Author Archives: PLAYGROUND Mag

PLAYcation

Head to Central Florida’s newest luxury resort, and vacay the day away in these super hot fashions. Photos by Simply Shelby Photography Wardrobe styling by Consider Any Thing Done Shot on location at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World      

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Escape to Asheville

Tucked into the palm of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the tiny town of Asheville, North Carolina, never ceases to amaze visitors looking for an action-packed getaway in an unforgettable setting. From zip-lining to hiking to white-water rafting, Asheville’s adventure offerings are as seemingly endless as its options for amazing farm-to-fork dining. The area is filled […]

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Most Popular Baby Names In Orlando 2014

  Here are the most popular baby names recorded in 2014 by the Dr. P. Phillips Baby Place at Winter Park Memorial Hospital: Boy Names Ayden Jaykob Tristan Mason Benjamin Jonathan Joseph Isaac Jayden Lucas Girl Names Kinley Emma Madison Aarya Emily Grace Adelynn Eleanor Jayla Chloe Is your baby’s name on the list?

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Moms Making Six Figures

(Sponsored post) Bringing Women Home To Their Lives Work From Home • No Selling • No Inventory • No Party Plan • No Risk After 3 & 1/2 years of fertility treatments and then blessed with the gift of twin girls, I was bound and determined to be home with them to enjoy every little […]

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5 Things To Do This Weekend

Want the short list of the best things happening for your crew? We know all about the family-friendly events in Central Florida and hand-picked our top five that should not be missed! Tour Columbus’ Ships Nina & Pinta  Set sail on a voyage to the age of discovery as Columbus’ ships sail into Ponce Inlet March 13-17. […]

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Mother's Day Giveaway

Brought to you by PLAYGROUND Magazine and Winter Park Village (Because We Heart Moms) One lucky Central Florida Mom will win a fabulous day of pampering that includes more than $500 in gift cards and services at Winter Park Village! PRIZES INCLUDE: $150 gift card to The Cheesecake Factory $150 gift card to your choice […]

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Moms Night Out: 50 Shades Giveaway

We are giving away two tickets to…  “Fifty Shades Cocktail Party”and Private Movie Screening (worth $100) Winter Park Village Thursday, February 12 BRIO “Fifty Shades Cocktail Party” from 6-7:50 p.m. @ BRIO Tuscan Grille Exclusive private screening of Fifty Shades of Grey at 8 p.m. @ Regal Cinemas HOW TO ENTER: Please comment on this post […]

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Dora & Diego New Exhibit

“Dora & Diego — Let’s Explore!” Exhibit Opens to the Public Saturday, Jan. 24 at Noon Get ready to explore with Dora and Diego at Orlando Science Center in the new exhibit “Dora and Diego — Let’s Explore!” The exhibit features beloved characters Dora and Diego along with their friends Boots, Map, Backpack, Isa, Tico […]

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President's Day Brain Training

  Kids’ ability to memorize all the presidents can motivate you to get a better brain too! For many of us, the upcoming Presidents Day holiday mostly means a day off, or the annual bombardment of mattress commercials and car ads. But for thousands of kids across the country, it’s much more than just a […]

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WonderWorks Lowers Fee For Locals

WonderWorks Invites Locals to Have Fun and Save Big WonderWorks is thanking residents by offering a locals appreciation discount through February. While the I-drive attraction is known to draw tourists from all over, local residents are a key factor in helping the business succeed. The discount is one way the team aims to show just […]

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Two Big Announcements From LEGOLAND

News just arrived that the LEGOLAND® Florida Hotel is officially opening May 15, 2015 and soon after, Heartlake City, a new area in LEGOLAND is opening this summer. “LEGOLAND Hotel offers a unique experience unlike any other in Florida,” Kevin Carr, General Manager, announced at the press conference. “Imagine how excited children will be to […]

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The Swan Princess Ticket Giveaway

The Swan Princess Family Series January 24th at 11 a.m. Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Don’t let the post-holiday blues get you down. We’re giving away four free tickets to one lucky family for Orlando Ballet’s The Swan Princess Family Series performance! ABOUT THE SHOW: The story of Princess Odette, who has been magically transformed into […]

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Your 2015 Parenting Checklist

17 Resolutions to Make This the Year of Conscious Parenting We have the best intentions, but most of us parent on autopilot more than we’d like. Here, Marianna S. Klebanov, JD, shares 17 resolutions that will help you to bring consciousness to your parenting in 2015. As parents most of us have the right intentions, […]

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The Dance Happy Project

Georgia Bernbaum, age 11, had to come up with a community service project for her bat mitzvah. That’s how The Dance Happy Project was born. Words by Tracey C. Velt  Photos by Lisbet Photography When it came time to develop a community service project, Georgia, a sixth-grader at Maitland Middle School, knew she wanted to […]

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners

We are so excited to reveal the winners! Congratulations to the people and places that bring such great services to Central Florida families. Explore the winners you selected by clicking the links below: Education & Enrichment Play Time Party Time Shop & Pamper Staycation Kiddie Culture Maternity Date Night

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Shop & Pamper

Best Children’s Boutique Tugboat and the Bird Tugboat and the Bird specializes in the unique and has become a one-stop resource for children’s clothes, accessories and toys. It has Winter Park charm and a gracious staff to assist you. 318 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-647-5437, www.tugboatandthebird.com Best Toy Store Lighten Up This place will […]

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Shop & Pamper

Best Children’s Boutique Tugboat and the Bird Tugboat and the Bird specializes in the unique and has become a one-stop resource for children’s clothes, accessories and toys. It has Winter Park charm and a gracious staff to assist you. 318 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-647-5437, www.tugboatandthebird.com Best Toy Store Lighten Up This place will […]

