Category Archives: CLASSES & THINGS TO DO

Getting into Gumbo Limbo Boca Raton…

Being the true New Yorker that I am, I’m always secretly plotting my escape back to my “sacred city”. Although I constantly complain about South Florida’s humidity, or lack of exposure to culture and the arts. Or consistently compare all of Florida’s food to dining experiences in The Big Apple (let’s face it, have you ever had better pizza or pastrami anywhere else?), perhaps I’ve overlooked some of the pros the Sunshine State has to offer like Gumbo Limbo Boca Raton.

Since becoming a mom, I’ve started to really learn to see things in a different light. I mean the kind of light that’s broadens your awareness to all of the simple treasures each city brings to the table. In South Florida it is most certainly the Marine and Wildlife Preservation. More specifically in east Boca Raton, it’s The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center.

Gumbo Limbo Boca Raton

Over the past year we’ve frequented the Gumbo Limbo Boca Raton space learning all about Marine wildlife and falling in love with the baby sea turtles!

We always start out front just passed the parking lot with the stationary sea turtles, the boys just love getting to “ride” them.

Gumbo Limbo Boca Raton

We usually make our way from there straight to the tanks outside (remember to bring sunscreen!), there we can see the two large tanks with plenty of sea turtles, and starfish!

If you’re lucky you can catch the sea turtle feedings and learn plenty about all the different kinds of turtles there are. The staff is mostly volunteer based and all very knowledgeable.

Gumbo Limbo Boca Raton

Gumbo Limbo Boca Raton

Next to the tanks is the shipwreck with lots of fun! There are plenty of eel, stingray and hammerhead shark to watch, and again there are plenty of volunteers around to answer any questions you or your little ones may have.

Gumbo Limbo Boca Raton

On our most recent visit to Gumbo Limbo Boca Raton, we discovered the “Elevation Tower”.

One of the volunteers mentioned the long walk up the 39′ tower and how it would ensure a lengthy nap. Off we went (I may have sprinted)! Now THIS was cool!

There are different trails that you can walk (or run if you’re  one of my boys) that are completely covered in nature and all the creepy crawlers it has to offer, they were obsessed with all the different spiders and webs.

Gumbo Limbo Boca Raton

Once we hit the stairs we were climbing to the top! About halfway I heard a few complaints about needing a snack, but it was fairly easy to maneuver with two toddlers.

Gumbo Limbo Boca Raton

The view alone was well worth the wait! Couldn’t help but get someone to snap a pic of us three musketeers, I so rarely make an appearance I’m so busy snapping away!

Gumbo Limbo Boca Raton

Everyone was happy and enjoying the breeze, a lovely reward after trekking in the hot Florida sun.

Gumbo Limbo Boca Raton

After snack and water, (totally not allowed up there) and a few too many scary “whoa I’m falling” games with a nervous mommy, we were ready to take the trip back down to solid ground. But not after taking in the moment and remembering to “just be”. All too soon they will be grown up and busy with their own lives, I try to embrace all of these simple special moments and collect them. Finding local treasures like this has allowed us to do that.

As promised, when we hit the bottom level the boys were exhausted. I decided to head towards the exit/parking lot, but not before we hit up some more creepy crawler exhibits and activities.

Gumbo Limbo Boca Raton

We didn’t quite get the nap at home as hoped, but they did fall asleep in the car. At least it was long enough for this busy mom to eat a snack in the car before we were off on our next adventure.

Each time we go to the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center we discover something new. Can’t wait to see what we find next time!


Erika is a Write-at-Home Mom of two boys, Evan & Nate. A self professed Bookworm and Advocate for Play, she created a blog called Essentially Erika that follows her journey getting back to basics and discovering what’s essential.  

You can follow Essentially Erika on FacebookInstagram & Twitter.

This Kids Gym REALLY ROCKS! Check Out We Rock the Spectrum Boca Raton

It’s raining, it’s pouring, it’s…SUMMER in South Florida! I think I conveniently forgot about “rainy season” when moving back from NYC…oops.  A friend of mine just equated this weather to “Boca’s version of a dreary winter.”  So true.  I think I may need that plastic stroller cover after all… So, what is there to do with your child when the sunny summer weather isn’t so sunny? Mom of 3, Gail Nobile Field, certainly found one awesome solution by opening up kids gym, We Rock the Spectrum Boca Raton! The indoor kids gym in Boca Raton.

Indoor kids gym in Boca Raton

Even though this isn’t a MOMpreneur Monday feature, I feel like it kind of should be. You see, after Gail’s son was diagnosed with autism at 18 months, she wanted to find a place in South Florida to take him to play and let some of that “natural toddler energy” out. She wanted to find somewhere that wasn’t your typical “sensory overload kids place,” a place where she wouldn’t have to say ‘I am sorry’ every five minutes because her son was a little different or not up to par with the other kids, somewhere where they felt welcome.

