Category Archives: Nature

Discover Safari Wilderness – 1 of the Top 10 Safaris in the US!

Time to add another exciting adventure in Central Florida to our list! Check out this amazing opportunity to take your family or friends to visit Safari Wilderness today! Read about all the fun ways to view, photograph, learn more about, and interact with the animals at Safari Wilderness in Lakeland, FL!

Our family is going to be visiting TODAY for a sneaky surprise for my daughter’s 11th birthday! You won’t want to miss the delightful pics and stories of our adventure coming up tomorrow!

DISCOVER ONE OF FODOR’S “TOP 10 SAFARIS IN THE U.S.” IN THE HEART OF CENTRAL FLORIDA
Feel worlds away at Safari Wilderness, no passport or long-haul flights required

LAKELAND, FL (November 6, 2017) – Rivaling the African savanna, the dramatic, 260-acre landscape of Safari Wilderness sets the scene for an unforgettable, family adventure. Located halfway between Tampa and Orlando in scenic Lakeland, Polk County, Florida, this family-owned, working game ranch offers an up-close encounter with herds of roaming exotic animals—without the crowds and lines found at theme parks and zoos.

During the signature vehicle safari, an experienced guide leads a small group of adventurers in a custom safari vehicle through the open vista of grazing animals surrounded by cypress domes and bay trees. Under the truck’s shaded canopy, guests are safe, cool and comfortable year-round, and everyone has the perfect view. Safari highlights include close-up encounters with Eland, Red Lechwe, Sitatunga, Waterbuck, Grant’s Zebra, Greater Kudu, Watusi Cattle, Barasingha, Axis Deer, Fallow Deer, Water Buffalo, Scimitar-Horned Oryx and Nilgai. Guests may also take part in hands-on interactions with many species that feed from the vehicle. Pricing is $90 per guest. All ages are welcome.

Other tour options include a 90-minute camelback expedition in which guests can join the ranch’s roaming animals by becoming a part of the herd. Two experienced tour guides and handlers lead camels through the pristine wilderness. This is the only full-on camel-backed game-viewing safari outside of Africa. Pricing is $180 per guest. Children ages three to five must ride with an adult. Children under age three are not permitted.

Another option, game viewing by kayak, offers a unique perspective that is active, adventurous and educational. During this tour, guides lead small groups to easily navigate freshwater areas and encounter wetland species such as common and Defassa Waterbuck and Red Lechwe. Kayakers will also spot a variety of common local Waterfowl and upland birds such as Killdeer, Egrets, Herons, Ibis, Spoonbills, Cormorants, Wood Duck, Anhinga, Bald Eagle, Kestrel, Red-shouldered Hawk, Meadowlark, Black and Turkey Vulture. Pricing is $180 per person. Children ages five to eight must ride with an adult. Children under age five are not permitted.

Any of the above safari experiences can be extended with the following add-on activities:

  • Lemur feeding – Enter the Ring-tailed Lemur habitat with a guide and hand feed grapes to a troop of playful and polite Prosimians. This “guest favorite” is in high demand and limited to a few participants per day.
  • Budgie feeding – Enter an outdoor aviary with a guide and feed up to 200 beautiful Budgie Parakeets. These colorful, sweet and playful creatures will land to eat seed straight out of a willing hand.
  • Guinea pig feeding – Guinea pigs live in colonies, which are fascinating to experience. The whole colony greets guests with excited whistling in anticipation of being fed.

Available by reservation only, tours are strictly limited in size to ensure a high-quality experience for every guest. Each guided safari lasts approximately one and a half to two hours. For online reservations visit http://safariwilderness.com or call (813) 382-2120.

In addition to tours, Safari Wilderness offers facility rentals—including the option of a full buyout—to host weddings, field trips, birthday parties, company holiday parties and corporate groups. For rental information visit http://safariwilderness.com/rentals/.

Follow Safari Wilderness on Facebook and Instagram at @SafariWilderness and on Twitter at @SafariWild.


Let me know if you get to go visit Safari Wilderness! I can’t wait to hear how you liked it! It’s now on our top ten list of family friendly experiences in Central Florida! Lots of beautiful pics coming soon from our visit!

Rebecca at Love2EncourageYou

5 Ways to Keep Your Teen Active During Summer Break

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5 Ways to Keep Your Teen Active During Summer Break

We all know that teens today can often be seen glued to their electronic devices whether it’s texting each other, using social media, or playing games.  During the school year, many teens are involved in different extra-curricular activities such as dance, sports, music lessons, and so on.  What about the summer vacation months when all of that comes to a pause?  How do we keep our teenagers from zoning out on the electronics now that they aren’t spending most of their day in school and their afternoons in their activity of choice?  Yes, there are all of the expensive ways to keep them active such as attending sporting events, theme parks and more, but here are some wallet-friendly ideas to get your teenager up and moving about and still having quality family time on a budget!

