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Best family fun this weekend: Youth Fair, Easter bunnies arrive in South Florida

Jennifer Jhon
Contact ReporterSouth Florida Parenting

It’s the final weekend of the Florida Renaissance Festival at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach, and the start of the Miami-Dade County Fair (aka the Miami Youth Fair) at Tamiami Park. But the big news is the explosion of bunnies in South Florida. Life-sized Easter bunnies arrive for photo opportunities at malls across the region on Friday and Saturday, with parties for the whole family.

At The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens, the free festivities include a candy hunt, butterfly stilt walkers, jugglers, a DJ and magicians from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday in the Bloomingdale’s Court. Kids will get an Easter basket to fill with candy from mall retailers, and adults will get a free Easter-themed cocktail from BRIO Tuscan Grille. Kids can also pose for photos with the Easter bunny (for a fee) and take home a special gift. The Gardens Mall is at 3101 PGA Blvd.

Not content with one day of festivities, The Gardens Mall is having a Kids Club Easter Celebration on Saturday morning with a meet and greet with the Easter bunny, kids, music, crafts, cookie decorating and snacks. The Kid’s Club is free to join at

Pembroke Lakes Mall and most Simon malls (including Town Center in Boca, Coral Square in Coral Springs and The Falls in Miami) start photos with Mr. Bunny (for a fee) on Friday without fanfare, but Dadeland Mall is celebrating Bunny’s Arrival with games, an egg hunt and a petting zoo on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. Participants will receive a special Easter gift to take home, while supplies last. Dadeland is at 7535 N. Kendall Drive, Miami.

Many malls are also offering Easter bunny photos for special needs children this weekend; check their websites for details.

Beyond the bunnies, there is plenty for families in South Florida this weekend.

1. The Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition (aka The Youth Fair) opens its season at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Fair Expo Center at 10901 Coral Way (Tamiami Park) in Miami. The fair also opens at noon on Friday, making it a good way to spend the day off school in Miami-Dade and Broward counties (and Miami-Dade students get a free ticket through their schools). Enjoy carnival rides, exhibits, food, concerts, entertainment and more through April 16. Christian rock band Skillet plays Saturday, and the concert is included with admission. Advance tickets start at $10 ($14 at the gate), but discounts are offered online, and fairgoers can get $7 tickets on weekdays before 6 p.m. Kids 5 and under are always free.

2. The Palm Beach International Boat Show also opens Thursday with yachts, boats and accessories; kayak, paddle board and water toy demonstrations; IGFA School of Sportfishing seminars; and youth fishing clinics. The show runs along Flagler Drive in downtown West Palm Beach through Sunday. Tickets are $22; ages 6-15 are $12.

3. Get up and Spring Into Safety With BSO during the day off school Friday with bounce houses, meet-and-greets with deputies and firefighters, free child ID kits and a chance to spray the fire hose from 9 a.m. to noon at Cooper City Fire Rescue Station 28, 10550 Stirling Road in Cooper City.

4. Celebrate Plantation's Moonlit Movie & Business Expo on Friday, then stick around for a special 3D screening of “Finding Dory.” The event starts at 5 p.m. with a business expo and games, and a meet-and-greet with Dory, Nemo and Bailey the Beluga Whale begins at 5:30 p.m. The 3D glasses are provided, but bring chairs and blankets for the movie at 7:30 p.m. The Fountains is at 801 S. University Drive in Plantation.

5. Food Trucks invade Tropical Park in Miami every fourth Friday of the month from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Tropical Park is at 7900 Bird Road, Miami.


6. The Florida Renaissance Festival opens its final weekend at 10 a.m. Saturday. This is your last chance to step back in time with knights, jesters and royalty, as well as pirates, wenches, Vikings and more. Enjoy food, crafts, demonstrations, games of chance and skill, rides, knight battles, a crafts village with more than 100 merchants, and hundreds of live performers, including sword fighters, minstrels and magicians. Adults, $21; children 6-11, $9.

7. Also Saturday, the YMCA Healthy Kids Day invites families to a summer camp preview, sports demonstrations, kids games, healthy snacks, swim lessons, drowning prevention and free camp registration fees and joining fees. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Broward and Miami-Dade YMCA locations.

8. The free Kids Bike Ride to Health and Safety will educate kids and parents about safety aspects of riding. Participants who bring bicycles and helmets can practice on obstacle and skill courses and training stations. The first 300 children at the bike rodeo will receive a free bicycle helmet. Free food and ice cream will also be available, as well as a bounce house and other family-friendly activities, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Brian Piccolo Park, 9501 Sheridan St. in Hollywood.


9. The KID Duck Fest Derby brings 30,000 rubber ducks to a race on the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale at 2 p.m. Saturday. But even more fun for kids are the Kid Olympics (with events like the three-legged race and a hoop toss), face painting, bounce houses, food trucks and music from noon to 3 p.m. at Esplanade Park, 400 SW Second St. Families can adopt a duck for $5 each at to try to win a $10,000 grand prize, as well as prizes for the top 10 finishers.

10. Get up-close encounters with threatened and endangered sea turtles at Turtlefest at Loggerhead Marine Life Center, plus fine art, shopping, children’s games and activities, educational presentations, a Global Village, food and music. The free event is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at 14200 U.S. Highway One in Juno Beach.

11. Combine learning with entertainment with It’s Circus… It’s Science at the Willow Theatre at Sugar Sand Park on Saturday. Kids can learn scientific concepts that make the circus so much fun, such as balance, gravity, momentum, centrifugal force, motion and more. Shows at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. include juice and cookies with each child’s tickets after the show. $10 adults, $8 kids. Sugar Sand Park is at 300 S. Military Trail in Boca Raton.

12. Families can interact with the Symphonia’s conductor and musicians, attend a live dress rehearsal, and hold and learn about instruments at Meet The Orchestra on Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to noon, at the Roberts Theater at Andrews Hall, 3900 Jog Road in Boca Raton. Adults are $5 and kids are free, but RSVP is required.

13. Bike fun continues Sunday with a free Bicycle Scavenger Hunt for ages 5-15 at Tradewinds Park, 3600 W. Sample Road in Coconut Creek. Bring bicycles and helmets to search for clues throughout the park, and prizes will be awarded to the first 50 participants to complete the scavenger hunt. The park has an entry fee of $1.50 per person.

14. Sunday is also the Deering Seafood Festival On The Bay. Enjoy food, cooking demonstrations, two kids zones, stilt walkers, entertainment and a Bahamian Junkanoo musical parade. Advance tickets $15; kids $5. The event is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Deering Estate, 16701 SW 72nd Ave. in Miami.,, 954-574-5316 or Twitter @sfparenting


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