Julie Friedman makes the most magnificent sensory kits and mini kits imaginable. From making beautiful play dough from scratch and coming up with kits galore, I just became obsessed immediately. I am going to preface my post on how to make DIY sensory kits and what comes up next by saying– if you want to buy these from anyone, please check her out because she definitely deserves your business!
I couldn’t afford what I wanted from Julie (which is totally cool, budgets and stuff), so decided to give a crack at it myself. Why not make play dough with the girls and put together a really personalized party favor for Georgie’s party. Here is a step by step guide on how to come up with your very own Mermaid Sensory Kits. Obviously you can make whatever theme you wish, but the research is catered to the theme we went with.
This was not only super fun to make but has been a hit in our own home as well as our friends’. I have some empty boxes left over and you better believe I’ll be making something else with my girls before summer is over. I hope this inspires you to try to make a sensory kit of your own or to purchase one from the amazing Julie Friedman of Young, Wild, & Friedman!
My two daughters have been taking survival swimming lessons since they were 6 months respectively. They also have been in maintenance classes at least once a year. Because of our positive experiences with these programs and my love for survival swim, I am an adamant supporter of survival swim, as opposed to the traditional swim classes most people are used to. This summer I had the amazing opportunity to work with a local DFW area school, Flipkick Swim Academy, on refresher survival swim courses for my girls. The plan is to refresh and strengthen the skills they already have and to begin stroke development.
Survival swimming has been around for a long time, but hasn’t been as popular and mainstream until probably the last five years. The current generation of adults tend to be overly cautious with their children. I am definitely one of those aforementioned adults. These days we want to help our children be the most successful possible, without them ever failing. In this instance, we don’t want our children to ever drown. I think this is why survival swimming has become so popular. We have been more inclined to do more things in a greater effort for us to be more informed and prepared with our children around water. A pool fence and pool alarm are not enough. There is water everywhere: canals, oceans, lakes, rivers, pools, and ravines. Water is in all sorts of places and there isn’t always an edge or person for a child to swim to.
Before I tell you more about why I chose survival swimming and Flipkick Swim Academy, let me break down the differences between survival swimming and traditional swimming lessons:
There are many different options when it comes to swimming, but it is VERY important that if survival swimming is what you are looking for, that you do your research. Many places claim that they are teaching the techniques for your child to be able to save themselves, but in all actuality don’t. Good news for my DFW friends, you don’t have to look any further. When Kona Morren and I first started talking I was very hesitant. Like I said before, my kids have been doing survival swim for a while and I’m not over here wanting them to learn to blow bubbles or how to swim with a kickboard. The more I spoke to Kona, and the more I investigated Flipkick’s instagram and website, I knew this was the real deal.
Flipkick Swim Academy (FSA) has an eight level Stroke Development program personally developed by Kona Morren. They have two, year round indoor locations: North Richland Hills at The Scuba Shop and Ft. Worth at The Resource Connection Aquatic Center. Lessons can begin as early as 2 months with parent assistance, 6 months for survival swimming, and continue between ages 4 and 5 for stroke development which continues layering into breast stroke, backstroke, butterfly, and free style, all the way to competition training. Each student is given a Personalized and Progressive Approach so that their instruction is catered to their skill set. For example, a student that is learning how to do the breast stroke continues to practice survival swimming, including floating and swim float swim sequences. Survival swimming teachers, and Flipkick specifically, discourage usage of any flotation devices including but not limited to: puddle jumpers, neck ring floats, and arm floats. Skills and muscle memory are integral to this program so it is necessary that children do not become used to a false sense of security or “swimming” in the drowning position (vertically). Both locations are indoors and have heated pools, so lessons are offered year round. Flipkick encourages students to continue swimming throughout the year to keep skills at their best, but offers all sorts of programs based on your family’s needs and skills.
Kona, her daughter Keelin, and their incredible staff of instructors are all trained through their Flipkick Academy specific curriculum that Kona herself developed. They even train independent instructors in survival swimming methods through their Project Swim 4 Life curriculum.
