Posts Tagged ‘Out and About’

Melbourne Pickleball

Melbourne PickleballA paddle sport, Pickleball combines elements of badminton, table tennis and tennis into one game. This sport takes an oversized ping-pong ball, plays on the court the size of a badminton area with a net that is tennis-sized. The greatest thing about the sport is that it can be played by many ages and it has simple rules to follow.

The history behind Pickleball started on Bainbridge Island, WA in 1965 where it was co-created by Joel Pritchard and friends. It was developed as a new sport for the whole family to play. Some say its name came from a family dog by the name of “Pickles”, who liked to chase balls and hide them in the bushes. However, it’s been revealed by Pritchard’s family that the dog actually came after the game. The source of the name is more likely to have been derived from the water, or more specifically, rowing. The inventor’s family mentioned that this could be more of a reference to “pickle boats”, which are one of the slower moving vessels. The other thought here is that it could have been a nod to those oarsmen chosen from leftovers of other boats. Either way, the sport has a name that certainly captures its fun and catchy nature.

This sport is currently recognized not just here in the US, but internationally. The USAPA (United States of America Pickleball Association) has raised awareness for the game, and it is now popular worldwide. Pickleball can now be played every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 1:30-3:30pm at the Eau Gallie Civic Center (1551 Highland Avenue Melbourne, FL 32935). The cost is $1/person per day. If you prefer to sign up for an annual membership, the cost is $15 for residents or $18 for non-residents. For questions or more information, call (321) 255-4608 or visit here.

McKee Botanical Garden

McKee Botanical GardenA mere thirty miles south of Melbourne, just off route 1, you will find yourself in Vero Beach. It is here that you will discover the McKee Botanical Garden, one of the oldest tourist attractions in Florida!

Originally established in 1929 as the McKee Jungle Gardens, it was developed with the help of William Lyman Phillips, often viewed as the creator of tropical landscaping. It was at this time that waterways and trails were established and both native and worldwide flora and fauna were planted. By the time the 1940’s rolled around, upwards of 100,000 tourists visited the Gardens each year. Unfortunately, with the opening of some of the bigger theme parks in the area in the 1970’s the Gardens had to close down. Of the original 80 acres occupied by the Gardens, all but 18 were sold off and developed. These final 18 acres sat around undeveloped and untouched for over 20 years. Things turned around in 1995 when the Indian River Land Trust purchased the land after leading a successful fund-raising campaign. The Garden’s formal re-opening dedication was held in 2001.


Today the McKee Botanical Garden operates as a non-profit private cultural organization. It is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday’s from 12pm to 5pm. Admission costs vary by date and are currently $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for children ages 3 through 12 (under 3 are free). School and private tours are also offered. The Garden is filled with exceptional beauty that can only be truly appreciated in person. As a member of Florida’s list of historical places, there are many renovated areas of the garden that are remnants of the original McKee Jungle Gardens.

In addition to tours, classes, and events held for visitors, the Botanical Gardens are also available to rent as a wedding reception location. Not only are the Gardens a beautiful place to celebrate a new marriage, there is also a caterer the Gardens work with exclusively. With reception rooms names like the Hall of Giants and Bamboo Pavilion, the Gardens are sure to make a memorable wedding locale.

Filled with numerous ponds, colorful flowers, and palm groves, the McKee Botanical Gardens is a place built for quiet reflection, learning about the beauty of nature, and celebration. Be sure to check out the Garden’s website for additional details for wedding and party rentals, volunteering for and supporting the garden, and just more general information. 

Comedy show Orlando

Comedy show OrlandoWhen you think of Orlando, thoughts of DisneyWorld and Universal Studios may be the first thing that come to mind. Along with those visions are kids, lots of them! While children are wonderful more often than not, a nice time out at an adult only venue can be just what the doctor ordered. Look no further than Mama’s Comedy Show, a comedy improv show for a mature audience and Sleuths Presents: Standup Comedy Nights! Both are located just east of Disney and south of Universal on International Drive in Orlando at the Sleuths Mystery Dinner Theater.

Modeled after “Whose Line Is It Anyway” with the audience acting as an active participant, every Mama’s Comedy Show is different and promises to be a good time. Admission is just $10 and shows are Fridays at 10pm. Reservations, while not necessary, are recommended to ensure you and your party will get seated. Calling themselves a family, there are twelve members involved with Mama’s. They have been performing for four years and have earned rave reviews from their audiences. With comments like “A+ super funny,” “wicked fantastic show,” and “soooooo funny” it is a sure bet for a great night.


