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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Celebration Kicks Off Fall With Oktoberfest

Celebration Kicks off Seventh Annual Oktoberfest

with Falling Leaves on October 25th and 26th

On October 25th and 26th, Celebration Town Center transforms before your very eyes as the falling leaves of the season drop on Market Street in the Fall Festival known as Oktoberfest. Listen for the rustling of leaves, relax by the lakeside and rock your troubles away, and enjoy the live music with family and friends in this one-of-a-kind themed extravaganza.

On Friday October 25th Oktoberfest will be celebrated in the old-world German tradition featuring the sounds of Dan Witucki & Heimatland Musikanten. Come join in on the interactive live show featuring everything from yodeling to crowd sing-a-long fun.

Then, come back on October 26th as Celebration Town Center will celebrate “Rocktoberfest”. Featuring the sounds of The Micah Read Band and Lucy Iris, Celebration Town Center is the place to be to usher in Fall. It’s the coolest family-friendly Oktoberfest in the Southeast, so don’t miss it.

Hop on a hayride, dance to terrific live music, paint a pumpkin, or just stroll and enjoy the crisp fall air and enjoy the great savings at the lakeside promenade.

Leaves fall daily at 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 PM.

Parking and Admission are FREE!!!

There is something for everyone at this one of a kind Fall Festival presented by Lexin and sponsored in part by San Adams, Mona Lisa Suite Hotel, Axis Magazine, The Celebration Town Tavern, and Experience Kissimmee. For more information, visit us at www.celebrationtowncenter.com

Come early, Stay Late, and have fun at Celebration’s 7th Annual Oktoberfest!!!!

October 25th Schedule

5:30 PM DJ Tami Begins/Pumpkin Painting Begins

6:10-7:00 PM Dan Witucki & Heimatland Musikanten

7:00 PM Leaves Fall

7:15-8:00 PM Dan Witucki & Heimatland Musikanten

8:00 PM Leaves Fall

8:15-9:00 PM Dan Witucki & Heimatland Musikanten

9:00 PM Leaves Fall

9:15-10:00 PM Dan Witucki & Heimatland Musikanten

10:00 PM Event Ends

October 26th Schedule

5:00 PM DJ Tami Begins/Pumpkin Painting Begins

5:30-6:15 PM TBA

6:15-7:00 PM Lucy Iris

7:00 PM Leaves Fall

7:15-8:00 PM The Micah Read Band

8:00 PM Leaves Fall

8:15-9:00 PM The Micah Read Band

9:00 PM Leaves Fall

9:15-10:00 PM The Micah Read Band

10:30 PM Event Ends

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Inaugural Celebration K-8 School Pride Prowl Races

Pride Prowl

Registration Opens today for the inaugural running of Celebration K-8 PTA’s Family 5K Fun Run and Wellness Walk, known as The Pride Prowl.

The Pride Prowl is a fundraising event to help the exceptional programs and activities that the Celebration K-8 PTA brings to the Celebration K-8 School.

This year the PTA volunteers have taken on the extra work of organizing this fundraiser ourselves – with 100% of the proceeds going directly to the school.

The Pride Prowl has two races, a 5K Fun Run and a 1 Mile Wellness Walk that begins and ends at the Celebration K-8 School. The route for the race has runners passing through some of Celebration’s most beautiful neighborhoods.

The schedule for the Pride Prowl is as follows:

· Friday, September 13th: Family Fun Expo

The Family Fun Expo will take place from 5pm – 9pm, and will be held in the Celebration K-8 Gym. The Expo is where race participants can pick up their race packets and attendees will have the opportunity to find products, activities, and services that are family friendly in nature.

· Saturday, September 14th: Run With the Pride
5K Fun Run will begin at 7:30 AM and the Wellness Walk 8:30 AM in from of the Celebration K-8 school.

You can register online here, and you can see the costs below as of August 26, 2013!

Activity Today Later
5K Family Fun Run – Single Runner $25.00 $30.00
Family Wellness Walk – Groups up to 5 People (Ages 3 and under free) $35.00 $40.00
Family Wellness Walk – Single Walker $15.00 $20.00
5K Family Fun Run – Groups up to 5 People (Ages 3 and under free) $60.00 $70.00

 

Make sure you register soon! The first 100 Runners/Walkers to sign up receive a free event shirt, and ALL runners/walkers will receive a custom appreciation item from Celebration PTA.

