South Florida Museum and Parker Aquarium

Mastodon at South Florida Museum
Mastodon at South Florida Museum

Recently I visited the South Florida Museum and Parker Aquarium in Bradenton for the first time. This museum, aquarium and the neighboring Bishop Planetarium have been on my list of things to do for quite some time. As a kid, my mom used to take me to the planetarium for a rock laser light show when we would come to town to visit. Sadly, although the museum is only five minutes from my house, it has taken more than 15 years of me living here to finally get there.

South Florida Museum

The South Florida Museum focuses mostly on the history of the South Florida area. From pre-historic times with a model mastodon and fossils from several extinct species. There are areas of the museum that concentrate on the wildlife with displays of several different ecosystems with animals that inhabit each. Other sections are primarily exploring the history of the discovery and development of the South Florida area.

McKechnie Field history
McKechnie Field history
Mickey Mouse camera from 1950
Mickey Mouse camera from 1950
Walt Disney World groundbreaking
Walt Disney World groundbreaking
Snooty on deck
Snooty on deck
Snooty Time Line
Snooty Time Line

Parker Aquarium

Accompanying the South Florida Museum is the Parker Aquarium, which is home to Snooty the manatee, the world’s oldest known manatee who was born in captivity. Snooty is somewhat of a celebrity here in Bradenton at 65 years old. He has even made national news and has his own Snooty cam! While at the South Florida Museum I had an opportunity to see Snooty getting fed and a question and answer session with one of his trainers. I highly recommend this to anyone who gets a chance to catch this as it is great fun to watch Snooty and the other two manatees get fed and the Q&A session is very informative and interesting.

Bishop Planetarium

The Bishop Planetarium is the one section of the South Florida Museum that I had visited previously, but it had probably been a good 15 – 20 years. Since I had been last there was a fire and the planetarium had been renovated. Just after I visited, the planetarium closed for another refurbishment, which I understand is to upgrade the projection software. The renovation is scheduled to be finished in a few weeks with a current date listed as “mid-October.” I finished touring the South Florida Museum and Parker Aquarium, so before the rock hall of fame show in the planetarium I was able to catch a star show. This show was interesting as it highlighted what we would see in the night sky specifically in our geographic location at this time of year. I’d like to go back and see this again at different times of year to see the different constellations and planets that may be visible.

In peak season (January – April) the South Florida Museum is open 7 days a week. The rest of the year the museum is closed on Mondays. Hours are 10am – 5pm, except on Sundays, which are from 12pm to 5pm. Other than the aforementioned Mondays, the museum is only closed New Year’s Day, the second Monday in March, the first Saturday in November, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Regular admission is $15.95, $13. 95 for 65+, $11.95 for children 4-12, children 3 and under are free with paying adult. Active duty military with id are free. Family Night is the first Saturday of each month and offers everyone half price admission after 4pm with extended hours until 8pm. Family Night also usually includes screening of a family friendly (often Disney) movie. Currently since the Bishop Planetarium is closed, there is a $4 discount off admission.

I’m so glad I took the time to discover the South Florida Museum. It is a fantastic way to spend a few hours for kids and adults alike. You can go just for the laser light show with a discounted admission, but then you’re missing out on some of the best of what this complex has to offer. I hope to soon take advantage of one of the other great features of the museum, Film Fridays. Almost every Friday night the museum offers a $5 movie. The films range from classics like Meet Me In St. Louis and Some Like It Hot to Ace Ventura, Pet Detective. The upcoming series, “Greetings from Florida,” features movies set in Florida. This is a great way to catch classic films and re-releases up on the big screen.

If you find yourself with an extra day, or even an afternoon, take the opportunity to come explore the South Florida Museum, Bishop Planetarium and Parker Aquarium in Bradenton. It is a great value and a fun day trip. Have you been to the museum? If not, Snooty is waiting to meet you. Come on down!

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Beyond Bollywood At The Enzian Theater

south_asian_festival

Beyond Bollywood: The 19th Annual South Asian Film Festival at the Enzian Theater showcases diverse images of South Asian (India/Pakistan) culture and heritage through acclaimed independent films from across the globe. This program is part of Enzian’s cultural festival circuit and is co-presented with the Asian Cultural Association.

The festival is held on September 28 – 29, 2013

Enzian Theater Beyond Bollywood Ticket Prices:
Series Pass – $35
Individual Tickets – $10
Group rates (25 or more) – $1 discount on individual ticket

Visit Enzian’s website for more information.

 

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HUGE Orlando Home Show Giveaway!

{Sponsored Post}

The Orlando Home Show returns with even more inspiration, fun, and demonstrations to help you fall into your dream home!

Orlando Home Show 

Orlando Home Show Featuring Bravo’s Josh Flagg, Food Network’s Emily Ellyn,

DIY Experts, and Top Local Chefs

 

The Orlando Home Show will be returning October 4-6 to a new location in the Orange County Convention Center, West Concourse, Hall C facing International Drive, and I am excited to go!

The Orlando Home Show is loaded with a fresh lineup of experts ready to rock this three-day home improvement extravaganza to help you find fresh inspiration, helpful tips, innovative products, and fantastic deals in remodeling, home improvement, design and fall outdoor projects.

Orlando Home Show
Josh Flagg, one of the residential real estate industry’s heaviest hitters, appears on the main stage on Friday at 6 p.m. and on Saturday at 12 noon and 4 p.m. (subject to change without notice). Flagg will offer behind-the-scenes insights and tips on home improvement must-dos, whether selling or staying.

Orlando Home Show highlights include appearances by Josh Flagg of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles and Emily Ellyn of Food Network’s Next Food Network Star and Cupcake Wars; demonstrations by some of the area’s top chefs on the Edible Orlando Cooking Stage; daily how-to presentations by the DIY Guy; a display of two “Tiny Houses,” one just 96-square-feet in size; designer rooms showcasing repurposed, restored or recycled items; a food truck rally on Sunday, only; and much, much more!

Orlando Home Show
Guests can mix it up with “retro rad” culinary diva Emily Ellyn as the deliciously unique personality demonstrates some of the hottest trends in cooking on the Edible Orlando Cooking Stage on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. Emily Ellyn’s appearances are sponsored by Florida Blue.

