PLAYguide: Activities

National Catholic Schools Week


The “Lions” of Holy Family Catholic School are gearing up for a week of fun and festivities to show their pride! Students will show their support for their school and Catholic Schools around the country during their Catholic Schools Week celebration. This year, CSW will run the week of January 30, 2017-February 3, 2017. (National CSW runs Jan. 29-Feb 4.)

The theme for this year is “Catholic Schools: Faith, Knowledge, & Service.” The week is full of events and surprises that nourish the body and soul. It begins with the school opening its doors for their annual Open House Monday, January 30, 2017 from 8:30-10am. This will give
prospective families a behind the classroom doors tour of the school.

Through the week masses are held along with various events that get the children’s competitive and creative spirits rolling. There is a WalkA-thon to raise money for the Orphans Rising Missions, Field Day (come see Principal Sister Dorothy Sayers assist in a tug-of-war!), along with Crazy Hair & Sock Day, a Talent Show, Virtual Career Day, and Volunteer Breakfast, honoring all the people who make every event at Holy Family Catholic School possible.

One of the most anticipated days of the week is when the 8th Grade “takes over the school.” The Class of 2017 will prepare lessons for weeks in advance so they will be ready to go to the head of the class to teach younger students lessons while their teachers get to kick up their feet.

For more details on the public festivities, check out PLAYGROUND’S Online Event Calendar.


Holy Family Catholic School
5129 S. Apopka Vineland Rd.
Orlando, FL 32819
Ph. 407-963-7194
www.hfcschool.com


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USTA National Campus Now Open!

Tennis Like Never Before

The Home of American Tennis officially opens to the public on Jan. 2, 2017, and it’s ready to provide a tennis experience like never before.

The USTA broke ground on the USTA National Campus back in April 2015 with one goal in mind: to enhance the sport at every level and create an unparalleled playing, training and educational experience for players, coaches and spectators. And the 100-court, state-of-the-art facility situated on 64 acres of land in Lake Nona is ready to do just that.

The National Campus features a mix of hard and clay courts – both Har-Tru green and red clay courts, as well as indoor hard courts and 36- and 60-foot courts for family tennis – and houses the USTA’s Community Tennis and Player Development divisions.

The complex is divided into dedicated areas that focus on the complete tennis pathway – from the youngest players to recreational competitors of all ages and ability levels, and from collegians to future pros and professional tour-level players.

Open House Information:


The USTA National Campus opens in Lake Nona on January 2. From January 3-5, the USTA will host an Open House, offering a sampling of programs at no cost.

  • Daily sessions: 9:30-11:30am & 5-7pm (7pm Youth Program Q&A)
  • The campus will provide programming for all ages and abilities.
  • Program rates $15 pp/hr, court rental rates start at $12/hr.
  •  
    RSVP at (844) USA-TNNS

Learn more: www.ustanationalcampus.com
 

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Go PLAY for the Holidays

SeaWorld Christmas Celebration

SeaWorld Christmas Celebration

Don’t wait until Santa lands on your rooftop to celebrate the season.
Words by Anna Karasik

Theme Parks & Resorts

  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
    Select dates November 7 to December 22, 7 p.m. to Midnight
    Disney’s Magic Kingdom

    Join Mickey and friends in a holiday celebration as the Magic Kingdom transforms into a winter wonderland. Our favorite parts are the faux snow on Main Street and oh-so-jolly holiday parade. Special event tickets start at $86. disneyworld.disney.go.com
  • Christmas at Gaylord Palms
    November 18, 2016 to January 1, 2017
    Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

    This resort’s iconic atrium becomes an oasis of holiday fun, featuring an all-new light show, a 60-foot-tall Christmas tree and tons of exciting activities, including ICE! Featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas – a beautiful display of hand-carved ice portraying the Peanuts gang, including Snoopy, of course! Alpine Rush Snow Tubing lets you zoom down a chilly hill covered in real snow! christmasatgaylordpalms.com
  • Holidays Around the World & Celebrity Candlelight Processional
    November 25 to December 30
    Disney’s EPCOT

    Experience holiday traditions from around the world as you stroll through the World Showcase experiencing how different cultures celebrate the holidays. disneyworld.disney.go.com
  • Santa’s Favorite Resort
    Select dates November 25 to December 25
    Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

    Join Santa and Mrs. Claus at their favorite vacation spot. The merry couple leads the evening tree-lighting ceremony and meet-and-greets at their Tiki hut. Other activities include cookie decorating, crafts and Santa’s Dancing Lights Spectacular. SantasFavoriteResort.com
  • LEGOLAND Christmas Bricktacular

    LEGOLAND Christmas Bricktacular


  • SeaWorld Christmas Celebration
    Select dates November 25 to December 31
    SeaWorld Orlando

    Enjoy a wet winter wonderland of sparkling lights, live holiday performances and festive food. New this year—Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends are making spirits bright with their SeaWorld debut! seaworldorlando.com
  • LEGOLAND Christmas Bricktacular
    Select dates December 17 to December 30
    LEGOLAND Florida Resort

    Build your best holiday the LEGO way. Meet LEGO Santa and other exclusive characters, make holiday projects with Master Model Builders and watch a nightly fireworks spectacular. It’s all included with park admission. legoland.com/florida
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  • Grinchmas
    December 3, 2016 to January 1, 2017
    Universal’s Islands of Adventure

    Celebrate the snarky way with the Grinch! Seuss Landing will become home to the ever-festive Whos of Whoville, who love to spread holiday cheer. For an intimate experience, grab a table at a Grinch character breakfast ($21 for kids, $35 for adults.) The rest of the festivities are included with park admission! universalorlando.com

Christmas Culture

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) Presented by Orlando Shakes

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)

  • Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)
    Select dates November 30 to December 30
    Orlando Shakespeare Theater

    At first you think you’re watching a classic production of A Christmas Carol, but this comedic show soon dissolves into everything from the story of Frosty the Snowman to the adventures of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts! Tickets start at $25. orlandoshakes.org
  • Harry Connick Jr.’s The Happy Elf
    November 7 to December 18, Saturdays & Sundays at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
    Orlando Repertory Theatre

    Watch talented young performers play out this new jazz musical. It tells the story Eubie, the happiest elf of all, who tries to restore joy to the town of Bluesville! Tickets start at $14 for kids and $20 for adults. orlandorep.com
  • Once Upon a Time on Ice
    December 3 and 4 at 5 p.m.
    RDV Sportsplex

    Enjoy a beautiful ice show featuring RDV figure skaters and those in the Learn to Skate programs. Recommended for ages 3 and up. Tickets cost $9.
    mvpsportsclubs.com/florida-orlando-rdv-sportsplex-ice-den
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    Orlando Ballet Presents The Nutcracker

    Orlando Ballet Presents The Nutcracker

  • Orlando Ballet Presents: The Nutcracker
    December 8 to 11; Family Performance December 10 at 11 a.m.
    Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

    Watch the amazing dancers at Orlando Ballet bring to life the classic Christmas tale of Clara and her nutcracker soldier. If you have young kids who can’t sit through a whole ballet, check out the shortened family performance on December 10. Tickets start at $25 for the family show, $29 for all other shows. orlandoballet.org
  • “Holidaze” Presented by Central Florida Sounds of Freedom Band and Colorguard
    Saturday, December 17 at 7 p.m.
    Orlando Repertory Theatre

    Orlando’s own LGBT+ concert and marching band presents a fun holiday concert for the whole family! Holidaze is hosted at Orlando Repertory Theater, and features uplifting holiday music from Halloween to New Year’s Eve. Kids under 12 get in for free! centralfloridasoundsoffreedom.com
  • Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Family Concert
    Sunday, December 18 from Noon to 3 p.m.
    Central Park in Winter Park

    Mr. Richard and the Pound Hounds will kick things off; then, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra will play holiday favorites. It’s all topped off with a performance of Peter and the Wolf featuring Orlando Repertory Theatre actor and narrator Timothy Pappas. orlandophil.org
  • Amahl & the Night Visitors
    Sunday, December 18 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
    Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

    Bring the whole family out to enjoy this funny and inspiring twist on nativity story, presented by Opera Orlando. Follow the adventures of a shepherd boy who sees an amazing star, and meets three kings who are looking for a wondrous child. Tickets start at $19. drphillipscenter.org

Holiday Films

  • The Santa Clause
    Friday, December 2 at 7 p.m.
    Central Park in Winter Park

    This is part of the free monthly Popcorn Flicks in the Park series.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas & Letters to Santa
    Sunday, December 11 at Noon
    Enzian Theater

    Watch the live-action version of Dr. Seuss’s quirky Christmas tale. Enjoy a menu of holiday treats. Children can write a wish list for Santa during the movie. After it’s over, Santa will pick up the letters and pose for pictures. Tickets are $11 for non-members.
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
    Saturday, December 10 at Noon
    Enzian Theater

    This is part of the Saturday Matinee Classics series. Tickets are $8 for non-members.
  • A Christmas Story
    Tuesday, December 13 at 9:30 p.m.
    Enzian Theater

    This is part of the Cult Classics series. Tickets are $8 for non-members. enzian.org

Parties, Parades, and Snow

lightup-logo-e1477684802771Light Up UCF
November 18, 2016 to January 7, 2017
CFE Arena – University of Central Florida

UCF’s huge holiday bash is perhaps best known for its ice tubing. Try it as many times as you want; it’s all included with the purchase of a wristband. Try out the ice rink, too! The ferris wheel is back and bigger than ever, and there is a new thrilling ride that will leave you reeling! For smaller ride-goers, there’s always the kiddie train. Snap a picture with Santa before you leave! cfearena.com

  • Winter in the Park
    November 18, 2016 to January 8, 2017
    Central Park in Winter Park

    Skate away the holiday in beautiful Central Park. All-day general admission and a pair of rental skates is $12. cityofwinterpark.org
  • “Now Snowing” At Celebration
    November 26 to December 31 – Snowfall at 6, 7, 8, and 9 p.m.
    Celebration Town Center

    Nightly snowfall graces the Celebration Town Center every night of the holiday season. Skate around in an ice rink, take a ride in a horse drawn carriage or ride the Celebration Express train. celebrationtowncenter.com
  • Holiday on the Drive
    December 1 from 5 to 9 p.m.
    Edgewater Drive, College Park

    Get a jump on your holiday shopping in a snowy winter wonderland! The shops and restaurants on Edgewater Drive will stay open, and Santa will come to bring some early holiday cheer! collegeparkpartnership.com
  • Light Up Winter Garden
  • December 2 from 6 to 9 p.m.
    Downtown Winter Garden

    Twinkling lights will keep Plant Street aglow while you explore the vendors and kids activities. Watch the dazzling street lighting ceremony at 6:15 p.m. cwgdn.com

  • Winter Garden Christmas Parade
    Saturday, December 3 at 10 a.m.
    South Dillard Street & Plant Street

    Find a prime spot on the curb to catch this festive procession of local organizations. cwgdn.com
  • Macy’s Holiday Parade
    Select nights December 3, 2016 to January 1, 2017
    Universal Studios

    The larger-than-life balloons from this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade get the spotlight once again at Universal Studios here in Florida. In addition to the balloons, parade-goers will see marching bands, clowns, and Santa Claus himself! Stick around afterwards for a spectacular tree-lighting ceremony. universalorlando.com
  • SNOWFEST
    Saturday, December 17 from 2 to 6 p.m.
    RDV Sportsplex

    If you thought the Ice Den was as chilly as it could be, think again: for one day only, real snow will fall at the RDV! Throw a few snowballs, ride down a snow slide, or do some good old fashion ice skating! Just outside, you’ll find bounce houses, live DJs, face painting and more. Admission is $15 for ages 3 & up.
    mvpsportsclubs.com/florida-orlando-rdv-sportsplex-ice-den
  • Meet Santa

    Free photo with Santa at tugboat & the bird

    Free photo with Santa at tugboat & the bird


    • Save the Date, Skip the Wait for Santa
      November 11-December 24, by appointment
      Oviedo Mall

      No need to wait in a long line to meet Santa because now you can make a reservation for your Santa visit at the Oviedo Mall. Bonus: Drop off the kids at Mad Science Laboratory (Kids Night Out, every Friday from 6-10 p.m.) or O2B Kids (members only) to get some holiday shopping done! myoviedomall.com
    • Free Photo with Santa at tugboat & the bird
      December 10 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
      tugboat & the bird

      Stop by tugboat & the bird win Winter Park for complimentary pictures with Santa Claus himself! Characters from The Nutcracker will also be around to take photos. tugboatandthebird.com
    • Breakfast (or Brunch) with Santa
      Saturday, December 10 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
      Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens

      Sit down for a meal with Santa himself, and then explore a wild winter wonderland with holiday activities and close-up animal encounters. Zookeepers will also be giving the animals special holiday gifts! Admission for non-members is $22 for ages 3 & up, $27 for adults. Reservations are required. centralfloridazoo.org

    Stay up-to-date on all of the latest family events in & around Orlando with our Online Calendar!


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    Registration Open for Spring Classes at DPC School of the Arts

    dpc-florida-hospital-school-of-the-arts

    Registration is now open for 2017 Spring Semester classes at the Dr. Phillips Center Florida Hospital School of the Arts. Classes begin Monday, January 16.

    Students of any age can take part in classes for dance, vocals, instruments, acting, and musical theater. Check out all of the available classes below:

    Dance & Movement

    Jazz I (Ages 8-12, 13+)
    “Fun” and “high energy” characterize the Jazz I dance class. Students practice isolations, leaps, learn jazz techniques and vocabulary. Students gain the competencies to complete jazz-centric dance combinations and execute complete jazz dance routines.

    Jazz II (Ages 13+)
    The Jazz II dance course builds on fundamentals of the style. Students focus on honing their technique and learning new and more challenging combinations.

    Dance Technique I (Ages 6-8)
    Dance Technique brings the foundation of all movement to young dancers. Ballet positions and terminology, along with movement, pattern and rhythms, establish the foundations for all dance instruction.

    Dance Technique II (Ages 9-12)
    Dancers build on the basic teachings from Dance Technique I and learn to expand their structured dance training and vocabulary.

    Dance Improvisation (Ages 12+)
    This free-thinking and free-flowing dance class encourages students to explore their creativity and individuality through prompts, movement exercises and guided movement. The class focuses on the concept of improvisational dance in solo and group situations. Movers of all levels are welcome in this class as students work collectively to create new and exciting works.

    Tap I (Ages 12+)
    Tapping is an exciting way to start dance training. This introductory course shapes the students’ rhythm and musicality through learning the steps and basic techniques of tap dancing.

    Tap II (Ages 13+)
    Tap is an important part of the Broadway and musical theater craft. This intermediate tap course builds on students’ prior knowledge of technique and movements by adding more advanced steps and combinations.

    Hip-Hop I (Ages 6-9, 10-13, 14+)
    This high energy, fun Hip-Hop class teaches basic steps, while building flexibility, precision, technique and style. Using upbeat music from various genres in addition to the latest Hip-Hop hits, this class begins with a basic warm-up to stretch and tone the body, followed by across-the-floor progressions, concluding with work on a fun and energetic combination.

    Creative Movement (Ages 3-5)
    Perfect for the young dancer, this class focuses on creative movement that builds on the necessary gross motor skills needed for primary dance instruction. Students learn self-discipline, confidence, coordination and rhythm while moving to upbeat and age appropriate music. Students engage in dramatic music movement and learn introductory dance positions and steps.

    Move with Me – Baby Wearing Dance Class (Adults with Babies)
    This is a movement class for adults with young ones in wearable carriers. Move with Me provides early exposure to music, movement and dance. Geared towards creating an environment for community interaction, this class devotes equal focus to the parent/caretaker, the child and the bond between them. Appropriate for all carrier-age children, from birth to toddler. Nursing mothers and siblings are welcome.

    Music

    Vocal Performance I (Ages 8-13 and 14+)
    Vocal Performance provides singers with a proper foundation in diction, vocal production and an awareness of their body in both classical and contemporary music. Students also learn how to honestly express themselves through their song, communicate with the musicians, enhance their stage presence and effectively apply their vocal and performance techniques.

    Advanced Vocal Performance (Ages 8-13 and 14+)
    For the advanced singer, this class focuses on performance and vocal production for performance. Maintaining one’s instrument and creating that pitch-perfect performance every time requires more rigorous training, and this class provides that for the advanced vocalist.

