Palm Beach Zoo Receives Community Development Grant from Bank of America Charitable Foundation

 The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society announced that it has been named a recipient of The Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s 2014 Community Development Grant. The grant is part of a $402,500 collective donation to address issues related to affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization in South Florida. The grants will help individuals and families regain and maintain financial stability through access to affordable housing, preparing future homeowners, providing financial education or contribute to the area’s economic development by supporting work that contribute to the vitality of our communities.

The Zoo is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which attracts more than 300,000 visitors a year. The Zoo has a mission of inspiring people to act on behalf of wildlife and the natural world. Bank of America’s grant will help the Zoo to accommodate more economically disadvantaged students in education programs. The number of students who qualify as economically disadvantaged continues to grow, as does the number of Title I schools in Palm Beach County. The Bank of America grant will expand the Zoo’s capacity to serve these students.

For years, Bank of America has invested in community development grants throughout South Florida. This year alone, the grants will impact approximately 354,855 individuals in South Florida. 

“It is crucial to assist in driving economic development and revitalizing the West Palm Beach area so we can build a healthy and vibrant community. Through the Community Development Grant, Bank of America is making a lasting impact and we are honored to be a recipient,” said Zoo President & CEO Andrew Aiken. “Bank of America provides a great example of the potential of corporate social responsibility with this grant and a model for investing in nonprofits who are serving the critical needs of those in their local communities.”

The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society is located at 1301 Summit Boulevard in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, except Thanksgiving and Christmas. For more information, visit www.palmbeachzoo.org.

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Kinsights’ Parenting Expert Jennifer Chung Invites You to Jump on the Halloween Bandwagon With These Fun Party Ideas

Halloween is just around the corner and it’s time to get your family into the mood for some frightful fun. Who doesn’t love Halloween? This year why not consider throwing your kids a creative and fun Halloween party that’s sure to make their whole season spooky good. Kinsights Founder Jennifer Chung shares her spot on Halloween recipes, activities and décor that will have your little monsters begging for more!

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Day of the Dead Cookies can be incredibly fun to make with your kids and it’s easy to just make sugar cookies and then decorate.

If you’re looking to make sure the kids have something to eat at the party besides sweets, Halloween quesadillas are made to look like pumpkins and taste really good.

Candy Corn Rice Krispie Treats are something your kids can help make and you can easily wrap them in cellophane and hand them out after the party as gifts.

Halloween Puppy Chow is one of our favorite things to have out on tables for people to munch on.

White Chocolate Candy Popcorn is another yummy and easy to make snack that is great for having around your house.

Activities

Have some fun activities for your party so kids can keep entertained. In fact, some of these can be made with your kids before the party so they can feel like they’re helping decorate, and others can be set up on a craft table where kids can create while parents hang out.

Sugar Skulls can be a fun craft if you make the skulls ahead of time and then just let kids decorate the skulls. Or, even easier yet, you can purchase the skulls at a local craft store.

Painting with Spiders is an easy activity that most kids can do. Simply get a container or a sectioned plate with different washable paints, paper, and small plastic spiders. They’ll be creating spooky masterpieces in no time.

Get their minds active and working hard while learning to identify new words with a Halloween Word Search.

Home Décor

You want your home to fit the mood of the day, so decide if you’re going to be spooky or more on the lighter side. Here are a few suggestions.

The “Enter if you dare” wreath is a fantastic addition to your front door and will get people excited about knocking to find out what’s going on inside.

Mummy Mason jars are fun for decorating your table and putting lights in for the night time hours.

Black Cat Bunting is great for putting behind serving tables or anywhere inside your home.

Kinsights is an advice-sharing network for parents.  Whether you have questions about a medical condition, local schools, or potty training, they will connect you with relevant, experienced parents who can provide great advice.  And Kinsights is free for any parent!

Less than two weeks remain to experience the terror that is Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights

 Flesh-eating Walkers, deranged killer Michael Myers, and the universe’s most deadly creatures in the midst of a raging battle are just a few of the horrors that await at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 24. Guests have just two more weeks to experience the top-rated terror for themselves from now until Nov. 1. Halloween Horror Nights has been rated the Best Halloween Event six years in a row by Amusement Today and was recently named one of Travel’s Best Halloween Attractions by Travel Channel.  