Personally, I want my children to have the skills in place necessary to be safe. Flipkick academy and their survival swimming program gives me peace of mind. I know my kids have the muscle memory to be able to float and call for help, the techniques to surface for air while swimming to safety, and the confidence and intelligence to understand that water is fun but it doesn’t come without risk. I am excited to see how quickly my girls pick up where they left off a year ago and to see them start stroke development when ready! I think know they will be better swimmers than their mother in no time!
Check back in a couple of weeks as I review our experience with Flipkick ((spoiler: we love it!))
Just keep swimming…
If you have any more questions about survival swimming and Flipkick Swim Academy here in DFW or recommended programs around the country please feel free to message me here or Kona Morren at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.flipkick.org. This post was created in collaboration with Flipkick Swim Academy and all my opinions are my own.
Hi friends! I don’t want to clog your feeds and phones with another #nsale or #primeday post. However, I am a HUGE amazon shopper so I figured I’d quickly make a list of what I’ve bought, will buy today, or wish I could buy (if money allowed!) Happy shopping!
Before you get started consider these options below. Right now would be a great time so that everyone can take advantage of the Prime Day deals!!
Shop till you drop ((click pictures below to shop aff link))
Alexa Show is on sale for $49.99!! I have many of these around the home and love love love them!
If you have an Alexa device (or even the app on your phone) you can buy one of these Smart Plugs for $5 by saying “Alexa buy an amazon smart plug”! These are the best for lamps and even the Christmas tree. Tell Alexa to turn on your Christmas tree from the comfort of your couch and life is complete! Otherwise pay $25
Eufy House vacuum $149. Have had this for a year and it’s one of my favorite purchases. Great deal. Same day delivery in some places
Fire Stick and voice remote $15. We have 4 of these and make all our TVs smart. We love having options between amazon, hulu, netflix, and sling. Speaking of sling, get a $45 credit!
Ring Doorbell $169. Best doorbell for your home, we link it to our ADT and alexa devices as well!
Ring spotlight outdoor camera $139. Been wanting one of these for a long time!
Doodle Board. 2 for $14, 1 for $9. Available in pink, blue, and black. Great for mess free drawing for the kiddos.
My Friend Liz swears this is the BEST BRUSH/BLOW DRYER EVER. So I believe her, she does work and have a toddler. It’s on sale for $40 (price reflected at check out!)
Smaller Keurig $50. For your first Keurig or just to downsize for more counter space. This is the one I need in my kitchen these days!
Hope this little list helps y’all. Get to shopping already!
We’ve been working hard to get some homemade sensory kits ready to give out as party favors for Georgie’s third birthday. In these 20 sensory kits I wanted to include three different colors of play dough ((among other things)). So I scoured the internet for different recipes that seemed easy enough to do and would help me save a little money. I came upon a few and tweaked them to my liking.
How to Make Play Dough (makes 6 portions)
2 cups of flour
2 cups of warm water
2 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or coconut oil
3/4 cups of salt
4 teaspoons of cream of tarter (find in spices section)
Food coloring (about 25 drops total)
Gallon size bag (for one color) or quart size bag (for multiple colors)
Latex gloves or plastic bags (for multiple colors)
Add flour, water, oil, cream of tarter, salt, and food coloring (for one color) into mixer
Mix on low until consistency of cake batter
Pour into pot and stir at medium heat
Continue to stir with spatula as it becomes tacky and then eventually becomes one blob
Place in zip bag and close
If doing more than one color at a time use gloves or plastic bags to mix in food coloring in each bag
Roll dough into 1 inch diameter logs and cut into 3 inch chunks
Cover individual pieces in cling wrap or other container
We meant to add glitter to our play dough but forgot to buy some while at the store. Most of my research stated that you could add as much as you wish. I was going to go with a fine glitter because I liked the look of it best. A fun alternative that I want to try next time is hawaiian punch instead of food coloring. For this recipe you add the packet into 2 cups of warm water and then continue the rest of the recipe above. It looks pretty and smells great!!
This play dough date was really fun and not too messy! It’s a great activity to do with the kiddos for sure. They feel like they’re baking and end up making their own entertainment for future use. Win-win here!!