    Yamaha Music School

    Yamaha Music School Young Musicians I & II (Ages 7-9)
    This three-year course provides effective and enjoyable musical training for young students. They develop keyboard-playing skills, ear training, rhythm training, note-reading and writing, keyboard harmony, arranging, ensemble playing and music appreciation. This class is taught by qualified teachers in a group environment and is designed to promote confidence, team spirit and group dynamics.
    To enroll, students must be 6 years of age by February 15 and must have access to a keyboard for practicing. Once the course is completed, students can take the Yamaha Student Grade 9 Exam to confirm musical achievement. Teachers refer to the exam results to correctly place students in advanced courses of study.

    Yamaha Keyboard Encounters I (Ages 10-13) and Adult I (Ages 15+)
    This class is an innovative keyboard music program for those interested in learning to play the piano. These classes are taught in small groups, combining technology with an effective and enjoyable approach. Students study piano technique, read music and learn to play various musical styles.

    Yamaha Young Education System Junior Music I (Ages 4-5)
    A comprehensive and fun music curriculum designed for 4 and 5 year olds, this class offers ear-training using solfege, basic keyboard playing skills, rhythm and notation, music appreciation, creativity and singing various musical styles. This is a 2-year program capitalizing on the young child’s developmental characteristics to train basic musical skills. Parents/Guardians are required to actively participate in their child’s music lessons, helping to cultivate a life-long love for music. (Advance level courses, II – IV, as well as Junior Music X, are available for students in the junior music program).
    To enroll, students must be 4 years of age by February 15 and must have access to a keyboard for practicing. Once the course is completed, students can take the Fundamental Skills Survey to confirm musical achievement. Teachers refer to the survey results to correctly place students in advanced courses of study.

    Rock Band (Ages 12+)
    Students gain insight into performing together as an ensemble. Students are grouped into a band based on instrument, musical tastes and age. Band members learn the process of rehearsing and performing, band etiquette, stage presence, equipment set-up and more.

    Guitar I (Ages 10-13) and Adult Guitar I (Ages 16+)
    This class is for the beginner. Learn chords, simple strums, simple finger-picking and tuning in a fun, relaxed group setting. Students are introduced to the basic elements of rhythm and harmony that allow one to make music in no time.

    Adult Guitar II (Ages 16+)
    Builds on the basics learned in Guitar I. Students develop proper left and right-hand techniques. You will learn more about reading music, musical terms, chording, alternating bass and how to move smoothly from one chord to another. Have fun learning to play duets and other simple melodies and exploring many different genres of music. Students must bring their own acoustic guitar with an extra set of strings.

    Strings I (Ages 10+)
    This class is open to anyone with an interest in learning string instruments such as cello, viola, violin and bass. Learn basic instrument set-up and position. Playing in a small group teaches how to match pitch, bow articulation, tone and, best of all, how to play together.

    Strings III (Ages 13+)
    This class is the next step for those interested in the string section. Students play simple songs that use their new skills and are introduced to the music of the great composers. They play games to develop rhythmic skills and a musical ear and also learn the basics of reading music.

    Jazz at Lincoln Center’s WeBop (Ages 2-3)
    WeBop is an early-childhood jazz education program developed by Jazz at Lincoln Center for children that invites families to stomp, strut and swing to the rhythms of jazz. These 45-minute classes are structured for participation in groups of two: child and adult. They offer a creative outlet for children to explore jazz through movement, songs, storytelling and play, all as they learn about the core concepts, instruments and great performers of jazz.

    Theater Arts

    Creative Drama (Ages 6-8)
    In a nurturing and supportive environment, young participants explore an improvisational form of drama where they are encouraged to imagine, perform and reflect on real or imagined experiences. Through stories, games and movement, young students make the connection between the magical world of theater and make believe. There is an emphasis on personal expression, creative imagination, confidence and socialization.

    Creative Drama II (Ages 8-10)
    This class is a continuation of Creative Drama I. Students build on the confidence they have developed. Storytelling, imagination and ensemble work strengthens young actors’ skills, building a foundation for the more complex work of scene study waiting for them in Acting I/II/III.

    Acting I (Ages 10-13 and 14+)
    Through improvisation, script analysis and scene study, entry-level students are introduced to the fundamentals of acting and performance. Special emphasis is placed on interpretation, character development and ensemble work.

    Acting II/III (Ages 10-13 and 14+)
    The intermediate/advanced scene study class allows students to build on the tools they gained in Acting I. Students are introduced to higher level character analyses, stretching their abilities as they attack more difficult acting problems through situations that are foreign and unfamiliar. Recognizing and understanding the subtext of a scene is explored as students examine the texture, tone and timing found in plays of contemporary and classic writers to bring subtle nuances to their performances. Students also gain an intermediate skill set of production responsibilities that an actor should possess to contribute to a piece of successful theater.

    Sensory Friendly Theater (Ages 12+)
    Theater training includes the skills of speaking, interacting, applying memorized text appropriately, listening, non-verbal communication and interpreting. For those on the autism spectrum, these skills can be challenging. In this fun and safe environment, students will learn to interact with others and project in their performance. Students with an affinity for drama will grow through the chance to practice with their peers. Students new to drama will experience a fun and engaging craft that will enhance their social skills.

    Musical Theater

    Musical Theater Performance I (Ages 7-10, 10-13 and 13+)
    Students integrate singing, dancing and acting into one creative expression through Broadway songs, scene work and choreography. This collaborative learning experience introduces basic acting principles, vocal techniques and fun beginning choreography. The emphasis for this class is on building a confident proficiency to execute all three art forms that make up a modern musical.

    Advanced Musical Theater Performance (Ages 10-13 and 13+)
    This class builds on the techniques and skills developed in Musical Theater Performance I, while introducing more challenging material. Students work on advanced musical theater training techniques, an expanded repertoire and the business acumen required for the musical theater profession.


    Prospective students can visit drphillipscenter.org/classes, call 407.455.5551, or schedule a time to register in person at the arts center by emailing classes@drphillipscenter.org.
    Early registration is encouraged by January 2, 2017.


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    The Prego Expo Ticket Giveaway!

    Surprise!
    prego-expo

    PLAYGROUND Magazine is giving away 1 Mommy & Guest ticket to The Prego Expo Registry Event & Brunch at the Babies”R”Us in Altamonte Springs on Sunday, November 13.

    This event is an opportunity for mommy-to-be to build her registry in style! Get a swag bag, enjoy a complimentary brunch, explore shopping & giveaways, and learn more about what it means to be a mom!

    This event is for pregnant women and their guests only!

    Enter to win admission for 1 soon-to-be mom and 1 guest using the widget below!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    New KidsTown: A place for Collaboration, Creativity, Safety & Accessibility

    Words by Anna Karasik

    A cheery blue archway welcomes families to the new jewel of Orlando Science Center, New KidsTown. It’s the only entrance and exit to the area: one of many features specifically geared towards the safety of the thousands of kids who will now enjoy it. New KidsTown is the product of a $5 million dollar renovation, the first part of the $30 million dollar Unlock Science Campaign, which is an effort to renovate every exhibit at the Science Center. It’s clear that the new children’s area will prove to be worth every penny: each of the 75 exhibits is a safe environment for kids to express themselves and work with others to learn and play.

    Here’s a tour of what you can expect:

    Kids can feed oranges up into a big tower and watch them roll down the pipelines to different areas.

    Kids can feed oranges up into a big tower and watch them roll down the pipelines to different areas.

    Orange Grove Presented by: Dr. Phillips Charities

    Through the big (literally) orange archway at the front of New KidsTown, there is a chain of exhibits that represents the journey of Florida oranges from farm to table. It all starts at the orchard, where kids can gather oranges from trees; then they can head to the factory and check the ripeness of each orange before processing them in a fun machine. Then comes the role playing: kids can deliver the oranges in an interactive truck, then sell produce at the farmer’s market!

    The Farmer's Market at the Orange Grove allows kids to role play selling fresh produce.

    The Farmer’s Market at the Orange Grove allows kids to role play selling fresh produce.

    Science Center veterans will notice a few changes: this new Orange Grove is three times larger than its predecessor, and there are hints of technology that enhance this new experience. In particular, kids who enjoy playing pretend will love adjusting the radio in the delivery truck and ringing up fruit at the farmer’s market with a working scanner.

    Isaacs Family ClimbTime

    Kids are encouraged to conquer their fears and climb as high as they can in this towering play area. A floor-to-ceiling window makes kids feel even higher up as they look out over the gorgeous Florida Hospital next door; alternatively, they can use a telescope to look out over the Science Center.

    Kids will face obstacles and platforms of all kinds while climbing to the top of ClimbTime.

    Kids will face obstacles and platforms of all kinds while climbing to the top of ClimbTime.

    There are nets to run across, platforms of all sizes, and all number of other ways for kids to test their coordination. Once they’ve worked up a sweat, they can see how their body reacted using the heart rate monitor.

    Bonus: kids who aren’t ready to climb, or perhaps aren’t old enough yet, can still interact by feeding balls into twisting air tubes to let the kids above feed them back down.

    Drip Drop Splash Presented by: James M. Cox Foundation

    From rain showers to dams to pipe systems, the exhibits in this area will teach kids about the many properties of water. Tables of water are filled with all kinds of contraptions and tools to let kids ask themselves– “What will happen to the water if I do this?”– and see what happens! If several kids work together to turn valves, they can start a big Florida rain shower at the center of Drip Drop Splash!

    Tables of different heights allow all kids to interact with Drip Drop Splash.

    Tables of different heights allow all kids to interact with Drip Drop Splash.

    There are lowered water tables for younger children and those in wheelchairs; and there are also infant seats that sit below the water’s surface so that little ones can splash around safely.

    Parent pro tip: prepare for the kids to get a little wet (but not soaked!) There are electric dryers on the wall next to Drop Drop Splash, so kids can get warm and dry before heading to the next area without having to waste paper towels in the bathroom.


    Explore It Presented by: Publix Super Markets Charities

    This jumbo track set lets kids create custom courses for rolling balls.

    This jumbo track set lets kids create custom courses for rolling balls.

    Build, experiment, break it down, build again. Kids who love to invent and tinker will go nuts in this area! There are areas loaded with all manner of building tools like pipes, wheels, and cords– anything kids need to make their own fun contraption. Younger children can build too: there are foam blocks, perfect for stacking and building! A projected kaleidoscope and light-up wall let kids play around with color and design.
    Each dot on this light-up wall can change to any color or be turned off  with a simple twist!

    Each dot on this light-up wall can change to any color or be turned off with a simple twist!

    On the other side of Explore It, there is what’s essentially a jumbo Hot Wheels set: kids can move around giant detachable tracks and loop-de-loops to create a course, then drop a ball in to watch how fast it goes! The centerpiece of Explore It is definitely the air tubes that climb all the way up the wall. Kids can feed in colored silk handkerchiefs at the bottom, then watch them shoot through the twisting pipes; the machine then spits the handkerchiefs out in the rafters, so they float down from the sky! (Bonus points if you can get one to land one on your head!)

    Toddler Town Presented by: Community Based Care of Central Florida

    A sensory wall lets kids explore different textures; parents can put any mouthed toys in a bin.

    A sensory wall lets kids explore different textures; parents can put any mouthed toys in a bin.

    Nestled near the center of New KidsTown is an area that presents a big first for Orlando Science Center. Toddler Town is a safe space for ages 0-3 to enjoy the same collaboration and creativity that the rest of New KidsTown has to offer. It’s the first area at OSC that is truly infant-friendly: there is even a bin for mouthed toys, meaning that kids can play in a sanitary environment, and parents don’t have to chase their baby around wet-wiping everything they decide to taste. The sensory wall and storybook bin will also appeal to parents of infants.
    Perhaps the biggest feature of Toddler Town is its prime location: there is a clear view of both Explore It and Drip Drop Splash, so parents can watch over the little one while keeping the older children in eyeshot.

    StudioKidsTown Studio Presented by: Florida Hospital for Children

    The KidsTown Studio is the hub of hands-on activity at New KidsTown; and appropriately so, it’s the hub of parent-child interaction. Families can sit at spacious tables and try out different activities, all available in labeled bins. The area will also be home to craft and sensory activities led by the Science Center, as well as other scheduled workshops. To the everyday Science Center-goer, this will prove to be a great area for some quality sit-down time. Parents can pick activities that work best for their child, then work together to finish. Be sure to stop at the screen just outside the studio to make a virtual “get well” card for patients at Florida Hospital for Children.

    Fun fact: If you make art and accidentally leave it behind, your hard work may not have gone to waste! It could end up displayed on the KidsTown Studio wall as an example to future visitors.

    Harriett’s KidsTown Theatre

    Put on a play in fun costumes, with a choice of four fun backdrops.

    Put on a play in fun costumes, with a choice of four fun backdrops.

    Kids with a taste for drama will find their home in this area. After decking themselves out in costumes at the prop wall, they can take to the stage and create whatever kind of play their heart desires! In order to build confidence, there is a mirror so that kids can watch themselves perform. The curtain closes and opens, and the stage’s background can change with the simple press of a touch-screen. At one moment, your child could be a Yellow Submarine in space; the next, they could be the Statue of Liberty at Lake Eola! When the background changes, the lighting also changes for dramatic effect. There is a wheelchair-accessible ramp at stage left, so every child has the chance to be a star!

    Parent pro tip: milk the Theatre area for all it’s worth– the audience seating is incredibly comfortable! It’s the perfect place for a breather.

    Orange GroveOutside of the main exhibits, there are little details that parents will adore. For one: glorious stroller parking! It’s in a spacious hallway just past the Orange Grove; the area is also lit by fun colored lights, so kids will love watching their shadows move through the hallway. Another big feature is the bathroom location: it’s within eyeshot of the Theatre, Studio, Toddler Town and Drip Drop Splash, and just a stone’s throw away from the rest of the areas. The restrooms here are also all-inclusive.

    Explore ItThe common themes all around New KidsTown are collaboration, creativity, safety and accessibility. It’s nearly impossible to go through all of New KidsTown without interacting with other kids in some way; this is a great opportunity to teach kids about sharing, taking turns, and working together. Each exhibit also encourages problem-solving and ingenuity as kids figure out their own unique way of accomplishing tasks. The best part is, no child will feel left out due to their age or abilities. Parents will end up loving this area as much as their kids will: there are so many opportunities to jump in and make a learning experience out of every interaction. It’s so easy to be a part of the fun while also letting kids express themselves.

    New KidsTown is now open to the public! The entire experience is included with general admission to Orlando Science Center.

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    Hurricane Camp at Orlando Science Center

    Orlando Science Center Preschool, Photo by Roberto Gonzalez

    Orlando Science Center Preschool, Photo by Roberto Gonzalez

    Orlando Science Center Offering K–6 Camps
    While School is Closed Thursday Due to Hurricane

    Call 407.514.2112 or visit www.osc.org/camps
    For information about break camps

    Thursday, October 6 | 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.*
    *Early Drop Off and Late Pick Up Included

    WHAT: Since schools are closed in Orange County on Thursday due to Hurricane Matthew, the Science Center will offer day camp tomorrow for children in grades K–6. Children will participate in structured activities, visit exhibits, and see films – under guided supervision.

    Pre-registration is requested, but not required. Walk-ins are welcome.

    WHEN: Thursday, October 6; Drop off as early as 7:30 a.m. and pick up as late as 6:00 p.m.

    WHERE: Orlando Science Center |777 E. Princeton St. | Orlando, FL 32803

    COST: Non-Members: $65 per child per day, Members: $55 per child per day

    INFO: Parents can get more information or reserve a spot for their child by visiting www.osc.org/camps or by calling 407.514.2112 or by calling the main OSC line at 407.514.2000.

    NOTE: Orlando Science Center will be open to the public in addition to hosting camp.

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    LEGOLAND Beach Retreat Photo Tour

    LEGOLAND Beach Retreat Bookings Now Open

    LEGOLAND Beach Retreat bungalow interiorLEGOLAND® Florida Resort just announced that bookings are now open for its second on-site accommodations, the eagerly anticipated LEGOLAND Beach Retreat. Reservations are available for stays beginning June 1, 2017 through Sept. 4, 2017.

    New images released today reveal even more of the brick-tastic, beachy details that guests will discover at this recreational paradise #BuiltForKids. LEGOLAND Beach Retreat combines the fun of surf and sand with the creativity of LEGO® building sets, and will offer picturesque lake views from nearly every sun-kissed corner.

