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Dawn Henthorn

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Mother's Day Weekend Adventures and Getaways

Wednesday April 23, 2014
Flower Child at Epcot International Flower and Garden FestivalMother's Day — May 11 — will be here sooner than you think. If you can't decide what to get Mom, there's nothing wrong with flowers and chocolate... but why not give her something a little different? Here are some suggestions for great Mother's day adventures and getaways that are sure to put a smile on her face.
  • Mom's get in FREE on Saturday or Sunday, May 10 & 11, to these great attractions. Be sure to read carefully — most offers require a purchase of a full-price ticket and some deals require printing a coupon.
  • Mom's are sure to have a good tine at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, and festival-goers can top off the day with a Flower Power concert featuring Chubby Checker & The Wildcats.
  • Book Mom on a Yacht StarShip Mother's Day Brunch Cruise sailing from Downtown Tampa on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 11 — the first 50 moms are FREE when you buy 3! Hurry on this one... the second cruise is already sold out, but the 11:00 a.m. cruise is still taking reservations. Call 813-223-7999 to receive this offer.
  • Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa is booking special Mother's Day Weekend getaway packages with deluxe rooms starting at just $130 and one- two- and three-bedroom suites at $150, $180 & $300 per night. Mothers will enjoy luxurious surroundings, pampering, recreation and special dining opportunities.
  • Biscayne Lady Yacht Charters will be sailing from Bayside Marketplace in Downtown Miami for a Mother's Day Brunch cruise on Sunday, May 11 at 11:00 a.m. Cost is $75 for adults and $43 for children — purchase online and save $10!
  • The Innisbrook Resort in Tampa Bay will be offering a Mother's Day Brunch Buffet in the Edinburgh Ballroom; a Mother's Day Dinner at Packard's Steakhouse; and, a Mother's Day a la Carte Brunch at the Market Salamander Grille. Reservations are suggested.
  • Enjoy a waterside Mother's Day Breakfast or Brunch at Lattitudes on the Beach located within the Marriott Hollywood Beach. This indoor/outdoor restaurant will fill up quickly, so call 954-924-2202 today for reservations!
  • Orlando's Rosen Shingle Creek Resort is hosting a number of Mother's Day special events, including their 4th Annual Mother Daughter Tea and Ballet (price $22 per person, plus tax; $16 for ages 4-7; 3 and under free). A Mother's Day Brunch will be available from 11:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Cafe Osceola ($65.95 for adults; $29.95 for children 4-11). What about a "Make our Moms Smile" (MOMS) stay package? The offer includes deluxe accommodations — book one night and get a complimentary second night — a 25% discount on spa services AND the Mother's Day Brunch; complimentary WiFi and late checkout. The offer is based on availability May 10-11, 2014. Additional activities include kids crafts — decorating a card and flower pot, breakfast in bed for Mom, poolside spa service, and more (some requiring additional charges).
  • The upscale Cafe Nola at Jacksonville's Museum of Contemporary Art will be serving a Mother's Day Brunch from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. with a FREE mimosa for all moms ($25 for adults; $8 for children under 10).
  • Celebrate with a Mother's Day JAZZ BRUNCH at the Hilton Garden Inn in Pensacola featuring live entertainment. Cost is $25.95 for adults; $11.95 for children 10 and under; children ages 3 and under FREE. Call 850-479-8900 for reservations.

Of course, there are many restaurants and hotels throughout Florida offering Mother's Day specials. Check with your favorite getaway location for details and cost.

Photo © The Walt Disney Company

Moms' FREE Admissions on Mother's Day

Tuesday April 22, 2014

Mother's Day is less than a month away — May 11, 2014. Would you like to plan something special for your mom? Short on cash? Here are some ideas that will help the budget and give Mom a great day away:

  • Moms love flowers, so why not take her to Flamingo Gardens for the 9th Annual African Violet Show & Sale — Saturday & Sunday, May 10 & 11, from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Best of all, mothers will be admitted FREE on Mother's Day (Sunday, May 11) with the purchase of any regular-priced admission; AND, click here for a general admission coupon that saves $2 off an adult ticket and $1 off a child's ticket. If you aren't too good in the kitchen and have a little money to spend, a Mother's Day Brunch is also available Sunday, May 11, 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Flamingo Pond and price includes admission to Flamingo Gardens for the day — non-member prices $44.95 adult, $34.95 mother, or $29.95 child (ages 4-11) or members $34.95 for adults and $24.95 for children ages 4-11.
  • If you think Mom would enjoy a walk on the wild side, Mother's Day Weekend at Lowry Park Zoo is the place to be. Moms will be admitted FREE on either Saturday or Sunday, May 10 or 11, with the purchase of a son or daughter's full-priced ticket (adult or child). Lowry Park is open from 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. each day. This offer cannot be combined with other discounts and must be purchased on May 10 or 11, 2014.
  • Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is offering Moms FREE admission on Mother's Day with coupon. Also, the Jax Zoo is offering a Mother's Day Brunch, Sunday, May 11, from 10:00 a.m. until 12 noon with special activities planned. Cost for adults is $24.95 for members, $28.95 for non-members; for children $9.95 for members and $12.95 for non-members. Reservations are required by May 8. Call 904-757-4463, ext. 200. Brunch prices do not include Zoo admission.
  • Visit the Florida Aquarium on Mother's Day Weekend — May 10 or 11 — and Mom will receive FREE admission with the purchase of a full-paid admission. Offer is only available at the box office on those dates only. Read More...