There will also be tons of great demonstrations and tasty samples prepared by some of the area’s favorite chefs and culinary pros will be abundant throughout the weekend on the Edible Orlando Cooking Stage. Scheduled to demonstrate their signature recipes and dispense advice are Anthony Hull of Crimson Tavern; Chris De Sormoux of Marlow’s Tavern; chefs from White Wolf Café/Wolfie’s PizzaMia; as well as Edible Orlando Publisher Kendra Lott; Orlando Sentinel Food Editor Heather McPherson; Real Radio 104.1’s Dirty Jim; and KQ103 FM’s Gloria B.

Other not-to-be-missed features and opportunities at the Florida Home Show include:

  • EDU (Educators) Day on Friday only, offering free admission to any teacher or employee of a local public or private school, day care, college or university when showing a valid school ID or business card at the box office
  • The Orlando Home Show will host its first-ever food truck rally on Sunday only from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some of Central Florida’s favorite mobile food purveyors, including Curbside Chef, The Pastrami Project, Saigon Sizzle, Mayan Grill, Magic4urPalate and Wako Taco, will be serving up delicious fare for purchase at the Westwood Lobby Entrance of the Convention Center.
  • four designer rooms created by students from the International Academy of Design & Technology showcasing repurposed, restored or recycled items.
  • New and interesting products making their debut at the Orlando Home Show will be noted by a “featured product” floor tile, making it easy for guests to find them.
  • Giveaways, enter-to-win contests and prize drawings round out the winning line-up for guests.
  •  “Stay Calm and DIY.” Do-it-yourself projects can be daunting, especially for first-timers. Enter Chris Tice. The Central Florida-based military veteran and DIY expert will demystify the process while demonstrating projects four times daily in his booth as well as on the main stage.
  • Living tiny is simply better for the environment, says Dan Louche, owner of Tiny Home Builders and one of the pioneers of the Tiny Home movement. The Atlanta-based designer/builder will talk more about the trend during his stage presentations and at his booth which will display two examples of tiny houses — one just 96-square-feet in size.
  • Guests can also get valuable answers to important questions about remodeling, home improvement, design and fall outdoor project from hundreds of experts around the show floor and on the main stage throughout the weekend. (Visit www.OrlandoHomeShow.com for a complete listing of stage presentations and times).

Show hours are Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m, and Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  Tickets are available at the door, and are $10 for adults 13+, $5 for seniors (60+, at the box office only), $5 for children ages 6-12, and free for children ages five and under. Advance tickets can be purchased online for a $3 discount off full-price $10 admission at www.OrlandoHomeShow.com, courtesy of Florida Blue. Parking is available in the West Concourse and is $9 per car, per day. The Orange County Convention Center/West Concourse is located at 9800 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819. Directions here: http://www.occc.net/global/directions.asp.

But here is your chance to win an awesome Orlando Home Show Prize Pack!!!

Orlando Home Show Prize Pack Includes…

* 4 tickets to the Orlando Home Show*

*Meet and Greet with Emily Ellyn after her Sat., Oct. 3, 2:30 p.m. presentation*

*Complimentary Marlow’s Tavern appetizer*

*Complimentary one-year subscription to Edible Orlando magazine*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please make sure you read the fine print about entering and claiming your Orlando Home Show Prize Pack!

For more information, visit www.CentralFloridaHomeAndGardenShow.com , or call 877-871-SHOW (7469).  Connect on Facebook, Twitter (@FloridaHomeShow), Pinterest (pinterest.com/homeshows/) for up-to-the-minute show details, discounts and fabulous home improvement tips. Visit the show’s blog at www.HomeAndGardenBlog.com.

Good luck with our giveaway and I hope to see you there!!!

Disclaimer: Through a partnership with the Orlando Home Show, I received tickets to attend the Orlando Home Show for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Ripley’s Orlando Odditorium Oddtoberfest

Ripley’s Orlando Odditorium Serves up Free Fall Fun

with Second Annual Oddtoberfest

Believe It Or Not

 Performers, live music, food and more at October 12 event 

October is famous for the one day full of fright, fun and festivities. Of course that day is Oddtoberfest at Ripley’s Orlando (ok, Halloween is pretty cool too).

On Saturday, October 12, Ripley’s Orlando holds its second annual Oddtoberfest from noon to 5 pm.  It’s a day to pay homage and celebrate the unusual, and the public is invited to take part in this FREE event.

Oddtoberfest
Trick Ropin’ Trevor performing at Ripley’s Oddtoberfest 2012

The day’s events include:

  • Sensei Mike Reeves and his Over the Edge Team display their amazing karate skills. Reeves will break bricks and boards and even attempt to break a few world records!
  • “Trick Ropin’ Trevor” Dreher will display his world-class trick roping talents.
  • “Qubits” founder Mark Burginger will build a 13 foot tall tower made entirely from Qubits toy pieces. He and the company were featured on ABC’s Shark Tank.
  • Live music from Beebs and Her Money Makers. Fresh off the Vans Warped Tour, the group is as close to being Ripley’s house band as you can get. Ripley’s sponsored them on the Vans tour, and the band shot the video for their hit Jumpin’ at the Orlando Odditorium.
  • Amazing vehicles from Parker Brothers Concepts; see the famous Green Machine – but this is no kid’s toy; it’s adult size and powered by a motorcycle engine!
  • Food trucks
  • Carnival games and prizes
  • Face painting
  • Temporary tattoo artist
  • Bounce house
Oddtoberfest
Beebs and Her Money Makers return to rock Oddtoberfest

The event will be held in the parking lot rain or shine and is FREE to the public. Guests who want to tour the Odditorium will be required to purchase tickets.

Ripley’s Orlando Odditorium, located at 8201 International Drive, is open from 9 a.m. to midnight 365 days a year. For more information, please visit www.ripleys.com/orlando.

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Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival Returns This Week

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Each year, Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival continues to be one of the most anticipated special events for guests of Walt Disney World. Around World Showcase, kiosks are setup for the festival that feature food and beverages from countries and regions around the world. This year includes more than 25 kiosks with returning favorites, and new offerings from Scotland like the seared salmon, vegetarian haggis, and banoffee tart. The Scottish booth will also serve Innis & Gunn Original beer, which I recently discovered at the Grand Floridian, and what I may be most excited about, Scotch tastings from Glenfiddich with 12, 15 and 18 years included in the flight.

