13 11. 2018
FUN FOR THE KIDS: FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES IN CENTRAL FLORIDA
#1 SKYDIVE INDOORSiFLY Indoor Skydiving gives kids the experience of skydiving without the need to jump out of a plane. The experience begins with flight school: one-on-one coaching by trainers certified by the International Bodyflight Association (IBA). Kids age 4 and up can fly (parents must sign a waiver for children under the age of 18). If your child has physical or cognitive challenges, iFLY has an All Abilities Night with programs custom-designed for the special needs community. iFLY also has a STEM program, so you can set your kid’s classroom up with an educational, interactive field trip (from elementary to college age). And indoor skydiving is an activity that adults can enjoy as much as children. The iFLY experience lasts from about 1.5-2 hours and is the equivalent to 1.5 skydives from 12,000 feet. Pricing begins at $69.95 for 2 flights and goes up from there. Address: 8969 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819 Phone: 407-337-4359
#2 FEED A GIRAFFE BY HANDThe Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Garden showcases over 400 animals, including rare and endangered species. Kids love zoos, but what sets the Central Florida Zoo apart are the numerous interactive experiences they have available:
- The Rhino Encounter – meet PJ, the playful one-horned Indian rhino.
- Giraffe Feeding – hand feed Rafiki and Gage, the zoo’s tallest residents.
- Bungee Bounce and Wow Balls – bungee jump and walk on water.
- Private Experiences – go behind the scenes for one of these educational experiences:
- Tortoise Encounter
- Gentle Giants (Crocodile) Feeding
- Otter Training Experience
- Keeper for a Day
- Family Zoo Keeper Experience
#3 TAKE IN FLORIDA’S NATURAL BEAUTYWekiwa Springs State Park is Orange County’s longest-running attraction (since the mid 19th century). The spring is a beautiful spot for swimming, or you can rent canoes and kayaks to paddle up and down the Wekiwa River. The water is so clear you can see everything swimming underneath and around you. There are numerous trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. If camping is your thing, there are multiple campsites available, some only accessible by water. At Big Fork, you can even camp with your horse! Address: 1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka, FL 32712 Phone: 407-880-4110 Just down the river from Wekiwa Springs is Wekiwa Island. Wekiwa Island is a privately-owned recreational complex offering canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, volleyball, and cornhole. The space also has a boardwalk and private cabanas for special events and parties. Unlike Wekiwa Springs, Wekiwa Island serves food and drinks (and alcohol for the adults—please drink responsibly). Furthermore, the island hosts multiple events throughout the year, including many live music performances. Address: 1014 Miami Springs Drive, Longwood, FL 32779 Phone: 407-463-3363
#4 DISCOVER ORLANDO FROM THE SKYOrlando Balloon Rides, one of the world’s largest operators of commercial hot air balloons, takes passengers on a journey over Central Florida from just above the treetops to 2,500 feet in the sky. Once in the air, your FAA licensed pilot becomes a guide, pointing out the sites: theme parks, landmarks, orange groves, and untouched swamps. After landing, the passengers enjoy a champagne toast (non-alcoholic beverages for the minors). Balloon rides are available for ages 6 and up. Flights take place around sunrise, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (weather permitting). Balloon flights last around an hour. When you purchase a balloon ride, you get a flight voucher. Your voucher doesn’t expire, so if your flight is cancelled due to inclement weather, you simply reschedule. And the vouchers are transferable, so you can gift them to someone else if you don’t use it. Orlando Balloon Rides also offer private flights, perfect for birthdays and special events. Flights begin at $99 and increase from there depending on day of the week and age. Click here to book your flight. Address: 44294 US Highway 27, Davenport, FL 33897 (GPS address: 2400 Access Rd, Davenport) Phone: 407-894-5040
#5 THEY’VE GOT FUN DOWN TO A SCIENCEThe Orlando Science Center is great place to take the family for educational fun. With 4 floors of interactive exhibit halls, giant-screen films in the Dr. Phillips CineDome, educational films in the Digital Adventure Theater, and Science Live! Programming throughout the building, everyone is sure to find something to peek their curiosity. Orlando Science Center’s current list of exhibits are:
- Zoo in You & Human Plus (traveling exhibit) – explore technology and anatomy
- NatureWorks – learn about Florida’s diverse ecosystems and meet live animals
- Kids Town – an exhibit tailored to kids 7 and under
- Kinetic Zone – an exhibit featuring forces, physics, and engineering
- The Hive: A Makerspace – a workspace where kids can turn creative ideas into reality
- Fusion: A STEAM Gallery – art and design complimented by science
- DinoDigs – step into the prehistoric world of dinosaurs
- Our Planet – explore Earth’s atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere
#6 PLAY IN THE TREES LIKE AN EWOKThe Tree Trek Adventure Park is an aerial obstacle course featuring tree-top fun for the whole family. They offer numerous courses depending on skill level and desired elevation, along with a kid’s course (2 separate courses for kids age 7-8 featuring 21 challenges). The courses are built into a natural pine forest and consist of Tarzan ropes, 50-foot ladders, hanging nets, suspended bridges, swinging logs, hanging skate boards, and zip lines! There are walk trails along the course to allow parents to both watch their children and take photos. Tickets prices are $54.95 for adults, $39.95 for juniors 9-11 (based on height), and $32.95 for kids 7-8 (based on height). It typically takes 2-3 hours to complete a course and the minimum height requirement is 4’7” and the maximum waist size is 44 inches. Address: 7625 Sinclair Road, Kissimmee, FL 34747 Phone: 407-390-9999
#7 DISCOVER YOUR INNER ZOOARCHEOLOGISTSKELETONS: Museum of Osteology is a new science museum featuring 500 real animal skeletons. The skeletons are arranged in natural poses and dioramas to demonstrate how animals move and interact with their environment. When entering the museum, guests are given a scavenger hunt to complete while touring the 40+ exhibits. This is one of only 2 skeleton museums in the United States and a great way to have fun with the kids while also learning. Aside from general admission, the museum also hosts special events throughout the year. And definitely check out the Educational Resources page on their website. Here you can download guides that teach you how to “read” skulls, further enhancing your visit. SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology is located in the ICON Orlando 360 complex. Any Day Passes are $19.99 for adults and $12.99 for kids 3-11, but you can find some great deals on their website based on specific days you want to go. Just go to their ticketing page and check out the current month’s discounted day passes. Address: 8441 International Drive, Suite 250, Orlando, FL 32819 Phone: 407-203-6999
#8 SEND YOUR KID TO CULINARY SCHOOLThe Kids Cooking Connection offers cooking classes for children in West Orange County. The cooking classes are fun, safe, and teach children about healthy food choices. Classes encompass applying math, reading, science and chemistry to cooking, along with geography and history through exploration of international foods. The classes also focus on art and creativity, teaching kids how to use color and presentation to enhance dishes. The Kids Cooking Connection has different classes for different age groups:
- Mini ChefM(ages 2-5) – kids in this group explore with their senses through tasting, touching, and smelling. They’re also taught about cooking basics, so they can become little helpers in the kitchen.
- Kid Chef (ages 6-10) – these classes teach kids how to read recipes and labels, make shopping lists, use tools and appliances in the kitchen, and master basic knife skills with a beginner’s knife. This course also teaches setting the table and basic etiquette skills.
- Young Master Chef (ages 11-17) – This series of courses covers the basics but introduces more advanced tasks. Eventually, kids in this class graduate to a standard chef knife. Recipes increase in difficulty throughout this course.