    To make a reservation at LEGOLAND Beach Retreat, visit www.LEGOLAND.com/florida. Room rates start at $182 and vary by season, date and availability. Packages including theme park tickets are also available.

    LEGOLAND Beach Retreat amenities include:

    • 83 beach-themed bungalows offering 166 separate rooms
    • Whimsical LEGO décor inside and out
    • Spacious rooms that sleep up to five, including a cozy area designed just for kids with a bunk bed and trundle bed
    • Shaded patios where parents can put their feet up, kick back and relax
    • Multiple outdoor play areas where kids can slide, jump and climb in view of bungalow patios
    • Large themed swimming pool with an expansive sandy play area
    • Centrally located clubhouse featuring a restaurant, pool bar and LEGO building area for kids
    • A bountiful breakfast buffet included with each night’s stay
    • Early access to the nearby theme park

    Announced in March 2016 as part of the largest period of growth and expansion in the resort’s nearly five-year history, LEGOLAND Beach Retreat will join the 152-room LEGOLAND Hotel, more than doubling on-site accommodations and giving guests even more reasons to play-and-stay — at LEGOLAND Florida Resort.

    Grand opening festivities and additional amenities will be announced at a later date. To be among the first to receive the latest news about LEGOLAND Beach Retreat, sign up at www.LEGOLANDBeachRetreat.com.

    For more information about visiting LEGOLAND Florida Resort, including savings on advance purchase of admission tickets, multi-tier annual passes, special events, VIP experiences, educational programs, services for guests with disabilities, on-site accommodations and much more, visit www.LEGOLAND.com/florida.

     

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    LEGOLAND Beach Retreat at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. (PHOTO / LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Chip Litherland)

    LEGOLAND Beach Retreat at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. (PHOTO / LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Chip Litherland)

    LEGOLAND Beach Retreat at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. (PHOTO / LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Chip Litherland)

    LEGOLAND Beach Retreat at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. (PHOTO / LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Chip Litherland)

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    LEGOLAND Beach Retreat at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. (PHOTO / LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Chip Litherland)

    LEGOLAND Beach Retreat at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. (PHOTO / LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Chip Litherland)

    LEGOLAND Beach Retreat at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. (PHOTO / LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Chip Litherland)

    LEGOLAND Beach Retreat at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. (PHOTO / LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Chip Litherland)

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    GUTS Orlando: Creatives Carving For Kids

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    GUTS is a friendly pumpkin carving competition with all proceeds benefiting Make-A-Wish®.

     AIGA Orlando presents its 2nd Annual live pumpkin carving competition, GUTS Orlando. The event will be held October 29, 2016, at 2428 E. Robinson St., Orlando, FL, 32803. The carving competition will last from 2 to 5 p.m., with an after-party featuring live music from local bands until 9 p.m..

    The event is free to attend, open to the public, family-friendly, and features the carvers going head-to-head to craft pumpkin creations live at the event that will then be put up for auction to raise money for Make-A-Wish®. While the carving happens, there will be food and drink for sale, trick-or-treating for the kids, live music, silent bidding for the auction, raffle opportunities, and activities for all ages.

    The primary goal of this event is to unify the creative community in support of children who fight for their lives every day and to make their wishes come true through Make-A-Wish® Central and Northern Florida. All money raised from the carver’s registration fees, the silent auction, as well as food, drink, and merchandise sales during the event will go to benefit Make-A-Wish® Central and Northern Florida, and donations will also be accepted.

    The competition is open to local and regional creative professionals who want to test their pumpkin carving skills, and more importantly, raise money for the brave kids of Make-A-Wish®.

    To register to carve in the contest: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/guts-orlando-2016-tickets-27513058298

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    Public & Permanent: Keep Kids Safe Online

     

    Girl using internet and watching out for parents

    The Christ School is pleased to host IROC2‘s (The Institute for Responsible Online and Cell Phone Communication) informative program, “Public and Permanent.” Two sessions will take place. The first session, geared toward parents of children of all ages, is held on Monday, October 3, 2016, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.  The second session, geared towards students in grades 5 – 8, is held on Tuesday, October 4, from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. The Christ School is located at 106 E. Church Street, Orlando. The public is invited to both sessions.  Admission is free.  RSVPs are requested at info@thechristschool.org, or by phone at 407-849-1665.

    Presented by author Richard Guerry, Public and Permanent is designed to teach families how to keep safe online. Attendees will learn how to be a responsible technology user while gaining the wisdom to prevent negative, irresponsible, and malicious digital behaviors and trends. Topics in the presentation include cyber bullying, inappropriate photos, the irresponsible use of apps, poor social media behaviors, and inappropriate posting by both children and adults. The program received the School Safety Advocacy Council’s Exemplary School Safety Program Award and Exemplary School Safety Initiative Award.

    Richard Guerry is the author of multiple cyber safety books and has been a featured speaker at numerous national and international conferences. He has appeared as an expert on Radio Disney, CNN, Fox, CBS, MTV’s Thin Line Campaign, Parade Magazine, and many local, regional and international publications.

    For questions regarding the events on October 3 and 4 at The Christ School, phone 407-849-1665 or email gbasso@thechristschool.org

    To learn more about Public and Permanent, visit www.IROC2.org.  

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    Calling All Child Models

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    *** CHILD MODEL CASTING CALL ***
     
    WHO: Calling all Central Florida child models ages 6 months to 12 years old
    WHAT: We are casting models for PLAYGROUND Magazine’s model database for our 2017 editorial photo shoots. So, we will be selecting from this group of models for all of our shoots for 2017. Immediately, we will be choosing models from this casting for Tugboat & the Bird’s Fall/Winter Holiday “Look Book”, photographed by Simply Shelby Photography, which will be used in those business’s Fall and Winter advertisements. (Bonus: Kids selected for the “Look Book” will also be invited to walk as Tugboat & the Bird’s model ambassadors in the Winter Park Christmas Parade!)
    WHERE: Tugboat & the Bird, 318 North Park Avenue, Winter Park, FL, 32789

    WHEN: Tuesday, September 20th from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. (ages 6 months to 4 years) or 3 – 5 p.m. (ages 5-12)

     RESTRICTIONS: Your child must reside within Central Florida (Seminole, Orange or Osceola county) and must be 12 years old or younger.
    MODEL SELECTIONS: All children that participate in this casting will be entered into the 2017 model database for PLAYGROUND Magazine. If your child is selected for one of our photo shoots then you will be notified via email and phone. PLAYGROUND Magazine will also be selecting models for Tugboat & the Bird’s Fall/Winter “Look Book”.
    ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: 
    • No modeling experience is necessary.
    • Children do not have to dress any certain way for the casting.
    • We will not be able to make exceptions to the age requirements.
    • We wish we could use all children who attend the casting but we only need a limited amount of models each year those selected will represent a diverse group in regards to gender, ages and ethnicities, so not everyone that attends the casting will be selected.
    • If you cannot attend the casting schedule in person then you can email a photo of your child to alisha@playground-magazine.com. However, children from this casting will be considered first for our 2017 editorial photo shoots.
    • The casting is a very casual atmosphere where you will be with your child the entire time.

    CONTACT: If you have any other questions it is preferred that you text your specific question to 352-895-7535 or email alisha@playground-magazine.com.

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    Hidden Treasure @ Artegon

    Ahoy Matees. Summer is upon us and so is some treasure! Artegon Marketplace is full of fun finds and X marks the spot! 12 spots to be exact. Skip the sun and head to Artegon for some air conditioned treasure hunting to see what you find. Once you’ve answered 6 of the 12 questions, stop by the Guest Services Desk for something Art-some.

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    Download the treasure map here: Artegon Treasure Map

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    The Central Florida Zoo is Calling All Pokémasters!

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    Wild Pokémon on the Loose at  Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens 

    The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens has been overrun by mysterious creatures… Pokémon! Following the launch of the new Pokémon Go app, the Zoo is now home to over a dozen Pokéstops and two gyms, where guests can gather to train and battle their Pokémon. And of course, there are wild Pokémon all over the Zoo waiting to be found and caught!

    Pokémon trainers can now enjoy $1 off admission after 1 pm. Now through August 10, 2016, show the Pokémon Go app on your mobile device at the admission window to receive the discount. One discount per device, please. Happy catching!

    Please remember that guests should always remain in designated areas. Please do not chase a Pokémon into an employee only area or over any fences or barriers. The safety of the animals and guests is a top priority.

    Don’t forget to check out all the non-digital animal friends at the Zoo as well. Tag #CentralFLZoo on social media to show all your adventures!

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    LEGOLAND® Florida Resort Releases Safety Guidelines for Guests Playing Pokémon GO

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    At LEGOLAND® Florida Resort believes #AwesomeAwaits for kids seeking to “catch ‘em all” as they play Pokémon GO, the tremendously popular new app.  Pokémon haven been spotted throughout the resort and guests are welcome to play during their visit, but the resort has issued a few ground rules to ensure a safe search.

    Rules for a safe Pokémon GO quest at LEGOLAND Florida Resort:

    1. Even a Pokémon Master must stay within guest areas.  Please don’t climb any fences or follow any Pokémon into employee only areas.
    2. No catch is worth sacrificing your safety.  All play must pause throughout the duration of your ride until you exit the ride.
    3. Be sure not to bump into one of our more than 60 million LEGO® models – that could hurt!
    4. With more than one hundred Pokémon to catch, be sure to stay hydrated.
    5. If you find a Pokémon at the Fun Town Pizza Pasta Buffet, let the nearest Model Citizen know, we prefer pepperoni over Poké Balls.
    6. If hours of play have unleashed the power of your phone, recharge in the Imagination Zone.
    7. If your wild encounter leads you to Wyldstyle, keep in mind she may need to stop for a selfie with another guest before you can make your catch.
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    Disney On Ice Presents Follow Your Heart

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    Tickets are on sale today for Disney On Ice presents Follow Your Heart Featuring Disney•Pixar’s Record-Breaking Animated Hit Finding Dory and Disney•Pixar’s Inside Out

    This Disney On Ice extravaganza is visiting Orlando at the Amway Center from September 2 through September 4 for a total of six performances.

    Just keep swimming with Dory, Nemo, Marlin and new pal Hank from Disney•Pixar’s Finding Dory as they embark on a life-changing excursion to find her parents and discover the true meaning of family. Cheer with the Emotions from Disney•Pixar’s Inside Out –Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust– as they help Riley find the confidence to win the hockey championship and experience the emotional rollercoaster of growing up. Venture to wintery world of Arendelle where Olaf and Kristoff help reunite royal sisters Anna and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen and learn love is the most powerful magic of all. See Cinderella, Rapunzel, Tiana and the Disney Princesses make their dreams come true through their virtues of bravery, kindness and perseverance. And celebrate true friendship with Buzz Lightyear, Woody and The Toy Story gang. Make unforgettable memories with Mickey, Minnie and all your Disney friends when Disney On Ice presents Follow Your Heart skates into Orlando!

    Tickets for Disney on Ice presents Follow Your Heart start at $18. Click here or here to purchase tickets for you and your family. You can also purchase tickets at the Amway Center Box Office.

    Showtimes: 
    Friday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m.
    Saturday, September 3 at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., and 7 p.m.
    Sunday, September 4 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

    Also posted in Kiddie Culture, What's New | Comments closed

    Stick Figure Fun

    Get outside to find inspiration for these adorable painted stick figures

    Words and Photos by Debbie Helton

    Al E. Gator

    PLAY TIP: This fun activity is a great exercise in exploration, creative expression, laughter and silliness — the sillier, the better! Before you know it, magical painted stick creatures will take over your home. What could be better than that?

    Stewart C. HorseSUPPLIES:

    • Sticks of all shapes and sizes
    • Acrylic craft paints
    • 3D puffy paint
    • Paint brushes

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Go outside to gather sticks of all sizes and shapes — the lumpier and bumpier, the better! Lumps, bumps and cracks can be a great imagination booster for your creature.
    2. Examine your sticks and discuss what you see. Go over all of your creature’s features: What could this lump be? A nose or eye? What could this crack be? A mouth or an arm? Have fun and be silly! Ask the stick what it would like to become. Trust us, your creature’s personality will begin to emerge.
    3. Use your imagination and paint the body of your creature. Don’t forget to add details such as stripes, patterns and shapes.
    4. Once the body is painted, use 3D puffy paint to add eyes, spikes and other details. Knobs on the stick make the perfect place for eyes. Use white 3D paint for the eyeballs and black 3D paint for the pupils.
    5. To make your creature come alive, give it a unique name.

    craft-shack-1741bDebbie Helton is an Orlando mom and owner of The Craft Shack, which provides arts and crafts enrichment with a recycled flair through scheduled classes, private parties and corporate meetings. “Discover, Inspire, Create” at The Craft Shack, 218 W. Church Ave., Longwood, 407-448-1375, www.thecraftshackstudio.com.

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    Indoor Adventures for Kids

    TURN IT UP A NOTCH

    Words by Jenna Shinn and Heather Reneau

    WinterClub Indoor Ski & Snowboard

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    Hit the slopes at the new WinterClub Indoor Ski & Snowboard in Winter Park, complete with chill ski instructors and après ski treats!

    Skiers ages 3.5 and up and snowboarders ages 10 and up can take group, semi-private or private lessons on a European-designed simulated ski slope. The slope feels like wet turf with a special lubricant to create a life-like ski slope simulation. Instructors say there is little difference between skiing this and the real slopes.

    Kids enjoy WinterClub Indoor Ski & Snowboard as a fun activity, and parents love that the kids are getting entertaining exercise. The incline and speed of the slope are controlled with a handheld remote. Newbies start out on the green slope incline, which can be adjusted to accommodate even the professional ski levels.

    Two large slopes hold up to six skiers at once, which is perfect for a family activity or birthday party. Most lessons are 60 minutes long, allowing for a 10-minute break after every 10 minutes of downhill skiing or snowboarding. A first-time session for three participants costs $39 for one hour. If you plan to perfect your skills, you can opt for a package price.

    Enjoy aprés ski Italian gelato or coffee in the cafe. We recommend the WinterClub Latte, and all of the gelato is delish! Kick back in the large lodge (just like you do while skiing the Rockies) or enjoy your treat in the outdoor courtyard complete with a playground for the kids.

    In addition to scheduled private instruction, children can participate in after-school classes, birthday parties, school field trips and summer camps and earn the Scouting Snow Sports merit badge. See you on the slopes!

    2950 Aloma Ave., Winter Park
    407-618-1123
    www.winterclubski.com

    Urban Ninja Parkour

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    Can’t keep your kids from jumping on the couch? Take them to Urban Ninja Parkour in Longwood, where kids are trained in balance and hurdles on the ground before moving up to obstacle course training above ground, sometimes up to 12 feet high. This indoor gym offers several moveable walls, pits and balance beams used to create unique challenges. Kids learn to move over, under and around these obstacles by jumping, rolling, sliding, flipping and using other techniques they learn in the class. Kids have an absolute blast while getting a killer total body workout. Classes are available for children ages 5 and up.

     

    iFLY Indoor Skydiving

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    Want to skydive but not quite ready to jump out of a plane? Don’t worry, iFLY Indoor Skydiving (iflyworld.com/orlando) has you covered. Spread your wings and fly with no need for a parachute. This super fly (pun intended) attraction is one you’ll want to experience over and over again. Flyers experience the feeling of a free fall while only a few feet above the ground in a vertical wind tunnel. Anyone over age 3 can fly. There is a 250-pound maximum weight limit. Tickets start at $60 for one person and two flights. Be sure to arrive an hour early for proper training and gear set-up.

     

    Artegon Sky Trail

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    Do your kids think going to the mall is boring? They won’t think that anymore. Add Artegon Marketplace to your to-do list this summer, and visit the Artegon Sky Trail, an impressive two-level ropes course and zip line. There is a Sky Tykes ropes course for little kids (under 48″ tall) for $8 or a four-story ropes course for bigger kids for $18. If you have a daredevil on your hands, add the Quick Jump free-fall exit for an extra $25.

     

    WonderWorks Ropes Course

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    Ever WONDER what’s better than a three-story ropes course? How about a glow-in-the-dark three-story ropes course! WonderWorks offers a one-of-a-kind experience that allows you to climb high and navigate through neon obstacles with no prior experience necessary. Climbers must wear closed-toed shoes and be at least 42” tall to participate with an adult or 48” tall to participate alone. Admission for this attraction is included in the general admission ticket, which is $21 for children and $27 for adults. Get your glow on!