Sleuths Presents: Standup Comedy Nights are held in the Garden Room at the Sleuths Mystery Dinner Theater. The fun begins at 10pm but doors are open at 9:30pm for drinks and light fare from the kitchen. There is no cover with a purchase off the menu or from the bar. This is also an interactive show with the audience determining who is funniest with its applause. The local comedians are awarded prizes for their efforts.

If you can’t find a sitter for the kids, the whole family can stop at Sleuths Mystery Dinner Theater earlier in the evening to enjoy the murder mystery/comedy show and dinner. Open in 1980, the Theater has garnered rave reviews with customers calling it the “highlight of our vacation” and an “evening to remember.” Prices begin at $56.95 for adults (which includes dinner, the show, and unlimited wine, beer, and soft drinks) and $23.95 for children (ages 3 to 11). Shows run nightly with start times  on various evening at 6pm and 7:30pm and guests are invited to show up 45 to 60 minutes early to enjoy hor d’oeurves and meet the characters.

If you find yourself looking for an evening out with or without family in tow, Sleuths Mystery Dinner Theater has you covered. Murder mystery or improv comedy, it is not your typical night out. Just a short drive from Melbourne, it is a great way to spend the evening!

Crab Racing

Crab RacingNashville may have the Kentucky Derby, but here in Melbourne, FL we have the Crabtucky Derby.  The Crabtucky Derby is crab racing! The National Crab Racing Association organizes hermit crab races every Tuesday night at Crickets Spirits Sports and Food located at 1942 N. Wickham Road.  

Bar patrons can participate for free in the crab racing.  The first race begins at 6:30 p.m., with about 12 to 14 heat races total.  All participants have to do is select their crustacean from the aquarium and give their new buddy a name.  Each crab shell is marked in advance to avoid any confusion amongst competitors.  We don’t want to hear any “Hey that’s my crab, not yours!”  

Once the crabs are selected and receive their racing names it is off to the starting line for them.  In the Crabtucky Derby, the starting line is the center of a 6 foot racing ring.  Crabs are given a chance to warm up under their upside down salad bowl confinement.  Then it is race time!  The crabs scamper off in every direction.  Participants want their crab to cross the yellow marked ring first in order to win the heat.  The crab that wins is advanced into the championship round.  

The winner of the final championship race receives a sealed envelope, with an unknown cash prize inside.  Prize money ranges from $10 to $100 depending on what envelope is chosen.  Winners choose wisely!

Crab racing is a fun activity for all people over the age of 21 years old to enjoy. For more information about the Crabtucky Derby visit  We will leave the horses for Nashville, but crabs belong to Melbourne.  

Movie at Park Melbourne Florida

Movie at Park Melbourne FloridaMoney is tight these days.  Our economy has young families pinching their pennies.  Save, save, save is the name of the game which is easier said than done.  Saving money means spending what was once wild, carefree Friday and Saturday nights at home with only the television for entertainment.  It gets old, but what other options are available for families to get out of the house without spending their savings?  Well, there is one option available for the Brevard county residents.  These residents can take advantage of “Movie in the Park” nights.

The Brevard County Parks and Recreation presents “Movie in the Park” night all year long.  Every month on either a Friday or Saturday night, residents are treated to a free newly released movie in the park.  Yes, it is free.  Instead of being stuck indoors for another boring night, the family can spend an enjoyable evening under the clear open sky.  Families are encouraged to bring their blankets, picnic baskets, lounge chairs, and games to the park.  Movies start during dusk hours and are PG rated for a kid friendly audience.  

To accommodate the whole county, the Brevard County Parks and Recreation hosts “Movie in the Park” night at various park locations throughout the county.  On Saturday, July 13th, Life of Pi is showing at the Barefoot Bay in Micco, FL at 8:30 pm.  Then on Friday, July 19th the City of Cocoa is showing the movie, Puss in Boots at 8:30 pm in the Riverfront Park.

The City of Cocoa “Movie in the Park” Night also offers residents and guests live music before the movie begins.  From 5 pm to 8 pm, families have the pleasure of listening to a live band performance while tasting cuisine from food trucks.  Melissa’s Chicken and Waffles, Curbside Chef, Sunset Ice, App’s and Mayan Grill are all local food trucks that participate in the “Movie in the Park” series.  Their food is very affordable and tasty

With the support and creativity of the Brevard County Parks and Recreation, residents can once again spend a Friday and Saturday night out.  Instead of dining out in expensive restaurants and paying for movie tickets at the theater, families can just go to the park.   “Movie in the Park” series makes saving money easy.  Families can continue to save all while having a wonderful night out.