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Date Night

Best Restaurant Enzo’s on the Lake The charming and secluded Enzo’s on the Lake takes first-timers by surprise. Converted from a sprawling lakeside villa, this enchanting restaurant sits on the shores of Lake Fairy and features a spectacular outdoor sculpture garden. It’s the perfect place for a sunset champagne toast before heading inside for classic […]

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Kiddie Culture

Best Kids Theater Orlando Repertory Theatre What kid doesn’t love fancy costumes and meet and greets with actors after the shows? The Rep is the go-to kid-friendly theater that offers fun shows with all your kiddo’s fave characters. Dr. Phillips and Altamonte Springs, www.orlandorep.com Best Family Festival Kids Fringe at Orlando Fringe Festival Kids Fringe […]

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Staycation

Best Resort Kids Club Ritz-Carlton You voted this the best spot for kids to have some fun while parents enjoy their free time. The Ritz Kids program at the Orlando Ritz-Carlton has creative, fun activities for kids ages 4 to 12, such as obstacle courses, eco-focused projects, crafts, dance parties and bike rides. 4040 Central […]

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Education & Enrichment

Best Private School (religious) The Christ School 106 E. Church St., Orlando, 407-849-1665, www.thechristschool.org Best Private School (non-religious) Park Maitland School 1450 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, 407-647-3038, www.parkmaitland.org Best Public School Dommerich Elementary School 1900 Choctaw Tr., Maitland, 407-623-1407, www.des.ocps.k12.fl.us Best Alternative/Non-Traditional School (It was a tie!) Ampersand School 893 E. State Rd. 434, Longwood,407-960-7994, […]

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Education & Enrichment

Best Private School (religious) The Christ School 106 E. Church St., Orlando, 407-849-1665, www.thechristschool.org Best Private School (non-religious) Park Maitland School 1450 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, 407-647-3038, www.parkmaitland.org Best Public School Dommerich Elementary School 1900 Choctaw Tr., Maitland, 407-623-1407, www.des.ocps.k12.fl.us Best Alternative/Non-Traditional School (It was a tie!) Ampersand School 893 E. State Rd. 434, Longwood,407-960-7994, […]

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Maternity

Best Midwife Kaleen Richards Feel empowered with Kaleen Richards, a nurse practitioner midwife at Tree of Life Birth and Gynecology in Deland. After starting her career as a doula and birth educator, Richards soon moved to midwife, where she works to develop strong bonds with her patients. She’s respectful of your wishes and will empower […]

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Party Time

Best Birthday Party Location My Gym It’s no wonder Central Florida parents chose this as a fave party spot. Kids can sing, dance and move while certified instructors lead them in structured activities. Best of all, the workers do it all, from serving refreshments and cake to cleaning up, leaving you extra quality time with […]

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Play Time

Best Mall Play Area Altamonte Mall Take a buying break, and let your pint-sized bargain hunter blow off some energy climbing, sliding and running as you strategize your next shopping spree. 407-830-4422, www.altamontemall.com Best Indoor Playground Amaya Papaya Adults play free. That’s right, admission for your lil’ papaya includes entrance for two adults, and you […]

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Circus Style

Embrace the holiday chaos, and let the kids mix colors and patterns in true circus style. Photos by Amy Smith Wardrobe styling by Tammara Kohler Hairstyling by Charles Lane Face paint by Tifinie Boutot Shot on location at The Acre Orlando

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2014 Local Holiday Gift Guide

Are you in the need for some last minute gifts to finish off your Christmas shopping? Check out our picks of great gifts for everyone on your Nice list. The best part is you’ll also be supporting local businesses by buying from these independent retailers in Central Florida. Perfect for the Boy Who Has Everything […]

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Marvel Universe LIVE!

Marvel Universe LIVE! Roars into the Amway Center on December 5th – 7th Words by Jessica Long Although it’s not even Thanksgiving, the holiday season seems to be in full swing already. While your kids are preoccupied with thoughts of Santa and Rudolph, don’t let them miss out on an incredible chance to see their […]

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American Girl Grand Opening

The Day Has Arrived! Words by Tracey C. Velt PLAYGROUND Magazine got a sneak peek into the new American Girl store, located in Florida Mall, and it’s everything we imagined it to be … It truly is a little girl’s paradise! American Girl Orlando will open its doors Saturday, Nov. 16 in Florida Mall. Take […]

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5 Healthier Holiday Desserts

Thanksgiving is synonymous with family, friends and an overload of food. So, when it comes to dessert this holiday, skip the pie and substitute with these 5 healthier alternatives. Jenna Fernandes, CEO of CareBooker.com, the only FREE “Open Table” of family and pet care services, offers lighter desserts that are sure to satisfy everyone’s sweet […]

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Call for Entries: Young Artists to Design Holiday Banners

Calling All Young Artists The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce is seeking young artists to enter the annual holiday art competition. Students are asked to create original illustrations of what the holidays mean to them. Winners will have their artwork digitized and printed on vinyl banners to decorate the light poles along Morse Boulevard in […]

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5 Tips to Avoid the Holiday Mommy Meltdown

Holiday Mommy Meltdown

Surviving the Holiday Mommy Meltdown Turkey’s, Gift Wrap and End-of-Year Results—Oh My! Words by Teresa Taylor The holidays are upon us, and there is magic in the air. As a mom, you would think this would be a fun time of year – for family traditions and making memories. As a working mom, you think […]

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Hawk Cay Resort's Mermaid Academy

Available select days in November, December and January–Hawks Cay Resort’s Mermaid Academy brings the mystical and magical creatures to life with mermaid tails and swimming lessons for kids Have you ever wanted to swim like a mermaid?  Think back to the 1980s when Splash was released and I bet you did.  Or if you’re younger, […]

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25 Fall Family Activities

We may not have falling leaves or even crisp autumn air, but Central Florida still offers plenty of fun activities that will get you into the spirit of the season. Written by Jessica Long Long and Scott Farms’ Corn Maze Who will be the first to navigate through the twists and turns of this seven-acre […]