The kiosks will presumably, like in years past, take Disney Dining Plan snack credits for payment for most of the food and some non-alcoholic beverages. This is a fantastic use of your snack credits if you are on the dining plan as some of these individual items can often cost upwards of $6 or $7 like the lobster dishes at the Hops & Barley kiosk. The festival will definitely have me going back to some of my favorites including the escargot in France, Fisherman’s pie and cheese plate in Ireland, kahlua pork sliders and tuna poke from Hawaii, Florida shrimp ceviche, and Schinken nudel in Germany.

Ceviche
Ceviche
Lobster Roll
Lobster Roll

Another great thing about the Food & Wine Festival is that  you get the opportunity to try some of the featured menu items from some of Epcot’s restaurants that you may not be able to get into very easily, like Le Cellier in Canada. For those not fortunate enough to get a reservation, don’t despair. You can sample the restaurant’s cheddar cheese soup and filet mignon with truffle sauce at this year’s festival booth.

In addition to the kiosks, the festival plays host to celebrity chefs and representatives from vineyards and other spirit companies. Many special events are offered over the festival’s almost two month span from September 27 through November 11 this year. Seminars and mixology classes along with tastings are among some of the more affordable extras that can start as low as $10 or so for some (occasionally passholder discounts are offered for select events). Other special parties, like the Party for the Senses, can go to upwards of $200 per person. Check out the festival page to see more details or call (407) 939-3463 to book.

One of the most fun parts of the festival is the Eat to the Beat Concert Series. This year new acts join some of the favorites that have been coming back for years. Last year I got to see both Sugar Ray and Boyz II Men put on great concerts. This year’s lineup (subject to change and courtesy of Disney) is as follows:

9/27-9/29 STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas “We Built This City”
9/30-10/1 NEW! The Go-Go’s “We Got The Beat”
10/2-10/4 Air Supply “All Out of Love”
10/5-10/6 Sister Hazel “All for You”
10/7-10/9 Sugar Ray “Fly”
10/10-10/11 NEW! Edwin McCain “I’ll Be”
10/12-10/13 NEW! The Manhattan Transfer “Boy From New York City”
10/14-10/15 NEW! Wilson Phillips “Hold On”
10/16-10/17 The Pointer Sisters “I’m So Excited”
10/18-10/20 Night Ranger “Sister Christian”
10/21-10/23 Boyz II Men “End of the Road”
10/24-10/25 Survivor “Eye of the Tiger”
10/26-10/27 38 Special “Caught Up in You”
10/28-10/30 Smash Mouth “Walkin’ on the Sun”
10/31-11/1 NEW! Spin Doctors “Two Princes”
11/2-11/3 NEW! Christopher Cross “Sailing”
11/4-11/5 Hanson “Get the Girl Back”
11/6-11/8 Dennis DeYoung
original member of the group STYX
“Come Sail Away”
11/9-11/11 Big Bad Voodoo Daddy “Go Daddy-O”

 

Concerts take place in the America Gardens Theatre at 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00pm each night. Some of these performers can be very popular and guests have been known to line up hours in advance to try to get seats for the show. If there is someone that you really want to see, try to get there an hour or so ahead of time to give yourself the best chance to get into the theatre. If you don’t get in, rest assured, you can still see/hear the music and the band from elsewhere in the American pavilion.

I cannot wait for the Food & Wine Festival to start! This is one of my favorite events of the year, I often try to spread out my visits over three or four days to sample a few items each time. This gives me time to digest between booths and also to give my wallet a rest since you can literally spend hundreds to thousands if you were to purchase each item at each booth of the festival. I won’t be able to go for a few weeks, but I know many who are going this weekend.

Fisherman's Pie
Fisherman’s Pie

Have you been to Epcot for the International Food & Wine Festival? If so, what are some of your favorite items? Have you done any of the special events or tastings? What are you most looking forward to? Let us know!

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SeaWorld Debuts Float In The 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Paradae

 SeaWorld Debuts ‘A Sea of Surprises’ Float

In the 87th Annual Macy’s

Thanksgiving Day Parade

SeaWorld A Sea of Surprises- Macy's Parade float concept sketch main view 2013

Sculptures of sea turtles, penguins and fish among the amazing sea creatures

featured aboard new 32 foot-long float

For almost five decades, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has surprised and amazed guests with unique entertainment, thrilling rides, and up-close encounters with amazing sea life. Millions have been inspired through the power of entertainment, to celebrate, connect with and care for the natural world. This Thanksgiving the beauty and majesty of the sea will come to life on the streets of New York as SeaWorld’s “A Sea of Surprises” float debuts in the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®.

“The magicians of Macy’s Parade Studio have outdone themselves yet again with the awe-inspiring and entertaining design of the new SeaWorld float,” said Amy Kule, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “With its diverse and majestic depictions of sea creatures transformed into larger-than-life form, the ‘A Sea of Surprises’ float is sure to inspire millions of children and adults to learn more about, appreciate and enjoy all forms of aquatic life.”

From sea turtles, penguins and angel fish to sharks and breaching whales, amazing sea sculptures abound on the new float. Featuring rolling ocean waves, the gentle movement of swaying kelp and a vibrant school of tropical fish, the scene will take spectators on an extraordinary undersea journey. Taking center stage on the “A Sea of Surprises” float is the iconic Shamu, breaching 27-feet above the millions of Parade spectators lining the streets of Manhattan.

“We are thrilled to debut our SeaWorld “A Sea of Surprises” float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as a tribute to SeaWorld’s 50th celebration,” said Jim Atchison, President and CEO of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. “Next year the parks will commemorate this milestone with a year-long celebration at the three SeaWorld parks in San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio. We hope this festive float represents the fun, inspiration and surprises that guests will find during a visit to SeaWorld.”

Beginning next March, SeaWorld celebrates its 50th-year with a sea of surprises at all three parks that includes new interactive experiences and shows, even more up-close animal encounters throughout the park and the SeaWorld “Surprise Squad” treating guests with prizes and special experiences every day. For more information, visit www.SeaWorld.com/Celebration.

The 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade airs nationwide on NBC-TV, on Thursday,November 28th from 9am-12pm, in all time zones.