With terrifying experiences based on the biggest names in horror and pop culture, this year’s event features some of the highest-rated guest experiences in Halloween Horror Nights history including eight all-new haunted houses, horrifying street experiences and two live shows.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at HalloweenHorrorNights.com/Orlando. Guests can also book a Halloween Horror Nights hotel and ticket package that includes event tickets, park-to-park tickets and accommodations at a Universal Orlando hotel to stay right in the midst of all the action. Due to the event’s popularity, tickets for weekend nights are expected to sell out and should be purchased well in advance.

The Downtown Himmarshee Village Association presents Trick or Treat on SW 2nd Street

The Downtown Himmarshee Village Association Presents Trick or Treat on SW Second Street on Saturday, October 25th, from 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. This FREE event is South Florida’s largest annual Halloween themed block party. Southwest 2nd Street will be filled with multiple bars with great drink specials and live DJ’s will keep the music pumping all night long. There will be a Costume Contest with $10,000 in cash and prizes, so be sure to be creative and dress to impress.

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Event sponsors include: Premier Beverage, Gold Coast Beverage Distributors, Heineken, Heineken Light, Dos Equis, Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale, Bacardi Oakheart and Bacardi. This event will take place rain or shine.

Participating businesses include: America’s Backyard, Briny’s Irish Pub, Bull-Market, Capone’s, Cyn Nightclub, Dicey Riley’s, E-Bar, Himmarshee Public House, Lucky’ s Tavern, Original Fat Cats, Revolution Live, ROK:BRGR, Squiggy’s New York Pizza, Stache, Tarpon Bend and T-Mex Cantina.

For more information contact Cristina Hudson at DHVA-Events@Outlook.co m or 954.815.3393.

Second Annual Tommy Hilfiger ZooRun5K and Kidz Medical Services ZooKidsDash at Zoo Miami, November 16, 2014

Zoo Miami again will host a 5K race it can call its own! The Zoological Society of Florida and West Kendall Baptist Hospital have partnered to offer two fun, wild events on November 16, 2014. Unlike other 5Ks and walks held at the zoo, this event will offer benefits that only the team at the zoo can offer, running through the Zoo Miami exhibit path and bringing back memories of the renowned Jungle Jog run that started 31 years ago and ended in 2002.  

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The Tommy Hilfiger ZooRun5K, which sold out in its inaugural year, is for folks of every speed – from cheetah to tortoise – so no matter your pace, come out for fun and exercise. This 3.1 mile timed race is walker-friendly and will take place around the entire zoo. The Kidz Medical Services ZooKidsDash is a race for kids ages 2 – 9. This race will include a range of distances from 100 to 525 meters and opportunities to interact with Gigi, Kaz and Pio – the popular Zoo Squad mascots.  

“We are pleased to team up with West Kendall Baptist Hospital again to bring back the excitement of 5K running at the zoo!  With 2,000 race registrants already, we know that children and families want to be at Zoo Miami to experience this amazing park.  Come take a walk (or run!) on the wild side!” said Ron Magill, Zoo Miami Communications and Media Relations Director.

“West Kendall Baptist Hospital is thrilled to partner with Zoo Miami in hosting this 5K race.  This event is an extension of our three year partnership focused on the health of our environment and our community. With the Healthy Zoo, Healthy You initiative, part of the Healthy West Kendall coalition, we hope to inspire our community to make healthy living a priority,” said Michelle Mejia, AVP, at West Kendall Baptist Hospital. “What better way than to get outdoors and run with the animals.”

The Tommy Hilfiger ZooRun5K pre-sale price of $30 is valid today through October 28 and increases to $35 from October 29 through November 15.  Registration fees will increase to $45 on race day. The Kidz Medical Services ZooKidsDash pre-sale price of $10 is valid today through November 15 and increases to $17 on the day of the race. An additional processing fee will be added per transaction.  The first 4,000 5K and 1,000 Kids Dash registrants will receive free admission to Zoo Miami, a premium t-shirt, themed finisher medal, post race food and a race unlike any in South Florida. As if all of this weren’t enough, race registrants can purchase Zoo Miami tickets for friends and family with a 50% discount on race day! To register, visit http://zoomiami.org/run.

