October, 2015 - A Few Headlines
Ask the Docs - Human Resiliency
Cultural Corner - Put Your Head in the Cloud
Florida Foodie - Beers & Brats, Oktoberfest
Living Green – Beauty in Wellington
Travel with Terri – St. John’s, Newfoundland
Wellington Amphitheatre – Current Schedule of Events
Joey’s Outback Adventures – Indoor Fun for Children and Parents
By Krista Martinelli
For parents with young children, Joey’s Outback Adventures is a wonderful, indoor haven. It’s fun for the kids and very accommodating for the parents. Joey’s Outback turns four years old, as a business, in February of 2016. Meanwhile, owners Francesca and Michael Friedman just celebrated their son Joey’s 8th birthday.
They have a special place in their hearts for foster children and offer a FREE foster children day at Joey’s Outback once a month, when foster children and their families get free admission. When he was thirteen months old, the Friedmans adopted Joey. As a mom, Francesca started looking for good places for him to play. “We had no kids in our neighborhood, and he needed to socialize. I noticed that there was a lot of potential for more family-run indoor play places in our area. I wanted to compile everything that was fun and put it under one roof,” she explains. Of course, this new play place needed to be fun, safe and have air conditioning. She also envisioned a place that served both traditional “kid food,” as well as more interesting food choices for adults. Since the adults need to make themselves comfortable while their kids bounce and play, she thought of leather chairs, massage chairs and WiFi. And so, they built Joey’s Outback, located in the Fresh Market plaza on Forest Hill Boulevard in Wellington, naming it after Joey. It’s approximately 14,000 square feet, so there’s a lot of room to run, bounce and play indoors. Also, they added flat screen TVs and there’s even a treadmill, for anyone who would like to get some exercise while their kids are getting exercise. For the children, there are a variety of bounce houses, slides, arcade games and a special area for the toddlers to play.
Almost four years later, they have nearly perfected the birthday party. They have put on over 1,000 birthday parties. “Our birthday parties are great!” says Friedman. “It’s so easy for the parents.” They just have to walk in and remember “the three C’s” she says – cake, candles and the children. Joey’s staff does everything for them, so parents can simply enjoy their guests and enjoy the day. They have a very well-timed schedule. Each party gets two hours in a party room, a visit from the character (mascot) Joey, and then party guests can continue to play for the rest of the day. Francesca Friedman is Italian and creates some delicious meals for the parties, liked baked ziti, always cooked fresh the same day. They also order pizzas and wings from Lutina’s Pizza. Francesca’s wants the birthday food to be good-quality, not just mediocre.
Joey’s Outback is also beginning to franchise. They recently awarded their first franchise to a group of four women business owners. They are currently finding the perfect location, which will probably be in Stuart, Florida. Most importantly, the Joey’s Outback name will continue to be family-run, family-oriented in its added locations. “Once people find us, they seem to never go back to other indoor play places,” says Friedman. “We work hard to make people happy!”
Through franchising, the owners of Joey’s Outback are excited to create more public awareness about what a great place Joey’s is for indoor play. “We are going to be getting Joey’s Outback all over the map with these new locations!”
Joey’s Outback posts a monthly calendar of activities on their website, as well as via AroundWellington.com. There are always specials and there’s always a lot going on! They offer a discounted “Special Needs” Day on Wednesdays. There’s also discounted admission in general on Wednesdays. Every Friday, during the day, there are discounts for foster children and homeschool children. On Friday nights from 4pm to 8pm, it’s Family Night, when the adults and the kids can come enjoy the bounce houses together. For Halloween, they will be doing some seasonal crafts and will have a costume contest.
I asked Francesca about some of the best things parents say about Joey’s Outback. “It’s the atmosphere here,” she says. “Our employees are very sweet and truly enjoy being around kids.” She explains that she’s “very fussy” about selecting employees, as it’s so important for them to be good at interaction with children. Parents are also quite pleased with the variety of food and the quality of the food in the café. Instead of “just pizza,” this is a place where you can order meatball subs, Italian subs, grilled chicken salad and now beer or wine too. You can order a veggie platter, a fruit bowl or eggplant parmesan. “We’re adding some Spanish dishes to the menu too,” says Francesca. The space is very comfortable to relax or to get work done for a few hours. A lot of parents will come in with a laptop, a brief case and get to work, happy that their kids are having a great time.