SeaWorld Macy's Day Parade

About the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade:

With more than 50 million viewers across the country and more than 3.5 million spectators that line up along the streets of New York City each year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a national icon that has grown into a world-famous holiday event. For more than 80 years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has marked the official start of the holiday season. Growing in size and scale, the Parade proudly marches down a more than 2-mile route in New York City with more than 8,000 participants in tow including Macy’s employees, their families, celebrities, athletes, clowns and dance groups spreading holiday cheer.  The Parade also features America’s best marching bands, fabulous floats and Macy’s signature giant helium character balloons.  For more information on the Macy’s Parade please visit www.macys.com/parade or call the Parade hotline at (212) 494-4495.

 SeaWorld Park and Entertainment Logo

About SeaWorld:

SeaWorld is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care.  It operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue and rehabilitate ocean marine animals that are ill, injured and orphaned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 22,000 animals in need over the last four decades. The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has granted more than $9 million to wildlife research and conservation projects that protect wildlife and wild places. The Fund commits 100% of donations to on-the-ground wildlife conservation efforts. Learn more at www.SeaWorld.com

About SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™:

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company delivering personal, interactive and educational experiences that blend imagination with nature and enable its customers to celebrate, connect with and care for the natural world we share. The Company owns or licenses a portfolio of globally recognized brands including SeaWorld®, Shamu® and Busch Gardens®. Over its more than 50 year history, the Company has built a diversified portfolio of 11 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind collection of approximately 67,000 marine and terrestrial animals. The Company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests. In addition to its theme parks, the company has recently begun to leverage its brands into media, entertainment and consumer products.   SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a publicly traded company (NYSE: SEAS). Copies of this and other news releases as well as additional information about SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. can be obtained online at www.seaworldentertainment.com. Shareholders and prospective investors can also register to automatically receive the Company’s press releases, SEC filings and other notices by e-mail.

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Wordless Wednesday: Where It All Began

Wordless Wednesday: September 25, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

This week’s Wordless Wednesday takes us to the coolest thing at Disneyland! It looks like an old, green park bench, but it is where the idea of Disneyland began, This is the park bench where Walt sat and watched his daughters ride the carousel in Griffith Park and thought about creating a place where they could spend time and have fun together.

Well it came about when my daughters were very young and Saturday was always Daddy’s Day with his two daughters. So we’d start out and I’d take them to the merry-go-round and take them to different places. And as I sit there while they rode the merry-go-round, did all these kind of things, sit on a bench and eating peanuts. I felt that there should be something big, some kind of amusement enterprise where the parents and children could have fun together.

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Family Day At Universal Studios Florida

Every so often our Universal Orlando Daredevil wants to take a break from taking on Universal Orlando Resort at a break-neck pace, so we decided to head to Universal Studios Florida to have a fun day in the park together!

Universal Studios Florida

Since we are always running through the parks, we decided to let Zoe make the decisions and that led us to a really fun and laid back day!

Zoe’s first stop was E.T. Adventure, which is one of our favorite attractions in the park, to take a walk through the woods before we took an adventurous bike ride. I seriously don’t know what it is about this ride that makes us so incredibly happy…but it does! I hope I never stop giggling at E.T. saying ‘Shelley’!

Universal Studios Florida E.T.

A good tip is that if you have riders who aren’t comfortable on the ‘bike seats’, you can talk to a Team Member to see if there is a ride vehicle with a bench available to ride.

After we saved The Green Planet, E.T.’s home world, we headed over to Fievel’s Playland to let Zoe run around for a bit!

While she was playing and riding the water slide, Dave and I used the time to take it easy for a minute and talk in the shade!

Universal Studios Florida

After 3 rides on the slide, Zoe decided it was time to keep our adventure going!

But we didn’t get the chance to make it too far, because she saw that SpongeBob was out at SpongeBob StorePants which made for some great pictures and fun as we found some cool details in the store! Zoe especially lost her mind when she found Gary!!!

Universal Studios Florida

Zoe then decided it was time to eat, so we headed over to Springfield to visit her absolute favorite part of Universal Studios Florida!

Universal Studios Florida Springfield

Zoe loves eating at Fast Food Boulevard, so while she and Dave enjoyed Krusty Burgers I decided to give the Bumblebee Man Taco Truck a try!

Simpsons Universal Orlando
Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck

I had the Carne Asada Tacos, and they were really good! You have your choice of tortilla (flour or corn) for the tacos and it comes with tortilla chips. The steak was perfectly cooked, the guacamole was surprisingly delicious, and the toppings were fresh! The only thing that I wish was different is that they don’t have any Annual Pass discounts. However, the tacos paired with a Flaming Moe made a perfect and light meal for a warm day! I apologize for the lack of picture, but I was starving and they were really tasty!

We decided to give Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl a spin, and while it wasn’t the best of decisions after lunch it was still a lot of fun! The signs along the queue are a lot of fun and getting your saucer into orbit just right to trigger the character voices around the attraction is a great plus!

Universal Studios Florida

It may sound weird, but Zoe loves answering the phone outside of the Kwik-E-Mart! She would stay here forever if we let her!

Universal Studios Florida

We finally were able to lure her away with promises of letting her play the carnival games outside of The Simpsons Ride. While the games look like your typical sketchy carnival games, the Team Members in this area are always there to make them super fun! The games aren’t too expensive or hard that you don’t have a good chance at winning a prize.

Universal Studios Florida

Another big plus of these games is that you can win actual Simpsons prizes, and Zoe wound up winning a little Lisa who is now by her side at all times!

Lisa and Zoe wanted to kick it up a little bit, so we took a spin on MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack. While it is a really fun attraction, the air conditioning was blasting which was a huge bonus on this super sunny day!

We knew our day was starting to wind down, so we walked along the construction and took a moment to play with the Universal ScreenPlay app! It was another nice break from rushing towards the exit.

Universal Studios Florida

For Zoe’s last treat of the day, she asked to climb the walls! She absolutely loves the climbing area located near The Mummy, and for $5 it is more than fairly priced for similar experiences outside of the park! Adults have to sign a waiver, kids wear a harness and helmet, and helpful Team Members are there for extra encouragement.

Universal Studios Florida

As Optimus ‘Primed’ us to the fact storms were starting to roll in, we decided to head home after a fun and relaxing day at Universal Studios Florida.

Universal Studios Florida

I hope that you enjoyed joining us on our Family day at Universal Studios Florida, what do your kids like to choose when they get to call the shots and choose the attractions?