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Bowling and Skating

Probably two of my teenage daughter’s favorite active things to do are bowling and skating.  Most towns have a bowling alley and a skating rink, but if not, there is sure to be one in one of the surrounding cities close to you.  Both activities engage most of the main muscles groups therefore giving your child exercise without them even knowing it!  These are also both great activities to do as a family.  You may not be as nimble on the skate floor as you were back in the day, but it will get you moving as well as give your kid some entertainment watching you try to keep up!  Bowling and skating can generally both be done for under $10 per person in most areas, and the majority of skating rinks and bowling alleys offer specials depending on the time of year and day of the week.

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Swimming

Another great way to get your teen off of the couch and moving is swimming.  If you don’t personally have a pool or know someone who does, a lot of towns have community pools that charge under $5 to swim.  Again, this is another appropriate activity that will engage all of your child’s muscle groups and chances are, they aren’t going to complain about splashing around in the cool water on a hot summer day – just be sure to load up on the sunscreen!  Bring along some water guns or diving rings and have a friendly family competition – chances are you will also meet other families and possibly new friends for both you and the kids!

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Nature Walks and Camping

Some even cheaper fun things to do with the older kids this summer would be taking nature walks and camping.  Nature walks may not seem like something a teenager would enjoy but, most teens do enjoy a bit of friendly competition.  Before starting out, set a goal of who can spot the largest variety of wildlife, fauna, or whatever strikes a chord with your teen and let them choose the prize for the winner.  If they get to choose the prize, they will be more likely to be willing and even excited to participate!  Camping is usually one of those love it or hate it things and when you are camping in an area with no cell signal or Wi-Fi connectivity, teens aren’t likely to love it.  Encourage them to still bring their phones or cameras so they can take pictures which they can later use to show off the family trip or maybe even enter into a photo contest. Bring along board games and cards so you can play games when it is too dark to go exploring and don’t forget to bring the s’mores!

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It Doesn’t Have To Cost A  Lot

It doesn’t have to cost a lot to get your family moving and active.  Simply look around, think creatively, and if all else fails, contact your local city hall and find out what activities are going on in the area in the upcoming weeks.  No matter what you choose to do, engaging your teenager in a fun family activity that doesn’t involve being “plugged in” will be beneficial to everyone physically, emotionally, and mentally and will create memories your teens will one day share with their children.

What suggestions do you have for budget-friendly activities for teens this summer? Leave a comment and share with us.

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Love2EncourageYou Contributor: Liz H.

Guest Blogger/Skilled Virtual Assistant: Introducing Liz H! She’s a  Christian mom of 2 (infant and teen), skilled in copy writing, typing, organization, book keeping, and research. Virtual Assistant for hire at reasonable rates. Themed blog posts for sale at $15/post including 1-2 pics. You can contact Liz H. at lizk29@outlook.com!

Peace Begins With Letting Go

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Have you ever wondered why on certain days the sky shines so brightly and so warm and wonderful right where you are? Have you ever noticed the shimmering rays of the sun peeking through the clouds as if God is saying directly to you, “I’m here.” ? It’s because HE is there! He is smiling upon you in more ways than you can even count! It’s the simple things in life that bring me a big smile – my children’s happiness, my husband’s approval, the chance to bless a friend or neighbor or stranger, a freshly blooming flower, a sunset or sunrise… and so on. Why do we insist then on fussing so much as moms, parents or spouses about the things in life that really don’t matter much in the long run? It’s in those times we just need to stop and notice the beauty, power and strength of God all around us and pay attention to the hints He is sending us to listen to Him and follow His lead.

I wanted to share with you on this beautiful morning, that the only thing we need to focus on is how we can serve the Lord TODAY, not tomorrow or next year or five years from now, but TODAY – and really focus on WHO HE IS and what HE feels is important in our lives. Getting the chance recently to sell my home and go through the entire process of just “letting go” of something I felt was “mine” was a HUGE step in God reminding me that HIS WILL is usually different than MY WILL. It’s hard as parents, spouses, moms and just as adults in our growing years to think of even considering not owning a home and not having something we can rely on for our children’s futures. BUT… I am  here to tell you there is an AMAZING PEACE that comes when we are willing to LET GO and LET GOD go to work. Even when in the world’s eyes we have something going on that the world says needs to stay in our life to give us stability …. that is STILL just the WORLD talking. It’s not our LOVING, HEAVENLY FATHER who KNOWS us better than we know ourselves and has got a PLAN for our FUTURE that is MORE than we can even IMAGINE! EMBRACE opportunities that come up with GOD AT YOUR SIDE today. If you feel HIM tugging at your heart to do something you’re afraid to try, or to let go of some possession or job that God may be saying it’s time to move on from, just remember … sometimes that first BIG STEP is LETTING GOD TAKE CONTROL of our future. Wouldn’t you rather have it in HIS HANDS anyway? I know that’s where I want to be!!

