Party Gifts

We go to a lot of birthday parties (as most parents with little ones do).  Every time we have a party to attend, I get weirdly excited to go find a present.  Then, days beforehand, I find myself in Target searching the aisles and seeing the same toys over and over again – the excitement turned to total dread.

So, I’ve scoured a couple of places in Miami for better gifting options (and have gotten some good ones), and here are some safe bets:

  • Learning Express: Located in the Promenade shops at Aventura (Chuck E Cheese, Nordstrom Rack, Michaels…you know the one).  LE Has tons of cool toys, books, artsy stuff, blocks, et al.  If you need to get something for a baby just starting with toys they have a good selection of that as well.
  • Books & Books (Lincoln Rd, Bal Harbor & Coral Gables): Books are always a good option, and B&B has a great kids selection combined with little knick knacks if you want to spice up the gift.  They gift wrap everything which is a double bonus because it saves you that extra trip/money/effort.  (side note: B&B is an especially good option if you’re stranded on Lincoln Rd and need to bribe responsibly calm your child with something interesting).
  •  Miami Children’s Museum: Two options here – you can buy a family pass if you’re attending the party of a good friend (they often have deals and specials), OR you can check out the Kid Smart gift shop. They have lots of cools gifts and gadgets – definitely they place for a little one who is into science/space that kind of thing.
  • A to Z toys:  Located on 41st St between Chase and Prairie, A to Z is like a treasure chest of toys.  If you’ve never been, prepare to be overwhelmed with the inventory stuffed into this little shop.  It is VERY expensive, BUT, they truly have everything you could want or need – and wouldn’t find elsewhere.  The owner amazingly knows everything in there – prices too.
  • Genius Jones: Good ol’ Genius Jones. The “new” store is now in Wynwood, which can be great if you work in Downtown/Brickell and need a quick but cute stop.  This inventory is more for the baby set (and is pricey), but GJ always has something cute but a little different.

Earth Day!

Earth Day is this Monday, April 22nd, and a variety of locations are hosting family-themed Earth Day events this weekend.  Below, a round up of the best ones.  But first, I loved this article in the Herald entitled, Vegan is the ‘new green’ for Earth Day.  The author discusses eating a meat-free diet and how meat eating is destroying our environment.  As someone who avoids meat (for the most part), I’m often asked why.  And this article answers a big part of that. Nuff said…

  • Food & Garden Festival at Fairchild Tropical Garden – Saturday the 20th and Sunday the 22nd: An annual celebration of local foods and the gorgeous gardens they grow in combined with the 34th Annual Spring Plant Sale. Tips, recipes, demos, a farmers market,  an Edible Garden, and culinary kids’ activities in the KidWay all await. Monday, April 22nd they’re offering discounted entrance to the Gardens for Earth Day.
  • The Barnacle Historic State Park – The Earth Day celebration includes environmental displays by local and government environmental groups and green businesses. Music will be provided by Grant Livingston. April 21st.
  • Zoo Miami is having a “party for the planet” on the 20th and 21st.  The Tropical Flowering Tree Society will be hosting its annual plant show and sale. There will also be fun green activities and entertainment for the entire family as well as animal enrichment with recycled items and/or natural materials like newspapers, cardboard tubes, bamboo, old tires, fire hoses, and more. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Jungle Island – Green Life Miami featuring activities, shows and exhibits geared toward living green. Several interactive and educational stations will be positioned around the park including a recycling education station by WSI; healthy recipes and instructions provided by Publix; workshops by the Fertile Earth Foundation; grow your own herb garden with the Urban Oasis Project and many more activities. Guests can also enjoy an array of samples provided Naked ® Juices and the Mexzican Gourmet Food Truck. April 20th.
  • Marando Farms (April 21st): Up in Ft. Lauderdale, this farmers’ market promotes not using chemicals and pesticides. There will be special Earth Day activities including face painting, a bounce house, educational workshops and tours of the farm. Proceeds go back to the parks!
  • West Kendall is hosting it’s first ever Earth Day at Gold Coast Railroad Museum! The theme of the event is “Be Local & Live Green”. This FREE family-friendly event will have live entertainment, free bike valet service, children’s bounce house & activities, local crafts, food, art & products, green car show and local organizations that educate on how to reduce, reuse & recycle. 11 a.m.-4 p.m
  • Biscayne Bay Cleanup Day will take place Saturday, April 20 from 9 a.m. – noon. Residents can volunteer and help clean one of our most precious natural resources, Biscayne Bay, and its surroundings. Boaters can also participate.
  • On South Beach, a combined Earth Day and Arbor Day celebration will take place April 27th at Lummus Park.  It’s a participatory eco-art project by Xavier Cortada and
  • If you’re up for an adventure, Bahia Honda State Park (in the Keys) is hosting its 18th annual Earth Day Celebration April 20 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event includes family-fun activities such as a sand sculpture contest, face painting, and environmental exhibits geared towards children.