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Cher Dressed To Kill Tour Coming To Amway Center

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour Amway Center

It’s now official. The one and only Cher revealed that she is kicking off her “Dressed To Kill” 49-city North American Tour beginning in Phoenix on March 22 with stops in NY, LA, Boston, Las Vegas and other major markets. Cher shared the happy news with her fans following her performance on the Today Show this morning. Cher plays the Amway Center on May 16 tickets go on sale.

What: Cher | Dressed to Kill Tour

When: Friday, May 16, 2014 | 8 pm

Where: Amway Center | Orlando, Florida

On Sale: Friday, October 11, 2013 | 12 Noon

The national tour promoter is Marshall Arts USA.   For ticket information and to sign up for tour updates, please visit Cher.com.

“The Farewell Tour,” Cher’s previous tour later dubbed “The Never Can Say Goodbye Tour,” was one of the most successful tours ever by a solo artist and played for a record-breaking 325 dates and was seen by over 5.5 million people.

American Express® Card members can purchase tickets to select cities before the general public beginning Monday September 30 at 10 a.m. throughThursday, October 3 at 10 p.m.

All online ticket purchases (presale and general public) receive a free copy of Cher’s new album “Closer To The Truth,” due to release September 24 on Warner Bros Records.

Cher is in New York this week celebrating the album’s release with upcoming appearances on David Letterman (September 24) and Live! with Kelly & Michael (October 1).  Cher will also appear as a mentor with Blake Shelton on NBC’s “The Voice” airing in October.

TICKETS$25.50, $45.50, $95.50 & $131 – Buy tickets at amwaycenter.com, Chase Box Office at Amway Center, Ticketmaster retail locations, charge-by-phone at 800.745.3000 or at Ticketmaster.com.  All dates, act(s) and ticket prices are subject to change without notice.  All tickets are subject to applicable taxes, service, handling and facility fee charges.  For Amway Center box office and ticket information, visit amwaycenter.com (phone purchases are not available through the Amway Center box office).  The Amway Center is located at 400 West Church Street and the box office is located on the north side of the Amway Center, near the intersection of Church Street and Hughey Avenue. 

Amway Center

ABOUT AMWAY CENTER

The Orlando Magic served as the developer of the Amway Center, which hosts major national events, concerts and family shows.  Opened in the fall of 2010, the facility is owned and operated by the City of Orlando on behalf of the Central Florida community. The Amway Center was designed to reflect the character of the community, meet the goals of the users and build on the legacy of sports and entertainment in Orlando. The building’s exterior features a modern blend of glass and metal materials, along with ever-changing graphics via a monumental wall along one facade. A 180-foot tall tower serves as a beacon amid the downtown skyline. The 875,000 square foot, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certified building features a sustainable, environmentally-friendly design and unmatched technology, including 1,100 digital monitors, the tallest high-definition video board in an NBA venue and multiple premium amenities available to all patrons in the building. Amway Center was recently honored with TheStadiumBusiness Awards’ 2013 Customer Experience Award and named SportsBusiness Journal’s 2012 Sports Facility of the Year. For more information about the Amway Center, visit www.amwaycenter.com.

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Enzian Theater 13 Films of Halloween

frankenstein_1931 Enzian Theater

In celebration of Halloween, The Enzian Theater is hosting a ton of great movies that are really affordable, spooky, and fun!!!

Cult Classics $5

ARACHNOPHOBIA (1990)
TUE. OCT 8 AT 9:30PM

INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956)
TUE. OCT 29 AT 9:30PM

Wednesday Fright Pitcher Shows – FREE!

Grab a beer (or two) and some munchies at Eden Bar and enjoy a FREE outdoor movie on the lawn at Enzian. Come thirsty for Jell-o shot movie trivia during the show – answer a question correctly and you get to pop back a shot!  Also featuring a special evening happy hour from 7PM -11PM, this night of great drinks and fun flicks is best enjoyed under the stars with your buddies by your side.

 

Wednesday night Pitcher Show outdoor screenings are dependant upon Florida’s famously unpredictable weather conditions. In an effort to avoid cancelling an event, we may wait until 30 minutes prior to the set screening time to officially post a cancellation notice; which will be posted on our Facebook. You may also call Enzian’s Box Office at 407-629-1088 x230 for more information. Thank you for your understanding, and if your screening is rained out – keep an eye out for a rain date!

TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972)
WED. OCT 2 AT 8PM OR SUNSET

IT’S ALIVE (1974)
WED. OCT 9 AT 8PM OR SUNSET

KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE (1988)
WED. OCT 16 AT 8PM OR SUNSET

SUSPIRIA (1977)
WED. OCT 23 AT 8PM OR SUNSET

SAW (2004)
WED. OCT 30 AT 8PM OR SUNSET

Popcorn Flicks (Central Park) – FREE!

Popcorn Flicks in the Park are FREE outdoor screenings are dependant upon Florida’s famously unpredictable weather conditions. In an effort to avoid cancelling an event, we may wait until 30 minutes prior to the set screening time to officially post a cancellation notice; which will be posted on our Facebook. You may also call Enzian’s Box Office at 407-629-1088 x230 for more information. Thank you for your understanding, and if your screening is rained out – keep an eye out for a rain date!

HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (1959)
THU. OCT 10 AT 8PM OR SUNSET

Saturday Matinee Classics 

Every second Saturday of the month experience a different legendary cinematic masterpiece the way it should be seen – on the big screen!  Each presentation is $8 general admission and $5 for Enzian Film Society members.  So sit back, relax, and let the magic of movies take you away.  Lunch will be available for purchase inside the theater or outside at Eden Bar.

FRANKENSTEIN (1931)
SAT. OCT 12 AT 12PM

Midnight Movies

ERASERHEAD (1977)
SAT. OCT 12 AT 11:59PM

ALIEN (1979)
SAT. OCT 19 AT 11:59PM

EVIL DEAD II (1987)
SAT. OCT 26 AT 11:59PM

Peanut Butter Matinee Family Film $5

Casper Enzian Theater

Bring all your friends (even your spirit ones) for a costume party featuring CASPER (100 min), the delightful family comedy starring Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, and Eric Idle.

 

Before sitting down to enjoy the film, dress your little ghouls in costume and join us for a delicious BBQ lunch, carnival games, and fun the whole family will enjoy!

 

BBQ Lunch/Games start at 11 AM
Film starts at 1:30 PM

 

MAKE SURE TO ARRIVE ON TIME TO NOT MISS OUT ON ANY OF THE FUN!