The holidays are over, the house has been bare for a couple of months, and you’re sick of feeling those Winter blues. Fear not, because spring is finally here! This season brings new life, leaves on trees, flowers blooming, and… spring cleaning. However, I don’t think we have to do it in the traditional sense. Sure, let’s all keep clean homes, but instead let’s think of this Spring as an opportunity to spruce up our spaces and bring life into them! I recently did a little of this in my own home and it really comes down to a couple of steps. I did my design search on Wayfair.com and linked items I will (or REALLY want to) purchase to finish up this spring task.
First step is to clear out some things and, do what I like to call, find them homes. What I mean by this, is in order to keep a tidy home, everything needs to have a place to go when its put away. This task may require some organizational tools, like these plastic bins, for your pantry or storage spaces. I also like these fabric storage bins (in many colors) for more visible spaces like your office or under a bench. Having bins in closets allows you to categorize items and keep them categorized to find in the future. I like little bins throughout my home for throw blankets, remotes, shoes, and even kids toys.
Another area of your home that can be easily organized and will be much appreciated when done, are your drawers and cabinets in the kitchen or bathroom. Again, these spaces could probably use some cleaning out of older and expired items. Take everything out, keep what you want, and categorize. For your drawers there are awesome inserts that make putting things away and finding them later a breeze. I love this drawer organizer to keep batteries, bar tools, & all sorts of smaller items that end up in your junk drawer. This clear modular organizer keeps longer things into three spaces. If more usable/reachable room is what you’re missing, this two tier cabinet pull out attachment lets you use ALL the space in a cabinet since you can actually reach the things in the way back. I love using small baskets to keep things contained either on shelves, or in pull outs mainly in bathrooms.
Now that you have cleared out some things, and your space is “clean”, its time to rearrange what you’ve got! My mom always did this in my house and it was amazing how much a space can change by just moving things around. Erin from Cotton Stem calls it satisfying your “itch to switch.” You don’t necessarily have to buy TONS to liven up a space.
The living room was one of the places my mom changed the most. She would always rearrange the couches, switch the long one and the short one, or one time she had them both vertically in front of the TV. I have some arm chairs upstairs in a loft space that I could swap with my love seat downstairs. Simple(ish) moves that completely change the feel of your home.
The bedrooms were my mom’s second most changed spaces. Simply moving your bedroom furniture around creates easy change without added cost. I know that some spaces are more difficult than others because of window and door placement, but you don’t have to think big. Even moving a dresser to a different spot. Or adding a seat that you have in one room to another room can give you the change you’re looking for.
Whether you rearranged your existing furniture or not, there may be some spaces in your home that are missing little finishing touches. I love using faux plants to liven up a space. You cannot go wrong with a good faux fiddle leaf tree. Joanna Gaines made this tree super popular, and we’re not complaining. Place one in a corner, arrange a smaller one next to a taller one, or add height to a space by framing your TV console with two. I also like to include little faux flowers and greenery on my tables and counters throughout my home. We have had the same faux hydrangea flowers in our home for twelve years, and just move them around to different spots with each move or season change. In the kitchen or entryway I like to place faux rosemary (or this set). On tables and shelves in the living room or bathroom I love eucalyptus in a pot. Faux plants do cost more than real ones, but don’t let that deter you. You’re building up your collection of decor that can be rearranged for years to come!
Finally add one or two “big ticket” items to your home collection and finish out your Spring Sprucing! New seating is always needed and hardly ever refreshed. I have had the same hand me down barstools in my kitchen since my mom passed away. I am in love with these leather and metal stools, they coordinate perfectly with the rest of my home and would add a big change to my kitchen space. This metal four set is great for a farmhouse look. For our more modern friends, I admit I have been eyeing these too, I found ghost bar stools that give the illusion of more space.
Little tables are another thing I don’t usually purchase, but they do finish a space nicely. This end table could be the finishing touch to your living room, add a plant from above and voila! We have been recently playing with the idea of adding a small desk to our bedroom. A home base for bills. This writing desk has been on my mind for a couple of months now as it matches perfectly with our current bedroom set. I can already imagine how I will style it. With a hip industrial desk lamp and a rustic folder organizer, it will be pretty and functional. For people with lighter wood, or a more rustic/modern vibe, I also found this desk.