We are so much more at peace now after letting go of our house and old life and moving to our new city, new home and new life here in a different part of Florida. Are things different? Yes! Is that a bad thing? Absolutely NOT! We are beyond thrilled with all the doors God has opened for us to make new friends, get new job opportunities, see new places and experience new things – it’s all been like a dream. I keep wondering when the visit to this world will end and I’ll have to go back to my old life full of stress and isolation far away from hubby’s work and our church.  I encourage you right now to read Jeremiah 29:11-13 from the Bible. It’s so inspiring to know God is in control and has a plan for our lives! Don’t just take my word for it – read God’s message from the book of Jeremiah in the Bible and believe in His promises. I’m telling you my friends – those promises are true!

Living closer to my husband’s job, and our church family has made all the difference in the world! God knew we would be so much more at peace and filled with contentment. We can invite friends or new people we meet at church to come over to our home for lunch or fellowship after the service every Sunday. The amazing bonus is since we have this new home layout we have enough room and options to entertain more guests and be better hosts! I have always loved creative hospitality and my last home made it easy to do just that. I had no idea God could “top” that set up even more – but that’s exactly what He did! We love our new home and its close proximity to so many things and people in our lives. I wouldn’t have it any other way. God knew we would be happier here. He knew it would make us content. We just had to learn to TRUST HIM completely despite what the world might say and be willing to LET GO of the past and our earthly possessions. I wish the same blessings upon you and your families today. May you find the Amazing Peace from Letting Go and Letting God that we are experiencing right now and may it be a great encouragement to you. Take courage and Trust God for your best future!

I would adore hearing you share your experiences with God meeting you where you are and convincing you that letting go and trusting him even more can bring a brighter future full of peace. Please share with me in the comments or feel free to email me and share your story at love2encourageyou@icloud.com. I look forward to hearing from you! Blessings!

– Rebecca at Love2EncourageYou

ZooBoo KIDS Halloween Event at Tampa Lowry Park Zoo

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Hey Zoo fans! It’s an all new ZooBoo, just for kids at Tampa Lowry Park Zoo! Ideal for little boys and “ghouls” (age 11 & under), ZooBoo KIDS is a Halloween treat for families. If you’ve ever been to the Tampa Lowry Park Zoo, you know how much fun it is for kids and families! Just imagine how much more excitement it will bring to your little ones to be able to experience this very special Halloween event just for them!

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Go batty with extended hours on select nights and “fright free” festivities like a trick-or-treat trail, corn maze, creepy critter encounters, friendly character appearances, fall photo opportunities, Halloween-themed games, festive seasonal decor and a Monster Mash dance party. On designated days, guests can watch some of the Zoo’s animals have a smashing good time too with pumpkin toss enrichments. ZooBoo KIDS activities are included with paid Zoo admission or Zoo membership. Visit LowryParkZoo.org for a schedule of events.

Just think of all the fun awaiting you and your family as you stroll through the various areas of this beautiful zoo! There are so many great festivities to choose from while you are there – your kids are sure to enjoy every minute of it! The ZooBoo KIDS event is a wonderful way to build special memories with your children or grandchildren that will last for years to come.

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About Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to excellence in education, conservation and research. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and is featured among the “Top 25 Zoos in the U.S” by TripAdvisor (2015) and “10 Best Zoos in the U.S.” by Trekaroo (2015). The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa, one mile west of I-275 (exit 48) and is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with extended hours on select nights during special events. Daytime admission prices are: adult – $27.95, seniors (60+) – $25.95, children ages 3-11 – $20.95, and children 2 and under are free. Parking is free. Visit www.LowryParkZoo.org or call (813) 935-8552 for information. Find the Zoo on Facebook and Twitter.

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DON’T MISS THIS COUPON!! 
$3 OFF ZOO ADMISSION – Enjoy $3 off Zoo admission and spend the day visiting more than 1,000 animals on 56 acres of lush, natural habitats! Offer valid for up to 4 guests per original coupon presented. Coupon not combinable with any other offers. No cash value. Valid only during daytime hours; not valid for special events. Prices subject to change without notice. Discount not applicable to AAA rates. Expires 12/31/2015.