Help support the Celebration K-8 School by participating in our inaugural running of The Pride Prowl – Celebration K-8 PTA’s Family 5K Fun Run and Wellness Walk!

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How To Do Florida With Chad Crawford Coming This June With Great Giveaways

TV series explores fun, easy Florida adventures just in time for Summer Vacation! Plus your chance to win a $50 Gift Card from Gander Mountain and $1,000 “Family Camping Starter Kit”!!!

how to do florida with chad crawford

Fourth Season of the Award-winning

how to Do florida with Chad Crawford

Begins in June with some Great Giveaways!

From dry caving in Ocala to catching a 100-pound Goliath Grouper in Ft. Myers, Season 4 of the how-to travel and discovery series how to Do florida with Chad Crawford has something for everyone beginning in June. The award-winning syndicated TV series takes viewers from the Florida Keys to the Panhandle to discover exciting outdoor activities and shows how to do them. It is produced by Central Florida-based Crawford Entertainment and airs on the Sun Sports cable network and a mix of broadcast TV stations throughout the state.

How To Do Florida With Chad Crawford
Host Chad Crawford (L) learns how to paddle board from an expert on Sarasota Bay in an episode of how to Do florida with Chad Crawford.
Photo Credit: Crawford Entertainment

how to Do florida with Chad Crawford is an entertaining resource for families planning their Florida  vacations. Fast-paced, informative and humorous, each 30-minute episode features two outdoor destinations plus the popular “Florida Cooking” segment with Florida Department of Agriculture culinary ambassador chef Justin Timineri. Other new adventures for Season 4 include:

  • –  Swimming with manatees in Homosassa Springs
  • –  Venomous snakes 101 in Orlando
  • –  Hot air balloon ride adventure in Davenport
  • –  Experiencing a luxury working ranch near Haines City
  • –  A motorcycle trip from Flagler Beach to Cedar Key
  • –  Wine making in Clermont
  • –  Land-based shark fishing in Ft. Pierce and shark tooth diving in Tampa
  • –  A retro RV family road trip with a lunch stop in Tarpon Springs, an overnight stay at Rainbow Springs National Park and ending at the Blue Crab Festival in Palatka

This season’s line-up also includes three Top Five special edition shows featuring favorite how-to activities from past episodes.

How To Do Florida With Chad Crawford
Host Chad Crawford (L) journeys to Miami Beach to get instruction on how to kite board from an expert in an episode of how to Do florida with Chad Crawford.
Photo Credit: Crawford Entertainment

The Television Syndication Company which distributes how to Do florida with Chad Crawford calls the program a ratings success. “how to Do florida has become a summer staple on TV stations across Florida,” said President Cassie Yde. “With solid ratings and great viewership in each market, how to Do florida consistently delivers added value to our stations’ schedules.”

With more than 14 million viewers tuning in to watch Season 3 of how to Do florida with Chad Crawford, creator and host Chad Crawford credits the show’s popularity to a combination of good content, high production value and his passion for all things Florida. “how to Do florida is much more than simply a TV show. It’s a movement; a chance to introduce people to the real Florida,” explained Crawford, a third-generation Floridian. “I want people – especially families – to get outdoors, discover the Florida of my youth and learn how to enjoy the awesome adventures I’m sharing with my family.”

How To Do Florida With Chad Crawford
Host Chad Crawford and his son, Chase, canoe the Suwannee River in an episode on canoe camping for how to Do florida with Chad Crawford.
Photo Credit: Crawford Entertainment

A companion website www.howtodoflorida.com contains additional video content and helpful links for those wanting to learn more about the topics and locations featured on the show. In addition, the show’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube offer viewers a deeper, more interactive experience on how to discover Florida.

Sponsors for Season 4 are Bealls Florida Department Stores, Florida Department of Agriculture, Gander Mountain, the Florida Wildflower Foundation, the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, Florida Hospital, the Florida Tomato Committee and Grand Golf Resorts of Florida.

