Thoughtful Thursday Flamingo Gardens


Growing up, my family and I would embark on a wonderful adventure to Flamingo Gardens located near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was founded by Floyd and Jane Wray in 1927 as a citrus orchard and was originally named Flamingo Groves. Getting fresh squeezed orange juice from the trees on the property was one of the highlights of my trip.

The Wray’s built a weekend home up on the Live Oak hammock in the groves. They would have annual bar-b-ques on the grounds surrounding their home and they’d give daily tours of the citrus groves and botanical gardens. Plus they even had a fruit shipping area.

According to Mrs. Wray the property came with flamingos that would nest there and she decided in the 1940’s to bring peacocks to the grounds for the visitors. With alligators inhabiting most parts of South Florida they introduced an alligator exhibit in the 1960’s with daily shows.

Sadly Mr. Wray passed away in 1959 at the age of 68. To honor her late husband, Mrs. Wray established The Floyd L. Wray Memorial Foundation in 1969 to preserve the property for future generations to enjoy. The name was changed to Flamingo Gardens and it was expanded to include an Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary with the Bird of Prey Center and a Free-Flight Aviary. This was the first of its kind in the country and permanently injured or non-releasable native Florida wildlife would call the sanctuary their home. More wildlife exhibits were introduced and included River Otters, Bobcats, Florida Panthers, Tortoises and Bald & Golden Eagles.

The 60 acre botanical gardens showcase over 3,000 rare and exotic species of tropical, subtropical and native plants and trees. If you have the chance to visit South Florida definitely add Flamingo Gardens to your travel plans, you won’t be disappointed!

I hope you enjoyed this travel snippet, thanks for stopping by!!!

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All photos taken by Maria Vidaurre at Flamingo Gardens

Thoughtful Thursday – Earth Day


Earth Day is being celebrated this Saturday, April 22, 2023. It’s origins began in 1970 as a way to change the public’s outlook and bring awareness to environmental issues plaguing our beautiful planet.

Almost 7 billion people share this amazing planet with 10 million animal species and 300,000 plant species. That’s a lot of inhabitants when you think about it. Plus the entire surface of the earth is a series of connected ecosystems that provide precious resources that sustain all life here on Earth. So it’s imperative that we take care of our planet.

We live a world of plastic and although it was a great invention because it made so many things possible, it may also be our undoing. Stats show that in 2021 there was 363,762,732,605 pounds of plastic polluting the worldโ€™s oceans. Plus microplastics which are tiny pieces of plastic can be found in almost all water systems around the world including rivers, lakes, streams and oceans. It is said that there is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way. These are very scary stats because where does that leave us in 10, 20 and even 50 years from now? Will this planet be able to sustain life at all?

We all need to pitch in and do our part to reduce, reuse and recycle. We need to work together to come up with better ideas and solutions to reducing our footprint on this planet. So that life will continue to thrive.

What are some of the things you do to help make a better tomorrow?

Thanks for stopping by!

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โ€œWe do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.โ€ ~Unknown

Source: Earth Day Fact Sheet

All photos in the slide presentation above were taken by Maria Vidaurre

Stephanee Ann Art

“I’ll be outside” by Stephanee Ann Art

Last Sunday I was surprised to find the Las Olas Art Festival in Fort Lauderdale, FL was open. I love attending art festivals to get inspired and see what other artists are creating.

At the festival I had the pleasure of meeting Stephanee Ann a local artist from Fort Myer and I fell in love with her beautiful painting titled “I’ll be outside.” Her use of bright fun colors and whimsical style makes her paintings happy and uplifting and that’s what I loved about this one.

This 20×20″ painting ended up coming home with me and it puts a smile on my face every time I look at it ๐Ÿ˜Š If you’d like to see more of Stephanee Ann’s work, visit her web page at You’ll be able to view her gallery and get her contact information if you want a painting of your own. Stephanee Ann can also be found on Instagram at @stephaneeann_

Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend and thanks for stopping by!!!

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