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Pink Out Winter Park

Pink Out Winter Park kicks off with more than 1,200 people coming together for breast cancer awareness Central Park was glowing pink when more than 1,200 Central Floridians literally took a stand against breast cancer as part of Pink Out Winter Park’s Get a Leg Up on Breast Cancer event. The community came together in […]

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Bats at Orlando Science Center

Immerse Yourself Into the Mysterious World of Bats at Orlando Science Center’s Latest Exhibit Exhibit Opens Saturday, Sept. 20 at Noon Fly into Orlando Science Center’s newest traveling exhibit, “Bats: Myths and Mysteries” on Saturday, Sept. 20 at noon. Featuring live animals, educational simulations, interactive displays and more, it’s an experience the whole family will […]

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The Borrowers

The Borrowers continues this weekend at The REP (September 2 – 28, 2014). This enchanting play by Charles Way is based upon the award-winning children’s literature classic by Mary Norton. Meet Arrietty Clock- she is a typical tween yearning to experience the grown-up world. The only difference? She and her tiny family live on dollhouse […]

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Click, Clack, Boo!

Just in time for Halloween is Click, Clack, BOO! A Tricky Treat (October 6 – November 9, 2014), based on the book by Doreen Cronin and Betsey Lewin. It’s Halloween! Duck, Pig, Cow, and Hen cannot wait to throw a Halloween party, complete with apple-bobbing, bottomless candy bowls, and a spook-tacular costume contest, against Farmer […]

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Vocabulary Treats

Kicking-off back to school, The Sweet Shop is releasing a new line of sweets available beginning Saturday, August 16. The Sweet Shop Vocabulary – Cupcakes $3.75 | Bars $3.50 | Whoopie Pies $3.75 A. Apple Jacks Whoopie Pie B. Cocoa Pebble Coffee Brownie C. Peanut Butter Captain Crunch Milk Cookie D. PB+J Rice Krispie Treat […]

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Nick Hotel Preschool Celebration

Special Nickelodeon Preschool-themed activities, shows and character meet & greets around the Nickelodeon Suites Resort Nickelodeon Preschool Celebration activities at Nickelodeon Suites Resort kick off, August 22-24, 2014 with a special Dora & Friends Weekend.  The Nickelodeon Preschool Celebration continues throughout August and September; ending with Julius Jr. Weekend, September 26-28, 2014. Nickelodeon Preschool Celebration […]

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Everything Is Awesome

Reservations now being accepted for the new LEGOLAND® Hotel, opening Summer 2015 It’s less than one year before Legoland Florida Resort opens the doors to its new Legoland Hotel, and the window is now officially open for guests to book their rooms! Opening Summer 2015, the five story Lego themed hotel will feature 152 brightly […]

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Back 2 School Kids Fashion

Here are photos of the Back 2 School Bash Kids Runway Fashion Show to inspire your style this school year. Photos by Jessica Friend Photo Design Clothes from Dillard’s, Gymboree, Sears & The Children’s Place Additional Shoes from Grounded & The Shoe Dept. Accessories from Claire’s & Merle Norman Hair & Makeup by Millisa Ferreira […]

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10 Best Towns For Families

  FAMILY CIRCLE MAGAZINE NAMES LAKE MARY, FLORIDA TO ANNUAL “10 BEST TOWNS FOR FAMILIES” LIST Family Circle announces the results of its exclusive survey to identify America’s 10 Best Towns for Families. The brand’s eighth annual list reveals the country’s top towns that provide affordable housing options, strong sense of community and exemplary school […]

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The Prego Expo

Imagine sitting in a room with your two best friends, who are filling you in on exactly what you need for your new baby. After all, when it comes to pregnancy and your baby, there is so much information out there that it becomes overwhelming. Enter The Prego Expo, Central Florida’s premier expo for new […]

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Donate, Shop, Save & Create

Donate, Shop, Save and Create Goodwill Industries of Central Florida is encouraging local parents to pull off the quadruple play this summer! It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4: 1. Donate last year’s school clothes to Goodwill. Start by going through your closet and dresser drawers, and looking for items you no longer need. […]

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2014 KidFest Movie Series

Movie Series: July 6 – August 3 The KidFest Film Series at Enzian offers film fans and children of all ages the rare opportunity to experience an exceptional selection of family-friendly movies. From unique, side-splitting silent comedy classics to popular and unusual retro favorites. These films play for FREE on weekdays and only $5 on […]

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Summer Celebration Series

The REP Presents Summer Fun For The Entire Family Orlando Repertory Theatre presents The REP’s Summer Celebration Series for Central Florida families. With three exciting shows between July 18 and August 3, the productions are Crazy For You, The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful (and Her Dog!), and Leslie and Lolly Make Stuff Up! Join […]

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Local Model Search

Pigtails & Crewcuts Celebrates First Anniversary with Local Model Search Pigtails & Crewcuts, a premier children’s hair salon, is celebrating its first anniversary in Orlando by launching a Local Model Search. The Model Search is designed to showcase the children of Orlando and surrounding areas. “We are ecstatic to be celebrating Pigtails & Crewcuts first […]

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Hipster Father's Day Card

Download this free printable Hipster Father’s Day Card compliments of PLAYGROUND. CLICK HERE to download a PDF to print.  

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Hipster Father’s Day Card

Download this free printable Hipster Father’s Day Card compliments of PLAYGROUND. CLICK HERE to download a PDF to print.  

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I’m So Pregnant

A hysterical preggo parody of Izzy Azalea’s “Fancy” by What’s Up Moms.