MOVIE & PARTY PACKAGE
$15 (children and adult)
1 Movie Ticket
BBQ Lunch
Costume Contest
Carnival Games

Movie ONLY
Tickets $5 for kids 12 and underor Enzian FilmSociety Member
$8 adults

CASPER (1995)
SUN. OCT 27 AT 1:30PM

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Unleash The Villains With Kelly (@kelbelle)

Unleash The Villains Set Up

Kelly Hicks takes us along as she went to

Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Unleash the Villains!

When Disney first announced their Limited Time Magic celebration last year, I thought it sounded like so much fun. As a local, I knew I would be able to experience the majority of them and I was really looking forward it. The offerings have been a hit or miss for me, but I have been able to take part in most of the ones I have been interested in. Highlights for me have included Long Lost Friends week, the special President’s Day Voices of Liberty concerts, and Merida’s coronation. Each week I look to twitter to see what will be announced for the upcoming week’s Limited Time Magic.

One of the events mentioned in the original Limited Time Magic presentation immediately caught my eye and I would have to wait almost a year for it to take place: Friday, September 13. It would be called Unleash the Villains and would be held at Hollywood Studios until 1 a.m. I knew that I wanted to try to attend this one when the time came.

Leading up to last Friday, I started getting a little anxious about getting to the Studios for the villains event. I wasn’t able to take off work and I knew it would be crowded. The Studios parking lot has been known to close due to reaching capacity before.

As soon as the clock struck 5:00 that afternoon, I was out of the office, home to pick up my mom and to change into villains wear, and out the door again by 5:20. We were approaching the parking tollbooths by 6:00 and I knew luck and good timing were on our side. It wasn’t too backed up yet and soon enough we were walking through the gates.

Since we knew crowds would probably be crazy, we definitely had our priorities. I wanted to go to at least one character meet and the Villainy in the Sky fireworks show was a must see. Beyond that, anything else would be bonus.

After a quick dinner at Fairfax Fare, we decided to head of to Echo Lake to wait for the character meets. From reading Twitter earlier in the day, I knew that there were only three meet and greet locations so lines were sure to be long. After winding our way through the crowd gathering at the stage in front of the Sorcerer hat, we got in line at the first location. Characters were due at 8:30 and it wasn’t even 7:00 at this point. Lines were already outside the queues that were set up so it was basically just a somewhat organized mass of people. No one knew at that point which characters would be meeting where and since the lines were so long we figured we’d wait once, move on and be happy with the outcome. It felt kind of like Let’s Make a Deal and we chose door number one!

The event officially started at 8:00 p.m. at the stage, but from where we were we couldn’t see what was happening over there. Due to the amount of people there, characters didn’t arrive until almost 9:00.  I imagine they had a very hard time making it through all the people. While waiting, we found out that we were in line for either the Queen from Snow White or Shan-Yu from Mulan. The other two locations would feature Jafar or Oogie Boogie, and Maleficent or Bowler Hat Guy from Meet the Robinsons. Each pair would switch off with each other every 30 minutes.

Unleash The Villains Meeting Shan Yu

We were lucky enough to be able to meet Shan-Yu! He was appropriately intimidating and gave us a creepy red-eyed stare. From where our line was situated, we were also able to get some good pictures of Oogie Boogie and Jafar.

After that, we decided we needed a break from the crowds and something to drink before grabbing a fireworks spot. This is where we encountered our major issue with the event: not enough food and beverage locations. Everywhere we tried, it was either closed or the lines were very long. We could have used a few extra carts set up.

I found a fireworks spot in the street, while mom decided to stick to the sidewalk where she could have more breathing room. While we waited, we could finally enjoy some of what was going on onstage. They had a giant screen set up so even those of us further back to see well. I hope they add this to Star Wars Weekends next year!

Unleash The Villains DJ Iggnite

DJ Iggnite alternated with Bernie Briquette and the Brimstones for musical entertainment. Hades, Meg, Pain, and Panic from Hercules also made appearances onstage. These entertainers did a fantastic job and even grabbed the attention of those of us further back.

Unleash The Villains Hades

Unleash The Villains Megara, Pain, and Panic

Unleash The Villains Villainry in the Sky

Finally it was fireworks time! Such an amazing show! This alone was worth it for me. Villainy in the Sky featured an incredible musical score, including music from The Hunchback of Notre Dame – one of my favorites! I would love to see these fireworks used again some time!

I knew the crowd would thin out some after the fireworks, so we walked around some to take some more character pictures and grab autograph cards that we missed the first time around. We hung out around the stage for the rest of the event. Some villains, like the Big Bad Wolf, Cruella, Captain Hook, and Frollo, wandered around and dance with the crowd. Each of them were followed by waves of people trying to get pictures.

Unleash The Villains on Stage

Unleash The Villains Hades getting down

Unleash The Villains Oogey Boogey

Unleash The Villains Jafar

The band and Hades led sing-a-longs with songs by The Beatles and Queen. As we approached the end of the night, Hades re-introduced all of the villains that were present, some of whom I hadn’t seen yet. There was a fun party atmosphere through the end.

Unleash The Villains Bowler Hat Guy

Overall, I had a great time at this event. Yes, it was incredibly crowded and there were problems associated with that. The meet-and-greets could have been organized a lot better and setting up more food and beverage carts would have helped alleviate the long lines. I did see cast members throughout the night that worked incredibly hard to keep the crowds organized and moving.  I would still do it all over again and I hope Disney will feature villains and other rare characters more often in the future.

Thanks to my mom, Sherry (@sbeanyears) for hanging out with me that night. Also thanks to Heather (@heatherw25) and Dave(@fotodave) for keeping me in the loop with what was going on.

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Disney Collection By Vera Bradley Preview

If you are anything like me, I am BEYOND excited for the Disney Collection by Vera Bradley bags to be available in the parks and online!!!

My Mother has given me a Vera Bradley bag for every holiday and birthday for as long as I can remember, and at my baby shower she got Zoe and I matching duffle bags and purses to use when we were coming home from the hospital! And now that two of my favorite things are about to come together, I am almost giddy!

Disney Vera Bradley Patterns Disney Collection by Vera Bradley

I love how the Disney Collection by Vera Bradley stays true to the spirit of both Vera Bradley and Disney, and is a very vibrant color palate and I love how Mickey and Minnie are arm-in-arm!