National Pie Festival Dishes Up Sweet Fun

Monday April 21, 2014
American Pie

For the 13th year, the Great American Pie Festival will dish up sweet fun for two flavor-filled days in Celebration this month — Saturday & Sunday, April 26 & 27.

The pie festival will be held in conjunction with the 19th Annual American Pie Council/Crisco National Pie Championships in Orlando, April 25-27. Amateur, professional and commercial bakers will be staying at an "upper crust" resort — Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel and Convention Center — where they will be busy preparing their best pies for the championships (the contest is closed to the public). Entries are expected to bake over 800 pies across all categories! That's a lot of pie... no matter how you slice it!

The family-friendly festival in Celebration is free. Either day, festival-goers can enjoy an afternoon of pie-eating contests, baking demonstrations, music, entertainment and craft vendors. Young pie lovers can make their own pies at the Comstock Creation Station, make pie tin art, make a "PieCasso" painting or play in inflatable bounce houses. While admission to the festival is free, there is a $10 charge for the children's activities and for the Never Ending Pie Buffet ($10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12 and seniors age 65 and older), featuring thousands of award-winning pie slices.

Celebration is located off I-4 between Disney World and Kissimmee. From eastbound I-4, take Exit 62 at Highway 417 (toll road) toward U.S. Hwy. 192. Turn right onto Celebration Avenue and left onto Sycamore Street. From westbound I-4, take Exit 64 to U.S. Hwy. 192 toward Kissimmee. Turn right onto Celebration Avenue and left onto Sycamore Street.

Photo Gary S. Chapman/Getty Images

Easter Weekend Events and Tips

Tuesday April 15, 2014
Flowers at Epcot Flower & Gardent Festival

While it looks like the weather for Easter Sunday in Florida will be quite good with temperatures in the high 70s or low- to mid-80s, we all might need an umbrella on Friday and Saturday. North Florida is forecast for a 60 percent chance of rain on Friday, while the rest of the state will have a 40 percent chance on Friday and 30 percent on Saturday. If you haven't already made plans, you might want to consider these things to do when it rains in Florida.

Easter may not be the best time to visit Disney World to avoid crowds, but these April tips will help make your spring vacation more pleasant. The best chances for rain are Friday and Saturday, so follow these things to do when it rains at Disney World for a wet but wonderful time.

Easter weekend events:

  • The Ford Winter Estate is celebrating 50 Years of Mustang on Saturday, April 19, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. The admission price of $20 also includes the audio tour of the homes, gardens, lab and museum at the Estate.
  • Dress up those little ones and take along a camera to capture some memorable photos at these popular Meet the Bunny Opportunities!
  • Ron Jon's 50th Easter Surfing Festival will take place in Shepard Park in Cocoa Beach from Friday, April 18 through Sunday, April 20. There will be a Sunrise Service on Sunday morning.
  • The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival continues in full bloom this weekend with workshops and Flower Power concerts featuring The Grass Roots appearing on stage Friday through Sunday -- April 18-20. All can be enjoyed for just the price of regular Epcot admission.
  • Enjoy Easter Egg Hunts at Green Meadows Farm in Kissimmee Thursday, April 17 through Sunday, April 20, 2014.
  • Catch some beads at Universal Orlando's Mardi Gras where Kool & the Gang will appear in concert Saturday evening.
  • Enjoy a spectacular Easter sunrise at Bok Tower Gardens and stay for the special afternoon Easter Carillon recitals.

Photo © Dawn Henthorn, licensed to About.com

Buy SunFest 2014 Tickets Now

Sunday April 13, 2014
SunFest

SunFest, Florida's largest waterfront music and art festival, will kick off April 30 and continue for five music-filled days. Of course, SunFest, held along the downtown West Palm Beach waterfront, is all about the music; and, the 2014 artist lineup seems poised to excite a wide range of fans — from rock to reggae and country to hip-hop. The family-friendly event also features a Youth Park open Friday through Sunday and a firework spectacular to close the event Sunday evening. If you are planning to attend, and if you want to save money, be sure to purchase your tickets online before April 26.