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BLOCKHEADS: Recycled Art Project

With a few simple things found in your recycle bin and craft closet, your kids can create silly characters that are sure to make them giggle. Making these Blockheads is a great way to spark your kids’ imagination and creativity. You might find yourself giggling, too! Created by Debbie Helton from The Craft Shack MATERIALS: […]

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Let's JAM

Sponsored Hello Families, Let’s JAM! The wise and revered philosopher Plato once said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”  The founder of the Junior Academy of Music (JAM) could not agree more!  When it comes to unlocking potential and planting the seeds […]

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Engineering for Kids

STEM, When I grow up! What is STEM? Why all the fuss over STEM? As a mother of two small children, I have about 10.1 million things to worry about. Did I remember to put my daughter’s sweater in her backpack? Were there enough pull-ups in my son’s school bag? What are we doing for […]

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Disney on Ice Presents Frozen in Orlando

Disney On Ice presents Frozen visits Orlando from September 5 to September 7 for seven performances at the Amway Center; tickets go on sale June 3 at 10 a.m. The Academy Award® winning tale will be told live for the first time in this production, capturing the dynamic between two royal sisters, Anna and Elsa.  […]

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Curious George Returns to Orlando Science Center

Get Curious with Everyone’s Favorite Monkey Exhibit and Feature-Length Movie Opens Saturday, May 17 The insatiable curiosity of Curious George — the little monkey who has captured the imagination and hearts of millions of children and adults for 65 years — comes to life Saturday, May 17 at Orlando Science Center. The exhibit, “Curious George: […]

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Gone With The Wind: Reel To Real

“Frankly, My Dear…” The Orange County Regional History Center Celebrates 75th Anniversary of Gone With The Wind: Reel To Real The exhibition Gone With the Wind: Reel to Real, commemorates the 75th anniversary of one of the most popular films ever made. The nationally significant exhibition relives the magic of the iconic novel and film […]

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YOLO: 100 Things to Do This Summer in Central Florida

Words by Regina Knabe Click the link to download the PDF: YOLO: 100 Things to Do This Summer in Central Florida 1. Climb 213 steps to the top of the tallest lighthouse in Florida at Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse. 4931 S. Peninsula Dr., Ponce Inlet, 386-761-1821 www.ponceinlet.org 2. Walk through an inversion tunnel and be upside down at […]

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Hook Kids on Fishing

The City of Casselberry, Friends of the Park, and Fish Florida have teamed up to present an exciting day of adventure at Secret Lake Park with the Hook Kids on Fishing event Saturday, May 17 from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.. This free family event will feature a fishing clinic that will teach kids how […]

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Avalon Art Installation

Children of Avalon Park, in East Orlando, will have the opportunity to contribute to an art installation that will be displayed in the office building of Avalon Park Group. Throughout the month of April, kids of all ages are welcomed to participate in an arboreal art project. Children will create colorful leaves that will be […]

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Fannie Hillman Goes to the Head of the Class

Fannie Hillman + Associates and several of its clients and closest friends raised over $1,600 in cash donations and school supplies to help 350 children residing in The Meadows apartment complex owned and operated by the Winter Park Housing Authority. School supplies included everything from backpacks, notebooks, pens and pencils to calculators, pocket folders, notebook […]

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Easter at Outdoor World

  Families are invited to celebrate Easter at Bass Pro Shops this spring by enjoying free photos with the Easter Bunny, crafts for the kids, and an old-fashioned Easter egg hunt. This free, family Easter event is hosted at Bass Pro Shops 64 stores across the U.S and Canada from Saturday, April 12 to Sunday, […]

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Implant Surgery On Ten-Year-Old Boy

Cardiologists at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children performed Florida’s first pediatric implant of a new device to prevent sudden cardiac arrest. The device, called a subcutaneous defibrillator, protects patients from sudden cardiac arrest by providing an electrical impulse to muscles surrounding the heart. It is the world’s first device to provide protection from sudden cardiac […]

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Spring Fashion Look Book

Watch the video slideshow here…

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A Nutritional Guide For The Expecting Mother

  By: Karen Cowan In a typical mom-to-be, the news of a pregnancy is met with excitement, anxiety and a frantic desire to learn everything needed to ensure that her child is born healthy. Consuming a healthful, nutrient-dense diet throughout pregnancy and while nursing can help set the stage for an optimal birth and postnatal […]

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This Week in Space

This Week in Space: Brought to you by Kennedy Space Center March 1st–March 15th On March 4, 1979, the Voyager 1 spacecraft discovered a ring system surrounding Jupiter. Today, we know the system contains three major components: the Main ring, the Halo and the Gossamer ring. Within the Main ring are two small orbiting moons whose […]

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The 2013 Hillman Report Has Been Released

Each year the president of Fannie Hillman + Associates, Scott Hillman, releases his annual Hillman Report. This is a comprehensive look at the 2013 Real Estate market in specific areas throughout Orange and parts of Seminole counties. It is a great resource for those interested in evaluating our market’s past performance to truly gain perspective […]

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Kids Nutrition: Simple Changes = Big Rewards

By: Merilee Kern A wise man – or woman – once said that “it’s the small things in life that matter.” This philosophy could not ring more true than when applied to the health and well-being of our nation’s children. There is no one thing that, no matter how consistently done, will assure good health. […]

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5 Car Seat Cleaning Tips by Clek

  Spring is just around the corner. Clek, the award-winning car seat manufacturer known for its ease-of-use and modern design, has shared with us a few of their simple suggestions for how to clean and refresh your child’s car seat. 1.    When it comes to your child’s car seat, safety is always first, so be sure […]

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10 Family Activities for Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about romantic love. Show your kids how much you love them by doing some of these fun V-Day activities. Words by  Tiffany Doerr Guerzon 1. Slip a Valentine card under each kid’s pillow and tell them to check underneath for a fun surprise when they wake up. 2. For […]

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Cook With Your Kids

The Importance of Family Dinners & #KidsCookMonday Twitter Party Written by Amanda Keefer Originally posted on ProduceForKids.com Our friends at Produce for Kids have teamed up with The Kids Cook Monday and Oviedo mom Christine Pittman of Cook the Story to host the #KidsCookMonday Twitter party on January 27 at 9 p.m. EST. Parents can […]