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    RDV Ice Den’s Summer Schedule

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    Looking for fun activities to help entertain the kids once school is out? RDV Sportsplex Ice Den has updated their prices that will make you want to skate on over.

    Here is their weekly schedule which includes pricing for admission and rentals, as well as their new Summer Morning Sessions schedule. Skate on!

    Monday- Friday: 12:00-1:45 p.m.
    $6.99 admission + $3.57 skate rental = $11.25 with tax

    Wednesday: 3:00 -4:45 p.m.
    $6.99 admission + $3.57 skate rental = $11.25 with tax

    Friday & Saturday: 7:00 – 9:45 p.m.
    $9.81 admission + $3.57 skate rental = $14.25 with tax

    Saturday & Sunday: 2:00-3:45 p.m.
    $6.99 admission + $3.57 skate rental = $11.25 with tax

    Sunday: 5:30 – 7:15 p.m.
    $6.99 admission + $3.57 skate rental = $11.25 with tax


    Summer Morning Sessions
    Available June 7 through August 11
    NOTE: Not available the weeks of June 13-17 & July 11-15

    Tuesday/Thursday: 10:00-11:15 a.m.
    $3.75 admission + $3.57 skate rental = $7.81 with tax


    NOTE: RDV Sportsplex Ice Den will not be open on Memorial Day or the Fourth of July.

    For more information click here.

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    Mother’s Day Happenings 2016

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    Mom, mother, mommy, best friend, go-to, companion, wife, caretaker … She is all of this and more! A mother’s love is never-ending, and one day is definitely not enough time to spoil her as much as she deserves. So we’ve put together a compilation of ways to celebrate mom and make memories that will last forever, right here in Orlando.


    It’s All About Mom @ Reunion Resort  

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    Reunion Resort is helping you show off and making it easy to treat your mom to everything she wished for. Treat her to one or treat her to all, here is everything the Reunion has to offer.

    1. Mother’s Day Brunch on Sunday, May 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Eleven
      Includes live music, customized omelet station, carving station, spotlight station, sushi, and dessert. A complimentary champagne or sparkling cider toast, a fresh rose, and valet parking will be provided. Brunch is $49.95 for adults and $21.95 for children ages 4-12.
    2. Mother’s Day Trivia on Sunday, May 8 at 2 p.m.
      Trivia will be held at the Reunion Water Park so families can splash around together, as well as have a fun family trivia competition about who knows mom best! The winning mother will receive a free drink of choice.
    3. Mother’s Day Spa Event on Saturday, May 7 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
      Pampering is always appreciated! For $100 mom can receive mini facials, chair massages, makeup remover, complimentary samples, sweet treats, champagne, and raffle gifts at the spa.
    4. Mother’s Day Spa Packages
      The Reunion is also offering special spa packages throughout the whole month of May for you to surprise the woman of the hour with. Packages include a Mani & Pedi on the Rocks, Mother’s Retreat, and Mommy & Me Spa Escape. Check here for information and pricing on these packages.

    For information and reservations for Reunion Resort events, click here.


    Mother’s Day Special @ The Salt Room 

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    Help mom feel her best and relax at the Salt Room Orlando. The Mother’s Day Special includes a free salt therapy session for your special girl if a facial or massage is purchased. Don’t be salty! Be sweet and show mom how much she is appreciated.


    Mother’s Day Discount @ The Central Florida Zoo 

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    Lions and tigers and moms, oh my! Celebrate the day with family and exotic animals; the Central Florida Zoo is treating all mothers to free admission with a paid child’s admission on May 8, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


    Mother’s Day @ Four Seasons Resort Orlando on Sunday, May 8

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    Brunch, dinner service, all-day buffet? The Four Seasons Resort Orlando has it all for mom, because she deserves it! If mom likes brunch, Plancha at the Tranquil Golf Clubhouse is offering a 3-course brunch that includes bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s. Brunch will be poppin’ from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is $68 per person.

    Looking for a decadent meal with pasta stations, raw seafood bars, carving stations, and even more action? Then Ravello is the place to spoil mom on her special day. Prices range from $110 per adult and $45 per child, ages 5-12.

    Thinking about a night out for a lavish dinner? Capa is featuring an a la carte menu, plus all moms will receive a complimentary glass of cava and a box of macaroons. Dinner at Capa is available from 6-10 p.m.

    For reservations for any of these offers, call 407-313-6161.


    Mom’s Jump Free @ Sky Zone Orlando 

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    When mom says jump you say how high!? Sky Zone Orlando is offering a free jump pass for moms, in ode to everything they do for us. Show mom how much you love her by jumping as high as you can together, and getting some fun-loving energy out. For more information, call Sky Zone at 407-351-ZONE.


    Mother’s Day Dining @ MOOR

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    Mother’s only deserve the best, so treat them to a locally-sourced meal made from only the freshest ingredients on her special day. A holiday breakfast buffet will be available from 7:30-11 a.m., which will include an omelet station, waffle station, mimosa station (additional cost), a “Decorate a Dessert for Mom” station, and a “Make a Mother’s Day Card” station. It is $30 for breakfast for adults and $15 for children ages 4-12. Special lunch and dinner menus will also be available from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and all dining includes complimentary valet parking. Click here to make reservations, or here for more information.

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    It’s a Beautiful Mother’s Day Gift

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    Looking for a last minute Mother’s Day gift? Look no further than the Fairwinds Broadway in Orlando musical, Beautiful—The Carole King Musical. This IS your mother’s music—hits from the 1960s, 1970s and beyond. The show runs through May 8 at the Walt Disney Theater in the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Click here to purchase tickets.

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    Orlando Shakes: Elephant and Piggie’s PLAYGROUND Review

    The only photo without anyone picking their nose.

    The only photo without anyone picking their nose.

    Words by JJ West

    It is really important to me that my children have a variety of cultural experiences as they are growing up. We travel, we read, we explore. When I was offered the opportunity to take my girls to experience Elephant and Piggie’s “We’re in a Play!” at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, I jumped at it. I love the theater ( I mean, seriously, I have a college degree in English literature—they don’t hand those out to people who don’t enjoy a well-written play!) I was also patting myself on the back for being an awesome Mom who takes her children to see plays. I was envisioning an afternoon with grateful, well-behaved, and smartly dressed children so overcome with their newfound love for the theater, they’d sing my praises from the backseat on the way home.

    And then, I actually had to take a three- year -old and five- year- old to the theater.

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    Here is a sampling of statements I said once we arrived in the parking lot:

    “You brought shoes, right? I thought you had shoes when we left the house.”

    “Get out of the fountain.”

    “I said get out of the fountain! Oh my God, you can’t drink that water! Stop!”

    “Don’t stand in the chairs.”

    “You look weird. Do you need to throw up? You’d tell me if you needed to throw up, right?”

    “Do you need to go potty?”

    “Stop looking under the bathroom stalls!”

    “Don’t swing on the railing.”

    “No, that is the set for the play. It is not a playground—get off!”

     Thank goodness the front of the house staff is so great with children. I am serious—they were fun and genuinely excited to have children in attendance. My little hooligans did not phase them one bit, nor did any of the 300 young elementary students also in attendance.

    The production is held in the Margeson theater—it is perfect for children! It is a “theatre-in-the-round”, so the children really feel like a part of the experience. My three-year-old felt so much a part of it that she was really confused about why she could not join the cast as they were frolicking about on all of the props.

    The story is the retelling of several of the well-known Elephant and Piggie books. Mo Willems, the author of the books also wrote the play. The narrative is fluid and well-paced. The music is sweet, catchy, and well-choreographed. I kept waiting for “the lull” that would lead to one of them demanding a snack or requesting we leave. It never came. Not only were my girls enthralled, but the other children in the audience were having fun, too. When the actors left the stage, one of the little boys in front of use turned to his teacher and said, “That was awesome!”

    My girls genuinely enjoyed the experience. They have each asked to go back. The five-year-old most enjoyed “the dancing”. The 3-year-old most enjoyed, “when they were being silly.”

    I do have a word of advice if you are considering taking children under the age of five, you may want to show them the publicity photos (https://www.flickr.com/photos/orlandoshakes/26007091485/in/album-72157666251622836) or give them an in-depth lesson on artistic license in the theater before you go. I did not, so I spent a good portion of the first act dealing with, “Why is Piggie wearing a Minnie Mouse dress?” and “Is there a pig? You said there would be a pig.”   (Not seeing an actual pig was also mentioned about 13 times on the way home.)

    Elephant and Piggie’s “We are in a Play!” features Jacob Valleroy as Gerald theElephant and Corynne Wagener as Piggie. Other casting includes Sarah Summerwell as a Squirrelle, Kimmi Johnson as Dog and Squirrelle, and Austin Ryan Hunt as Penguin andSquirrelle. The show runs through May 7th, with an ASL translated show on April 30. Educators, be sure to check out the phenomenal (and free!) curriculum guide at http://www.orlandoshakes.org/pdfs/curriculum-guides/15-16/Elephant%20and%20Piggie%20CG.pdf

    The Set

    The Set

    You can't drink that water!

    You can’t drink that water!

    Look we are in a play!

    Look we are in a play!

    Trying to blow a kiss to my boy, Will. My selfie game needs help

    Trying to blow a kiss to my boy, Will. My selfie game needs help.

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    Sushi Rolling Class for Kids

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    Ashley Nickell, Chef de Cuisine for Central Florida based FMI Restaurant Group will be offering an exclusive sushi rolling class for children aged 6 – 11 years old on Saturday, February 20 from 2:20 pm – 3:30 pm at Funky Monkey Bistro & Bar (9101 International Drive, Suite 1208 at Pointe Orlando www.funkymonkeybistro.com). This event is limited to 22 children and cost is only $25. Reservations can be made by calling 407-418-9463.

    Chef Ashley will be one of 18 chefs from across the country competing on HELL’S KITCHEN’S 15th Season. They will be be tested and challenged as Chef Ramsay puts them through a series of grueling challenges and dinner services to prove they have what it takes to win the HELL’S KITCHEN title and a Head Chef position at BLT Steak at Bally’s Las Vegas.

    “At age 6, I decided I wanted to be a Chef, ” says Chef Nickell. “After watching every season of Hell’s Kitchen I decided there was nothing more I wanted than to compete on this show. As a result, I spent my entire culinary career working toward attaining this singular goal.”

    Host, executive producer and award-winning chef and Critics’ Choice Awards nominee Gordon Ramsay fires up a brand-new season of HELL’S KITCHEN when Season 15 premieres Friday, Jan. 15 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

    “Like” Chef Ashley Nickell on Facebook at facebook.com/chefashleynickell.

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    The Grinch Is In WHOlando

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    I was invited to attend the opening night of Dr. Suess’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at the Dr. Phillips Center.

    Words by Heather Reneau

    Cindy Lou Who, who? Spoiler alert: the Grinch stole the show … but you would have probably guessed that. This holiday favorite was attended by many adults. Maybe it was because of the 7:30 p.m. showing. (Families should purchase tickets  for the daytime shows available this Saturday and Sunday.) Or, maybe it’s because this is a fantastic production that entertains adults–even more so than kids.

    I brought my 3.75 year old as my date and had to keep her engaged in conversation on the car ride to downtown so she wouldn’t fall asleep. She’s not yet familiar with the story of “The Grinch” so I gave her a little overview on the way. I think most of The Musical was over her head. So, I would save this performance for a grade schooler who has already maybe seen the film or read the book. However, I enjoyed it thoroughly and was laughing (very loudly) out loud with most of the other adults in the Walt Disney Theater.

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    The Grinch has some very funny comedic moments. He was interacting with the audience much like a stand-up comic. I appreciated the opportunities for audience participation: such as a sing-along, helping the Grinch say “Merry Christmas” to Cindy Lou and, at one point, it (faux) snowed in the theater.

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    PLAY Tip: Grab a Suess-style beverage on your way into the theater. The Grinchy Sour for parents and a Cindy Lou Who for kids. Love these little details.

    GrinchDrinks

    Chat Backs: If you have night owls in your crew, you can stay after the 7:30 p.m. show on December 9, to meet the cast members. Interested participants should re-enter the house at Orchestra Level following the performance.

    Here is a video highlight edit from Dr. Suess’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical:

    Dr. Suess How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical

    www.drphillipscenter.org

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    Holiday PLAYguide

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    Holiday Sleighs, Trains and Carriage Rides

    Photo: http://overthecrescentmoon.blogspot.com

    Photo: http://overthecrescentmoon.blogspot.com

    Cannonball Christmas Express
    Departures through December 23
    Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies on the Tavares train station platform, and then board the Cannonball Christmas Express for a trip to see Santa. Sing along with Eugene the Elf and Mrs. Claus on board Central Florida’s historic train on the Tavares, Eustis and Gulf Railroad. Santa will say hello to each child and deliver a special gift. Adults: $28; children (ages 3 to 12): $20; toddlers (ages 2 and under): free. www.orangeblossomcannonball.com

     

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    Sleigh Ride at Disney’s Fort Wilderness
    Nightly, December 1–30
    Gallop your way over to the campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and take the ultimate holiday sleigh ride. This 25-minute horse-drawn sleigh will take you along the lit pathways of the wooded resort. The sleigh rides are offered every 30 minutes nightly in December. Reservations are recommended. Bring snacks, sip warm drinks, and sing carols as you ride along with the majestic steed. All ages are welcome! www.disneyworld.disney.go.com

     

    Photo: www.rendala.com

    Photo: www.rendala.com

    Celebration Town Center 17th Annual Now Snowing Event
    Nightly, November 28–December 31
    Join in on the holiday fun in Celebration for traditions such as caroling down the streets, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice skating, pictures with Santa Claus, and faux snowfall every evening starting at 6 p.m. www.celebrationtowncenter.com

     

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    Moss Park’s Light Up The Wild
    December 13-19 
    Moss Park is holding this 4th annual event with a huge holiday light display to drive through nightly from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13th – Saturday, Dec. 19th. Cost is $5 (cash only) per car for up to eight people ($1 per additional person) and you can drive through it multiple times.  “Wild Santa Saturday” on Dec. 19th from 1 – 9 p.m., includes giant airboat rides by Wild Florida Airboat ($10 per person), free photos holding a baby alligator (bring your camera), Santa’s Market featuring vendors, crafts, and last minute shopping for stocking stuffers, hot chocolate and marshmallow roasting (nominal fee to benefit the local Girl Scouts), food trucks and more. https://www.facebook.com/events/909335329149122/

     



     

    Special Santa (and Mrs. Claus) Meetings

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    Sensitive Santa for Children with ASD
    December 8
    With the prevalence of autism quickly increasing, the number of children who struggle to process sensory information also grows. At the Florida Hospital for Children Outpatient Rehab (615 E. Princeton St, Suite 104, Orlando, FL 32803) on December 8 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. these children will have the opportunity to enjoy a sensory-friendly visit with Santa. This event was designed to eliminate long lines and avoid overwhelming crowds to ensure an evening of heartfelt, stress free fun. Click here for more details on this event. Please email Tessa Lee at tessamarielee@gmail.com to request a registration form.

     

     

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    Breakfast (or Brunch!) with Santa at Central Florida Zoo
    December 12
    Join Santa and his furry friends for breakfast (or brunch). Not only will you get to sit and snack with Santa, but you will also get up-close with the animals. Be sure to make your reservation early before Santa’s tummy gets too full with milk, cookies, and pancakes. Register by December 11. www.centralfloridazoo.org

     

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    Letters to Santa and ELF showing at Enzian
    December 13th
    This is a special holiday event and screening of the holiday flick ELF at Enzian Theater. Doors open at 11 a.m. and film starts at Noon. Bring your family to the kid-friendly December matinee screening of ELF (2003). Get there early for special holiday treats and fun activities! Children receive a letter writing kit to craft their wish list for Santa! A special menu including cookies and hot cocoa. Santa will swing by the theater to pick up all the letters and will be available for purchasable photos after the movie. Admission (Adults and Children): $11
    Enzian Members: $8.50 http://www.enzian.org/film/elf

     

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    Teddy Bear Tea
    December 19
    The Four Seasons Resort Orlando is offering a Teddy Bear Tea that is now open to the public, on Saturday, December 19 at 12 p.m. While Santa is busy making toys with all of the Elves, Mrs. Claus will be the special guest of honor during this event. The Teddy Bear Tea will also include treats, crafts, story time and photos opps. It is $50 per person. For more info, view the Facebook event. For reservations call 407-313-6925.