My hope is to inspire you to start sprucing up your space after reading this guide. Spring is the PERFECT time to bring in life to your home. Follow my easy steps and you will feel like you have a brand new abode in no time!
In the heart of the Palm Beaches lies the home of the Honda Classic, PGA National Resort and Spa. Charlie, Georgie, and I ventured to Florida this spring for our first ever Mommy and Me trip. The girls and I met up with our Instagram/blogger friend Lauren Diamantas (For the Love of Matching) and her daughters Charlotte and Caroline. This dream team girl gang was fortunate enough to stay at PGA National for two nights. Our plans for this trip were simple: explore everything this luxury resort has to offer.
Eat & Drink
PGA National is home to Ironwood Steakhouse and Grill, IBar, Palm Terrace, Bar 91, Waters of the World Cafe, Wave Bar and Grill and Cafe Pronto. Our first item on the agenda was lunch with a poolside view at Wave. It’s the perfect spot to grab drinks and food. Throughout our stay we enjoyed an array of goodies at Wave Bar and Grill including: pina coladas, strawberry lemonade (virgin and not), frose, lobster quesadilla, strawberry feta salad, mahi tacos, anda kids menu that included favorites like grilled cheese and pizza. Every morning we were there, our two families enjoyed the buffet breakfast at Palm Terrace. The girls loved eating fresh waffles, eggs, and bacon. I loved the complete fruit bar, fresh orange juice, and array of bread selections. Cafe Pronto is found right off the lobby, and offers quick bites and beverages. Our girls were more interested in the candy shop attached, where they each grabbed a bag of their favorite goodies including jelly beans, gummy worms, watermelon Sour Patch and Reese’s pieces to name a few! For the mamas needing a break, IBar offers appetizers and cocktails that can keep any family happy. IBar Nachos and The Squire signature cocktail are two must tries when you visit! Dippin Dots was a favorite treat that must be mentioned, they can be found next to the pool at the Splash Boutique! We thoroughly enjoyed everything we ate and drank while at PGA National. If I had to choose a favorite restaurant, I’d say Wave was the one for us. The girls loved hanging in the cabana watching TV, cooling off in their pool towels, and snacking on their favorite chicken tenders and sipping on strawberry lemonades. Mama recommends the margarita with the chicken tacos– poolside of course!
Speaking of pool, this resort has one of the nicest pools I’ve ever seen. The large main pool is big enough that you don’t feel like you are on top of the person next to you. We could be found at the zero entry side, knowing that our girls had plenty of room to explore safely in a large shallow area. Another option for young kids is the the tot pool. It was our second favorite spot to hang. This sweet shallow pool is located right next to the main pool. The girls had fun splish splashing around on floats in, what felt like, our own private area! However, the pools aren’t the only places that you can enjoy yourselves at. There is an arcade for the gamers in your life, a sandbox for the ones craving sand castles, ping pong and cornhole, a large outdoors checkers board, and on-site trails to explore on foot or bikes!
Play Where the Pros Play
Though the other activities at PGA National are fantastic, there is so much more to do still. When you think PGA, you probably think golf, and you are not wrong. PGA National is the home of the Honda Classic and holds many tournaments throughout the year. There was a tournament the weekend before we arrived and we happened to miss seeing Tony Romo by just a day! There are five courses to enjoy here including: the Fazio, Estates, Squire, Palmer (designed by Arnold Palmer himself), and the toughest course in Florida, redesigned by Jack Nicklaus and home of “The Bear Trap”, The Champion course. Golf isn’t just for the adults. All our girls were offered a preview of the Summer Camp class with Ms. Sasha, and they loved their first experience on a golf course more than I could have imagined (read more here). My husband is an avid golfer, so this resort is the PERFECT place for a family like ours. They have amazing deals going on right now, but for summer– May 19th 2019 through September 30th 2019 you can purchase the Summer Escape and Play Unlimited Golf Package and enjoy full breakfast daily at Palm Terrace, one round of golf daily on The Fazio, Squire or Estates courses (surcharge to play Champion and Palmer courses), complimentary replay round daily, 50% off daily golf clinics and all of this for only $96.50 per person per night double occupancy or $179 per person per night single occupancy.