 

Splashing Good Fun at Wallaroo Station at Lowry Park Zoo!

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Kiddie Rides That Excite and Delight

What a delightful day! I am simply amazed at how much Lowry Park Zoo has to offer its visitors, but I’m especially excited to share about the FUNTASTIC Wallaroo Station section of the park! We started off with some wonderful kiddie rides such as the Tiger Coaster, Banana Planes, and then the bumper boats and mini cars. I must say the mini cars ride is the most sophisticated and modern version of this type of ride I’ve ever seen! I wanted to ride it – it was that cool! Ever dream of riding on a manatee or a panda bear? Well now’s your chance! This is a lovely carousel featuring all kinds of favorite animals to ride on instead of the typical merri-go-round horses. My kids wanted to keep getting back on to ride another favorite animal the next time around! Did I mention these fun rides are included free with the price of admission? How awesome is that?!!

Gift Shops with Helpful and Unique Items

Next we peeked at some of the nifty gift shops that offer everything you could need to walk around the zoo or play in the water areas with wide brimmed hats, towels, adorable claw shaped water shoes, suntan lotion, sunglasses and more! There’s even an amazing “wings” of a macaw that slides on your arms so the child can flap their wings and pretend to be a bird. Very well made and the cleverest costume prop/gift item at a zoo I’ve ever encountered! My son and daughter wanted to bring it home!

Feed The Goats

There was a squeal of glee from my 8 year old daughter as she spotted the feeding machine for the petting zoo of goats and llamas. I scrounged in my purse for some quarters and we were on our way to feed the goats. The kids laughed and squirmed as the goats tickled their fingers and palms licking up the food out of their hands. I got some adorable photos and video of them. I highly suggest bringing quarters and a camera to be ready for those memorable moments!

Petting Zoo to Pet and Brush the Goats

The kids then wanted to proceed inside the petting zoo area and go in to brush the goat’s fur with these fun little brushes that fit on their hands. My daughter said she felt like she was working on a farm – she loved it! My son who is four years old didn’t want to leave – he was ready to play with the goats up close and personal all day. It’s great to note the zoo has hand washing stations throughout this section of the park so you can easily clean up after using the petting zoo or other areas of Wallaroo Station.

Tasty Cool Treats

We took a short break and cooled off with the excitement of creating their own icee from the huge icee station next to the Tiger Coaster and Petting Zoo. We mixed several tasty flavors such as grape, orange, cherry, blue raspberry, and Mountain Dew! There were still tons we haven’t tried yet!

Animal Shows and Entertainment

On our walk towards the next stop in Wallaroo Station, we saw the horses feeding and getting a wash down to cool them. It was so neat to see the two horses nuzzle each other by the nose as if they were in love. They have shows during the day with the horses and then a different show for the goats doing an obstacle course type of performance.

Bats, Flying Foxes and Upside Pics

We got to go for a walk along the wooden boardwalk type trail in Wallaroo Station that had various animals or birds to see during the trek. We especially enjoyed going inside the bat house area and seeing the flying foxes… they are so huge and colorful yet as my daughter mentioned… kind of creepy hanging upside down and realizing there are flying animals that big like bats.

We got a kick out of the awesome photo opp station in front of the bat house … your child can stand in front of this bat display with its wing coming out around them like they are being held by the bat. The sign is upside down on purpose over their head so that you take the picture and then rotate it upside down when you display it.. it makes it look like your child was hanging upside down with a giant bat!

Fantastic Food and Affordable Prices

That triggered the kids getting hungry for some lunch, so we headed over to the cafe and sat beside the koala exhibits! The koalas were sleeping of course, but it was still cool to see them while we ate in the shade. The food was super! We enjoyed a variety of menu items such as chicken ceasar salad, hot dog and fries, pizza, hamburger, and even a chicken club sandwich and fresh fruit and cheese n cracker cups. The service from the attendants there was great and the quality of the self serve condiments bar was awesome with everything from pickles to tomatoes and lots in between!

Walk About with Kangaroos

One of my favorite spots was the Walk About where you could see the kangaroos gently resting or feeding on veggies. They were so precious and gentle. You just wished you could go up and hug them or feed them a carrot. My kids were fascinated just walking by each one and seeing it hop along or sit up on its hind legs and listen to the sounds in the air. One even hid from the crown inside a rock formation and peeked it’s head out once in a while like it was playing peek-a-boo. Too cute!