     



     

    Ice Ice Baby: Celebrate wintertime at these events that bring in real ice and snow (even in Florida)!

    SnowSlide

    Light Up UCF
    November 13 through January 3
    Visit this quaint, carnival-style holiday festival outside of the CFE Arena on the UCF campus. Enjoy holiday snacks and cider, a Ferris wheel, Santa train ride, and an ice-skating rink. Don’t forget the ice slide, which is a memory maker for sure! This experience is all about family, friends and sweet fun. The best part? There isn’t a huge crowd or long wait times for rides. Ice-skating: $12; ultimate ride and ice tickets: $19.95. www.lightupucf.com

     

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    ICE! and Alpine Rush Snow Tubing at Gaylord Palms
    November 24 through January 3
    Every year, families flock to Gaylord Palms’ winter wonderland village. Grab your yearly Santa photo, pick up some holiday ornaments and gifts, enjoy sweet treats and cocoa, decorate a gingerbread house and ride (or watch people ride!) the snow slide. All of this is centered around the ICE! exhibit, where visitors enter a gallery of ice sculptures. Make sure your camera is charged and layer on the clothing because baby, it’s cold inside! At 9 degrees, you’ll still need that blue, shiny (fashion faux pas) jacket that they provide. ICE! also features the Frostbite Factory, where you can watch ice being carved in real time, ride the ice slide (separate from the snow tubing activity) and end in the life-sized nativity scene that is also made completely of—you guessed it—ice! There is a separate cost for snow tubing, gingerbread making and ICE!, but you can browse the village and watch people go down the snow tubes for free. ICE! is $30 for adults and $17 for children; combo package for ICE! and snow tubing is $45 for adults and $34 for children.  www.christmasatgaylordpalms.com

     

    RDVsnowfest

    SnowFest at RDV Ice Den
    December 19, 2 to 6 p.m.
    Consider this your carnival of snow! Enjoy ice skating, snowball-making and a mini-me snow slide. Adults: $9; children (ages 3 to 17): $15. www.rdvsportsplex.com

     

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    Snow Mountain at Oviedo Mall
    December 12
    The forecast calls for snow in Oviedo this December. Go early to this family event for the holiday parade and stay for the snowballs! This event features bounce houses, snow slides, zip lines, recreational games and contests, and yummy food trucks. We recommend going early and getting the VIP tickets (if they have them this year) so your kid can be the first to enter the snow area before it gets all slushy and the crowds come!
    www.cityofoviedo.net

     

    WinterInThePark

    Photo credit: http://momjovi.com

    Winter in the Park
    November 20 through January 10
    Bundle up in your winter clothes to enjoy an evening of ice-skating in Central Park West Meadow in Winter Park. Heck, book a group outing for a special winter celebration. Bonus! There will also be games, caroling, snacks and more! The ice rink will be open from 3 to 9 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays, and noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $12 per person. www.cityofwinterpark.org

     



     

    Curtain Call: Take the elves to the theater and give them memories that will dance in their heads for the rest of the year.  

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    Holiday Family Book Party
    Barnes & Noble at Colonialtown Center
    December 4

    Join the Orlando Repertory Theatre at 5 p.m. at Barnes & Noble bookstore (2418 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, 32803) for a FREE holiday family event! Arrive early for dinner at 5 p.m. in the Barnes & Noble Café – Mention “The REP Book Fair” to donate a portion of the proceeds back to The REP. Santa and Rudolph from The REP’s production of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer The Musical” will be on-site for a meet-and-greet and photo opp starting at 5:45 p.m.! Settle in on the balcony floor – pillows and blankets are provided – for a live reading of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer at 6:30 p.m. Then, enjoy a live reading of The Polar Express by REP actors at 7 p.m. Purchase a hot-chocolate and a cookie as a fundraiser for The REP! A portion of ALL SALES go back to The REP on Dec. 4 when you mention “The REP Book Fair”.
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    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The Musical
    Orlando Repertory Theater
    November 9 through December 27
    Rudolph is back with his holiday spirit and bright, shining nose and is giving you the performance of a lifetime at the Orlando Repertory Theater. The REP is also offering a sensory-friendly performance (for children with sensory processing disorders or special needs) on November 29. Tickets start at $14 per person. www.orlandorep.com

     

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    Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical
    Dr. Phillips Center
    December 8 through 13
    Discover the magic of Dr. Seuss’ classic holiday tale as it comes to life on stage at the Dr. Phillips Center in downtown Orlando. Tickets start at $33.75. www.drphillipscenter.org

     

    Nutcracker

    Nutcracker Ballet
    Dr. Phillips Center
    December 17 through 23
    Dress up the little ones and take them to a cultural kid-friendly performance (shorter performance time) of The Nutcracker performed by the Orlando Ballet and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. Let your kids buy a nutcracker memento after the performance to add to your home holiday decor. www.drphillipscenter.org

     

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    How the McPinch Stole Christmas!
    December 11
    Inspired by the How the Grinch Stole Christmas, “McPinch” is an Florida Film Academy (FFA) original character that students can use to recreate their own original Christmas Story! The FFA Club Night is a new program running on select Friday nights throughout the school year. This is a drop-off event on Friday, December 11 from 5:30-9:30 p.m. for kids ages 6-12. The event costs $35 per child which includes child care, a pizza party (and candy) and movie making fun. Kids can bring costumes. Note: drop off & pizza party is from 5:30-6 p.m. Pick up is 9:30 p.m. sharp! http://flfilmacademy.com/how-the-mcpinch-stole-christmas/

     



     

    Free Memories: No need to break the bank. These free activities are just as memorable.

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    Meet the Grinch! story time
    December 8 at 11 a.m.
    Meet the star of the hit Broadway show Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas The Musical at Pottery Barn Kids in the Mall At Millenia! Enjoy a reading of hte famous story, take pictures and mingle with the only WHO who hates Christmas. Plus, enter for a chance to win four tickets to see the musical that weekend at the Dr. Phillips Center! www.potterybarnkids.com

     

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    Holiday Movies in the Park
    December 11
    Don’t be a cotton-headed ninnymuggins. We’ll see you at the Walt Disney Amphitheatre at Lake Eola Park (99 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, Florida 32801) on December 11. Bring a blanket and enjoy your favorite holiday movie.

     

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    Sanford’s Illuminated Boat Parade
    December 19 from 6-7 p.m.
    Come down to Sanford’s Riverwalk and watch or join the lighted parade of sailboats and powerboats in celebration of the holiday season. Viewing locations: North side of Marina Island, St. Johns River Steak and Seafood Restaurant, Veterans Memorial Park, Wolfy’s Bar & Grill, and along the Riverwalk in Sanford from Park Ave to 17-92.

     

    BassProSantasWonderland

    Santa’s Wonderland
    Bass Pro Shops
    Now through December 24
    Bass Pro Shops is the place for adventurous kids who like to race cars, shoot crossbows, challenge dad to target practice, or sit on Santa’s lap—all for free. Bonus: they give you a FREE 4-by-6-inch photo with Santa! www.basspro.com

     

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    Christmas at the Casa
    December 2 through 6 from 6–8:30 p.m.
    Feast on cookies, sip cocoa and listen to Christmas Carols at Casa Feliz, a beautifully restored Spanish farmhouse in Winter Park. www.casafeliz.us

     

    HolidayOnTheDrive

    Holiday on the Drive
    December 3 from 5–9 p.m.
    Get your ugly Christmas sweaters out for another starry night along Edgewater Drive (from Smith Street to Bryn Mawr Drive). Admission is free. Entertainment includes Santa, karaoke, a Christmas tree lighting in Albert Park and more!

     

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    Light Up Winter Garden
    December 4 at 6:15 p.m.
    Join residents of Winter Garden in ringing in the holiday season with live music, kids’ activities and crafts, and shopping. Don’t be late because at 6:15 p.m. they will hold the annual Street Lighting Ceremony.

     

    WinterParkParade

    Winter Park Christmas Parade
    December 5 from 9–10:30 a.m.
    Winter Park’s annual “Ye Olde Hometown” Christmas Parade is free to watch and features many well-designed and beautifully decorated carts, trailers and floats.

     



     

    Theme Parks: Make the most of living near the country’s most coveted family destinations.

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    Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
    November 8 through December 18
    Join Mickey and his crew for a holiday experience in the Magic Kingdom! There’s nothing more magical than snow falling on Main Street amid the holiday light display. Meet the characters and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies as you explore the park. This limited ticket special event means shorter wait times—what a great gift! www.disneyworld.disney.go.com

     

    Photo credit: http://doubledutymommy.com

    Photo credit: http://doubledutymommy.com

    Grinchmas at Islands of Adventure
    Do you like your holiday season with a side of sarcasm? Then Grinchmas at Islands of Adventure is the place you need to visit. The park turns into a Christmas-themed wonderland with WHO-LIDAY Spectacular, Meet the Grinch photo ops, and The Grinch and Friends Character Breakfast. Don’t miss out on the one time of year that the Grinch comes down from his snow-covered mountain to spread holiday cheer.  www.universalorlando.com

     

    Screenshot 2015-11-18 23.16.25

    Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios
    December 5 through January 2
    Always wanted to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade but can’t make it to New York City? You are in luck. Universal will be hosting their own Macy’s Holiday Parade that has balloons straight from the parade in New York! Don’t miss this super experience with balloons bigger than some buildings. www.universalorlando.com

     

    Photo credit: www.undercovertourist.com

    Photo credit: www.undercovertourist.com

    Christmas at SeaWorld
    November 21–22, 27–29; December 4–6, 11–13, and 18–31
    Visit SeaWorld for their Christmas Celebration. Their wavy, winter wonderland will introduce you to Christmas carols, bright lights, live shows, and even visits from Santa. There will also be a Winter Wonderland on Ice show, the beautiful Sea of Trees light show, The Polar Express Experience, Elmo’s Christmas Wish performance, and more. www.seaworldparks.com 

     

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    Holiday Traditions Around the World at Epcot
    November 27 through December 30
    Broaden your cultural holiday horizons by visiting Epcot to celebrate special seasonal traditions around the world, and the highly anticipated Candlelight Processional hosted by a celebrity each night. www.disneyworld.disney.go.com

     



     

    At the Resorts: Want to make a weekend of it? These local resorts offer special holiday activities.

    Very Merrytime Cruises

    Very Merrytime Cruises

    Disney Cruise Line’s Very Merrytime Cruises
    A one-of-a-kind combination of theme parks, resorts and travel is the Disney Cruise Line. Holiday celebrations set sail on this 3-night, 4-day getaway leaving Port Canaveral on Friday afternoons and returning early Monday mornings (love that work- and school-friendly schedule). Sailing now through Christmas the Very Merrytime Cruises feature some serious holiday magic. Disney Cruise Lines is by far the best way for families to cruise. In addition to all that these fantastic ships have to offer, Very Merrytime Cruises features special events such as a tropical holiday party (candy-cane limbo anyone?), a tree lighting ceremony with Mickey, holiday storytelling, caroling, holiday crafts, a life-size Gingerbread house and more. To celebrate the winter holidays with Disney Cruise Line, book online, call 800-370-8046 or contact your travel agent.

     

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    Four Seasons Resort Orlando
    This holiday season, enjoy palm trees and infinity pools at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. Guests can enjoy a decadent gingerbread display and complimentary hot cocoa and cider daily from 2 to 5 p.m. in the lobby. Also, the Kids For All Seasons (KFAS) complimentary kids camp, open daily for ages 4 to 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., has an array of organized activities like candy cane scavenger hunts, animal visits, timed races in the Lazy River, balloon art, and face painting. Families will love watching the weekly holiday movies (like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Home Alone and Elf)¸ making jingle bell necklaces, and writing letters to Santa. www.fourseasons.com/orlando

     

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    Gaylord Palms Resort
    Marvel at dozens of lavish holiday displays that include more than 2 million twinkling lights and acres of larger-than-life decorations. Enjoy a heartwarming visit with Santa, experience the free Cirque Dreams UnWrapped Live Stage Show, check out the ICE! exhibit and Alpine Rush Snow Tubing experience, enjoy Breakfast with Mrs. Claus, visit the Gingerbread Decorating Corner, and join an Elf on the Shelf® Scavenger Hunt throughout the resort to get you in the spirit of the season!
    www.christmasatgaylordpalms.com

    Screenshot 2015-12-03 06.30.00

    Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel Holiday Happenings
    Throughout December, Santa, Mrs. Claus and their favorite elf, Kandy Kane, are jetting off to Florida to escape the cold and join guests for Holiday Happenings at Santa’s favorite resort – the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel. During this month-long celebration, children and kids at heart can enjoy a magical holiday experience at the Epcot Resort Area hotel with special themed activities and decor including Santa and Mrs. Claus meet and greets, tree lighting ceremonies, a life-side chocolate holiday display, dancing lights show, in-door snow fall, dessert decorating and more. For more information and specific times and dates, please visit www.santasfavoriteresort.com.

     

     


     


    New Year’s Eve: Ring in the New Year with your kids at these parties.

    slimedrop

    Nickelodeon SLIME Drop
    December 31
    The holidays don’t end after Christmas and Chanukah; Nickelodeon Suites Resort will be celebrating New Year’s Eve with their annual SLIME Drop! Check out the pool party to kick off the New Year with poolside games. There are also seven water slides to enjoy at the Lagoon Pool, and the most important part of the event is getting slimed by Nickelodeon’s famous green slime! Don’t miss the ewwy, gooey green madness and ring in the New Year with some sticky fun! www.nickhotel.com

     

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    Kids and Family New Year’s Eve Party
    Rosen Shingle Creek Resort
    December 31, 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

    Join Rosen Shingle Creek on New Year’s Eve for a rocking good time! There will be a live DJ, so you can tear it up on the dance floor. Try out the photo booths, or challenge your family to a game of pool, pinball, foosball, or ping-pong. Want to go solo? Check out the arcade games. The party will have fun for all ages. Wristbands for party favors and unlimited soda are $10 per person. There will be food and drinks to purchase at the event. The ball drop will be televised on a big screen, so all attendees can count down to the New Year. www.rosenshinglecreek.com/holidays

     

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    Legoland Brick Drop
    December 31, 7 p.m.
    Legoland wraps up 2015 with the ultimate Kids’ New Year’s Eve Celebration, featuring a Lego Brick Drop and a spectacular fireworks display that the whole family can watch with special viewing glasses. The Brick Drop is included with standard park admission. florida.legoland.com

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    Light Up UCF

    Lights

    Light Up UCF, an annual holiday event returns to CFE Arena with exciting holiday attractions begining Friday, November 13, 2015 and running through Sunday, January 3, 2016.

    HorseDrawnCarriage

    At Light Up UCF, families can enjoy a number of free activities including the Holiday Light Show, the new Light Up Lane, the Holiday Film Festival, and parking.

    LaneofLights

    The Holiday Light Show strobes across the arena façade, palm trees, and ice rink in perfect synchronization to various holiday songs. The falling snow will create a magical effect during every light show.

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    The Holiday Film Festival allows families to gather under the stars to view their favorite holiday films on a two-story movie screen each Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday night.

    IceSkating

    The Light Up UCF Ice Rink has become a fan favorite over the years. Positioned directly in front of the CFE Arena, the ice rink serves as the centerpiece for the event. Guests are invited to enjoy Central Florida’s largest outdoor ice skating rink while gliding along to their favorite holiday tunes spun by a live DJ.

    IceSkating_Red

    Light Up UCF features rides suitable for the entire family, ranging from the Hunter Vision Ferris Wheel, where riders can enjoy a panoramic view of the UCF campus, to the Light Up Express Train, great for children of all ages.

    Ride&Skate

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    Blizzard

    Visitors can also check out the Arctic Glide Ice Slide, where they can climb to the top of the tower and glide on disc sleds across the 100-foot ice way. Making its annual appearance, the Blizzard offers a whirling and twirling thrill ride, where patrons can twist, tilt, and spin themselves crazy!

    SnowSlide

    Visitors can also stop into Santa’s Workshop presented by Coca Cola in the NEW Light Up Lane, where they can share their Christmas wishes and have a photo taken with Santa. The Duke Energy Community Stage will offer visitors local talent to watch and enjoy.

    LightUpLane

    SantaPhotos

    Tickets for ice skating, rides, and photos with Santa can be purchased at the CFE Arena Box Office. Select tickets are also available for purchase through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. More information for all of Light Up UCF events can be found at www.LightUpUCF.com.