Now if an amazing pool, fun activities, and famous golf courses don’t call your name, then surely The Spa will be the place for you! I had the pleasure of enjoying a Swedish massage and time in the spa facilities, and have been dreaming of going back ever since. The Spa, as they call it at PGA National, is a state of the art European influenced destination spa. There are over 100 ways to treat yourself here! Walking in, you would think it is a spa like any other with their beautiful locker rooms, lounges, a spa, whirlpool, and sauna. What you don’t expect to find are the Waters of the World mineral pools and outdoor cafe. Nestled in its own oasis of palm trees and tranquility you will discover three pools and one whirlpool. One of the pools contains minerals from The Dead Sea in Israel and encourages serenity while relieving muscle pain. The Sailes De Bearn: France pool contains minerals that tone the skin and relieve stress. I absolutely loved these two pools. If I didn’t have my two girls to go back to, I would have loved to spend the entire day enjoying all these pools, eating at the Waters of the World cafe and enjoying adult beverages while sunbathing in this sweet adult only space. May 24th, 2019 through September 30th, 2019, you can enjoy the Waters of the World Offer which includes a balcony or terrace room, breakfast daily at Palm Terrace, and your choice of 50 minute spa treatment a day, access to the Waters of the World, and spa amenities for $169 per person, per night, double occupancy rate.
I could honestly go on and on about how much fun we had at PGA National. It really has something to offer for everyone no matter their age. We will be forever thankful for the wonderful memories made on this incredible vacation. I would go back in a heartbeat, and definitely recommend that you go visit soon!
PGA Resort Location: Exit 109 on Florida’s Turnpike to PGA Boulevard. 2 hours and 20 minute drive from Orlando. 1 hour and 20 minute drive from Miami. 3 hour drive from Tampa. 12 miles from Palm Beach International Airport and 49 miles from Fort Lauderdale International Airport.
Family Approved Attractions: Lion Country Safari, Loggerhead Marine Life Center, Sandoway Discovery Center, Palm Beach Zoo and Conservatory, South Florida Science Center, Rapids Water Park, Peanut Island & so much more!
Nearby Attractions for All: Worth Avenue shops, Restoration Hardware Store and Rooftop Restaurant, Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, Mounts Botanical Gardens, Boca Raton Children’s Museum, City Place, & so much more!
Disclaimer: Some pictures above were captured by Lauren Diamantas 2019. Content has been sponsored but all opinions are my own.
Mother’s Day without my mom is such a difficult subject to write about. It’s been lingering in my mind for weeks and just trying to come up with words feels like a stab to the heart. I wanted to put my sadness aside and write something though, because I know that having someone else share their experiences can ease the pain a bit.
My mom died two weeks after I became a mother. It’s shocking to even write that because when it happened it was all such a blur. I was a new mom, deep in “baby blues” and just straight up healing from the trauma my body went through. Then suddenly I lost my best friend. She had been sick since I was in middle school and mentally not ok for the two years since she had an emergency leg amputation. That didn’t lessen the shock it was that she was gone from this earth. Mentally I knew that my mom was finally at peace and that wishing her to live wasn’t fair. But deep deep inside I lost a huge part of me.
Honestly, I am very good compartmentalizer and suppressor. I don’t think of what makes me sad and in a way it’s not healthy. This week leading up to Mother’s Day is always hard for me. My feelings are always more dull and I just wish I could sleep til another day. I am happy I am a mom but I just don’t fully enjoy a day where I’m supposed to be celebrating my own mother without her here by my side. I know I’m not the only one in this situation and it hurts. We try to focus on making me happy today and that is a bit straining on me too. I still don’t know what the right answer to this feeling is, but I think it’s important for us to remember we’re not alone in these emotions.