  • What: SunFest 2014
  • When: April 30 - May 4, 2014
  • Where: Downtown West Palm Beach

Photo © SunFest

LEGOLAND Florida Water Park Opens for Season

Friday April 11, 2014
LEGOLAND Florida Water Park

LEGOLAND Florida's Water Park will open for the season — Saturday, April 12. The water park is specifically designed for families with children ages 2-12 and features more than four-million LEGO bricks in an interactive water environment. It's water play for the entire family! The water park will be open daily from 10:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. daily with extended hours to 6:00 p.m. from June 28 through August 16 and will close for the season after September 28.

Admission to LEGOLAND Florida is required with an upgrade of $15 for admission to the water park. You can save $15 off regular LEGOLAND Florida admission by picking a date and purchasing your ticket online in advance.

Key West Songwriters' Festival

Monday April 7, 2014
GuitarMark your calendar and make your reservations! The 2014 Key West Songwriters' Festival will kick off Wednesday, May 7, and continue for five days and nights through Sunday, May 11. The festival features more than 100 top songwriters and revolves around more than 30 shows, staged at more than 25 of Key West's most popular drinking holes and hot spots, and introduces fans to the face, voices and stories behind the songs.

Read more about Key West:

Plan Your Trip to Key West:

Photo © Dawn Henthorn, licensed to About.com

Ford Winter Estate Celebrating 50 Years of Ford Mustang

Sunday April 6, 2014
Ford Mustang Beach Party

Nothing draws generations of car fans together than the Ford Mustang — its as popular today as it was 50 years ago. Where better to celebrate 50 years of Mustangs than at Henry Ford's Estate on the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers where collectors will showcase their Mustangs riverside.

The event will feature live music with BBQ and beverages available for purchase. The admission price of $20 includes the audio tour of the homes, gardens, lab and museum.

  • What: Celebrating 50 Years of Ford Mustang
  • Where: Edison & Ford Winter Estates
  • When: Saturday, April 19, 2014 - 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Cost: $20 (Edison-Ford Members FREE)

Photo © Tom Kelley/Getty Images

Wednesday Weekend Roundup

Wednesday April 2, 2014
Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

This weekend expect partly cloudy skies during the weekend throughout most of the state with temperatures in the high 70's to mid-80s. The Panhandle may experience isolated thunderstorms throughout the weekend and Jacksonville scattered showers on Saturday, so you might want to pack an umbrella or poncho just in case and check out one of these things to do when it rains in Florida. Otherwise, get out and enjoy these great events:

  • Friday, Saturday & Sunday — April 4, 5 & 6 — enjoy blues performers, barbecue and seafood, children's activities, arts, and crafts at Springing the Blues Festival held at Jacksonville Beach's Seawalk Pavilion. The Festival kicks off Friday at 5:00 p.m.
  • Grab some grub First Friday Food Trucks roll into Flamingo Gardens from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. — 15 food trucks will be on hand, a DJ will spin tunes and parking is free.
  • Look for celebrities around town as the Sarasota Film Festival kicks off Friday evening featuring Last Days of Vietnam, a documentary directed by Rory Kennedy (daughter of Ethel Kennedy).
  • The Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In provides the last chance for the public to visit Polk City's Fantasy of Flight which last day of operation is Sunday, April 6. The Navy's Blue Angels will perform at 4:30 each day and Saturday airplane and car enthusiasts can enjoy Mustangs & Mustangs — a tribute that will include displays of both.
  • Saturday grab the kids and head to SeaWorld Orlando for its Just For Kids Festival which is included with park admission. This family-friendly event is part of SeaWorld's 50th Celebration.
  • Catch some beads at Universal Orlando's Mardi Gras where Skillet will appear in concert Saturday evening.
  • The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival continues in full bloom this weekend with workshops and Flower Power concerts featuring Paul Revere & The Raiders appearing on stage Friday through Sunday — April 4-6. All can be enjoyed for just the price of regular Epcot admission.
  • This weekend enjoy food fit for a king, along with crafts, period performers and continuous entertainment at the Florida Renaissance Festival in Miami.

Photo © Dawn Henthorn, licensed to About.com

Sun 'n Fun Fly-In Provides Last Chance to See Fantasy of Flight

Wednesday April 2, 2014
Blue Angels

Early last month, Fantasy of Flight announced it would close April 6. How ironic that the last days of the attraction will draw thousands to the 40th Annual Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In, featuring aerial performances by the Navy's Blue Angels Friday, Saturday and Sunday — April 4-6 — at 4:30 p.m. each day. Additionally, activities open to the public are tomorrow's Sun 'n Fun Splash-In and Saturday's 17th Annual Mustangs and Mustangs — featuring both the cars and planes.

Admission tickets for Sun 'n Fun are $37/day for adults and $15/day for youth (ages 11-17) with children age 10 and under admitted free. Weekly and VIP upgraded tickets are available.

Fantasy of Flight is located off I-4 halfway between Orlando and Tampa in Polk City.

Photo © Blue Angels

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