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Splashing Good Fun At Wallaroo Station At Lowry Park Zoo

As the day progressed and the sun got hotter, we started to reapply suntan lotion and thought the kids may need a break from the heat. I am pleased to share that Lowry Park Zoo has been so thoughtful to families and made sure to have ways families with kids can have fun and beat the heat during their visit too. It was so awesome to see all the neat things you can do here in Wallaroo Station at Lowry Park Zoo. They have a very COOL water play area right in the middle of it all with fountains, waterfalls, dumping buckets, and spouts that squirt water out of the ground, sides of the wall and even from the mouths of turtles! My kids were just giggling and making friends with the other kids there – all having a splashing good time not minding the heat one bit.

More Tasty Cool Treats

There’s also a snow cone stand right by the entrance to Wallaroo Station that we highly recommend too where you can put your own flavors on! My daughter had so many flavors on hers it almost became a slushie instead of a snow cone. lol. Kids just love when they can do things themselves. Very addicting to keep choosing other flavors to put on the ice of the snow cone.

Isn’t it great to know your visit to Lowry Park Zoo can be filled with exciting exhibits of animals, fun kiddie rides, a petting zoo, delightful shows to watch, delicious food, cool down treats, and even a splash n play area? They’ve thought of everything!

Grab the COUPON

We LOVED our visit to Lowry Park Zoo and can’t wait to go back! There’s so much more than what I was even able to share with you today. I highly recommend using the coupon code below and treating the family to a day at the zoo or even buying an annual pass. That’s what we want to do next! A place this fun will be great family time year-round. Enjoy the Savings with this COUPON! Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has offered to give my readers $3 off Zoo Admission!

The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa, one mile west of I-275 (exit 48) and is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Parking is free. Visit www.LowryParkZoo.org or call (813) 935-8552 for information. Want to learn more? Read my previous post HERE.

Have you been to a zoo lately? What’s your favorite exhibit or animal, or other attraction? Share with us in the comments and tell us if you’ve been to Lowry Park Zoo’s Wallaroo Station.

Disclosure: Love2EncourageYou received free entrance to the zoo for the purpose of writing this review. However, I only share items that are of value or interest to my family and my readers. Special thanks to US Family Guide and Lowry Park Zoo.

Visit Wallaroo Station at Lowry Park Zoo

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Howdy friends! It’s my pleasure to share about a wonderful family friendly attraction in the Tampa, Florida area that you can bring your family to this summer during school break or anytime throughout the year!
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On May 11, 2002 Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo introduced Wallaroo Station, a 4.5 acre Australian-themed family area, where thousands of families with young children have enjoyed an interactive Australian adventure. The hands-on, family-friendly features helped the Zoo secure top honors from two national parenting magazines: Parents, “10 Best Zoos,” (2009); and Child, “The 10 Best Zoos for Kids” (2004).Earlier this year, Wallaroo Station temporarily closed for remodeling – the first significant updating of this award-winning attraction in its 13 year history. Newly re-opened for spring, guests to the “new Wallaroo” can expect this Aussie area to be even more “Auss-ome” with new animals and upgraded amenities, including:* a female Queensland koala named “Ceduna” (a mate for our male “Heathcliff”);

* “Bushland Birds” habitat with feathered friends and Fiji-banded iguanas;

* more water features in “The Billabong” splash ground;

* redesigned cafe with “grab and go” food and beverage;

* expanded dining area with additional seats and shade canopies;

* a new nursing mothers area with baby-friendly features;

* a new and fun ride for young children – Lil’ Joeys Caravan;

* new midway games and activities;

* ponies on parade (twice daily) and a goat show; and

* livestock training demonstrations with ponies and llamas.

EXPLORE

Take a trip to the “Land of Oz” and visit a variety of animals of Australia and its neighbors including koala, wallabies, cockatoos, emu, singing dogs and flying fox bats. Help welcome the newest Aussie additions – a female Queensland koala named “Ceduna,” colorful birds and Fiji-banded iguanas, and take a walkabout with the wallabies in their walk-thru exhibit. The petting area features a herd of friendly goats that children can brush, pet and feed. Adjacent to the petting area, families can step into a barn that houses Haflinger horses and llamas. Don’t miss the new daily pony parade, goat show and livestock training demonstrations!

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PLAY

The newly upgraded “Billabong” water play area takes kids “down under” to an interactive splash zone with in-ground fountains and free standing water features. Try your hand at new midway games with the chance to win prizes and souvenirs, or go mining for gems and fossils at the new Hopper’s Mining Company.

RIDE

Children can take a spin on one of five fun rides: the NEW Lil Joey’s Caravan, Tasmanian Tiger Family Roller Coaster, Overland Express Kiddie Train, Boomer’s Flyin’ Bananas and Outback Bumper Boats.

