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Carnaval del Mar a Celebration of Nature and Latino Culture at the Florida Aquarium

The Florida Aquarium in Tampa celebrated it’s first annual Carnaval del Mar this past weekend and I received complimentary tickets to attend the festivities as part of a press trip.This is part of of my series of articles: Tampa With Kids

Stilt walkers at the Carnaval del Mar. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz. All Rights Reserved.

Stilt walkers at the Carnaval del Mar. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz. All Rights Reserved.

 

We had visited the Florida Aquarium a couple of times in the past and love the exhibits and the awesome outdoor water park  but this time our visit was special because we had the opportunity to be part of the Carnaval del Mar, a celebration that brought together our love for nature, the ocean and aquatic creatures and our Latino heritage.

 

Bilingual scavenger hunt at the Florida Aquarium during Carnaval del Mar. Photos: Paula Bendfeldt-Daiz. All Rights Reserved.

Bilingual scavenger hunt at the Florida Aquarium during Carnaval del Mar. Photos: Paula Bendfeldt-Daiz. All Rights Reserved.

 

We got there early in the morning and where handed the clues to embark on an exciting scavenger hunt. Each clue contained descriptions related to different aquatic animals in English and all of the answers where words in Spanish.   My little guy was eager to explore every corner of the aquarium in search for the Spanish words and phrases and was so excited every time he spotted one.   I thought this activity was wonderful because not only did the kids learn fun facts about the ocean and it’s inhabitants but they also practiced their Spanish.

 

Showing off my festive face art at the Carnaval del Mar. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz. All Rights Reserved.

Showing off my festive face art at the Carnaval del Mar. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz. All Rights Reserved.

 

After completing the bilingual scavenger hunt we headed outside were a DJ was spinning Latino music.  Kids and adults, at least some of the adults including me, where getting free face painting with carnaval and sea creature themes. Stilt walkers and hula hoop performers gave this Latino infused ocean celebration a real festive and fun vibe.

 

Hula hoop performer. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz. All Rights Reserved.

Hula hoop performer. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz. All Rights Reserved.

 

As part of the Festival Del Mar the restaurant served some Latino inspired dishes including Cuban Sandwich, Mofongo and Mojo Pulled pork and the Verizon Fios, the sponsor, was giving away free tropical flavored ice including my favorite: tamarind ice!

 

Tamarind ice at the Carnaval del Mar.

Tamarind ice at the Carnaval del Mar.

 

The highlight of this undersea extravaganza included a group of samba and capoeira dancers who’s bright colored costumes and dance moves had everyone moving their tail feathers to the rhythm of the drums.  Young and old joined the dancers for a Carnaval parade.

 

Carnaval del Mar dancers and kids joining in a colorful parade. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz. All Rights Reserved.

Carnaval del Mar dancers and kids joining in a colorful parade. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Carnaval del Mar combined elements of Latin American and Brazilian culture, from the music and dances to the the language and the food and brought them all together for a common purpose: to celebrate the ocean and aquatic life and it’s natural beauty.

The Carnaval del Mar was sponsored by Verizon Fios and participation was included in the price of admission.  This was a fun event and we are looking forward to attending next year.

 

Samba dancers during the Carnaval del Mar at the Florida Aquarium. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz. All Rights Reserved.

Samba dancers during the Carnaval del Mar at the Florida Aquarium. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz. All Rights Reserved.

For more information about the Florida Aquarium you can visit their website flaquarium.org, like the Florida Aquarium on Facebook and follow them on twitter @floridaaquarium.

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to attend the Carnaval del Mar at the Florida Aquarium on May 19th.

Follow 365 Things to Do In Southwest Florida on Facebook for more recommendations, events and activities for the whole family.

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About the author

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

Paula is a freelance writer, translator & marketer. She started her writing & publishing career as the editor of Bebé y Mamá, the first parenting magazine in Guatemala. She is the founder of www.GrowingUpBilingual.com and www.365thingsswfl.com and writes articles in Spanish and English for both magazines and the web on subjects ranging from travel and food to parenting and bilingualism. She enjoys traveling, good food and is always in search of new things to do and in Southwest Florida.

6 comments

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  1. Bohemian Babushka

    You MUST remind me of this next year- I wanna go!!!! BB2U
    Bohemian Babushka recently posted…En Resumen- #Hispz13 Whats, Why, & Will BB Go Again?My Profile

  2. Kyaw Sein

    It looks so interesting where you can enjoy the mixed American and Brazilian cultures with lots of good foods, must try to be there the next time. remind me if you can.

  3. Becky Schollian

    So colorful! I’ll just bet you had a lot of fun. Puts a smile on my face just looking at the Pictures, I can only imagine being there.

  4. Maria Iemma

    Looks like a very good time — I love the mermaids and how much fun the kids are having. I wish I lived nearby and could come and celebrate.

  5. Mila Mertens

    Those pics remind me to The Carnival in San Francisco – CA. Every February is a huge celebration of culture, live band, culture groups, vendors, they closed the streets, this is a HUGE event. Cape Coral needs one of this, to give a live to the city 🙂

  6. Mila Mertens

    Those pics remind me to the Carnival in San Francisco -CA which is a huge event, and Cape needs something like that.

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