Summer Bucket List 2018

Maker:L,Date:2017-8-26,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-Y

Summer is a here and we need stuff to do!!!!  Here is a list of links to my favorite Uptown Mom posts to plan for a fun summer in Dallas!

Aquariums and Gardens Made Perfect for Toddlers

FAIR PARK OF DALLAS – Children’s Aquarium & Texas Discovery Gardens

3601 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Dallas, TX 75210

 The Arboretum of Dallas and The Dallas World Aquarium are both city staples and wonderful places to visit and learn, however you will probably spend a good chunk of your day and your wallet when you go.

As day time moms we are usually looking for something that fits within an hour and a half – two hour window, is inexpensive and covers a smaller surface area to easily manage kids who like to run. When looking to get your botanical fill and aquatic activities in there are two places that happen to be side by side that fit this criteria.

Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park-

We have visited this garden several times recently, it is a smaller, quicker alternative to the Arboretum. This butterfly garden is a newer addition to Fair Park and hidden gem amongst the busy city buzz.

Inside, the two-story Butterfly House and Insectarium you are transported to a tropical rainforest, complete with hundreds of free-flying butterflies. Something to note: you actually feel like you are in a rainforest… a bit warm and muggy, so dress accordingly.

Each day at noon there is a butterfly release and new butterflies are set to fly free around the space. This is an indoor/outdoor garden making for a great activity when weather may be unpredictable.

The indoor butterfly house is beautiful, relaxing and very toddler friendly, your little ones can roam and explore without going too far from sight. If the weather is nice bring snacks and enjoy the outdoor gardens as well, then you are on your way for a nice long nap!

The Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park-

We made an impromptu visit to the Children’s Aquarium last week and were pleasantly surprised. It is a historical building so it is a bit older but it was a perfect morning activity for toddlers.

As soon as you walk in you are greeted with a beautiful water display with live sea animals they allow you to touch (supervised of course). We then ventured over to the coastal fish and sea life displays and were thoroughly impressed and captivated!

There were creepy but amazing eels, a huge shark, beautiful sea turtles, and more. Our favorite part of the aquarium was the Stingray Bay. This new expansion is really fun and interactive. As you walk out on the deck you stand above open toped tanks containing very large sting rays, sharks and fish.

As you walk down to the lower level there is another open tank with several playful sting rays… yes, I said playful. This was so fun! The stingrays cannot sting or bite you, but they see and hear you, they come up to the glass and splash and flap their wings, then you can pet them. The aquarium has food you can feed the stingrays, we had a blast together petting and feeding those little guys!

We love both of these places, depending on your child you could easily visit the butterflies and the fish in the same trip or split it up like we do, either way it’s a great day!

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A New Snap on Family Photos

MY EXPERIENCE WITH LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY with Alexis Marie Photography

“Can I follow you around and take pictures of you?”  (Was an email I received from a photographer)

Me: Absolutely!!!!  (If you know me, this is right up my alley)

As I continued reading the email from Alexis Vazquez an up and coming lifestyle photographer, I fell in love with her story and her new found approach on photoshoots opposed to the traditional family photo set up. Among her experience and many ideas the statement that grabbed me was this:

“As a photographer, I have often felt defeated and guilty when clients have stressful experiences during photo shoots. Mom feels like she can’t keep control of her hair or her kids. Dad is dying to go home and watch the game.Kids are impatient and ice cream bribes fail 20 minutes in. I don’t want my clients to feel that way after I capture them. I want them to be confident that someone just captured their life story and 50 years from now.”

I’m in!

We set up a fun day for her to join us and capture our experience. Some moments were great and some not so great, but the important thing in my opinion was that each one was genuine.

I also found so much value in being able to be completely present in the experience instead of half focusing on trying to get the perfect photo.

I know the “getting the perfect photo” part may sound trivial but the truth is you are making memories and your kids are only small once and I want to capture every ounce of it I can.

I often enjoy looking back on past times and reminiscing… But maybe that’s just me.

I really enjoyed this concept of photography. You get much more out of your time this way, you get to do a fun activity spending time with your family,  while capturing all the pure joy and genuine smiles without all the cranky hassle.

Here are a few of the photos from our day.

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If you are looking for a new way to preserve your family in a new light, give lifestyle photography a “shot”… Get it. Contact alexismariephoto@yahoo.com

More about her concept:

As a visual storyteller, I do my best to make my photo sessions an experience and not just something you add to your check list every year at Christmas. I love capturing real, raw moments of people more than anything because you tend to see a soul when that happens and not just a person. Over the years, I believe photography became more about the camera and less about who the camera was capturing. You’re important. You have a story. You’re my muse. Not just a client or subject. Therefore, my approach is a little more organic and interactive then me just telling you to sit in front of my camera and smile.  Whether we’re shooting in your home or at a park when the sun is about to set, my photos are often described by others as bright, raw and dreamy. As world renowned photographer, Annie Leibovitz said, “When I say I want to photograph someone, I mean: I want to know them.” That’s my heart- to know you and tell your story in light.  -Alexis

12 Days of Christmas at the Dallas Arboretum

If you are from the Dallas area you probably already know about the Dallas Arboretum. I grew up going there every year in the spring and fall but it’s only been in recent years that they have added holiday displays and activities. With Texas weather being so unpredictable it’s nice to have more outdoor options for Christmas family fun!

The Dallas Arboretum features oversized scenic displays of the time honored Christmas carol The 12 Days of Christmas. As you walk the gardens you are directed to each ornate presentation encased in beautifully crafted gold and jewels. From a partridge in a pear tree to 12 drummers drumming each vignette is as visually dazzling as the next.

This is a great way to share the Christmas carols you love with your children while getting some fresh air and exercise. Check out of the fun we had with our playgroup in the photos below!

Don’t forget to check out the children’s garden  if you have some extra time. This is a newer addition to the park including an ABUNDANCE of interactive, educational exhibits and activities…. not to mention visually stunning and stimulating for the littles.

There are many options for tickets and parking listed HERE , of course the best bang for your buck (especially for full time moms) is the 1 year membership.

PHOTOS by Alexis Marie Photography

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