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KIDZ BOP Gets It's Own Sirius XM Station

SiriusXM  has teamed up with KIDZ BOP, the number 1 kids’ music brand in the U.S., to launch KIDZ BOP Radio. Kids and families can now tune into KIDZ BOP’s 24/7 dedicated channel featuring music from the chart-topping KIDZ BOP album series. The KIDZ BOP Kids — Ashlynn, Bredia, Grant, Jayna and Matt — will […]

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Save The Planet: One Stroller at a Time

Available in vibrant hues like Cayenne Red, Aquamarine, and Green Papyrus, Bumbleride’s 2014 all-terrain, jogging, travel and urban strollers feature a dual-faceted eco-construction: the exterior fabric is made with 50% recycled PET from plastic bottles, and the interior fabric consists of 50% renewable bamboo charcoal.   “Bumbleride proves that parents don’t need to make sacrifices in personal style, […]

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Antarctic Wedding (in Central Florida)

Antarctica Explorers Wed at SeaWorld Orlando’s Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin A true “white wedding” was held on Friday, January 10, 2014 at SeaWorld Orlando as two Antarctic explorers shared their vows at Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, the park’s cool rendition of the icy continent. Heart-warming and bone-chilling extremes could be felt as the […]

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PLAY Calendar – January 2014

Check out our new PLAY calendar, packed full of local fun for your family! Download a PDF of the January 2014 PLAY Calendar here.  

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Holiday Look Book

               

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Holiday Shopping for Children

For many parents of young children, the holiday shopping season becomes a painstaking session of research and deliberation in deciding what toys to purchase. There really should be a flow chart for holiday shopping for children. We imagine it would go something like this: Is it age-appropriate? Yes, next question. Is it budget friendly? Yes, […]

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The 12 Days of Christmas

Downtown Winter Garden is transformed into a spectacular Holiday Wonderland for the month of December filled with all the trimmings. This charming cobblestone street is filled with locally-owned stores and award-winning restaurants, so start your holiday season off right in a low key, family-friendly downtown environment.  Also, visit A Very Merry Farmers Market on Saturdays […]

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Community Based Care of Central Florida

30 LOCAL CHILDREN FIND “FOREVER FAMILIES” ON NATIONAL ADOPTION DAY In courthouses across Central Florida on Friday, 30 children were officially united with their new parents during adoption ceremonies in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. Ranging in age from infants to teens, the children were among nearly 4,500 kids who participated in National Adoption Day celebrations […]

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Hanukah Heshie

Local dad creates Hanukah alternative to Elf on the Shelf Written by Tracey Velt As an animator who worked at Disney for 10 years, Jason Peltz with Peltz Productions knows a thing or two about creating characters. So, when his daughters, Jadyn (7) and Jennavieve (4), begged for an Elf on the Shelf, Peltz convinced […]

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Locals Only Gift Guide

In support of #SmallBusinessSaturday we’ve come up with a local’s only gift guide to make supporting your community, and conquering your holiday shopping list a little easier. Check out these PLAYGROUND-approved, locally owned businesses and the gifts we think are definitely worth giving. Learning Express: Iliana and Vik Mavinkurve opened Learning Express in Ocoee earlier […]

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Tips for Teaching Children to be Thankful this Holiday

  The holidays are such a festive time of year, with many opportunities to entertain, enjoy good food and friends and celebrate the season. However, it’s easy to be swept up in those activities and forget the meaning behind the holidays, in particular Thanksgiving. As parents, we strive every day to instill good values in […]

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Aquatica Announces Two Special Offers

Aquatica is offering big savings on single-day admission through the end of the year with tickets as low at $19 a day. This limited-time offer is only available online, and is limited to 6 tickets per transaction. Each ticket requires a name that must match with photo ID upon park entry. Tickets will be date specific and […]

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Red Tail Pilots

Looking for something meaningful to do with the family to honor Veterans Day? Take them to see the film Red Tails at the Orlando Science Center, and fly like one too. Friday, November 8 – Monday, November 11 The activities include: Opportunities to fly a Red Tails flight simulator courtesy of Lockheed Martin Showings of […]

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Sealed by Santa

You know how I know you’re nice? There is finally an answer to all of those letters to Santa! Check out these one-of-a-kind authentic letters direct from Santa’s workshop, complete with Santa’s wax seal! There are 12 different letters designs, each personalized just for your child. They also come with two free Santa videos from NorthPoleVideos.com and […]

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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents: Legends

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is proud to present LEGENDS! The brand new show plays the Amway Center in Orlando January 9-12, 2014. Behold the living legends! Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey brings the unbelievable to children of all ages in an all-new show at the Amway Center. Experience unimaginable family fun as amazing performers from around the globe perform […]

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Winter Park Boat Parade

The Rotary Club of Winter Park presents, along with Southeast Marine Sales, the 9th Annual Winter Park Boat Parade & Festival of Lights and Ski Show which will take place December 14th on Lakes Virginia and Osceola. The Winter Park Boat Parade and Festival of Lights is a fun, community-wide water parade with holiday-themed and […]

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Wondermade

 Talk about a cloud-based business — Wondermade is producing clouds of fluffy goodness in the form of marshmallows. It all started one Christmas when Nathan Clark was at a loss for what to get his wife, Jenn. “Every Christmas we come up with a creative gift for each other, and I was stumped,” says Clark, […]

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Buddy's Brick Bunch Ambassadors

Three Central Florida kiddos were selected to be special ambassadors for Florida’s newest theme park. Imagine having unlimited (free!) access to Legoland Florida and the chance to go on camera promoting super fun rides. We talked to the three Central Florida kids who were chosen from more than 400 applicants to be part of the […]

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Family-Friendly Hiking Trails