Mother’s Day is a really special day to celebrate the people that raise us. It is also a really sad day for a lot of us. Some people have been trying to be mothers for a long time and it’s just something that unfortunately isn’t in the cards for them. Some of us don’t have our own mothers because they’ve left the world too soon and we wish we had more time to learn, love, and cherish them. Some people never had a mother to cherish, and this holiday just reminds them of that. Some people have chosen not to be a mother. Others may have a strained relationship with their mother or their own child. Some are bereaved mothers, and today is a day where they miss dearly the one who made them mom. I love this holiday but I also hate it. I know how bittersweet I feel and I want to remind us all to think before we speak. It’s a special day, and I don’t mean to say you must act less thankful to the ones you love that are mothers. I think that it’s just smart to be conscious of your words and actions, because for many today isn’t as happy as you may think it is.
Today, whatever category you fit in on this Mother’s Day, I encourage you to surround yourself by the ones you love. Eat food, drink drinks, and relish in the fact that you are here in this world. As for me, I’m thankful to those who showered me with flowers (which are apparently my love language) and sweet messages. Most of all I am thankful that I have a sweet husband and a great friend that helped me enjoy today without lingering too much on what I’m missing out on.
Hope you guys have each found a way to make today special for you and the ones you love.
I have been to a couple of zoos in my day, Tampa, Dallas, and Ft. Worth, to mention a few, so I consider myself well traveled in that aspect. I actually had been to Zoo Miami, but back when it was called Metro Zoo and I was too little to recall it. We are currently back in Miami visiting my family. Every time we are here, my dad tries to take us to the zoo, but for some reason or another we never make it. We finally decided today was the day and boy am I glad!
This zoo was so much more enjoyable than I ever imagined. Here are my top reasons I loved Zoo Miami:
Truly, I felt like I was on vacation in some tropical place (which I guess I kinda am)
I loved the vegetation, which sounds silly, but it was lush and green everywhere. There were even some decent canopies throughout the walkways that provided much needed shade.
The animals were all extremely visible. There is obviously adequate separation, but it is done in a way that you can actually see the animals almost face to face.
The food was fantastic. Seems like a weird thing to note, but I hate spending money on crummy food. There is The Oasis, which offers outdoor seating and walk up order service. There is also an indoor seating restaurant, Nourish 305, which we didn’t try but had good reviews.
There are various children play areas, dry and wet. There’s a soft playground and also a splash pad that is way more than a pad. Not to mention the carousel, rides, and petting zoo!
I love that there are so many different ways to experience these 324 acres of developed space with kids. You can rent a bike (more on that later), ride the monorail, and walk and rent a stroller.
Some of our favorite animal exhibits included walking through the Wings of Asia Aviary (that includes around 400 birds), seeing the Lions of Africa, and feeding the Reticulated Giraffes.
There are a couple of key things we did, that I think made this trip worth doing:
Go on a day that the weather is under 90 degrees. I know in Miami that becomes a bit difficult, but I do think it makes all the difference.
Get there early. They open at 10 am on most days (they are open on every day of the year, including holidays but the times vary). We arrived right at 10 AM and it definitely helped.
Go on a weekday. Not during a local off day for school, because it best part of our visit was how easy it was to navigate the grounds with fewer guests.
RENT THE BIKE. If you go through the whole zoo it is 3 miles, but I can assure you it feels like a lot more. The bike experience, on a day like today, was incredible. We were able to see the whole zoo easily and happily in 4 hours (with plenty of stops).
Stop and enjoy snacks and meals. We brought some snacks and drinks in but we also enjoyed Icees at Miami Ice and a delicious lunch at The Oasis. Taking a break makes keeping on moving, much more enjoyable.
Take it easy. We loved the bike for this reason. The girls sat on the front and we peddled slowly from exhibit to exhibit. We’d park and most of the times stayed inside the bike and just watched the animals from our seats.
Do one of the animal encounters. We like to feed the giraffes at every zoo we visit. These giraffes were beautiful. They also felt really close, in the sense that they had to bend down a little to eat out of our hands. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the two new baby giraffes and even feeding a 6 month old one.
All in all, it was really a wonderful experience. I honestly didn’t think that I would be as impressed as I was. The weather was great, the bikes were so much fun, the animals were all out and about, the food was delicious, and I will definitely be back again!