“What are some of the best comments you hear kids say about Joey’s Outback?” I asked Francesca. Here’s her response. See the video!
Joey’s Outback is known for giving back to their “around Wellington” community. They give a lot of donations to fundraisers, raffles and schools. Once a year they hold a big celebration for the Kids Cancer Foundation. “We give back wherever we can,” says Francesca. Around the holidays, they put a donation box out for toy donations for foster children.
Check out their weekly specials at Joey’s Outback. You can also purchase Frequent Hopper Cards, which give you ten hops (ten visits) for $90 and they never expire. They offer seasonal discounts on the Frequent Hopper Cards and their gift certificates.
Let’s face it. South Florida is almost always too hot for outdoor play. When it’s not too hot, it’s raining. Finding a place like Joey’s Outback to bring your children to play is a wonderful thing! Children can get their exercise and get away from their electronics for a few hours. They also have the opportunity to socialize with a lot of different kids. If you have children and haven’t made it to Joey’s Outback yet, you really should stop by. It’s truly fun for the whole family.
Joey’s Outback Adventures
(In the Fresh Market plaza)
10670 Forest Hill Blvd
Wellington, FL 33414
Beauty in Wellington
Story and Photos by Bryan Hayes
Wellington offers so much majestic beauty. There is so much to behold, and it was my goal to get out and see some of its natural wonders. I had never been to The Wellington Environmental Preserve at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Everglades Habitat, so I looked at it as a great opportunity to see it for myself.
I knew it was going to be an adventure when my GPS told me to turn right on “Flying Cow Road” on the way. Immediately after, I lost cell signal on the dirt road that was leading me to the preserve (I took the scenic route). Once back on pavement, the entrance came up quickly. With no cars, it looked like I was going to have the entire place to myself, which I did.
Getting out of the car, it was noticeably quiet. The only sounds were of birds off in the distance. While I knew of the preserve, I did not prepare with any background research prior to leaving. Instead, I wanted to explore it with a fresh perspective.
The walking trail has a map at the beginning and others throughout. What I realized not only from the map, but from the overall landscape, is how large it is. The observation tower, often in the distance, is under construction and will be available again to the public in October.
Even if it was open, I would not have made it that far. While listening to the birds chirping, I also started hearing thunder off in the distance and knew that rain and my camera do not mix. So if you go, check the weather forecast beforehand.
Other points to consider are that there are restrooms throughout the walking trail. Also, bring water with you. If you have young children, know that they are in for a good walk. If you have a horse, you can also ride.
There are also two parking areas. One north, and one south. On the walking trail it is marked, so you know if you are heading towards parking 1, or parking 2.
In the end, it was more than I had expected, but it was not until I got back home that I was able to truly appreciate how massive it really is and what I was seeing. The equestrian trail is 3.6 miles. Included on the walking trail are seven learning areas. The observation tower is six stories high. The area itself is 365 acres and is a rainwater storage area. In 2010, the Palm Beach County Chapter of the American Society of Civil Society of Civil Engineers named it the “Project of the Year.”
“In compliance with the 1994 Everglades Forever Act, rainwater from Wellington must be cleansed of phosphorus before it enters the Florida Everglades. The southern half of Wellington (Basin B) has 9,230 acres of storm water runoff (rainwater) that is now routed west to Section 24. It leaves Section 24 via the C-1 canal heading north to the C-51 canal that runs along SR80 before finally entering the Everglades.
In order to accomplish this, seven storm water Pump Stations were built or renovated along with the widening of nearby canals. Approximately one inch of rainwater from Basin B was also re-routed to reach Section 24. It is then naturally cleansed as it flows through over two miles of combined wetland/marsh area, littoral shelves and deep water sediment traps.”
If you haven’t been there, it’s a beautiful spot to visit.
“There are no other Everglades in the world. They are, they have always been, one of the unique regions of the earth; remote, never wholly known. Nothing anywhere else is like them.” – Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Bryan Hayes is an actor, amateur photographer, business consultant, inspirational speaker and full-time lover of all things living. To check out more from Bryan Hayes, please visit his blog at:http://outofthehaze.wordpress.com/
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