  Enjoy the cool Fall weather by hitting the trails with the kiddos. With hundreds of local hikes to choose from, these are some of the best to enjoy with the family. Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake 3401 S. Hiawassee Road, Orlando 32835 Walk as little or as much of the loop as you like, […]

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Project Learning Tree

  When Dr. Carol Mikulka, founder and principal of Walden Community School in Winter Park, stumbled upon Project Learning Tree (PLT) in 2007, she knew she found something quite special. “Project Learning Tree provides schools with the resources to educate about environmental issues,” says Mikulka. “More than that, it helps you integrate lessons about the […]

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Camden's Corner

            With a mission to provide compelling messages and impact children and families in a positive way, MicheLee Puppets is a very special puppet show company. Central Florida’s children are being schooled on some of the most critical social issues of today. MicheLee Puppets is tackling the social issues that […]

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Zoology Class

  I’m not a big planner. I prefer to make spur-of-the-moment decisions, so when my husband had to work in Crystal River for a few days, I decided to take the kids and join him. I knew we would have fun lounging at the pool and hoped we would get to swim with the manatees. […]

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Creative Halloween Treats

With Halloween right around the corner, here are some spooktacular recipes to help supply your little ghouls and goblins with nutritious dairy foods dressed up as tasty treats. Recipes and photos by: The Florida Dairy Farmers  Dirt Cups featuring Brownie Brittle   Ingredients:   For the chocolate pudding   ·         3/4 cups white sugar ·         2 cups […]

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St. Luke's Lutheran School

    We believe in opportunity- the opportunity for every child to learn, grow and succeed. We believe students thrive in a Christian environment where security inspires confidence and parent participation breeds success. We believe opportunities in fine arts, music, athletics and foreign language are integral, not optional. That spirit of success started in 1947 […]

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MamaBear App 2.0

The app MamaBear is designed to make keeping track of the little ones a little easier. The updated 2.0 version has been released, just in time for Halloween! MamaBear App works in three steps: 1.  Parents or guardians install and register for MamaBear on their smart phones and tablets for family monitoring view. 2. Kids […]

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Festival of Trees

The Orlando Museum of Art’s Council of 101 will present Central Florida’s favorite holiday event, the 27th Annual Festival of Trees, “All That Glitters,” opening November 16-24, 2013, from 10 am to 5 pm daily. Enjoy the sparkle, glitter and shine of the Festival with these special events: Thursday, November 14th 6-8 pm LIGHT UP THE […]

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Snow White Ballet for Families

Kiddos too wiggly to sit through a long ballet? Good news! The Orlando Ballet offers a family series with an hour-length performance sure to keep their attention. Join in on family-friendly activities and photo opportunities too. Next weekend, catch the debut of Snow White retold and conceptualized by Orlando Ballet ballerina, Chiaki Yasukawa.  A new […]

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Orlando Science Center School Break Camps

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Fall-Tastic Festivals

Freak out at these ghostly gatherings, fall festivals, and celebrations: Every Saturday and Sunday in October Brick or Treat Legoland Florida www.legoland.com Your little Lego lovers will want to go all out for the costume contest at Brick or Treat. The prizes include Lego products and park tickets! They will also love the spooky scavenger […]

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Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra

The Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra’s 57th Season opens with an October 13th concert featuring all four of the organization’s orchestras and distinguished cellist David Bjella, who enjoys a successful career as both an educator and performer. The orchestras – Overture Strings, a string training orchestra with performers 7 to 14 years old; Prelude, whose musicians […]

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Arts and Manners K.A.M.P. for Kids

Sip tea with the Mad Hatter at K.A.M.P. A Kid’s arts and manners program at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes Saturday, October 19, 2013 from 1 to 4 p.m. On Saturday October 19th, The Elegant Way Foundation will launch K.A.M.P., Kid’s Arts & Manners Program, at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. K.A.M.P. will feature an interactive […]

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A Night in New Orleans: A Magic Tree House Adventure

    The Orlando Shakespeare Theatre presents A Night in New Orleans: A Magic Tree House Adventure. Get ready for a night filled with music, ghosts, and the king of jazz himself as the beloved Magic Tree House characters, Jack and Annie, are transported to 1915 New Orleans. They must find a young Louis Armstrong […]

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Family Day September 23

With busy work schedules, after-school activities, and the many distractions that get in the way, it can be a daunting task to coordinator family time and dinnertime. Research conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University shows that the more time spent at the table together, the more likely your […]

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Sesame Street Presents: The Body

Big Bird, Elmo and fellow Sesame Street residents are set to arrive at the Orlando Science Center Saturday, September 28th for the newest traveling exhibit Sesame Street Presents: The Body. Join your favorite characters for an engaging multimedia experience that’s all about you. Sesame Street Presents: The Body is set in the  fun, familiar world of […]

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Cradle to College

Cradle to College is an upscale children’s consignment sale bringing buyers and sellers together. The event and expo will feature tons of gently loved clothing (sizes ranging from newborn/preemie to child size 12), toys, books, shoes, CD’s and DVD’s, baby gear (strollers, highchairs, etc.), furniture, bedding, maternity wear and more. Cradle to College is coming to Orlando September […]

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Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy, matey. Thursday, September 19th is National Talk Like a Pirate day. Though this day only encourages talking like a pirate, we thought a few pirate-themed activities would rock the boat, in a good way. Here’s a list of a few fun ideas for celebrating. Download Pirate Rush: Pirate Rush is a free game for […]

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Penguins 3D

Get ready for the coolest 3d movie ever! “Penguins 3D” is now playing at the Orlando Science Center. Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, “Penguins 3D” follows the life of a very special King Penguin, who returns to his birthplace in the sub-Antarctic. The Island is known as Penguin City, as it is home to nearly six million […]

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Arabian Nights Holiday Show

  Arabian Nights holiday show, Amirah’s Wish, is the perfect way to spend a night out with the family celebrating the holiday season. The show is performed on horseback and brings together characters such as Khadri the Genie and Santa Claus himself. The show runs from December 1st, to January 2nd at Arabian Nights in […]

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The Primrose Experience

The Primrose Experience: Building the Right Foundation for Future Learning and Life Choosing the right care for your child is one of the most important decisions you will make as a parent. At the end of the day, it comes down to entrusting the care of your child to a provider that will give you […]

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Spooky Skate

RDV Ice Den celebrates Halloween with “Spooky Skate,” on Saturday, October 26, from 2 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. The event will feature a costume contest, candy, games, and much more Halloween fun. Admission is $10.65, which includes tax and ice skate rental. Skaters are encouraged to come out dressed in their Halloween costumes and will […]

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Museum Day Live!

