Family Favorite Splash Pad, Family Favorite Outdoor Play, Family Favorite Storytime, Family Favorite Summer Camp Family & Favorite Birthday Party Location: CENTRAL FLORIDA ZOO
3755 N.W. Hwy. 17-92, Sanford
Enter the natural Florida environment of the Central Florida Zoo, a relaxing, entertaining and educational experience for the entire family. See over 500 animals, enjoy the ZOOm Air Adventure Park aerial ropes course and zipline, or bring your swimsuit to cool off in the Wharton-Smith Tropical Splash Ground. Preschoolers and their caregivers can even enjoy a free storytime and an animal encounter at the Rainforest Pavilion. Check the website for the seasonal schedule. For kids ages 6 to 12, the Central Florida Zoo offers fun and educational summer camp programs, including half- and full-day camps. Children can choose from a wide variety of themes based on their interests. Celebrate birthdays at the wildest place in town! Birthday parties include admission for each guest; access to the Splash Ground; train and carousel ride for each guest; one-hour hosted celebration in party room; and a party host to serve food and drinks, facilitate games with prizes, lead the birthday song and more.
Family Favorite Playground: FORT MELLON PARK
600 E. 1st St., Sanford
Fort Mellon Park is perfect for a family fun day. You’ll fi nd basketball and tennis courts, BBQ grills and playground equipment. Bonus: there’s a separate playground for kids ages 2 to 5.
Family Favorite Tutoring Center: SYLVAN LEARNING LAKE MARY
136 N. 4th St., Lake Mary
With locations all over Central Florida, Sylvan tutors use a personal approach and interactive technology to help kids learn math, reading, writing and more, turning frustration into confidence!
Family Favorite Preschool: HOLY CROSS LUTHERAN ACADEMY PRESCHOOL
780 N. Sun Dr., Lake Mary
At Holy Cross Lutheran Academy, the early childhood staff is committed to making your child’s transition from home to school a fun, welcoming and loving experience. They offer a creative curriculum that addresses each child’s individual needs and learning styles. The teachers deliver engaging, interactive activities that make the classrooms come alive.
Family Favorite Sweet Treat: MENCHIE’S
3005 W. Lake Mary Blvd., Lake Mary
For a healthier sweet treat, parents are turning to frozen yogurt. Of course, the kids love it because they can make it their own by adding yummy toppings (well, maybe not so healthy but delicious!).
EDITOR’S Favorite Family Restaurant: HOLLERBACH WILLOW TREE CAFÉ
205 E. 1st St., Sanford
If you’re looking for authentic German food and music, this is the place. Located in downtown Sanford, this mom-and-pop restaurant is great for a group. Parents will enjoy the German beer and Wiener Schnitzel, kids will love Polka dancing to the German folk songs performed live. Die show ist wunderbar!
Family Favorite Farmer’s Market: LAKE MARY FARMER’S MARKET
100 N. Country Club Rd., Lake Mary
Downtown Lake Mary is rocking on the weekends with a Saturday farmer’s market that is sure to delight. Find small plants, honey, baked goods and produce from local farms. Plus, it’s dog-friendly.
EDITOR’S Favorite Summer Camp: HEATHROW TENNIS AND SPORTS CAMP
Heathrow Racquet Club
No need to be a member of the Heathrow Country Club to attend these fun weeklong camps. With a half-day camp for tots and a full-day camp for older kids, campers get unparalleled tennis instruction balanced with fun water games, swimming at the Heathrow pool and more. Camps run weekly from June to August.
Family Favorite Pediatrician: DR. MITCHELL MADDEN
Physician’s Associates Lake Mary
719/725 Rodel Cove, Lake Mary
With a knack for calming down kiddos, this board-certified pediatrician and University of Florida grad loves the outdoors and was instrumental in the development of Florida’s first infant heart transplant team.
Family Favorite Music Program: SEMINOLE COUNTY MUSIC TOGETHER
590 Rinehart Rd., Ste. 5, Lake Mary
Music Together is a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum. Join a community of families at their Westbrook Dance Academy location to share songs, instrument play, and rhythm and movement activities in a relaxed, playful and non-performance-oriented setting.
EDITOR’S Favorite Birthday Party Location: AIGUILLE ROCK CLIMBING CENTER
999 Charles St., Longwood
For active children who like a challenge, consider a birthday party at Aiguille Rock Climbing Center. During a party, all belaying (that’s rock climbing speak for the person who controls the rope attached to each climber) is in the hands of the staff, allowing parents to sit back, take pictures and cheer on your little climbers.
Family Favorite Dance Studio: XTREME DANCE STUDIO
4932 FL-46, Ste. 1048, Sanford
From beginning dancers to experienced company dancers, Xtreme has a class for every skill level. From hip-hop to ballet, your kiddo will find a class that fits his or her personality. The studio is owned by Sheri Metcalf, a professional dancer and artistic director who has danced with Kool and the Gang, KC and the Sunshine Band, Sisqo and Donna Summer.
EDITOR’S Favorite Educational Activity: LAKE MARY HISTORICAL MUSEUM
158 N. Country Club Rd., Lake Mary
Give your kids a crash history lesson at The Lake Mary Historical Museum, which exists to preserve and promote the history of the city and the surrounding area with a collection of artifacts, photographs, documents and other materials related to the history of Lake Mary and the surrounding area. Admission is free!