Family Favorite Playground: CHAPIN STATION NEIGHBORHOOD PARK
501 Crown Point Cross Rd., Winter Garden
With two playgrounds to choose from, kids can leap bridges in a single bound and scale walls lickity split before exploring the butterfly garden. Ample benches under shady trees provide a great resting spot for watchful eyes and the figure-eight-shaped sidewalk lets little scooter riders and roller bladers zoom around for hours.
Family Favorite Splash Pad: DOWNTOWN HISTORIC WINTER GARDEN SPLASH PAD
300 W Plant St., Winter Garden
Relatively new, the Winter Garden splash pad washes area competition away. Nothing says an afternoon of fun more than streaming fountains and squealing kiddos. Be sure to bring buckets and toys for your little water babies to enjoy.
Family Favorite Private School: FOUNDATION ACADEMY
North Campus: 125 E. Plant St., Winter Garden 407-656-3677 South Campus: 15304 Tilden Rd., Winter Garden
With two campuses, aspiring Einsteins from preschool to high school learn about God, academics, arts and athletics—the foundations for success at this learning local.
Family Favorite Kids Store: LEARNING EXPRESS
2564 Maguire Rd., Ocoee
Hop aboard the Learning Express in Ocoee. No need to repeat “don’t touch” over and over again. Here, toys are set up everywhere for the kids to explore while you find that perfect birthday or holiday gift. Be sure to check their events calendar; Learning Express offers a whole bunch of entertaining programs.
Family Favorite Sweet Treat: TWISTEE TREAT
1500 Maguire Rd., Ocoee
Show of hands … anyone else avoid driving down Maguire so the kids don’t spy that awesome ice cream cone building in the distance? It’s okay, swing by and partake in the yummy goodness of Twistee Treat. Brains will freeze with the fun over the vast choices of flavors you can add to your sweet snack.
Family Favorite Outdoor Play: OAKLAND NATURE PRESERVE
747 Machete Trail, Oakland
Butterfly gardens, hands-on discovery center, and, if you go the right route, zebras are found at this fun preserve. The long bridge trail takes trekkers out on a safe swamp tour, ending over a large lake where you may spy some gators. Take the path less traveled and discover the adjoining property, which houses zebra and other exotic animals. The education room provides a myriad of hands-on animal remnants and old time tools to discover.
Family Favorite Indoor Play: LET’S SKATE ORLANDO
14207 W. Colonial Dr., Winter Garden
Let’s Skate is great for birthday parties, a family afternoon of roller skating, or playdates with friends. Let’s Skate has the coolest themed party rooms around! Plus, they offer skate mates that help beginner skaters stay balanced.
Family Favorite Free Play: WINTER GARDEN FARMER’S MARKET
104 S. Lakeview Ave., Winter Garden
Any given Saturday morning, you’ll find the town perusing the Winter Garden Farmer’s Market. Adults, kids and even dogs are welcome to hang out, enjoy a tasty snow cone, grab local grub and tap their toes to the beat of the live musicians.
EDITOR’S Favorite After School Program: ICE GOLF ACADEMY
16301 Phil Ritson Way, Winter Garden
There’s nothing chilly about the instructors of ICE Golf Academy. Pro golfer expertise warms up your petite putter to the game of golf through the teaching of technique, building of skills, and an emphasis on having fun on the course. This program tees off from the U.S. Kids Golf platform and drives your pre-PGAer toward a passion for the game as she strives to achieve Elite level. Watch out. One day, you’ll be her caddy.
Family Favorite Gymnastics: GYMNASTICS USA
13175 W. Colonial Dr., Winter Garden
Somersaulting into our lives recently, families are flipping over Gymnastics USA. With programs for kids from beginners to competitors, this gym provides quality instruction while maintaining the safety of the athletes. Added bonus: the gym has an indoor, matted playground with swings for siblings who aren’t taking classes. Now you can stay and watch your future gold medalist practice in peace.
Family Favorite Art Class: CREALDE
310 N. Dillard St., Winter Garden
Crealde creates the perfect art class for families in Winter Garden. Whether it is photography, painting, sculpture or ceramics, adults and children aspire towards artistic excellence.
EDITOR’S Favorite Kids Night Out: FLORIDA FILM ACADEMY
270 W. Plant St., Winter Garden
Florida Film Academy hosts Friday Club Night for kids ages 6 to 12. Each month, parents drop off students from 5:30-9:30 p.m. and the kiddos create a themed film in four hours, have a pizza party and more!
Family Favorite Consignment Store: ONCE UPON A CHILD
8937 W. Colonial Dr., Ocoee
Once upon a time, there was a brilliant idea. Thus, Once Upon a Child was born. The consignment shop for kid stuff rocks every parent’s world by letting you sell your old stuff and buy gently loved stuff at a fraction of the cost. It’s the perfect fairy tale: cute kids in cute clothing with change to spare for the castle.
Family Favorite Birthday Party Location: SKY ZONE
2510 S. Hwy 27, Clermont
The Sky is the limit at Sky Zone in Clermont. Party-goers will bounce off the walls (it’s okay; they’re supposed to) when they attend birthday parties here. Let them eat cake and then release them to the trampolines for a hoppin’ great time.
Family Favorite Support/Therapy: HOPE COUNSELING CLINIC
410 N. Dillard St., Winter Garden
Hope Counseling Clinic in Winter Garden offers loving guidance and a safe place to share your worries, anxieties and concerns. Therapists offer expertise in a range of topics, including children, family and marriage counseling. It’s not just a name; hope will spring up after your time spent with these amazing professionals.