Disney Vera Bradley Patterns Up Close Disney Collection by Vera Bradley

Midnight with Mickey is my favorite, because I love a great black purse and the colors are awesome!

Just Mousing Around is a lot of fun, and as the more whimsical of the two patterns it is going to be great collection for the spring or as a way to brighten up a dreary winter day!

Fans of Vera Bradley will notice that the prices of the Disney Collection by Vera Bradley bags are a little higher than bags in the current collection. However these prices are highly competitive against the Disney Dooney & Bourke and LeSportsac lines.

Disney Collection by Vera Bradley

This morning I will be attending the media sneak peek of the Disney Collection by Vera Bradley, and I will be keeping you updated with pictures and information from the event on our Twitter and Facebook pages!

However, there will be a fun release party for the Disney Collection by Vera Bradley that will take place on September 21, 2013. This event is open to everyone willing to get up a little earlier than usual and will begin at 7:30 a.m. in the World of Disney at the Downtown Disney Marketplace at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Steven Miller shared a lot of great info on the Disney Parks Blog about the release of the Disney Collection by Vera Bradley that is good to keep in mind if you are planning on attending the release party!

First, I’m happy to announce that Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, Vera Bradley Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, will also be attending the September 21 party. Barbara will be meeting with fans that morning from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. A limited number of wristbands to meet Barbara will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis to guests who make purchases that morning.

Disney Vera Bradley Barbara Bradley Baekgaard
Barbara Bradley Baekgaard

If you are planning on attending the event on Saturday, please note that parking for Downtown Disney Marketplace will begin at 3:00 a.m., and guests may form a line in the designated queue outside World of Disney starting at 4:00 a.m. We will also be distributing wristbands to guests in line to ensure an enjoyable shopping experience for everyone.

 

We will have purchase limits in place at the World of Disney in Florida on September 21-22, 2013.
Guest purchase will be limited to one (1) of each style of Vera Bradley bags in the “Just Mousing Around” collection (8 styles total) and one (1) of each style of Vera Bradley bags in the “Midnight with Mickey” collection (8 styles total). While supplies last. Subject to change without notice.

 

Starting on Monday, September 23, the purchase limits will change slightly for Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort locations:

 

Guest purchase will be limited to two (2) of each style of Vera Bradley bags in the “Just Mousing Around” collection (8 styles total) and two (2) of each style of Vera Bradley bags in the “Midnight with Mickey” collection (8 styles total). While supplies last. Subject to change without notice.

 

As a reminder, the Disney Collection by Vera Bradley was created especially for Disney Parks. The collection will also be sold on the Disney Parks online store starting in late October 2013.

I am really excited to see the Disney Collection by Vera Bradley in person, and can’t wait to share with you!!!

 

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Two Disney Vacation Club Announcements!

This week the Disney Vacation Club was busy, as they announced two very different but both very cool new things coming to DVC

Disney Vacation Club

 

Share Your Memories: Disney Vacation Club Member Challenge

Disney Vacation Club Members can participate in the Share Your Memories Pinterest challenges to win some pretty awesome prizes!

The first of three challenges is posted on the Share Your Memories Disney Vacation Club Members site, and if you are into Pinterest this challenge is super easy and looks like a lot of fun!

After members register on the Share Your Memories site, all they then have to then do is create a board on Pinterest with images showing all the ‘must-see’s’ and ‘must-do’s’ on the most magical Disney Vacation Club vacation you can imagine. The deadline to submit the URL to the dream pin boars is 11:59 AM ET on November 4, 2013.

The Pinterest Prize Package for this challenge includes 4 Walt Disney Worldor DisneylandResort Annual Passes, a Disney VIP Tour Service experience, autographed copies of “The Sherman Brothers Songbook” and “Dream it! Do It!” by Martin Sklar, plus a Disney Vacation Club Gift Bag!

Make sure you take a peek at the Official Contest Rules before you enter!

 

Disney Vacation Club at Disney’s Polynesian

Disney Vacation Club announced that its planned next location will be at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, located on Seven Seas Lagoon at Walt Disney World Resort. When this resort is completed, Disney Vacation Club will have destinations at all three resorts on the monorail system, allowing easy access to Magic Kingdom Park.

The planned development project at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, when completed, will join Disney Vacation Club’s 12 other properties, including The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, scheduled to open Oct. 23. Construction on the Polynesian project began this month, and completion is estimated to be in 2015. In addition to the Disney Vacation Club project, other guest areas within Disney’s Polynesian Resort will undergo refurbishment. More information and project details will be shared at a later date.

Disney Vacation Club debuted in October 1991 with a flexible, vacation point-based model rather than the traditional fixed-week timeshare model. Disney Vacation Club is approaching a total of 200,000 member families from all 50 states and approximately 100 countries who have discovered the joys of membership.

Disney Vacation Club members are able to choose from among a variety of vacation destinations, including a stay at any Disney Vacation Club Resort or at more than 500 other destinations around the world, and when they purchase directly from Disney, members also can take trips on one of the Disney Cruise Line ships or guided vacations with Adventures by Disney. Additionally, vacations at a Disney Vacation Club Resort can last from one night to several weeks.

For more information about Disney Vacation Club, visit www.disneyvacationclub.com.

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A Trip to Wild Things Zoo!

We recently heard about a local ecotourism zoo in Dade City called Wild Things, where you can get up close and personal with animals normally only admired from afar! The zoo (in conjunction with Stearns Zoological Rescue & Rehab Center, Inc) is located on 22 acres of land in the heart of Paso County and prides itself on rescuing animals and providing a natural botanical landscape.

When you visit the Wild Things Zoo, you can choose to either go on a tram ride of the grounds or a walking tour where you can see up to 200 animals!
If you want to get more of a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you can even chose to do some personal animal encounters where, accompanied by a trainer, you can sit with some of the animals and hold or touch them. You could pick from a bunch of different experiences to do after the tour, so we took full advantage of our day, and chose to do 3 encounters!

The main reason we decided to go to the Wild Things Zoo, was to do the baby white tiger cub encounter as neither of us had ever got that close to a tiger cub before. Also, once the cubs reach 40 lbs, they don’t allow encounters anymore. The cub was already at 25 lbs at 2 months old, so it wont be long until he is too big. We also chose a coyote experience as neither of us had even seen one in the wild yet, and then we chose to feed black bears, as we thought interacting with them would be really unique.

There are another number of encounters you can chose throughout the year, including swimming with the tiger!