Vampires, werewolves, and crazed clowns take over G-Star School of the Arts for X-Scream Halloween 2014

The war between vampires and werewolves is almost as ancient as the human race itself. It has been portrayed on television as well as the silver screen, and can be experienced first hand as the main theme of the ninth edition of X-Scream Halloween at the G-Star School of the Arts in Palm Springs, FL.

This year, more than 130 students produced, constructed, and perform in the spirited event, all under the supervision of George Colavecchio. Many of the students involved in X-Scream are 14 or 15 years of age, and during each of the past nine years, George’s involvement has become less and less hands on.

George is quick to point out that he is only there to provide some artistic direction and assistance, but everything including makeup, set design, construction, and even concession is done by his young crew. They have done so well that their program has received national attention from the Travel Channel, which named them one of the top haunted attractions in the country a few years ago.

Now, the charter high school is preparing to start the first show makeup elective in the country, and is also hard at work putting together a curriculum for special effects and lighting design. None of this would be possible if it weren’t for the success of X-Scream Halloween, and the drive and passion of the students involved in the program.

If you amongst the lucky ones to arrive before the haunted soundstage opens, be sure to catch the preshow outside the main building. There, you will be able to see all of the actors as they rush into the assembled crowd, and pose for a unique photo opportunity.

For 2014, the attraction is centered inside the state-of-the-art soundstage, where you can get a glimpse into the daily lives of vampires and lycan alike. While in line, you are shown a brief news account demonstrating some of the history of the centuries long conflict, and then split into small groups to travel through the haunt.

The maze utilizes state of the art animatronics as well as traditional scare tactics to keep you on your toes. The student actors are incredibly motivated, and all seem to hit their marks.

There are two stage shows that showcase some of the talented individuals who attend the G-Star School of the Arts, as well as a rendition of Thriller by the cadavers dance team that would make professional dancers do a double take. The shows are even more impressive when you consider the fact that the school currently has neither music nor dance classes!

In addition to the vampire and werewolf themed haunts, this year’s event features an all new haunted amusement park, compete with “Ghoulie Golf,” bounce houses, thrill rides, and concessions of all kinds. It also includes a special behind the scenes theatrical presentation that is included with your paid admission.

The scariness continues on October 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., with the last ticket being sold at 11 p.m. Tickets are available at the box office on site, as well as online.

Remember that Halloween is a time for fun and frivolity. It is a time to come out of your shell, and to acknowledge the mischievous spirit that resides within all of us. Be sure to keep following this column for news on other spooky events and more. If you know of another local event that needs additional undead light shone upon it, please tell me about it!

Brick-or-Treat Begins at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort

Beginning in early October, guests invaded LEGOLAND® Florida Resort for the kid-friendly Halloween celebration of Brick-or-Treat presented by Wells Fargo! This spooky event takes place weekends in October, featuring trick-or-treating along the brick-or-treat trail, super brick build activities, the largest LEGO® Jack-O-Lantern in the world, Halloween entertainment and an all-kids costume contest with brick-tastic prizes!

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Activities include:

  • LEGO Ghost Build – Kids can help build an 8’ tall super brick ghost model
  • LEGO Scary Scavenger Hunt in Miniland- Families can venture through Miniland searching for Ghost models to unscramble the secret word. All participants can enter for a chance to win LEGO prizes and tickets to LEGOLAND Florida!
  • Brick-or-Treat Trail- New this year, limited quantities of a special commemorative LEGO brick will be distributed on the Brick-or-Treat Trail! Children can trick-or-treat on the Brick-or-Treat Trail- gathering goodies, delicious treats and other surprises. This kid-sized cul-de-sac trail features several LEGO-themed treat stations and offers a safe, fun and entertaining trick-or-treating experience.
  • Emmet’s ‘Everything is Awesome’ Costume Contest- The LEGO® Movie’s own Emmet will make a special appearance at the Wells Fargo 4D Theater for each contest. LEGOLAND Costume Contest is grouped into the following categories:
  1. 0-4 years
  2. 5-7 years
  3. 8-12 years
  • Meet & Greet with new LEGO Halloween Characters
  • Dance Party at the end of each night
  • Photo opportunities with the largest LEGO pumpkin in the world

LEGOLAND Florida will have extended hours throughout the celebration during weekends in October. Please visit Florida.LEGOLAND.com for exact times.

Brick-or-Treat is included in regular park admission.