On Saturday, September 28, 2013, the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens will open its doors free of charge along with over 1,400 other participating venues for the Ninth Annual Museum Day Live! This immensely successful program, in which the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens will emulate the free admission policy of the Smithsonian […]

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Casselberry Art House Offers Parent/Child Workshops

The Casselberry Art House offers many exciting classes throughout the year. Located in Casselberry at 127 Quail Pond Circle, the Art House serves the communities throughout Seminole County. In addition to six week art classes, Summer Art Academy, Date Night, Girl’s Night Out, and birthday parties, the Art House offers fun Parent/Child Workshops on the […]

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Back To Your Regular Time-Sharing Schedule

Extending the Season: Adjusting Smoothly from Summer to Fall Time-Sharing By Sarah Kinbar, BigBlendedFamily.com Over the summer, we spent a lot of time at the beach, in the pool and on the lake–loose, silly, unstructured time. Thanks to the vacation clause in our time-sharing agreements with our exes, our four children (Todd’s two and my […]

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Little Learners Workshop Series

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Legoland's STEM Programs

LEGOLAND® Florida makes learning fun by taking imagination outside of the classroom with its third year of educational field trips. The park offers STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)-focused programs that meet Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. The programs translate classroom curriculum into real-world examples featuring LEGO products for grades K-6 including the WeDo Robotics […]

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5 Room Mom Tips

The dos and don’ts of being an A+ room mom Written by Sandy Franks, Parke House Academy room mom and mother to Parker (11) and Paige(6). If your kid is in school long enough, you’ve surely encountered the overachieving, overbearing room mom. She may get things done but with a lot of collateral damage. Don’t […]

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Pigtails & Crewcuts

At Pigtails & Crewcuts, kids are our world. Opening Thursday, August 8 in Dr. Phillips Written by Jennifer and Bobby Tribble, the owners of Pigtails & Crewcuts here in Orlando When you enter our brightly colored wonderland and you’ll find a salon that doubles as playroom, built just for kids. From our airplanes, choo-choo train, […]

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B2SB

OVIEDO MALL CELEBRATES TAX FREE SHOPPING WITH PLAYGROUND MAGAZINE’s BACK TO SCHOOL BASH & AFTER SCHOOL ENRICHMENT EXPO             PLAYGROUND Magazine returns to Oviedo Mall for the third year of their annual Back to School Bash & After School Enrichment Expo. The event will be held on Saturday, August 3rd, […]

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Bake Me a Cake

Bake Me a Cake Specialty cakes for all occasions. 1161 E. Altamonte Dr., Altamonte Springs 407-830-9006 www.bakemeacake.net

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Bébé's of Winter Park

Bébé’s of Winter Park The ultimate in children’s wear. 311 Park Ave. S., Winter Park. 407-628-1680

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Disney On Ice Ticket Giveaway

Disney On Ice presents Princesses & Heroes plays at the Amway Center on Sept. 13-15, 2013. ENTER TO WIN: We are giving away up to 15 – $29 vouchers (good for selected performances). Enter to win by commenting to this post with your favorite free family activity in Central Florida. Winners will be selected on […]

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Free LEGO Fun

Here are a few Lego tips to help you keep the fun bus rolling during the end of the summer. And the best part is … they are all completely FREE (or almost free)! Written by Betsy Jewell 1. Build Your Lego Supply If you don’t have Legos at home, be sure to check out […]

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Day trip to Busch Gardens

With back-to-school on the horizon, is it possible that you’ve already exhausted all the fun Orlando has to offer this summer? If you’re bored of the beach and done with Disney, consider taking a walk on the wild side these last few weeks of summer with a day trip to Busch Gardens Tampa. Written by […]

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Children's Orchard

Children’s Orchard Upscale resale store. 955 W. SR 436 #1010, Altamonte Springs 407-331-2800 www.childrensorchard.com

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Chloe Lane

Chloe Lane Unique gifts and monogramming. 839 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park 407-644-3007 www.chloelaneboutique.com

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Crispers

Crispers Spectacular kids’ menu includes a whole wheat “PB&J Conewich” that looks like dessert. 1869 W. SR 434, Longwood 407-834-4191 www.crispers.com

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Cutie Patootie Kids Resale

Cutie Patootie Kids Resale Recycle your kids’ stuff and earn cash to buy more. 5420 Deep Lake Rd., Ste. 1064, Oviedo 407-599-5437 www.cutiepatootiekids.com

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Disney Springs Marketplace

Disney Springs Marketplace Home to the largest Disney character store in the world. A fun setting for dining, shopping and playing. www.disneysprings.com

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Hart Sisters Tea Room

Hart Sisters Tea Room Princess tea party for girls complete with boas, tiaras, jewelry, fine china and pink cupcakes. 1305 S. Park Ave., Sanford 407-323-9448

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Jordan Grace Princesswear

Shopping for the tiny princess in your life? This online store is owned and operated by a local mom, and carries items such as tutus, dresses, accessories and swimwear, all of which are either handmade or hand-embellished and available for infants, toddlers and girls. Jordan Grace will also create custom pieces for your princess. Perfect […]