We were told from the beginning that photos are not permitted at any time, but that they do offer a fair priced photo package where a professional photographer takes photos of the encounters that were available to download later.

Our visit started with the tram tour we chose, our driver was so friendly and knowledgeable it made for a fun tour! I really wish they let you take photos on this tour, as I have never seen some of these animals so close before!

Wild Things Trolley Wild Things Zoo
Wild Things Trolley

They had quite a few species of monkeys, including Cornelius, a rhesus macaques who was captured in St. Petersburg, putting an end to a four-year search where he avoided capture as he made his way around Pasco, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

The monkey’s origins are unknown, but speculation has been that he traveled from the Silver Springs area near Ocala, where a group of rhesus macaques had made its home for decades.

We were able to get as close as 3 feet away from the tiger and lion enclosures! We witnessed our tour guide interact with them through the fence while giving us their backgrounds. The tigers even rubbed up against the fence purring at us!

We were able to get off the tram to feed the buffalo they had on the tour! I got to feed the mother Jessica carrots, and I can say its something we didn’t expect but it was such a cute experience!

Feeding Jessica Wild Things Zoo
Feeding Jessica

We also saw kangaroos, parrots, miniature ponies, foxes, raccoon, lemurs, panthers, ferrets, zebras, emus, and so many more!

Then it was time to have our baby tiger encounter! We were able to pose for a photo with him first (his name was Remington) we were given our instructions then sat down to interact.

posing with Remington Wild Things Zoo
posing with Remington

 

Remington the white tiger cub Wild Things Zoo
Remington the white tiger cub

The trainer entertained him with toys and milk while we were able to pet him from the neck down only, for safety reasons. He was so soft and fluffy with such bright blue eyes!

Remington Playing Wild Things Zoo
Remington Playing

She gave us a little bit of history about him, and even showed us how his paws are webbed to enable him to swim efficiently, a little fact I had never heard of.

Petting Remington Wild Things Zoo
Petting Remington

I have to say it was such a wonderful experience that I, for one, will never forget!

playing Wild Things Zoo
playing

Next up was our coyote interaction!

Posing Wild Things Zoo
Posing

Growing up in England we didn’t have coyotes, the closest we had to them would probably be wild foxes. So I found this experience fun! He really did look like a dog but with a much longer nose and coarser hair.

nom nom laces Wild Things Zoo
nom nom laces

He seemed to really love Simon’s laces on his sneakers, and even when the trainer would try deter him he would lean toward them pretending not to care and then at the last minute start nibbling at them again, so cute!

Our last encounter was with the black bears, these you cannot go in to the enclosure, its illegal unless you’re trained. I’m assuming this may have something to do with the fact they are in the wild so close to our homes, that it may desensitize people to them, and the threat they can pose in the wild.

feeding time Wild Things Zoo
feeding time

We were able to feed them marshmallows on sticks through the fence, which they loved! The male would stand tall, and the female would remain seated but was far more vocal in expressing her love for marshmallows!

After our experiences we were given the link to the site to download our pictures from home. I am not really a fan of zoos personally but I loved this place as there was such a sense of family here, and all the animals are either rescued or born there. I was concerned what the animals might be treated like but they looked so healthy and happy, and sometimes you felt like you were watching them in the wild!

I would definitely recommend the photo package as it’s such a wonderful experience you don’t want to forget! They are also getting bigger all the time and even plan to build an aerial ride going across the tiger enclosure! Hmmm I MAY just give that part a miss!

Next time you are wanting to plan a local day out, with an experience to remember I suggest you book a day at Wild Things, I hope to go back myself soon!

 

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SeaWorld Orlando Penguins Up Close Tour

 Penguins Up Close Tour

SeaWorld Orlando Penguins Up Close Tour

When I was younger I used to dream about having a penguin that lived in our freezer, so when I had the opportunity to see one up close I jumped that the opportunity!

Earlier this year SeaWorld Orlando opened Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, and now the park is offering the Penguins Up Close Tour where guests can experience what it is like to work and live in this attraction and habitat.

The Penguins Up Close Tour is approximately 45 minute long, and is a walking tour that takes guests behind the scenes at the Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin to see what it takes to keep these beautiful birds happy and healthy.

The tour is led by an Animal Care Specialist who is extremely knowledgeable about the birds and exhibit, and beyond happy to answer any and all of your questions!

 Penguins Up Close Tour
A look at Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin from the Penguins Up Close Tour

It was fascinating to learn about their health care routines, feeding breakouts, and just how much manual labor goes into maintaining the penguin’s habitat.

 Penguins Up Close Tour

For me the absolute highlight of the tour is that you get a rare opportunity to interact with and touch a penguin! It was beyond amazing!  It also becomes apparent how easily Animal Care Specialists tell them apart, because their personalities shine in this encounter!

 Penguins Up Close Tour

Seasonal pricing for the Penguins Up Close Tour starts at $59 ages 10 and up and $39 ages 3-9 plus tax. SeaWorld Orlando Pass Members can also save 10% by booking online or calling 1-888-800-5447!

The Penguin Up Close Tour is offered several times a day, and because of the space in the attraction the groups are quite small which creates a very intimate environment where you really get the chance to experience the offerings instead of jockeying for space.

 Penguins Up Close Tour

The Penguins Up Close Tour was absolutely amazing, and having the opportunity to interact with the penguins was a dream come true for me!  I cannot recommend this tour highly enough for animal enthusiasts!!!

 Penguins Up Close Tour

There are a few things to keep in mind when booking the Penguins Up Close Tour:

  • It is 30° inside of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, and while there is some adjusting to the temperature stops included in the tour make sure to wear appropriate clothing. You will be chilly!
  • There are slick surfaces on the walking tour, so you will want to wear shoes that are okay to get wet and have some tread on them for safety’s sake.
  • You are allowed to take pictures with your phone and cameras, however you will want to be careful about condensation on your lens.
  • Participants must check in at the Information & Reservations Counter at least 30 minutes prior to the tour start time.
  • All guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Small groups will be combined to form a tour group of about 12 guests.
  • Children under 3 are free but need a tour reservation.
  • Late arrivals may miss tour components or may not be accommodated due to limited tour availability.
  • Tour times, prices and components are subject to change and availability.
  • Cancellations with less than 24 hours notice are non-refundable.
  • SeaWorld admission is required, but not included.
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