To jump-start family outdoor vacations, how to Do florida with Chad Crawford is giving away a “Family Camping Starter Kit” valued at $1,000. For contest details and entry form, visit www.howtodoflorida.com starting July 12. No purchase is required.  The contest is open to all Florida residents 18 or older.

Also to help celebrate how to Do florida with Chad Crawford kicking off, we are happy be giving away a $50 gift card to Gander Mountain

a Rafflecopter giveaway

how to Do florida with Chad Crawford is produced by Crawford Entertainment, a full-service production company based in Lake Mary, Fla. that creates, develops and produces original themed television series and specials for national television syndication and cable networks.

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Once Upon A Character Breakfast

Once Upon A Character Breakfast

Join all your friends from Neverland, the Royal Court, the Star Galaxy and Super Hero Hall on Sunday, April 28, 2013 9:30 – 11:30 am for the Once Upon A Character Breakfast.

Enjoy a continental breakfast buffet while you mingle with Theatre South’s talented princesses, pirates and pixies and all your super hero friends. This fun family morning will be jam-packed with live character performances, craft stations, face paining and a sensational raffle.

All ages welcome; recommended ages 1-9 years.

COST

JCC Members:
$36 family of four
$15 adults | $12 children (12 & under)

Community:
$42 family of four
$18 adults | $12 children (12 & under)

Address

Jewish Community Center’s Jack & Lee Rosen Southwest Orlando Campus

11184 S Apopka Vineland Rd

Orlando, FL 32836

RESERVATIONS

In person: At the Welcome Center
By phone: 407-387-5330
Online: Click here

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Great American Pie Festival Giveaway!

Great American Pie Festival Giveaway

While I love the holidays in Celebration, nothing makes me happier than the arrival of spring and the Great American Pie Festival!

This year marks the 12th year that the ever popular American Pie Council Great American Pie Festival sponsored by Crisco® returns to Celebration, Florida, making the dreams of thousands of pie lovers come true on April 27th and 28th, 2013.

The festival will be held at Lakeside Park at 631 Sycamore St. in downtown Celebration, Florida 34747. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, April 27; noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, April 28.

Admission to the Great American Pie Festival is free, and full of great activities, entertainment, and most importantly pie!

Some of the activities that you’ll find at the festival include a Pie Creation Station, pie tin art activity for art lovers of all ages, and the Pietopia Demonstration Stage sponsored by Village Inn and Bakers Square Restaurants, featuring entertainment and baking demonstrations with chefs from across the country.

And what would a Pie Festival be without the kids’ and adults’ pie eating contests that are returning this year, once again sponsored by Private Selection.

There is also a really large Children’s area that is chocked full of great crafts, some are edible and all are fun, and tons of bouncy houses. Zoe absolutely LOVES this area, and while she loves the pie this is her absolute favorite area!!! Admission to participate in all this area has to offer is $10/child, but it is absolutely worth it and a great way to work off some of the pie you’ve eaten!

However the shining star of the Great American Pie Festival is the Never Ending Pie Buffet, which last year featured an astounding 90,000 slices of pie as well as ice cream, toppings and beverages from America’s best known commercial bakers.

This year the Never Ending Pie Buffet will feature Bakers Square Restaurants and Pies, Bonert’s Slice of Pie, J. Horner’s Desserts, Kroger’s Private Selection, Publix Super Markets, Inc., Rocky Mountain Pies, Smucker’s Toppings, Village Inn, and Wick’s Pies among others.

Tickets to the Pie Buffet are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors over 65 and children under 5 to enjoy all they care of eat and drink.

Now…for the super fun part!

I am giving away a Family Four Pack of Tickets to the Great American Pie Festival’s Never Ending Pie Buffet! The Family Four Pack of Tickets includes 2 adult and 2 children’s admission tickets, and entry is easy and ends on April 19, 2013. So enter our giveaway today and every day until then!

Great American Pie Festival Giveaway!

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Good luck and I hope to see you there!!!

Those interested in keeping up to date on the latest news concerning the pie championships, pie festival or pie news can follow the American Pie Council on Facebook and Pinterest and on Twitter.

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