    MarshmallowDip

    PLAYGROUND Tip: Grab a bite to eat at Burger U (right next to the CFE Arena) and try the sweet potato fries with toasted marshmallow dip. Delish!

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    A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens

    MTHDickensOST_8hr

    Photos by Landon St. Gordon features the characters Jack, Annie, and Charles Dickens.

    Orlando Shakespeare Theater travels back in time
    with Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens

    Theater makes history fun in this musical adventure for young audiences

    Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF presents the World Premiere of Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens. Based on the book A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time by New York Times bestselling author Mary Pope Osborne, the Children’s Series production runs from October 22 – November 20, 2015 in the Margeson Theater. Tickets ($9 – $15) can be purchased by calling 407-447-1700 ext. 1, online at www.orlandoshakes.org, or in person at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center (812 E. Rollins St.).

    Mary Pope Osborne’s award-winning fantasy adventure series comes to life on stage in this brand new musical adaptation of book #44. Magic Tree House characters Jack and Annie are sent to Victorian England where Charles Dickens is suffering from a severe case of writer’s block. Posing as chimney sweeps, the time traveling siblings team up with light hearted, helpful versions of Christmas Past, Present, and Future to inspire Mr. Dickens to write A Christmas Carol.

    PERFORMANCE TIMES:
    Preview Dates – October 22 & 23 at 10:15 a.m. and noon
    Opening Date – October 24 at 2 p.m. & 4:30 p.m.
    ASL Interpreted – November 7 at 2:00 p.m. and November 9 at 10:15 a.m.

    OPENING DAY CELEBRATION – Saturday, October 24 at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
    Bring the kids to the theater one hour before both opening day performances to take part in free crafts and activities. Free to all opening day ticket holders. No RSVP required.

    FREE HALLOWEEN PARTY – Saturday, October 31 at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
    Orlando Shakes will present two special Halloween performances of Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens on Saturday, October 31 at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. All Halloween-day ticket holders are invited to arrive one hour prior to their selected performance for a Free Halloween Party. Festivities include Halloween-themed arts and crafts, as well as a costume contest and candy giveaway.

    SHAKE OUT THE SILLIES
    Join members of the cast for interactive pre-show fun for the whole family. The fun starts 10-15 minutes prior to every performance.

    TICKET PRICING: 
    Monday/Tuesday//Thursday/Friday at 10:15 a.m. and noon – $9
    Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. – $9
    Saturday at 2 p.m. & 4:30 p.m. – $12 children; $15 adults

    DISCOUNTS
    Group Sales: Up to 20% off groups of 10+

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    Kid-friendly Halloween Events in Orlando

    Get your family into the Halloween spirit by hitting up these haunted, kid-friendly happenings in Orlando. Only the best for you!


     

    Monster Mania
    October 1-31, 2015
    Ghoulish tricks and yummy treats are waiting at Crayola Experience during Monster Mania on October 1 – 31! Werewolves and Witches and Tips … Oh My! Trick-or-Treat while exploring 25-colorful-hands-on attractions. Create monster-ific crafts and take your photo with our spooky characters all month long included with general admission. There is so much to “BOO,” you may never leave. Learn more at crayolaexperience.com/orlando
    MonsterMania


    Gobblins & Giggles Getaway Weekends at Gaylord Palms Resort
    Friday and Saturday evenings in October
    From the Monster Mash Bash and costume contest to the Zany Zombie hotel-wide scavenger hunt, there’s no better way to experience the thrills and chills of the season. Your goblins will also be able to trick-or-treat throughout the atrium, watch poolside Moonlight movies, create spooky arts and crafts and get free face painting! Availability: Friday and Saturday evenings throughout the month of October (based on availability). Guests can either book 1 or 2 nights. Rate: starting at $179 per night. www.marriott.com

    Screenshot 2015-10-26 07.17.28


     

    Wild Fun
    October 17, 18, 24, 25 and 31, 2015
    The Central Florida Zoo’s ZOO Boo Bash is held October 17, 18, 24, 25 and 31 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come in costume, or get your face painted while visiting zoo residents. Hop on a haunted hayride, visit the pumpkin patch, and trick-or-treat around the zoo. There will be no boohooing at this safe, fun and not-too-scary event. www.centralfloridazoo.org

    ZooBooBash2015


     

    Fright Hike
    October 24, 2015
    Find the courage to brave Fright Hike, a spooky event at the Geneva Wilderness Area on Saturday, October 24 from 7:30 to 10 p.m. The woods at night are scary enough, but this approximately half-mile trail is chock-full of spooky sounds and scenes that are sure to give your older children a fright. Reward yourself at the end with a stop at the Ed Yarborough Nature Center to enjoy refreshments and meet a few slithering and creepy friends. Tickets must be purchased in advance. The cost is $5 per person. 407-349-0959 www.seminolecountyfl.gov

    FrightHike


     

    It’ll Give You the Chills
    October 24, 2015
    Put your Halloween fun on ice at the RDV Ice Den’s Spooky Skate on Saturday, October 24 from 2 to 4:45 p.m. This special event will feature ice-skating, trick-or-treating, a costume contest and plenty of candy! www.rdvsportsplex.com

    Spooky2012_On-Ice


     

    Monster House Movie and Costume Party
    Sunday, October 25, 2015

    Bring the entire family for a costume party featuring Monster House during the Kids Halloween Party at Enzian theater. Between 11 a.m. and 12:45 p.m., the whole family can enjoy a delicious lunch, games and fun! The Monster House film starts at 1 p.m. The movie and party package is $18 per person (children and adults). The price includes the film, lunch, a costume contest and games. www.enzian.org/film/monster-house

    Monsterhouse


     

    Halloween Event at The Grove Orlando
    October 30, 2015
    Trick-or-treet around the stores at The Grove in Windermere on October 30 from 5 to 8 p.m. In addition to sweet treats there will be live music, outdoor games, contests, a costume parade and halloween crafts. 4750-4767 The Grove Drive, Windermere www.TheGroveOrlando.com

    Screenshot 2015-10-02 16.44.19


     

    Baby Boogie Bash: Healthy Halloween Bash

    Friday, October 30 from 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m. 

    The Baby Boogie Bash (East Coast) is a dance party at Amaya Papaya  for kids 0-7 years old featuring disco lights and music from the 80’s, 90’s, and today. No Nursery Rhymes just real jams (appropriate of course) that will get your feet moving and booty grooving. Halloween crafts, character greetings, pizza, drinks and more are included in the price of your ticket! $8 per person in advance / $10 per person on the day of the event. www.amayapapaya.com

    BabyBoogieBash

    Pumpkinville Musical
    October 30, 31 & November 1, 2015
    Bring the family to experience Carved: A Pumpkin’s Musical Adventure at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden on Friday, October 30 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, October 31 at 11 a.m., or 12:30 or 3 p.m.; or Sunday, November 1 at 3 or 4:30 p.m. Join Earnest, a young pumpkin, on a quest for the truth about Pumpkinville in this not-so-scary puppet musical ideal for ages 6 through 12. Tickets: $7 to $11. www.gardentheatre.org

    Carved Logo 2


    Tick-Or-Treat Safe Zone and Halloween Block Party 
    Saturday, October 31, 2015
    The Orlando Public Library and the Orange County Regional History Center team up for a free Halloween event featuring fun for the whole family! Visit both locations from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. for trick-or-treating, a scavenger hunt with a spooky reward, crafts, games and lessons in ghost-hunting practices! Ages 12 and under welcome, must be accompanied by an adult.
    Halloween costumes are encouraged for children and their parents! www.thehistorycenter.org

    Screenshot 2015-10-05 23.15.36


     

    Weird Science
    Saturday, October 31, 2015
    Celebrate the spookiest time of year at the Orlando Science Center on October 31 from noon to 4 p.m. The Spooktacular Science Extravaganza features a terrifyingly fun day of activities, including face-painting, live shows, crafts and, of course, tasty treats. Come in costume to trick-or-treat; participate in Gross Out Science activities, such as dry ice and liquid nitrogen experiments; brew a batch of gooey slime; or create slimy mucus. There also will be crafts and fun for the littlest pumpkins. www.osc.org

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    SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular
    Every weekend in October
    A groovy way to celebrate Halloween without ANY scary spooks for families with young children. Yep, it’s all sparkly, bright and really fun at Penelope’s Party Zone, complete with a live DJ, dancing sea creatures (in gorgeous costumes), crafts and trick-or-treating, of course. This event is on select dates in October (3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 24-25 and 31) from 12-7 p.m., and is included with park admission. www.seaworld.com

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    Magic Kingdom
    Select nights from September 15 through November 1
    Believe it or not, you’ll see the best adult costumes at this special Disney party! Most visitors go all out for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. This is a special event at Magic Kingdom on select nights from September 15 through November 1 (7 p.m. to midnight). Take your tyke trick-or-treating throughout the park, and check out the awesome Boo-to-You Halloween Parade and other Halloween-inspired entertainment. New in 2015, the “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” show features the mischievous Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus with appearances by Dr. Facilier, Oogie Boogie, Maleficent and other Disney villains. Ticket prices start at $68 (ages 10-plus) and $63 (ages 3 through 9). Because it’s a nighttime-only event, there is a cap on how many people may attend. It’s by far my favorite way to visit the Magic Kingdom. No boiling sun, and no lines! https://disneyworld.disney.go.com

    New in 2015, the "Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular," show during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom Park features the mischievous Sanderson Sisters from Disney's Hocus Pocus, who throw an evil Halloween party with appearances by Dr. Facilier, Oogie Boogie, Maleficent and other Disney villains, along with dancers, projections and special effects. Walt Disney World Resort is located in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (David Roark, photographer)

    David Roark, photographer


     

    Trick-or-Treat, Smell My Feet
    October 31, 2015
    Enjoy safe trick-or-treating at this free family-friendly event at Artegon Marketplace. Children ages 12 and under dressed in costume will receive candy from participating merchants from 2 to 5 p.m. October 31. Hit this place early to kick-start the candy pile! If you want to make it a Halloween the kids will never forget, rent one of the Zoo Tamer animal go-karts so the kids can ride instead of walk. You’ll get some major cool mummy points! www.artegonmarketplace.com

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    Early Trick-or-Treating Kick Off
    October 31, 2015
    Get your shop on while your kiddo collects candy at shops in the Oviedo Mall. Participating merchants will be handing out treats to costumed kiddos October 31 from 4 to 6 p.m. Then, between 6 and 10 p.m., head over to O2BKids for carnival games and a kiddie costume contest. www.o2bkids.com

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    Halloween Is Awwwesssome …
    Every weekend in October
    Take a selfie next to the world’s largest Lego jack-o’-lantern at Legoland’s Brick or Treat event, held every weekend in October. Visitors should come in their best costumes for the Everything Is Awesome Costume Contest. Kids will love the Monster Mash Dance Bash and the free collectors bricks available along the Brick or Treat Trail. Dad will be amazed by the giant, 13-foot-long Lego hearse, and Mom will be rushing the kids to the Lego Vampire Build. The night will conclude with a spooky fireworks display. The event takes place every Saturday and Sunday in October during regular park hours. www.legolandflorida.com

    Lego


     

    Ultimate Halloween Weekend
    October 31, 2015
    Spooky Empire
    , one of the largest Halloween events in the country, will gather at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 for three days of family-friendly festivities, including hair-raising ghost stories, trick-or-treating and face-to-face animal encounters in the Kids Zone. Adults will enjoy costume contests, live music, hundreds of Halloween-themed vendors and the world famous Zombie Walk featuring the largest gathering of zombies to creep through Central Florida. www.spookyempire.com

    SpookyEmpire


     

    Family Fiesta: Dia De Los Muertos
    October 31, 2015
    This Halloween, bring the family and celebrate East End Market’s two year anniversary with a Mexican Fiesta! Coinciding with the holiday Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead on Sunday), guests can live it up on Saturday from Noon to 5 p.m. There will be an artisan market in the courtyard where kids can prepare for trick-or-treating with face-painting, make their own calavera mask or flower crown, dance to Mexican folk music by KaMalinalli and mariachis, and stroll through the spooky cemetery garden. No registration necessary. www.eastendmkt.com

    EastEnd


     

    Mall-O-Ween
    October 31 from 4-7 p.m.

    All little ghouls, goblins and boo’tiful princesses 12 years and younger are invited to enjoy a spooktacular time at The Florida Mall for a mall-wide trick-or-treating event. Children of all ages are encouraged to sport their best Halloween costume to haunt The Florida Mall in search of candy. Attendees can also take part in mad science experiments, explore a pumpkin patch, receive a new gift from the balloon artist, and dance along with a DJ! Toy weapons and costumes should be worn only during event hours and masks are allowed only on children 12 years old and younger. Free and open to the public. http://www.simon.com/mall/the-florida-mall/stream/mall-o-ween-3721943

    Screenshot 2015-10-13 21.55.07


     

     

    Bonnet Creek BOO-tacular Fun Run
    Saturday, October 31, 2015
    The Bonnet Creek BOO-tacular Fun Run is a great way to kick off your Halloween early and show off your costume, all while supporting the happiness that inspires hope at Give Kids The World Village. All money raised benefits GKTW Village, a nonprofit resort in Central Florida that creates magical memories for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Prizes will be awarded for best costume and top 3 Male/Female finishers. Bonnet Creek Resort  14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane, Orlando, Florida, 32821

    Screenshot 2015-10-13 00.04.59


     

    Magic Tree House Halloween Party
    Saturday, October 31, 2015
    Orlando Shakes will present two special Halloween performances of Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens on Saturday, October 31 at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. All Halloween-day ticket holders are invited to arrive one hour prior to their selected performance for a Free Halloween Party. Festivities include Halloween-themed arts and crafts, as well as a costume contest and candy giveaway. www.orlandoshakes.org

    Screenshot 2015-10-26 07.13.54


     

    A Wickedly Good Time
    Most voyages in September and October
    Set sail this fall on the Disney Cruise Line as ships transform into a ghoulish wonderland. Halloween on the High Seas takes place on most voyages aboard all Disney Cruise Line ships in September and October. This frightfully fun celebration features Halloween-themed parties, lively entertainment and elaborate decor, including the Pumpkin Tree, which magically transforms throughout the cruise. Other special experiences include Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party, with games, dancing, lots of candy and a costume party; The Nightmare Before Christmas Sing and Scream, an interactive movie experience; the Haunted Stories of the Sea storytelling experience, and the Creepy Cabaret atrium party. To celebrate Halloween on the Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, visit www.disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact a travel agent.

    Disney Cruise Line will treat guests sailing this fall to a wickedly good time as the Disney ships transform into a ghoulish wonderland during Halloween on the High Seas cruises. This extra-spooky celebration features “’A Nightmare Before Christmas’—Sing and Scream,” an interactive movie experience followed by a meet-and-greet with Jack Skellington and Sally. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)
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    Kids Cooking Classes in Orlando

    kids cooking classes orlando

    Try some of these cooking classes for kids and families that are hosted by Orlando chefs and cooking gurus around town. 

    Words by Amanda Keefer

    The Williams-Sonoma stores in Winter Park and at Mall at Millenia offer Free Junior Chef Classes (best for kids ages 8 to 12) on Saturdays. Let them show your junior chef how fun and easy cooking can be! Kids experience different weekly themes and make delicious recipes, from main courses to desserts to snacks. Some weeks may have special themes with fees. Class times vary by store location. Call your local store to register. www.williams-sonoma.com

    The Publix Aprons Cooking School located at 7524 Dr. Phillips Blvd. has classes throughout the year for adults and children. A wide variety of classes are available and take place almost every day. Learn to cook gluten-free, create a vegetarian meal plan, or even hone your knife skills. A full schedule of classes and costs can be found here: www.publix.com

    Truffles and Trifles in Winter Park has been offering family cooking classes and kids summer camps for nearly 31 years! During the school year, there are family-specific classes. In September, there is an Heir and Their Parent class among numerous adult classes. The online schedule gives you classes for the upcoming four months. Check it out for prices and dates: www.trufflesandtrifles.com.

    At U Can Cook in Celebration Town Center, there are programs for different interests and skill levels. U Can Cook With Me is geared toward family cooking. U Can Cook With Us has master chefs and celebrity chefs teach you skills and techniques so you can be more confident in your culinary prowess. U Can Cook covers it all, from the basics of food preparations to food safety skills and even proper etiquette. More info and class schedules are at www.Facebook.com/ucancookfl.