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The "World's" Coolest Hotel Pool

With summer officially in full-swing, we want to make your readers aware, one of the world’s coolest hotel pools* just got cooler as guests “Slide into Summer” with the highly anticipated completion of the multifaceted overhaul to the iconic Falls Pool Oasis at Orlando World Center Marriott — culminating the resort’s five-year, multi-million dollar transformation. […]

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The World of Chima

LEGOLAND Celebrates Opening of The World of Chima Presented by Cartoon Network Expansion Features Thrilling, Interactive Water Ride and Play Areas Opening to guests on July 3, the centerpiece attraction, The Quest for CHI, features an interactive water ride where guests will set off on an otherworldly and super-wet adventure. After boarding watercraft, families can […]

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Gluten Free Lactation Cookies

Being a new mother means nine months of prepping for many challenges – from diaper duty to sleepless nights. But one often under-discussed trial is how difficult breast feeding can be. Kelapo Coconut partnered with Jennifer Saleem, Blogger of HybridRastaMama.com, to create a delicious gluten free lactation cookie recipe to give moms a little extra […]

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Character Breakfast

Every Sunday now through September 1 | 8:00 a.m. – Noon Enjoy traditional breakfast favorites with an island twist at Loews Royal Pacific Resort, while your favorite theme park characters stop at every table to interact and pose for photos. Make memories with some new friends! Adults $26.99 | Children (3 – 9) $14.99 Children under […]

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Ladybug Loft Boutique

Ladybug Loft Boutique Gifts, accessories and clothing for women and children. 2808 Edgewater Dr., Orlando 407-650-4200 www.ladybugloft.blogspot.com

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Mad Science

Check out our Mad Science Laboratory in Oviedo Mall for amazing science gear, kits and toys that make great gifts and activities! We also offers up fun, hands-on Science programs for kids. Come to us for Parties, Mommy and Me Classes, Homeschool Classes, Kids Nights and Camps. We will travel to you for awesome Science […]

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Once Upon A Child

Once Upon A Child is the nation’s largest children’s resale franchise.  We buy and sell new and gently used clothing (infant through size 18/20), furniture, equipment and toys.  We offer a fun and convenient way to pass on your children’s items they no longer can wear or need as well as offer a large selection of […]

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Sugar Sugar

Sugar Sugar Handmade lollies and personalized lollypops perfect for any party or celebration. 1-877-SUGAR-24 www.handmadelollies.com

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Flying Monsters 3-D

“Flying Monsters 3D” Soars Into Orlando Science Center Premieres Monday, July 1 For thousands of years, humans have believed that there were once flying monsters. But did they really exist beyond our nightmares? On Monday, July 1, the Digital Adventure Theater: A National Geographic Experience will explore this question with the opening of “Flying Monsters […]

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Extreme Weather Safety Station

OCRHC Pilots Interactive Extreme Weather Safety Station for Children June 8-September 1, 2013 An interactive learning station teaching children how to stay safe from dangerous weather will be piloted at the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando, Fla this summer. “Kids Get a Plan” targets children in grades first through fifth and brings to […]

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Visit Space Shuttle Atlantis

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s new Space Shuttle AtlantisSM attraction opens June 29, 2013. This one-of-a kind, $100 million attraction features a nearly 360-degree, multi-level view of Atlantis raised 30 feet off the floor and rotated at an angle with its payload bay doors open, as if orbiting Earth. Space Shuttle Atlantis features state-of-the-art multimedia presentations and more […]

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Free STEM Field Trips

Local Students and Schools to Benefit from Free STEM Field Trips to the Orlando Science Center The Duke Energy Foundation awarded a $75,000 grant to Orlando Science Center to allow more than 3,500 elementary school students participate in STEM- (science, technology, engineering and math) focused field trips free of charge. The program, now in its […]

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Splendid Girls In Orlando

LA-based lifestyle brand Splendid® announces a new store opening at The Mall at Millenia in April of 2013. The opening will mark the brand’s first retail space in the Orlando area. The store will offer colorful, comfortable collections for women, kids and babies – Splendid, Splendid Girls and Splendid Littles – in an airy, light-filled […]

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TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D

Universal Orlando marks the grand opening of TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D at Universal Studios Florida today – officially opening one of its most highly anticipated entertainment experiences in years. The new attraction is based on the popular TRANSFORMERS films and created along with the award-winning director of the film series, Michael Bay.  It blends […]

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Skin Cancer Awareness Infographic

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Lu Lu's Ice Cream Shop

A picture speaks a thousand words for this new ice cream shop in Winter Park. Lu Lu’s Ice Cream Shop is now open, serving locally-produced ice cream flavors. Owners Mark and Melanie Porter renovated a former barbecue shack into a whimsical cottage for their storefront. We <3 it! facebook.com/LuLusIceCreamShop; 407-470-8863  

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Father's Day Craft

Make Dad’s Day extra-special this year by creating a one of a kind altered paintbrush sculpture in his likeness! Created by Debbie Helton of The Craft Shack Supply List: 3″ paint brush Double sided foam tape Aluminum Foil ( to create the body) Model Magic in miscellaneous colors Wax Paper (to work on top of) […]

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Family Summer Camp

Check out Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from now until July 14,2003 for exciting free family activities. Free Casting Challenge Noon-5 p.m. Test your skills using a rod and reel at our target casting area. Challenge your family to see who can hit the most while improving your aim! […]

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Dinosaur World Offers Florida Resident Special

Central Florida’s only attraction dedicated to the giants of years past offers guests a colossal discount! In celebration of their upcoming 15th Anniversary, Dinosaur World is slashing its admission prices for Florida Residents. Starting this Saturday, June 8, Dinosaur World will introduce a Florida Resident promotion that will knock the adult admission rate down to […]

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