National Flip Flop Day

National Flip Flop Day

On June 19, 2020 is their special day: We celebrate the flip flops!

Each year, the third Friday in June is “National Flip Flop Day”. In Florida we can of course celebrate this day unlimited, because it is certainly warm enough in June.

Surely you are like me and have a nice selection in your closet – comfortable and worn in ones for everyday life or fancy ones from brand designers to go out. The light shoes are automatically associated with summer, sun and beach.

Did you know that the term “flip flop” dates back to the early 60s? It describes the flip-flopping sound as we walk, slapping the back of our feet. Thong sandals have been around for more than 3000 years and were already worn in ancient Egypt.

The world’s most famous brand of flip-flops is Havaianas.

 

Flip flops

Happy World Chocolate Day!

Wordl Chocolate Day

Today, July 7, is “World Chocolate Day”!

We love chocolate in all sorts and variations: as a bar, in ice cream, as spread and cake icing, in cereal or even as a face mask – the ideas für using are endless.

Here are some sweet facts about our favorite treat:

The earliest known cocoa bean cultivation regions were Mexico and South America, where Inca, Aztec and Maya people mixed ground seeds with spices to a drink they called “Chocolatl”. The chocolate from the beans was considered a luxury commodity and was reserved for wealthy people.

Among the Aztecs, cocoa beans were even common as a means of payment. Taxes could be paid with them. For 100 perfect beans you could buy a slave!

In 1550, the first cocoa beans appeared in Europe, but it took until 1847 that the first chocolate bar was produced in England.

The worldwide most chocolate is cosumed in Germany and Switzerland: an impressive 10 kg per person per year. That’s almost twice as much as in the US. By the way: Women are much more likely to be a chocolate lover than men.

Happy World Chocolate Day!

You are in Venice Florida these days? Be sure to stop by at Kilwin’s on W Venice Ave, their choices are simply delicious!

Wordl Chocolate Day  Wordl Chocolate Day

3 Great Places You Must Take Your Camera in Venice

Caspersen Beach Venice

Taking pictures is a wonderful way to make memories alive. We love to remember happy moments with family and friends, beautiful nature surroundings or impressive buildings. Let me show you today my favorite 3 places where I can never resist using my camera:

  1. Caspersen Beach

  2. Shamrock Park

  3. Venice Ave Drawbridge

I love Caspersen Beach. This beach is a beautiful and long sandy beach that has been left almost untouched in its natural state. With about 4 miles the longest beach in Sarasota County, it is the perfect place to enjoy unspoiled beauty far away from the crowds and a great spot to find the famous fossil shark teeth.

There is a beautiful short nature trail through a coastal hammock from where you always have a fantastic view. The unique look with the large rocks always reminds me a bit of the California coastline. Every time I visit this beach, I add some new photos to my “beach folder”.

Shamrock Park, only minutes away from our Villa Happy Gator, is my favorite place for walking and running – and for meeting all kind of animals. I love animals and get never tired of capturing them on pictures. My special friends are tortoises and scrub jays – although the latter are a real challenge to focus.

Biking along the Venetian Waterway Park at the Intracoastal Waterway is a must when I am in Venice. Away from the traffic, this trail provides exercise and relaxation alike. You pass the 2 Venice draw bridges – the Circus Bridge and the Venice Ave Bridge. I always admire those impressive monuments, that replaced the old small bridges in the 1980s. After crossing under Circus Bridge and just before reaching the Old Venice Train Depot, you have a great view of the Venice Ave Bridge. When a high boat is coming, the drawbridge is raised – and my camera is ready!

Kids in Venice Florida: Ultimate Family Fun at Sky Zone Sarasota

Sky Zone Sarasota

What to do with kids in Venice?

You are looking for ideas what to do with kids and teenagers on a cold or rainy day? How about a visit to Sky Zone Sarasota? This exceptional indoor trampoline park has lots of places to play for all ages to burn off energy. Just put on a pair of orange trampoline socks and here you go!

Have fun with Freestyle Jumping and let go of gravity! It is so amazing!


Next is: Test your parkour skills to the next level. Conquer the tricky curved incline of the Warped Wall. Or battle your friends in the gladiator style combat Sky Joust. Do you think you can keep your balance?

Foam Zone is all about big air and soft landings while with Sky Line you have to manage to keep your balance. Grab a friend and challenge them in a test of strength with a round of Tug of War! In the Challenge Zone you put your coordination and balance to the test across a series of obstacles. Ultimate Dodgeball takes the classic game to a whole new level.

Sky Zone Sarasota         Sky Zone Sarasota

Rock the rim on Skyslam or rip a Dodge Ball as fast as you can at a target in the Speed Zone. Sky Ladder and Free Climb are also Zones that challenge your strength and balance.

Sky Zone Sarasota

The Toddler Zone is an exclusive area for Toddlers to Jump and Play. Separated from the main jumping area, protected from the older jumpers. Parents can watch their child play and interact from the platform directly in front of their little one.

Info

Sky Zone is located on 6180 Edgelake Dr in Sarasota, FL 34240, only a short 30 minutes drive from your vacation home in Venice .

For prices, events and opening hours, please got to their website.

Have in mind that they participate with Groupon – so you might get a deal.

Where to eat around Venice: Waterfront dining at Pop’s Sunset Grill

Pops Sunset Grill Nokomis

Pop’s Sunset Grill in Nokomis is THE place to take your friends and family for a taste of Old Florida. It has become one of Western Florida’s favorite landmark over the past 30 years. Guests love the casual atmosphere and fresh local fare.

Have a Cesar’s Salad or some bay scallops while enjoying the beautiful Intracoastal Waterway and the fabulous natural wildlife. Sip a delicious cocktail with the scenic view of boats and ships sailing by. Mostly at weekends, they offer some of the best live local entertainment in the Venice and Nokomis area. Be sure to check the calendar!

All of their items are prepared fresh in their kitchen daily. If you have any questions regarding ingredients and would like to modify your meal for dietary, allergy or some other reason, ask the friendly staff. They will do their best to accommodate your request or assist you with alternate menu suggestions.

Please visit the website popssunsetgrill.net for opening hours, events and menu.

Villa Happy Gator Venice Florida – Talking about Eco-Friendliness

Villa Happy Gator Venice

We love Florida and its wonderful nature – that’s why at Villa Happy Gator we want to do our utmost to ensure that our precious nature is as little affected as possible by our house and its care.

Our technical equipment is up to date and regularly maintained by specialist companies. Thus, the air conditioning works very economical and effective while maintaining high comfort. Our pool is a saltwater pool and therefore usually comes without any chlorine addition. The result is crystal clear water, which is good to the eyes and skin with a pleasant smell.

Pest Control is indispensable in the warm humid climate of Florida. But there are gentle methods that are good for the environment and for humans. We chose a system that even carries the USDA Organic label: “The Sentinel” – small, green containers that are placed around the house to form a protective barrier. Only in very rare situations, something stronger has to be used.

Our lawn is free from regular pesticide spraying. The lively vegetation attracts many colorful birds that we have here in South Venice.

Garden, walk- and driveways are kept clean by hand. In cooperation with our gardener we are in the process of testing an ecological weed killer to reduce the effort a bit.

Our cleaning team also is very sensitive. Vinegar and soda are common companions when cleaning.

Sarasota County is top in recycling. Paper and plastic are collected separately. Our guests will find sufficient containers as well as detailed instructions for the correct sorting.

The city of Venice and Sarasota County have recently adopted ambitious plans to reduce their impact on the environment, which we support.

In addition, we examine promising ecological projects in the area, whether we decide to sponsor them. We are always looking for new ideas to make Villa Happy Gator even greener. We thank our guests that have been very supportive and appreciate our efforts.

Caspersen Beach - Villa Happy Gator

Villa Happy Gator

Sentinel

Villa Happy Gator

Vinegar

South Venice Lemon Bay Preserve – Great for Nature Lovers

Lemon Bay Preserve

Here in South Venice we are fortunate to have a real gem for nature lovers right at our doorsteps: the South Venice Lemon Bay Preserve with its 222 acres of protected land along Lemon Bay.

The preserve is nestled in the densely packed suburb of South Venice, is a refuge for several protected animals and plants.

There are several miles of trails through coastal habitats including mangroves, tidal swamp, tidal marsh, coastal hammock and upland communities such as mesic and scrubby flatwoods. On your walk you will have the chance to meet a variety of wildlife such as gopher tortoise, Florida scrub-jay, bald eagle, river otter and an assortment of snakes, including the eastern coachwhip. Also bobcats have been seen there. Boardwalks afford visitors access across the recreated and restored wetland slough.

Be sure to wear sturdy shoes as sand spurs are very common. Also carry some water as you may walk longer parts of the trails in the open. With so much to discover, your walk could always take longer than planned. If you are lucky, a bunch of scrub jays will play their games with you.

The Preserve is divided in 2 parts. Each part has 2 entrances, all of them only minutes from your vacation home Villa Happy Gator:

Northern part:
5472 Kenisco Road + 1101/1199 Ocelot Road South Venice

Southern part:
1101/1199 Ocelot Road + 6200 Osprey Road South Venice

Detwiler’s in Venice – The Farmer’s Market Grocery Store!

Detwilers-1 Venice Florida

Detwiler’s on US 41 in Venice Florida is a one of a kind shopping experience. Immediately when stepping in you feel yourself on a large farmer’s market – only that it is inside. The policy of the store is to buy local whenever possible. They believe in supporting the community and local economy.

And they love Organic Produce! They say, there’s nothing better than fruits and veggies grown the way God intended. They hold their meat, seafood and deli procucts to the highest standard.

Each time I visit the store I am overwhelmed by the large produce selection. The colors, the scents, the absolute freshness – I buy always more than I intended.

You are looking for European cheese or bread? They carry delicious varieties.

The staff is super friendly and always helpful.

Detwiler’s is located at 1250 US Hwy 41 Bypass S, Venice, FL 34285. Feel free to visit their website for more info and for the weekly ad.

 

Mote – Marine Laboratory + Aquarium in Sarasota

Mote Aquarium Sarasota

„The Answers are in the Ocean“
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

If you are in the Venice area, be sure to visit this fantastic presentation of marine life in Sarasota!

Explore the secrets of the sea through touch pools, viewable-working labs and high-tech interactive exhibits that showcase the world-renowned research of Mote Marine Laboratory. See sharks, manatees and sea turtles, along with more than 100 other species of marine life.

They offer

  • Bay Walk and Talks
  • Birthday Parties
  • Breakfast Programs
  • Eco Boat Tours
  • Kayaking
  • Morning Rounds
  • Research Charters
  • Seahorse Lab Tours
  • Shark Encounters

You may also join one of Mote’s Science Cafés in a local restaurant and take part in lively discussions.

Families

Especially families love interactive, hands-on eco-adventures on the Sea Life Encounter Cruise. Eco Boat Tours are ideal for kids and a fun and fascinating extension of any visit to The Aquarium. Meet our marine natives — dolphins, manatees, osprey, eagles and other marine birds in their natural settings — and learn more about Florida wildlife from the ship’s biologist.

How about a Full Moon Paddle? Take a break from the sun and join them for an evening paddle as they explore Florida’s coastal waters at dusk. Discover the animals that bring Sarasota Bay to life at night while taking a relaxing paddle on the moonlit water.

Mote – Marine Laboratory&Aquarium  started in 1955 with Dr. Eugenie Clark’s foundation of shark research and is now more than 200 employees strong, including more than 30 Ph.D. scientists. They conduct groundbreaking research with more than 20 diverse research programs focusing on today’s challenges as well as identifying and addressing future impacts. The advancement of this kind of research is vital to unlocking potential solutions to some of today’s most daunting global challenges.

MOTE

Marine Laboratory&
Aquarium

1600 Ken Thompson Parkway
Sarasota, FL 34236
Ph: (941) 388-4441

Website for info, hours and prices: https://mote.org/

Photos: credit to Mote Marine Lab