    Whole Kids Cooking Class is a free program at Whole Foods Market, Phillips Crossing for you and your child to learn some quick and easy recipes that are perfect for little hands to handle. Whole Kids Cooking Classes are usually scheduled monthly. Registration is required. Check the store events calendar for details: www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/orlando.
    ———–
    Amanda Keefer is a local mom of two girls, Mia (8) and Charlie (4), and the author of the travel blog TheMammaMiaBlog.com. She spends her days as the director of marketing at Produce for Kids, educating families on the importance of a healthy diet full of fruits and veggies. For more tips on getting kids involved in the kitchen and kid-friendly recipes, check out www.produceforkids.com

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    You’ve Been Booed!

    You've Been Booed!

    “Booing” neighbors and friends is a fun trend we have seen on the rise.

    Written by Alexandra Rolon

    What is Booing” you ask?

    1. Start by baking (or buying) some yummy treats;
    2. Deliver them anonymously to a neighbor along with the free downloadable custom “We’ve Been Booed” sign and instructions;
    3. Then, they pay it forward by “Booing” another neighbor.

    I wanted to get in on the action too. So I created my own version and wanted to share with all of you. Have fun “Booing” your favorite neighbors!

    Click here for the free downloadable custom design compliments of Sparkled Pink.

    ———-
    Alexandra Rolon is the party stylist and owner of Sparkled Pink. It offers spunky individual salon services, such as haircuts, bubblegum facials, glitter tattoos, manicures and pedicures, spa packages fit for a princess, mobile parties and upbeat birthday parties. (This hairstyle is perfect for the salon’s Jazz It Up Rock Star Party.) Sparkled Pink is located at 450 Avalon Park S. Blvd., Orlando, 407-277-2184. www.sparkledpink.com

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    Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld

     

    SeaWorld Orlando Halloween Spooktacular_2 (2)

     

    Halloween meets the sea during weekends in October at SeaWorld Orlando’s Halloween Spooktacular. This family-friendly event will immerse guests in an underwater “fantasea” with trick-or-treating, whimsical pumpkin fish, sea-themed arts and crafts, and up-close animal encounters.

    SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular takes place from 12-7 p.m. weekends, October 3-31. Like all special events at SeaWorld, Halloween Spooktacular is included with park admission.

    Spooktacular Highlights Include:

    • Waves of Trick-or-Treat Fun – Costumed youngsters can trick-or-treat for ghoulish goodies. Each sea-themed, trick-or-treat station features an assortment of candy favorites including Tootsie Roll, Jelly Beans, Airheads, just to name a few.
    • Penelope’s Party Zone – This dynamic “underwater” environment comes to life each weekend with a live DJ, a variety of craft opportunities, bubbles floating overhead and colorful sea-themed characters. The zone is located on SeaWorld’s Bayside Pathway.
    • Returning Fan Favorite: Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween – Celebrate a Spooktacular Halloween at SeaWorld with The Count, Elmo, Abby, and the rest of everyone’s Sesame Street friends! The Count is feeling lonely this Halloween, and it’s up to you and the loveable monsters from Sesame Street to get him into the Halloween spirit. Batty bats and spooky skeletons join the fun in a song filled stage show that invites you and your family to dance, play, and sing along.
    • Spooktacular Dance Party – Children join Princess Penelope and her under-the-sea friends for a Spooktacular Dance Party where they can participate in line-dancing favorites as clouds of bubbles fill the evening air. The party will kick off at the Village Square in the front of the park every event night one hour before park closing.

    Spectacular Spooky Add-Ons:

    • Dine With Shamu Halloween Spooktacular Brunch – Guests can celebrate with an immersive and memorable brunch experience at Dine With Shamu. They will enjoy seasonal items and reserved tables that bring them up close to majestic killer whales. There also are some Halloween surprises including a family photo in a decorative frame and a free cookie decorating kit. Prices begin at $28 plus tax for adults and $16 plus tax for kids.
    • Sweet Treat Decorating – Kids and parents alike can have a “splash” decorating their own sweet treats at the cookie decorating stations. The kits include a cookie, frosting and toppings and are available for $7.

    For more information, park hours and to purchase tickets, visit www.SeaWorldOrlando.com. Follow SeaWorld on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest Halloween Spooktacular details and information. Join the conversation with #SeaWorld and #SeaWorldSpooktacular.

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    Maker Faire Orlando Expands

    Maker-149-2

    The Greatest Show and Tell on Earth is Bigger and Better than Ever

    Maker Faire Orlando is growing thanks to a new partnership between Orlando Museum of Art, The Maker Effect Foundation and Orlando Science Center. The two-day family-friendly celebration will feature more than 250 local Makers, hands-on workshops and more that will entertain and inspire more than 15,000 members of the Central Florida community. Maker Faire Orlando will be held on September 12 and 13 in the Orlando Science Center, Loch Haven Park and, new for 2015, the Orlando Museum of Art!

    The partnership with the Orlando Museum of Art is a result of the growth of Central Florida’s Maker community. In 2014, Maker Faire Orlando received “featured” status and promotional support from the originator and licensor of Maker Faire events, Maker Media, and expanded to a two-day extravaganza. Maker Faire Orlando is fueled by the local arts community with DIY enthusiasts and families taking part in a celebration of technology, science, arts, crafts, engineering, education, sustainability and much more. This year, the can’t-miss event has grown its arts presence even larger with the edition of exhibit and workshop space at the Orlando Museum of Art.

    Orlando Science Center's Mini Maker Faire, Photo by Roberto Gonzalez

    Orlando Science Center’s Mini Maker Faire, Photo by Roberto Gonzalez

    “The creativity demonstrated by the individuals participating in – and attending – the Maker Faire naturally coincides with the work of the Orlando Museum of Art,” said Glen Gentele, Director and CEO of the Orlando Museum of Art. “We are excited to join our colleagues at the Orlando Science Center in hosting Maker Faire Orlando.”

    “Here, people can show off what they are making and share everything they’re learning,” said Candy Cole, President and co-founder of The Maker Effect Foundation. “Our continued expansion will allow even more makers to participate, and others in the community to see and learn from the incredible talents of our neighbors.”

    “Creativity fuels innovation and innovation is at the heart of science,” says JoAnn Newman, President and CEO of Orlando Science Center. “Maker Faire Orlando is an incredible showcase for creativity, imagination and hands-on technical skills so it’s a wonderful blend of art and science. Orlando Museum of Art joining us this year is a perfect fit and further strengthens the connection at the event between STEM and the arts.”

    Maker Faire Orlando is made possible through the efforts of many individuals in the local Maker community and community partner organizations such as FamiLAB, Factur, Maitland Art & History Museums, The Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center, Nerd Nite Orlando and Crealde School of Art.

    The unprecedented collaboration between The Maker Effect Foundation, Orlando Science Center, Orlando Museum of Art and these community partners blurs the lines between art and technology in a way that enriches the community and creates opportunities for creativity, learning, fun, and innovation.

    If interested in exhibiting as a maker, sponsor or community partner, email makers@makerfaireorlando.com or visit www.makerfaireorlando.com.

    Orlando Science Center's Mini Maker Faire, Photo by Roberto Gonzalez

    Orlando Science Center’s Mini Maker Faire, Photo by Roberto Gonzalez

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    Disney On Ice Celebrates 100 Years of Magic

    100YearsofMagic

    TICKETS FOR DISNEY ON ICE CELEBRATES 100 YEARS OF MAGIC
    ON SALE TOMORROW, JUNE 16, IN ORLANDO

    The celebration of the century comes alive in Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt. This monumental ice skating spectacular is coming to the Amway Center in Orlando from September 5-7, 2015 for six performances. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, June 16, at 10 a.m.

    Audiences will be a part of the magic of Disney as Mouse-ter of Ceremonies Mickey Mouse leads a parade of more than 50 beloved characters starring Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and featuring an ensemble of Disney Princesses including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Ariel, Snow White and Tiana. The wintry wonderland of Disney’s Frozen also comes to life with Anna, Elsa, and the hilarious Olaf, as they discover that true love is the greatest magic of all. Exciting moments from Finding NemoAladdin and Beauty and the Beast will leave the whole family with memories to last a lifetime.

    The legacy of Disney is displayed through 14 classic and modern stories in this epic production that features an international team of award-winning figure skaters, high-energy choreography and a breathtaking set. With over 30 melodious masterpieces such as “Let It Go!,” “You’ve Got A Friend in Me” and “Hakuna Matata,” Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic is the ultimate Disney fan experience.

    Where:  Amway Center, 400 West Church Street – Suite 200, Orlando, Florida 32801

     Dates and Times of Performances:             

    • Friday, September 4 at 7:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, September 5 at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
    • Sunday, September 6 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

    Ticket Prices and Purchase:
    Tickets start at $25. Also available at $30, $40, $60, $75 (VIP) and $100 (Rink side). (Ticketmaster service charges and facility fees not included.) All seats are reserved, and tickets are now on sale to the public.  Tickets are available at www.DisneyOnIce.com or www.ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster outlet, by calling 800-745-3000, or at the Amway Center box office (phone for information only: 407-440-7900).  For group ticket sales and information, call 866-248-8740.

    For a complete list of tour dates, visit the Disney On Ice website (http://www.disneyonice.com) and stay current on the latest developments through social media:

     

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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!

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    1. 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. These replicas of the Niña and Pinta will be touring together as a new and enhanced floating museum for the purpose of educating the public and school children on the “caravel,” a Portuguese ship used by Columbus and many early explorers to discover the world. Climb aboard to see what life was like 500 years ago! http://www.thenina.com
    2. Taste of Oviedo

      Cirque Du Taste of Oviedo  Stop by our tent to pick up the new issue of PLAYGROUND Magazine and get a free photo strip from Funbox Photos. Oh yeah, and you can also have a great time shopping, PLAYing and tasting your way through Oviedo’s best restaurants. This year’s event will also include fun cirque-style performers and activities. http://www.tasteofoviedo.orgScreenshot 2015-03-12 17.20.24

    3. Pi Day 2015  On Saturday, March 14, 2015 the Orlando Science Center celebrates Pi Day – the annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi) – with programs, activities and you guessed it: pie!
      Participants will get creative with circle art and pizza pi crafts; walk around a circle to music and when it stops, hope that you’re standing at the announced number to win a slice of pie; spin the wheel and take part in special math-, circle- and pi-related activities; and engage in an ice cream-making workshop!

      Pi Day is observed on March 14 every year since 3, 1 and 4 are the three most significant digits of π in the decimal form and the date reads 3/14 in month/day date format. This year (2015) is even more significant because the date 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 follows a longer sequence of pi (3.14152653). This won’t happen again until 2115!
      For some reason, the only place they have this posted is on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/404271266421138/

    4. Screen shot 2015-01-16 at 12.38.46 PM
      Healthy Mom (To Be) Healthy Baby This course at East End Market, on March 14 from 10 a.m. to Noon, offers tips and tricks on how moms-to-be can eat the right foods in the right combinations. They will focus on essential nutrients, maintaining energy levels, stabilizing blood sugar, managing morning (or evening) sickness and making better choices to satisfy those (let’s be honest – sometimes crazy) cravings. Katinka will demonstrate 6 easy-to-make recipes and discuss lifestyle choices that nourish both you and your baby during this exciting, miraculous time. https://www.eastendmkt.com/events/healthy-mom-to-be-healthy-baby/maya

    5. Kid’s Yoga On The Farm Visit Maya Papaya Organic Farm in Oviedo for Kid’s Yoga on the Farm with Madison Wilson, on Sundays from 3 to 4 p.m. Then, stay and play on the farm until 5 p.m. Meet the alpacas, chickens and Lola the Goat. http://mayapapayaorganic.com

     

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    WonderWorks Lowers Fee For Locals

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    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 how thankful they are for these supporters.

    General Manager Elvira Fee said she is always sure to recognize the importance of local support. “We make discounts for locals a priority each year,” Fee explained. “When you live in a tourist driven area, it is really special to be able to enjoy the attractions in your backyard at an affordable price. This discount is a small gift we can give them for all that they do for us!”

    From now until February 28th Central Florida residents can say the phrase, “locals save” to receive a discount on admission. General admission tickets will be lowered to $17.99 for adults and $14.99 for children, Sundays through Thursdays. Locals will also receive 20% off admission for the Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show, as well as the dinner show combo which includes access to all of the activities WonderWorks has to offer. Proof of residency is required.

    The team hopes to bring in first time and returning locals to experience all of the exciting exhibits, including the newly renovated laser tag arena. Grab your friends and family and head to WonderWorks to enjoy one of Orlando’s best attractions for less!

    To learn more about WonderWorks, visit www.wonderworksorlando.com

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    Marvel Universe LIVE!

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    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 favorite non-North Pole characters as 25 Marvel heroes (and villains!) take the stage at the Amway Center on December 5th – 7th in the mind-blowing show, Marvel Universe LIVE!.

    The paths of Marvel’s most iconic characters will cross in this fast-paced, original story, which has villains such as Loki, Red Skull and Green Goblin plotting a treacherous scheme that threatens not only the Earth but the entire Universe. Will the Mighty Thor be able to foil their plan? No doubt he’ll have plenty of help from Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk!

    Cutting-edge special effects and pyrotechnics set the scene for this monumental performance, which is being hailed as the most technically-advanced live show to ever take the stage. Heroes and villains will battle using their advanced martial arts skills, fly through the air performing amazing aerial stunts and race motorcycles around the stage in thrilling high-speed chases.

    Marvel Universe LIVE! roars into action on Friday, December 5th at 7:30 p.m. with additional shows at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 6th and Sunday, December 7th. Tickets range from $20 to $120 and can be purchased online or in person at the Amway Center or Ticketmaster.

    Disclaimer: The folks at Marvel Universe Live were kind enough for sharing a few tickets with us for posting this information for all of you (although we were headed there anyway!). See you at the show!

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    American Girl Grand Opening

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    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 the kiddos for the festivities! They’ll have the Orlando Magic dancers, an ice cream truck, DJ Rubonix leading interactive games, a ballet performance, and crafts, face painting, games and more this weekend.

    My daughter, Sofia (8) and I got a sneak peek at the store and it delivers on the American Girl promise. From miniature sequin holiday dresses to, my fave, a horse drawn carriage, the American Girl store is chock full of holiday surprises.

    The company recently rebranded its historical characters and brought back Samantha, one of the original dolls. Sofia headed straight to Samantha’s Ice Cream Parlor and staged a party. The best part of the store is the displays. Dolls are staged with their respective accessories and clothing, along with furniture. It’s better than a doll museum because you get to take everything home (for a price!)

    For the younger set, the Bitty Babies are oh-so-cute. We loved the double strollers and multiple ethic options. Not to be missed is the AG Girl section, which features look-like-me doll options, clothing and accessories to highlight sports, music, art and more. Whatever your little girl is into, they’ve got matching doll accessories and uniforms. That’s where you will find the holiday dresses and accessories as well. Sofia loved the navy sequin holiday dress so much that she and her doll are dressing in the outfits for Christmas.

    Want a birthday party to remember? Try out the American Girl Bistro and party room. Schedule your child’s birthday party in the main dining area, where she’s get a birthday cake, goody bag and doll tiara and a set of invitations with matching thank you notes. Need more space? Try the party room that seats groups of 6 to 12.

    The Bistro is open daily for lunch and dinner (birthday or no birthday). Reservations are required. Call 877-247-5223 to reserve a table or plan a birthday party.

    After lunch, drop off your child’s American Girl doll at the hair salon where she can choose from a gaggle of hair styles. Sofia chose the double ponytail for her doll, Caroline, part of the BeForever historical doll line.

    Sofia and I are looking forward to trying out the Bistro our next visit!

     

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    Clean Energy + Discounts at the Zoo

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    The Central Florida Zoo just installed a new solar photovoltaic system provided by Florida Power & Light (FPL) Company. The system is made of 40 solar panels and capable of producing enough energy to power the equivalent of an average home for one year.

    From November 1 through January 31, Zoo visitors can take advantage of a special FPL-sponsored discount of 10 percent off admission rates to celebrate the new solar energy system. Additional information on this discount can be found at www.fpl.com/solar or www.centralfloridazoo.org/solarcoupon.