She scoured the internet and couldn’t find anything in our area to accommodate her child or any other children with a disorder like autism.  Gail’s research did not stop, however, and she went a little further and found out about We Rock The Spectrum Kids Gym for all Kids in California and thought, what an amazing place!   Their actual motto is: FINALLY A PLACE WHERE YOU NEVER HAVE TO SAY SORRY!  

Gail knew this looked like a place she and her family could call home and after reading further saw they had franchising opportunities…and after a lot of hard work and planning, We Rock the Spectrum Boca Raton was launched! It’s a great indoor kids gym in Boca Raton.

We Rock the Spectrum Boca Raton provides children (toddler – 11 years old) with a fun and motivational environment to help them in the areas of strength, movement, sensory processing, communication, positive behavior modification, social interactions and self-care skills. Their unique equipment assists all children in their neurological growth and development. In making sure We Rock sticks to their core mission of inclusion, they’ve also added a low-lit calming room for kids who might need a sensory break.

I took #dailybabyavery and her (boy)friend Channing there earlier this month (both kiddos just turned 1) and it was an eye-opening experience.  I am clearly new to the “kiddie gym” scene and wasn’t sure how Avery would do.  

Well, I’m happy to say that even one-year-olds love this place (and the staff was so nice!).  I mean…this was #dailbabyavery’s reaction when we finally left:

Indoor kids gym in Boca Raton

Sad face.  Don’t worry, she fell asleep in the car all of 5 minutes later.

We Rock the Spectrum Boca Raton Includes:
  • Suspended equipment with swings for balance and vestibular treatment
  • Crash mats and crash pillows for fun, motor planning, and strength
  • Tunnels
  • Zip line
  • Trampoline for building leg and core strength
  • Indoor play structure for climbing and increasing playground skills
  • Sensory-based toys
  • Motor play toys and equipment
  • Fine motor
  • Arts and crafts Area
  • Free Wireless Access

I really mean it when I saw the staff was so nice.  They were very invested in not only playing with the kids and facilitating all of the equipment, but also in the kids’ safety.  Super important at a kids gym, I think!

We Rock the Spectrum Boca Raton has open-play times ($14 per child, siblings discounted to $12 each) as well as classes and they can even host your next birthday party or private playdate!  Find out more information HERE.

Congratulations to Gail on the new opening of We Rock the Spectrum Boca Raton!  Be sure to LIKE them on Facebook HERE for all of the latest information and promotions.  

Rock on!  

The Boca Hamptons Plaza
9060 Kimberly Blvd, Suite 36-39
Boca Raton, Florida 3343

A Walk in the Park: Patch Reef Park in Boca Raton

Let’s talk about Patch Reef Park in Boca…but first: I really miss throwing all of my baby gear into the basket under the stroller, walking out of my apartment and powering along the paths of Hudson River Park in NYC (in the spring/summer, obvi) with beautiful city views and #dailybabyavery smiling in the sunshine!

IMG_1638

It sounds so idyllic…

The reality was that I had to squeeze our big stroller through our tiny apartment door, carry it down a bunch of stairs and then bump it and #dailybabyavery along over multiple broken sidewalks to even get to the park in the first place. It’s easy to mentally block out that stuff.

Yesterday, I took my baby to Patch Reef Park in Boca Raton. I had heard through the grapevine that there was a paved, fitness trail at the park, so I threw my jogging stroller easily in my trunk, grabbed a couple waters and a snack and drove the short distance to check it out. No squeezing through doors and broken sidewalks for suburban MBMom!

Patch Reef Park in Boca Raton, FL

Patch Reef Park in Boca has 55 acres of passive and active recreation facilities. Park facilities include a community center, softball and baseball fields, soccer/football fields, basketball courts, a fitness trail, a children’s playground, picnic pavilions and tennis courts.

I parked at the tennis center (which was beautiful and had a restroom- score!) and hit the trail…

Patch Reef Park in Boca

It was a smooth trail and the majority of it was shaded, so it doesn’t get too hot.  I also packed a blanket, so we could stop and play (and MBM could check her emails).

Patch Reef Park in Boca

I would love to come back another day with #modernbocadad or a friend to take advantage of the fitness stations.  They look challenging (enough), but aren’t intimidating. And, it’s a free way to exercise!

Patch Reef Park in Boca

 

 

Patch Reef Park in Boca

Last but not least, there is a killer playground called Pirate’s Cove with water features. It was built on a bouncy, cushioned, poured-in-place surface. I know that Avery will love it when she gets older!

Patch Reef Park in Boca

For my tennis aficionados, I checked out the programs that Patch Reef’s Tennis Center offers for kids. These are the two classes that really stood out to me. Cardio Tennis for Kids and they even have a Mommy and Me program for children 2-5 years old.  How cute would that be?  Where do you even buy a tiny tennis racket?

It was a great day in the park!


Now it’s time to hear from Modern Boca Moms: What’s your favorite park?  Post in the comments below!