REFRESH

Parents can enjoy added shade while their little joeys cool off in the water play area. Next door is Boomer’s Cafe, a redesigned grab-and-go restaurant offering a variety of freshly prepared foods and drinks. A “mommy center,” designed for nursing mothers, provides shade and privacy for infants and caregivers.

About Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to excellence in education, conservation and research. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and has been rated No. 1 by Parents magazine, “10 Best Zoos,” (2009) and Child magazine, “The 10 Best Zoos for Kids” (2004).

I’m really looking forward to hearing about your visit! Please share with me in the comments if you get to visit or have visited in the past. I’d love to hear about your adventures! Don’t forget to grab the coupon below!!
The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa, one mile west of I-275 (exit 48) and is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Parking is free. Visit www.LowryParkZoo.org or call (813) 935-8552 for information. Also find the Zoo on Facebook and Twitter.

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Enjoy the Savings! Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has offered to give my readers $3 off Zoo Admission!

Be sure to keep up with all the latest at the zoo by following them on Twitter:  @LowryParkZoo
Rebecca at Love2EncourageYou
Disclosure: Love2EncourageYou will receive free admission in exchange for a future review. However, I only share items I feel are of value or interest to my family and my readers.
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Math Fun: Perk Up Your End of Year Homeschooling Days

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We’ve been pressing on these last few weeks to come up with some unique new ways to enjoy our last days of homeschooling for this year. It’s amazing how a simple trip to Target and the Dollar Store can help you get those creative juices flowing when you go in with a mind set of making your kids final school days fun, fun, FUN! I wanted to focus on choosing things that would enable us to use more math and counting in our final days in some fresh, original approaches. I aimed to try things that would fascinate the kids and make it so they didn’t even realize they were learning. I hope you enjoy these reviews and homeschooling suggestions for incorporating math. They can also be an easy way to bring some laughs into your summertime schedule and help keep kids math skills sharp.

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GRAB-A-BUBBLE

First, we picked up some cool bubble solution called “Grab-A-Bubble” in a bright blue color (they come in green, and pink too!) at the Dollar Store and we used it for a counting activity for my Preschooler. These bubbles are pretty cool I must say. They advertise that they last and last, and amazingly they really do. You can literally blow bubbles you can hold in your hand and stack into little towers! We would try catching as many as we can amidst their giggling and then have my youngest count how many each of us caught. Beware – on a windy day catching those bubbles can be tough! He would then answer who had the lowest number of bubbles and who had the highest.

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My eight year old daughter loved the Grab-A-Bubbles too and would enjoy adding up the groups of three numbers (the tower each of us were holding) to do an addition problem. Or, she tried popping some of them to create a subtraction problem. She soon discovered that in order to do a multiplication problem she really needed to blow more bubbles.

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We then had a blast going on the best search and find counting game ever – bubbles, bubbles everywhere! We found them in the grass, flowers, bushes, trees, driveway, side of the house, on the air conditioner, in our hair and on our clothes and shoes!

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The bubbles can be teeny tiny or medium sized and they just stay there for a long time before finally dissolving. My little guy loved stomping on them in the grass and on the driveway. Pretty cool to have so much fun with a toy that came from the Dollar Store!

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Play-Doh Numbers Bucket

Next, we followed up with a totally awesome Play-doh Bucket with Numbers that we found at Target for just $7.  This collection of cookie cutters shaped like miniature numbers 1-9 is perfect for smaller hands to grasp and uses less play dough than full size cookie cutters. My four year old wanted to instantly get to work using the rolling pin that came with the set to smooth out some play-doh and get started cutting out numbers.

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He impressed mom and dad with his desire to place various numbers side by side and name the double digit numbers he was making each time. He also had fun learning to add by placing the smaller numbers in the selected positions on the play mat and formed addition equations to solve.

IMG_1196This Play-Doh Bucket of Numbers was hours of fun for both my four year old and my eight year old with this simple $7 bucket!

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Flood Force Stryker Water Guns

Finally, we decided to have some more outdoor fun with a pack of three toy water guns or water squirters that the kids wanted to use to help me water my flowers in our front flower garden. With the 95 degree heat here in Florida lately, this turned into lots of high-pitched squeals of delight and lots of laughter and fun as we went from watering the flowers to chasing each other around the yard and nearly got the neighbor wet! Oops! They thought it was adorable to see the kids having a good time helping me water the garden and enjoyed hearing their laughter. The kids begged me to teach them how to reload the water squirters and wanted to go out several times that day to look for other things they could squirt. This set of three Flood Force Stryker water guns were only $6 at Target!