    The FPL solar array system will give visitors hands-on opportunities to learn about renewable energy. Interactive signage adjacent to the solar panels will enhance the educational experience for guests. In addition to education, the energy that the solar panels produce will be credited to the Zoo, saving money on energy costs.

    This installation and program are part of FPL’s commitment to advancing solar energy in Florida. FPL operates three solar power plants in Florida and has been installing educational solar arrays at schools and non-profits to help educate the public about solar energy.

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    Call for Entries: Young Artists to Design Holiday Banners

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    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 downtown Winter Park.

    Here are the entry guidelines:

    1. Entries are now being accepted on white construction paper (8.5″ x 11”) and must be vertically oriented.
    2. Awards will be presented in two age groups, 0-7 and 8-13; one entry per person, please.
    3. Artwork and entry forms should be submitted to the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 280, Winter Park, FL 32790 or delivered to the Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789 by Friday, November 14,  2014 at 5:00 p.m.

    Judging will be held on Monday, November 17, by a committee selected by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. Winners will be publicly recognized at the Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, December 5, at 5:15 p.m. in Central Park. Two winners will be announced in each age category and their artwork will be transformed into banners and on display at the event. Afterwards, the banners will be hung on the light posts along Morse Boulevard and will become property of the City of Winter Park to be displayed during the holidays in future years for the community to enjoy. In addition to this recognition, each winner will also receive a $100 gift card.

    To download an entry form, please visit http://www.winterpark.org/content/holiday-tree-lighting or call 407-644-8281.

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    25 Fall Family Activities

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    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

    1. Long and Scott Farms’ Corn Maze
      Who will be the first to navigate through the twists and turns of this seven-acre corn maze? We can’t tell you that, but we can tell you your family will have a blast finding out! And if the kiddos (and let’s be real … the parents, too) aren’t worn out, the farm is filled with slides, hayrides and other fun activities that will help us Floridians get into the spirit of fall. http://www.scottszellwoodsweetcorn.com/scott-s-maze-adventures.html
    2. Pick the Perfect Pumpkin
      In October, Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest in Eustis has lots of pumpkins and even more Halloween fun! After you pick the perfect pumpkin, carve it on-site, and leave the messy part of making jack-o’-lantern memories behind. In addition to enjoying hayrides, pony rides, a petting zoo and zip lines, kids can attempt the Magical Maze and take a jump into the Black Cat Haystack. http://www.santaschristmastreeforest.com/alotof_pumpkins.html
    3. Halloween at Green Meadows Farm
      You can visit the pumpkin patch at Green Meadows any day in October to pick a free pumpkin, and the kid-friendly haunted house makes every Saturday and Sunday that month a little bit spookier. But on Sunday, October 26, Green Meadows opens up its barn doors for an entire day of trick-or-treating fun. Be sure to wear your costume so the animals won’t recognize you! http://www.greenmeadowsfarm.com/pettingfarmevents.html
    4. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
      In September and October, join your favorite Disney characters for a special night of “not-so-scary” fun as the Magic Kingdom becomes a spooktacular setting for Halloween. Dance with the Disney villains in a special new venue, and enjoy trick-or-treating, fireworks and Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/magic-kingdom/mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party/
    5. Brick-or-Treat at Legoland
      Where can you snag a photo op with the world’s largest Lego pumpkin? At Legoland, of course! Visit any weekend in October, and your little brick-builder can set out on a scary scavenger hunt through Miniland, gobble up goodies on the Brick-or-Treat Trail, and win big in Emmet’s Everything Is Awesome Costume Contest! http://florida.legoland.com/en/Plan/Special-Events/Brick-or-Treat/
    6. SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular
      Go under the sea every weekend in October as SeaWorld creates an underwater “fantasea” of family fun in its Halloween Spooktacular event. Kids of all ages will enjoy the sea-themed arts and crafts, trick-or-treating, music and dancing! http://seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-orlando/spooktacular/
    7. Zoo Boo Bash
      This might just be the wildest Halloween party in all of Central Florida! For two weekends in October, kids have a chance to trick-or-treat amid their favorite residents at the Central Florida Zoo. Put your Halloween best to the test in the daily costume contest, or if you forget yours, there will be face painters on hand to make sure you fit right in. http://www.centralfloridazoo.org/default.aspx?p=94071&evtid=253412:10/18/2014
    8. Click, Clack, Boo!
      The beloved barnyard crew returns to the Orlando Rep with a brand new musical complete with apple-bobbing, bottomless candy bowls and a spooktacular costume contest. Follow along as Farmer Brown learns that sometimes a little trick can be a big treat! http://www.orlandorep.com/event/click-clack-boo-a-tricky-treat/
    9. Bats: Myths and Mysteries
      This traveling exhibit hits the Orlando Science Center just in time for the spooky season, but what you learn about bats just might surprise you! In addition to seeing live bats native to Central and South America, kids can explore bat habitats and try out a pair of giant bat ears to experience echolocation. http://www.osc.org/bats
    10. German-American Society’s Oktoberfest
      Two opportunities to celebrate, the Oktoberfest events on October 4 and 25 will fill you with beer, brats, pretzels and plenty of other home-cooked German and Bavarian treats. Test your strength in the stein-holding contest while your kids party on in the Kid Fun Zone! http://www.gasocf.com/14.html
    11. Oktoberfest at Alive After 5
      Central Florida’s favorite street party gets an Oktoberfest theme for fall! On October 9, Sanford’s celebrated Alive After 5 event will feature live music, local artists, fabulous food and a brand-new Kids Zone. If that’s not enough, walk over to Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café for even more authentic German food, beer and entertainment. http://www.sanfordwelcomecenter.com/?page_id=21
    12. Hotel Transylvania
      Get into the spirit of the season with a family-friendly movie under the stars at Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs. On Saturday, October 11, bring a blanket or pull up some chairs, and enjoy an outdoor showing of Hotel Transylvania. http://www.altamonte.org/Calendar.aspx?EID=1487
    13. Winter Springs Hometown Harvest
      Visit Winter Springs Town Center on October 11 for an old-fashioned fall festival the whole family will enjoy. Hop on a hayride, paint pumpkins, and enjoy live entertainment throughout the evening. http://www.winterspringsfl.org/assets/Events/2014/2014%20Hometown%20Harvest.pdf
    14. Winter Park Autumn Art Festival
      On October 11 and 12, the weather should be perfect for a stroll through beautiful historic Winter Park for the city’s annual autumn art festival. In addition to the juried art show, kids age 5 and up can create their own masterpieces in the free workshops presented by Crealdé School of Art. http://www.winterpark.org/content/winter-park-autumn-art-festival
    15. Oktoberfest at Celebration
      You know you’re getting close to Disney when autumn leaves fall daily at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. At the town of Celebration’s Oktoberfest event, October 17 and 18, the hayrides, pumpkin painting and other festivities are so convincing, you may end up believing there really is a hint of fall in the air. http://celebrationtowncenter.com/events/oktoberfest-2014/
    16. Healthy Halloween Bash
      Let your little ones put the “boo” in boogie at Amaya Papaya’s sixth annual Healthy Halloween Bash. On October 24, dance the night away under the disco lights, and enjoy food, face painting, character visits and story time in this special party thrown for kids ages 8 months to 7 years. http://www.amayapapaya.com/baby-boogie-bash.htm
    17. Franklin’s Friends Howl-O-Ween
      Don’t leave your four-legged family members out of the Halloween fun! Bring them to the Howl-O-Ween dog walk and canine costume contest October 25. The rest of the family will enjoy music, food trucks and shopping. Proceeds from this event benefit animal charities in Central Florida. http://www.franklinsfriends.info/howloween2.html
    18. Spooky Skate
      Put your Halloween fun on ice at the RDV Ice Den’s Spooky Skate on October 25. This extended skating session will feature spooky music, a costume contest, and plenty of candy, games and fall fun! Wear your costume to receive $1 off admission. http://www.mvpsportsclubs.com/sites/default/files/spooky-skate-flyer-2014.jpg
    19. Halloween Spooktoberfest
      On October 25, Lake Concord Park in Casselberry will be haunted with lots of howling fun for a family-friendly event that’s creepy and crawly without being too spooky. Dazzle the judges in the costume contest, and then boogie the night away at the Ghost and Ghoul Dance Party. http://www.casselberry.org/index.aspx?NID=660
    20. Pumpkins and Ponies Festival
      Head out to East Orlando on October 25 and 26 for Painted Oaks Academy’s Pumpkins and Ponies Festival. With a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, pony rides, hayrides and a bounce house, it will be hard to decide what to do first. Come in costume for a cute photo op by the pumpkins! http://paintedoaksacademy.com/
    21. Trick or Treat Safe Zone
      What says “Halloween” more than honing your ghost-hunting skills? At Orange County Regional History Center’s sixth annual Trick or Treat Safe Zone, on October 26, you can do just that—plus enjoy four floors of trick-or-treating, scavenger hunts and crafts. http://thehistorycenter.org
    22. Carnival of Screams
      Don’t let the name scare you … the City of Oviedo has fun for all ages planned for its Halloween event on Saturday, October 25 from 5 p.m.-10 p.m., including a special “lights on” haunted house tour from 5 to 6:30 p.m. for younger kids. Dress up for the costume contest, and stay for the kids activities, hayrides, music and fun! http://www.cityofoviedo.net/node/1753
    23. Teenie Weenie Halloweenie
      City of Oviedo hosts Teenie Weenie Halloweenie event at Riverside Park for kids age 5 and under on October 31 from 10 a.m.-Noon. Get in all the traditional Halloween fun without missing bedtime! Go to the tennis courts to enjoy games, costume contests, hayrides, and a few hours of safe trick-or-treating. http://www.cityofoviedo.net/node/2066
    24. Mad Science Lab Halloween Party
      Your little ghouls and goblins will enjoy a science show, make glowing goop, eat spider webs (cotton candy) and play games at the Mad Science Lab at Oviedo Mall. The best costume at each party will win a free Kids Night Out pass (for the older monsters) or a free 2-hour Saturday Pass (for the little devils). There’s three separate party dates:
      October 25th: 6:30-9:30 p.m. (ages 5-12), $25/child
      October 26th: Noon-2 p.m. (ages 3-5), $20/child
      November 1st: 6:30-9:30 p.m. (ages 5-12), $25/child
      http://cfl.madscience.org/
    25. Fall Fiesta in the Park
      As if the awesome playground and friendly swans weren’t enough to make a day at Lake Eola a hit, the Fall Fiesta in the Park on November 1 and 2 features a huge kids zone with bounce houses, face painting, live music and clowns. http://fiestainthepark.com/
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    Pink Out Winter Park

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    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 an attempt to not only raise awareness for breast health but attempt to reclaim a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® achievement for the most number of people standing on one leg, like a flamingo.

    Despite the large crowd, only 1.224 people stood one leg for two minutes. The current record, set by Tesco (UK) at ExCeL London on Oct. 18, 2012, with 2,276 people remains. “We are so proud of the way the community came together this year for breast cancer awareness,” said Ken Bradley, mayor of Winter Park. “The flamingo has become the unofficial mascot of Pink Out and inspiration behind our world record attempt. Despite not reclaiming this achievement, we know we can continue to spread awareness for breast health in our community.”

    At the event, Park Avenue was aglow in a dazzling array of pink lights as a visual reminder for the importance breast health. Pink lights will remain in the trees lining Park Avenue during the month of October for the community to enjoy.
    “This event serves as a great way to bring attention to the importance of screening mammograms. According to statistics, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime,” said Dr. Steven Dukes, Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Winter Park Memorial Hospital. “But the earlier the cancer is detected, the better the chances are for recovery. This is why it is so important to remind women of the importance of yearly screening mammograms and to help those in our community who do not have the resources to get one.”

    Since Pink Out Winter Park launched in 2011, more than 140 women have accessed the Winter Park Memorial Hospital Mammography Scholarship Fund, which provides screening mammograms and further diagnostic testing to women in need. Six women have been diagnosed with breast cancer and gone on to receive treatment at Florida Hospital as a result of the scholarship fund.

    Pink Out Winter Park will continue through the end of October and the community is encouraged to get involved by getting a mammogram, purchasing a Pink Out flamingo or donating to women in need. For just $10, a person receives one Pink Out flamingo to keep and another is added to the growing flock of flamingos around Winter Park. More than 35 Winter Park merchants are also participating in Pink Out in a variety of ways including decorating their store fronts, hosting breast health events or donating a portion of proceeds from designated items.

    To schedule a mammogram, or to see a complete list of participating merchants or find out more information on how to donate to the Winter Park Memorial Hospital Mammography Scholarship Fund, visit PinkOutWinterPark.com.

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    Bats at Orlando Science Center

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    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 go batty for!

    This hands-on, educational exhibit will introduce visitors to the amazing world of the flying mammal people are both frightened and fascinated by. After visiting, guests will have a new appreciation for these misunderstood creatures and be armed with knowledge to aid in the preservation of the species.

    “Bats: Myths and Mysteries” will motivate attendees to explore the natural world, grasp the importance of bats to the ecosystem and provide the tools to protect these fascinating animals. Promoting strong community-based involvement, participants will be encouraged to conduct habitat monitoring, bat watches, become involved in bat conservation and educate others about the importance of bats around the world.

    Throughout the exhibition, visitors will be immersed in the sights, smells and sounds of the tropical fruit bat habitat and get a glimpse of the vast pallet of Chiropteran diversity. Live bats will be cared for by animal keepers from the Organization for Bat Conservation who will also engage the public in daily live programs about the different species on display.

    At “Bats: Myths and Mysteries” visitors will have the opportunity to:

    • Come face-to-face with 25 – 50 total specimens from around the world including straw-colored fruit bats from Africa, big brown bats from North America, Egyptian fruit bats from Africa and short-tailed fruit bats from South America.
    • Don a pair of giant bat ears and experience the sensitivity of bat hearing.
    • Learn about echolocation and the importance of bat conservation.
    • Match bats with their preferred foods.
    • Unveil the mysteries and debunk the misleading myths surrounding bats.

    Experience “Bats: Myths and Mysteries” with admission to Orlando Science Center which is $19 for adults and $13 for youth (ages 3 – 11). Tickets include access to all four floors of exhibits, giant screen and 3-D educational films, one Hollywood feature-length film, and live programming.

    For more information, call 407.514.2000 or visit www.osc.org/bats.

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    The Borrowers

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    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 furniture under the floorboards. When their home is discovered, they are forced into the giant universe outside and Arrietty gets a bigger adventure than which she could have ever wished.

    Presented by: Orange County Arts and Cultural Affairs

    CAST (In alphabetical order)
    Homily: Megan Borkes
    Arrietty: Sofia Deler
    Crampfurl/Gypsy/Spiller: Adam DelMedico
    Arrietty (Understudy): Jasmine Forsberg
    Boy/Uncle Hendreary: Chris Metz
    Pod: Stephen Pugh
    Mrs. Driver/Aunt Lupy: Wendy Starkand

    Directed by Rob Winn Anderson

    This performance runs for approximately 100 minutes, including an intermission. Please be advised there are loud noises, fog, and haze used in this production.

    Please call 407.896.7365 or visit www.orlandorep.com  for tickets!

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    Click, Clack, Boo!

    Click, Clack, Boo! Orlando Repertory Theatre

    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 Brown’s wishes, as he is afraid of Halloween. Join the barnyard crew as they show Farmer Brown that sometimes a little scare can be big fun in this new musical.

    About Orlando Repertory Theatre:
    The REP is a professional theatre with a mission to create experiences that enlighten, entertain and enrich families and young audiences. In addition to productions, The REP conducts community engagement initiatives. The award-winning REP Youth Academy provides classes and workshops for children, along with professional development opportunities to classroom teachers. Housed in a three theatre complex in Loch Haven Park, The REP is also home to the University of Central Florida’s MFA in Theatre for Young Audiences graduate program.

    www.orlandorep.com

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    Nick Hotel Preschool Celebration

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    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 includes:

    • New Nickelodeon Preschool-themed Character Breakfast (Monday & Wednesday, charges apply)
    • Dora’s Friendship Fiesta Show (Sunday’s, excluding special event weekends)
    • Story Time with Dora and her Friends Live Show (Tuesday & Thursday)
    • Nickelodeon Preschool episode viewings (select days)
    • Self-guided scavenger hunt (daily)
    • Nickelodeon Preschool Giveaway (1 per child)
    • Character* meet & greet opportunities with:
      • NEW Dora & Friends – Dora, Pablo and Kate (August 22-24 only)
      • Dora the Explorer, