Monday, March 26, 2018

Fun In Miami

Wynnwood Walls

We spent three nights and two days in Miami, but one of those days was spent at two nearby National Parks (Everglades and Biscayne). So, we really only had one day to explore Miami and we made the most of that one day! Unfortunately, the day was spotted with rain, but that really only put a damper on any beach plans we had (and notice the minis are in their suits ready for it). The minis were extremely disappointed when the weather cleared up late in the afternoon, that's also the time the beaches close apparently. I was not amused by their 5:00 p.m. close times (I had wrongly assumed they would be open until sunset). Maybe the family friendly beaches are open later in the summer? Anyways, enough with the ranting about the beaches closing times.

Since we spent the day after Disney at Cocoa Beach, we didn't get into Miami until dinner time. We checked into our Airbnb and promptly got onto Grubhub. A 24 inch cheese pizza was delivered to us shortly after, while the minis played in the backyard and I caught up on laundry.

Airbnb's are our go-to booking site. We have had wonderful experiences thus far with our Airbnb bookings. The highlights for us for booking through Airbnb: we have choices (apartment, condo, an entire house), can choose our desired location, access to full amenities (washer and dryer, kitchen, dishwasher, bathrooms, backyard, etc.), all for the price of a typical hotel room. I was really trying to stay away from fast food this trip (we succeeded until the very last two travel days) and having a full kitchen available to cook in helped immensely. Being able to do laundry halfway through the trip cut down on how much we needed to pack and how much laundry I had to do when we returned home. All bonuses in my book!

We wanted to try as much local food as possible (we succeeded in this too). Groovy's offering of a huge 24 inch pizza caught our eye instantly. The pizza was pretty good and Grubhub's prompt delivery made it even better since we were all tired from spending the day at the beach.

The massive pieces of pizza made it entertaining to watch the minis eat!

Showers and beds were on the to do list that first night. Disney, combined with a few hours at the beach, left us all tuckered out. The next morning involved homemade oatmeal, throwing on swimming suits (we had hoped to go to Crandon Park Beach), and heading to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. We found the location of our Airbnb house to be absolutely perfect: we were mere minutes from everywhere we wanted to go and near all of the major roads/highways that made getting in and out of Miami easy.

Vizcaya was absolutely gorgeous (although it was built to be gorgeous and have an older, historical look to it, as we learned on the tour). The minis preferred the garden and running through the garden maze while looking for lizards. 

Notice that look she's giving him. I had to remind them a few times not to push each other in the water. They had that kind of attitude with each other throughout the day.

The garden maze was their favorite.

The mangrove trees are amazing to see. We saw a lot of these during our time in Miami.

Notice the lizards on top of the statue's head!

We tried to move as quickly as we could inside the house because three minis were getting restless....

From Vizcaya, we added raincoats to the mix and went to Little Havana. We walked around, went into little shops, ate lunch at El Cristo, ate ice cream at Azucur, and gave the kids a quick history lesson about the Bay of Pigs Invasion (here ya go, I totally had to use Google to help me out with the lesson). One of my favorite things about Little Havana was hearing bands playing and Cuban music all throughout the streets.

She put flowers in her hair from Vizcaya and wore them proudly throughout lunch.

I had the veggies (above) and plantains, Hubs had this. The rice with black beans was amazing as were the plantains.

I loved the vibrant colors on the buildings and all of the street art.

My favorite moment in Little Havana happened at the visitors center/gift shop. Elizabeth was moving to the music playing and a group of Spanish women came up to her, clapped their hands,  kissed her head, and called her "beautiful baby." I noticed after our trip that everyone referred to her as "the baby" ("what does the baby want to drink?" "Can the baby have this?"). My grandpa Brownie's family (all from Mexico) does this too, yet somehow it took me 34 years to notice it!

Best ice cream ever. Harrison asked if we could come back to Miami this summer just for ice cream.

Coffee ice cream with Oreo's in it. Yum!

Domino Park. It's just like it sounds. A park with tables and people playing Dominoes. The Park was packed!

The statues around Little Havana were great for explaining Cuban American history to the minis. We had to see some of the statues from the car as we left Little Havana.

From Little Havana we went to Wynnwood Walls art district. Along the way we watched the drawbridge go up and a sail boat go through. This may have been the biggest highlight for the two youngest minis.

If you have a chance to go to Wynnwood Walls go! We loved looking at all of the wall art that is over all of the buildings in the area. I loved some of the small shops (I, of course, had a knack for picking out the most expensive pieces) in the area.

We live in a beautiful world. Yes, yes we sure do.

I'm partial to this saying on the sidewalk. Also, love my new Chacos. I pretty much lived in them this trip.

We made a stop at Panther coffee for refueling as we walked. I tried Nitro coffee for the first time (I know, I'm behind in these things. I blame my 'mom' title for this. Also, the nitro coffee isn't pictured because it didn't have a cute little heart) and loved it! Pricier than Bucks, but great coffee and a must try.

At this point in the day the rain had passed, the kids were fed, and they really wanted a beach. As we put GPS directions in for Crandon Park I noticed that the beach closed at 5 p.m. By the time we would have gotten there the beach would be minutes from closing. I confirmed my finding with locals who informed us all beaches in Miami close early. I was shocked. 

Quickly thinking back to our Miami To Do List, I remembered Bayfront Park (a park to play at along the waterfront). The minis were ok (not thrilled, but ok) with this turn of events.....until we got downtown to see that Bayfront Park was closed because they were setting up for an alternative music festival in the park. Talk about double disappointment! The free-roaming roosters provided some entertainment, as did a stroll through Bayside Mall and a band playing on the bay. Things really got okay when we came to a GapKids and I let them go shopping (insert eye roll).

While retail shopping wasn't at the top of the list for this vacation, the open air mall definitely made up for it.

After shopping, grabbing some local smoothies and baked goods, we went back to the house to play board games (courtesy of the Airbnb host because we told them we had children) and eat dinner.

We were able to go to bed in good time (well, the minis were at least. Hubs and I stayed up to watch a movie) because we had another full Miami day ahead of us: two nearby National Parks!

Restaurants we tried in Miami:
Dunkin' Donut. Yes a chain, but way better than the Dunkin's here in DM. It was also right down the street from the house.
Eden In Eden. Fantastic vegan and vegetarian options! I was a happy camper.
Milam's Market. Local family store that we got fresh breads and homemade hummus from to take with us in the car during our travels. 

I loved everything we did, tried, sampled, and ordered while in Miami. I was a tad worried about going to Miami with kids, but it's a very kid-friendly city (disclaimer note: we did not go to Miami Beach because it's college age central during spring break). I was pleasantly surprised by this and how easy it was to get around the city.