For my preschooler’s educational practice, we used the water guns to  draw shapes with the water squirting out of the guns onto the driveway. For my daughter, we would measure with a measuring tape how far her farthest squirt with the water went down the driveway. And then just for fun, we made a target on the palm tree to squirt at, and found lots of bushes and other things that might need “watering” in a fun way.

Don’t just spend your last days of school just finishing up regular schoolwork – discover a new approach or a unique way to make it fun! Take a break and find ways to build a little excitement and creativity into your day and still get that education in at the same time. You can end the year making a real impression on your kids and their excitement about learning!

Share with me in the comments any other fun and inexpensive ideas for indoor or outdoor fun and math games you may have thought up. I’d love to hear them! I know lots of other moms and dads will be grateful for some great ideas to entertain their kids this summer too while still keeping up on their math.

Emmy Award-Winning SciGirls TV Show by PBSKids Launches 3rd Season! #Science

Greetings friends! Today’s the day!

I’m delighted to share with you the exciting news that a brand-new season of the groundbreaking, Emmy Award-winning SciGirls TV series is debuting on PBS KIDS today – April 15th!

We had the honor of getting some really cool swag as part of this amazing launch of the new SciGirls 3rd season! My daughter loved demonstrating her pin and poster in this cute video!

The eagerly-anticipated third season is all about citizen science and features 6 all-new episodes starring real girls who are seriously into science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM! Along with their mentors, they are on a mission to inspire and empower girls everywhere to take up the charge and become the next generation of female scientists and engineers. The new episodes will air weekly on PBS KIDS (check local listings), and will also be available online nationwide starting April 15 at http://pbskids.org/scigirls/.

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 It was so much fun watching my kids light up and get ideas about Science when watching episodes of SciGirls that we were thrilled to be able to share about the new episodes for the 3rd season! To show my support, I am proudly wearing this awesome and super soft SciGirls T-shirt compliments of our sponsor for SciGirls.

I’m sure you are going to enjoy this new series of episodes from SciGirls! Each half-hour show follows the SciGirls as they embark on sci-sational adventures from coast-to-coast, making incredible discoveries and performing unique experiments – all in the name of the latest STEM frontier, citizen science! And as the SciGirls go from tracking toads to observing butterflies, counting clouds to learning about urban ornithology and more, viewers at home can tag along on each of their incredible science-based expeditions and learn more about how they can make a difference, too!

NEWS FLASH! Check this out! To coincide with the start of the new season, SciGirls is unleashing mobile-friendly upgrades to its engaging website, too. Complete with two new games and interactive videos, the site enables fans to connect with fellow STEM explorers and further supports the SciGirls mission, which is nothing short of changing how millions of girls think about science, technology, engineering and math – helping to turn sci-viewers into sci-doers! My kids totally LOVE all the fun games and interesting things to learn on the website! We highly recommend you give them a try! Your kids will enjoy them and learn something new too!


I hope you’ll join us in supporting this fantastic PBSKids series and look forward to hearing about your own SciGirl adventures with your little ones! Please share with me in the comments. I’d love to hear about them!

Disclosure: Love2EncourageYou received a T-shirt and other little goodies/swag to help promote the new season of SciGirls.  However, I only share items I feel are of interest or value to my family and my readers.

Entertaining and Fun: A Sloth Named Velcro DVD by PBS Nature

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There’s lots to learn about sloths through this fantastic film from PBS Nature! A Velcro Named Sloth is a great DVD for homeschoolers, educators, and families who love to learn about animals – especially the sloth. We found this film to be jam-packed filled with all kinds of helpful insight into the lives and habitats of sloths.

“NATURE: A SLOTH NAMED VELCRO”

OVERTURNS OLD MYTHS AND OFFERS NEW INSIGHTS ABOUT THESE FASCINATING ANIMALS

 

View a preview of the DVD here:

Now available on DVD from PBS Distribution

There are so many wonderful moments in the DVD that make you smile, intrique you, and simply inform you with all the cool features you can learn about the sloth that many do not know. My personal favorite was to learn how diligently the male sloths cover their territory at night and make sure to travel even as far as a mile at their slow and steady pace in order to check in and make sure their kin are all safe. I didn’t know sloths were mostly nocturnal either.

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The entire DVD is enjoyable to watch. There is an adorable storyline sharing about the life of Velcro the sloth and how he was raised by a woman when he was just a baby sloth and eventually placed back into the wild. We also get to see inside looks into the activities of Care Centers and how they take measures to give medical care and comfort to sloths at risk or who are rescued.

