As many time as I complain about things in Miami, Florida, you'd think that I hated it...but in all actuality, I love my city.
As many awesome things as there are to do in Miami for adults (South Beach, hello!?), there are even more family-friendly activities to keep little ones busy, educated and happy. I once contemplated moving out of Miami to raise my daughter in a quieter, less bustling environment. But once I really thought about it, I realized that my daughter had the entire world at her feet because she lived in one of the most multicultural and dynamic cities in the country.
From an early age, we had annual family passes to tons of organizations around Miami. From the time my daughter was a year old, we spent weekends on the beach, strolling through Monkey Jungle, Everglades Alligator Farm, and Miami Metro Zoo (now Zoo Miami). We have museums, libraries, bookstores with story time, and beautiful free public parks. We learned about plants and flowers at Fairchild Tropical Gardens and the Fruit and Spice Park, and her school frequently takes trips to the Opera and to see plays at the Actor's Playhouse - where on earth besides Miami, can a child see an alligator in it's natural habitat during the day, and watch Death of a Salesmen at night? Nowhere.
My daughter loves Miami, and from a very early age, she has expressed her affection for her city with artwork. Before she decided to be a veterinarian when she grows up, she wanted to be an artist. Now she says that she will draw and paint as a hobby and be a vet to pay the bills. (It's okay, you can laugh - I do whenever she tells us this!) She draws frequently - mostly pictures of the animals she learns about as part of her Zoological Science program at school - she prefers colored pencils and oil pastels to draw pictures of her friends and family, as well as animals in beautiful scenery. She is a pretty talented little artist, if I do say so myself!
To celebrate children's love for their cities, uDraw has launched the nationwide uDraw Your City Art Contest, in which child artists (ages 6 to 17) have the chance to share what they love about their city or town through original artwork. Contestants can use a uDraw GameTablet to illustrate what they love most about their city or use traditional formats (paint, sketching, etc) using any artistic medium that the child prefers. THQ and uDraw hope to encourage children to embrace their artistic inspiration and to share "what your city, your town, or your community means to you." Maybe it's a drawing of their favorite building, friends and family at a local park, or museum or library where they enjoy spending time.
While my favorite part of living in Miami is being near the ocean, my daughter is the opposite; she loves animals and any attraction in the city relating to animals. She often draws pictures of the animals that she studies at the zoo, and would definitely draw a picture of her favorite animals at Zoo Miami for this contest.
The submission period runs through October 31, and the grand prize winner will receive a package worth more than $15,000, including a uDraw, and a $10,000 cash prize that the winner can choose to apply toward a college scholarship. Also, THQ will donate $10,000 to the winner's school of choice to help support their art program. Entries are judged on artistic merit (based on age group), creativity, and adherence to the overall city theme.
This is a great program and you should encourage your children to enter! It's never too early to raise an awareness in your child of what a wonderful place they call home!
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of THQ and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.