I was just nosing around the MCM site, and came upon a list of zip codes that qualify for 50% off admission at all times. This is great news, as $12 per adult or child over 12 months isn't going to break the bank, but with our oldest daughter attending a school on Miami Beach, I had been planning to take the little one to the Museum quite a bit this year. Of course, I'm debating the annual membership...it seems like a no brainer really...but the 50% off has me excited for now! Here is the page that lists all the zip codes that qualify, but basically it looks like it is all City of Miami zips.
I took Elle to this newish place at Sunset Place the other day; it is called cool-de-sac Play Cafe. Loved it! Especially now, when it is still 8 million degrees outside, and playgrounds are sweltering. Here's what I loved about the place: * Elle, who is under 3, qualifies for the lesser admission rate of $5.95, which gets her in for the whole day. Adults are free, and for kids 3+ admission is $13.95. * There are several different stations that held Elle's interest: an art station, face painting, gated toddler play area, and games area. * The food is pretty darn good for a kiddie place! Their kids options incorporate some "sneaky" healthy components, like the carrot puree that was added to Elle's chicken quesadilla. And they have broader adult options than most kiddie places--seared tuna, iceberg wedge, and goat cheese pizza for example. The prices aren't bargain basement, but honestly, a couple extra dollars was worth it for the extra options. * When I went, a weekday afternoon in the summer, the mix of kids and number of kids and adults was GREAT. Not too crowded, and not too empty. We were there for several hours, and kids and parents came and went, always a nice crowd.
But best of all--the staff was FANTASTIC. As much as I love Miami, I can't say that I rave about customer service in this city too often--it's rare, in my opinion. But the young people working here...I can't say enough wonderful things. They were engaging with the kids, they were very helpful and friendly with the parents. There was plenty of staff around to help out, and I'll say it again--everyone was just so nice, and seemed to genuinely enjoy being there.
I haven't been with my 9-year-old yet, so am not sure if it would hold her interest, but will be sure to report back after we visit.
I know it seems like I am always pimping out Fairchild Gardens, but we popped in this Sunday to give Elle a chance to search for alligators (one of her favorite hobbies, though she's never actually spotted one there) and I noticed that they are offering Free Sundays through August and September.
This is a great deal, everybody--if you can take the heat. We went at about 4:15 (ticket window closes at 4:30, and I try to time it as late in the day as possible in the summer) and were still hot and covered in sweat when we left at 5:15. So, go as late in the day as possible!
This is a great opportunity to check out Fairchild Gardens with the kids and friends, and get out of the AC for a bit this summer.
Books & Books is a great, and relatively famous, bookstore with several locations in the Miami area, and also a Grand Cayman location, if you're lucky enough to be book shopping in that area. Each month, they email their calendar to me, and I always give it a quick scan. You can also find their monthly list of events here. They've got lots of great storytimes for kids in Miami, and children's book author visits, but honestly, I look for my own favorite authors who might be coming through town. In August, there are a few interesting kids and young adult events: * On August 6, Nancy Pelosi will be at Temple Judea discussing her new book Know Your Power: A Message to America's Daughters, a collection of her own wise words and the words of those who inspired her. * Danica McKellar will be visiting the Gables location on August 13. Remember her as Winnie from The Wonder Years? Well, she went on to study math at university, and has written a book called Kiss My Math for 7th - 9th grade girls tackling pre-algebra. I don't have a daughter in this age range, but if I did, I'd be there, because I've spent a lifetime intimidated by math. * P.A.T.H. will be at the Gables location on August 21, presenting local homeschool group leaders and families from Miami to speak to those interested in homeschooling. * On August 24th, the author of Splat the Cat will be reading at the Coral Gables location. Radio Disney will be there to "get the party started." The book is geared to 3 - 7 year olds. * On the 27th, City Theatre presents readings of 10-minute plays written by South Florida high school students. At the Gables location. There are story times each week at all locations; check the web site for the schedules. Happy reading in August!
School starts in Miami-Dade on the 18th of August, so we are trying to squeeze in all the Miami summer fun that we can before the Big Day for Big Sis. Elle, who is two, does not go to school, but will be traveling to and from with me and Big Sis every morning, so her schedule will change too. Here are our top five activities that we want to do before school starts!
1. Grapeland Water Park: Elle has actually been to the park already with her babysitter, but Skyler and I have had "scheduling conflicts". Anyway, we heard it was a great time, and to go in the morning to beat the crowds and the really intense heat.
2. Pinecrest Gardens Splash N Play: Can you tell we're fans of water fun? The Splash N Play at Pinecrest Gardens is fun for both Elle (2) and Skyler (9), and there is lots of other stuff to do before and after. Gardens entry is free, Splash N Play $3 per child.
3. Jungle Island Hippo Slide: We see this from the 395 all the time, and have never been. Free with admission to Jungle Island, and the great thing about Jungle Island is that for a not too elevated ticket price, you get an Annual Passport, good for admission and discounts for a year.
4. Venetian Pool: Also known as "the coldest pool in Miami." The pool is spring-fed daily, and has all sorts of cool stuff, like a grotto, a little beach, an island, and more. This pool isn't for the faint of heart, or weak swimmers--in fact, you aren't even allowed into the Venetian Pool if you are under 3 years of age and 38 inches tall. That's why we haven't been this year--Elle is too young (though probably not too short!). But I'd like to go with Skyler before summer's over, because it is really fun and full of history.
5. IKEA: I know, it might seem strange to include a giant--and I do mean GIANT--retail store on this list, but...have you been yet? IKEA has cool, affordable everything on display, which we all know is great for parents buying for kids whose tastes change as rapidly as their shoe size. Erik has been a few times, and has come home with kids chairs, nightlights, plastic cutlery and assorted grownup stuff. IKEA has a daycare area (for potty trained kiddies), play areas throughout the store, an on-site cafeteria, and the display children's rooms are almost as fun for most kiddies as the daycare.