jungle island
March 26, 2008

jungle island

1111 Parrot Jungle Trail
Miami, Florida 33132

+305 400 7000

Open Hours: 10a-6p; 365 days a year


I am a big fan of old Florida, which is why I cried the day I heard Parrot Jungle, a Miami bastion of old Florida was closing its original park in favor of swankier Miami digs. You can’t blame me for mentally hammering the last nail in the coffin when I heard the admission to the new 18 acre park was $27.95 adult/$22.95 for kids 3+, with an additional $7.00 to park. Foggeddaboutit. So imagine my surprise recently when I dropped by the park and took them up on their offer to get an annual pass for the price of a single admission. What was a bad deal for a single visit turns out to be a very good deal when you’ve got a toddler (free admission), and you want something fun to do throughout the year. Even without the promotion, an annual adult pass is only $38.95. The best part is, if you scrape away the shiny veneer, the old Florida peeks through. They still have the fantastic macaws out for hand feeding, they still have a bird show, and they have a killer playground area and petting zoo. I DO think their admission is too high for single visits especially when compared with the MetroZoo (300+ acres; $14 a/$10 c), or Disney (gazillion acres; $71 a/$60 c). AND, I can’t quite forgive them for turning their back on the old Parrot Jungle. But, like the park’s famous Liger, this new hybrid has some interesting, if slightly schizophrenic charms.


a to z toys
January 29, 2008

A to z alpha

728 W 41st St
Miami Beach, FL 33140
+305 532 5250

Open Hours: 9a-6:30p sun, 9a-7p m-th, **9-sundown fri, closed sat

kiddlywinksSometimes that which we love is also the most deeply flawed. So it is with this great toy store. TO LOVE: This is hands down the best toy store in all of Miami when it comes to quality and the range of toys they stock. Hard to find (not made in China) lines like Haba, Selecta, and Plan sit on the shelves with Baby Einstein, Ravensburger, Brio, Playmobil, Papo, Thomas the Tank Engine, great dress up, cool science toys, balls, hoops, and tons more. NOT TO LOVE: This store should be about three times the size, because things are so piled up you can’t get a stroller in the door, and you take the chance that your kid might be crushed in a cascade of boxes at any moment. You definitely can’t see everything that’s there, even though it’s all excellent. A frustration for self-sufficient shoppers everywhere. ALSO: this store caters to the orthodox community and the owner is observant, so the closing time is VERY erratic on Friday afternoons and they are closed all day Saturday, two of the busiest toy hunting times for non-observant birthday party attendees. However, if you love good toys, the positives outweigh the negatives, and it’s worth going back. Just call ahead to make sure they are open, or you risk frustration.