My kids both enjoyed crawling around on the floor pretending to be like a sloth when it’s not in a tree. They were fascinated to learn that the sloth has moths and algae living in its fur on purpose to help it survive. Such interesting facts!

Here is a cute review below from a child’s perspective on this film from my daughter, M.  I hope you enjoy!

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A Kid’s Corner Review of “A Velcro Named Sloth” by “M” (age 8):

It was a lot of fun learning about how sloths are in nature. How hard it is for sloths and how dangerous is the main things I found interesting that I never knew about. They are in danger from predators like ocelots and owls. They are actually at risk of getting killed from cars as they try to cross roadways and could get hit. Many people are starting to become animal ambassadors to help protect the sloths. If these people see a sloth crossing the road then they stop their cars and try to help get the sloth safely to the other side, so it will not be in danger of getting hit. I learned how we as people should try much harder to care for and have a heart for animals and mammals.

Thanks for visiting Love2EncourageYou today! Please leave a comment below and tell us what you think of this exciting new look into the lives of a sloth.

Be sure to check back often in April and May as our Spring Gift Guide is launching from April 1 – May 15! Lots of great reviews and giveaways coming soon – especially from PBSKids and PBSNature! Sponsors: Please feel free to reach out and get your product included today! Contact Rebecca at love2encourageyou@icloud.com.

 

PBS KIDS presents Wild Kratts: Shark-Tastic on DVD!

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Can you believe this adorable smile? That’s what happens every time I turn on the Wild Kratts from PBSKIDS! My son just adores this show and he was more than ecstatic when the package arrived from PBS Distribution with an early release copy the brand new DVD called Wild Kratts Shark-Tastic coming out on April 14! He was so excited to sit in his special chair holding his giant hammerhead shark stuffed animal while watching the new adventures the Kratt brothers go on in this delightful and educational series of episodes.

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Both my 8 year old daughter and my 4 year old son enjoy the Wild Kratts because its not only really cool to see them live in person and then change to animated form to go on the full adventures learning about animals, but they love using their imaginations and acting out the scenes and silly antics the Kratt brothers do in these shows. It’s so much fun! I even enjoy watching the episodes and learning from them as an adult!

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The new Shark-Tastic has several great sea creatures featured in the DVD and one in particular really seemed to capture the kids attention and having them rewind it. The scene where the Kratt brothers actually feed a live Octopus just mesmerized them. They are now dying to have me take them to an Aquarium! How cool is that? Thank goodness spring break is next week so we can consider making that wish come true, right? Shhh… don’t tell my kids! It’s a surprise!

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You’ll find all sorts of great educational material embedded within each episode of these Wild Kratts adventures. I know you will see your kid’s interests in animals and their habitats and “creature powers” blossoming right before your eyes in no time. These episodes are addicting! You can’t watch them just once! lol.

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Please grab your copy of the newest Wild Kratts adventures on DVD and pick up Shark-Tastic for your family to enjoy!

JOIN THE KRATT BROTHERS ON
“SHARK-TASTIC” ADVENTURES IN A NEW DVD

 

“WILD KRATTS: SHARK-TASTIC” Available
from PBS Distribution April 14

PBS KIDS Series WILD KRATTS Helps Kids Learn Science
by Exploring Animals and Their “Creature Powers”

 

SHARK-TASTIC” includes four episodes of the PBS KIDS hit series WILD KRATTS, two of which are bonus episodes! From learning about the favorite prey of great white sharks, to gaining insight into how dolphins communicate, kids will be exposed to fascinating facts about sharks and other sea creatures in this fun-filled DVD. Animals highlighted in these four stories include a hawksbill turtle, dolphins, a tiger shark, a giant pacific octopus, great white sharks, a bowhead whale, a manta ray and many more.

In each episode of WILD KRATTS, creature teachers Chris and Martin Kratt take kids and their families along on extraordinary animal-powered adventures. The show transforms the Kratt Brothers, creators of the award-winning KRATTS’ CREATURES and Emmy-winning ZOBOOMAFOO, into animated versions of themselves, allowing the real-life zoologists to visit wild animals in their little-seen habitats and showcase key science concepts along the way. WILD KRATTS airs weekdays on PBS KIDS (check local listings).

Check out all the cool games and learning apps available from Wild Kratts series at PBSKIDS.org as well. My kids love them!

Thanks for visiting today friends. Please check out our other PBSKIDS DVD reviews and tell me some of your favorite Wild Kratts episodes or favorite PBSKIDS characters in the comments below. Don’t miss visiting our Giveaways Page for some PBSKIDS movie giveaways on occasion too!

– Rebecca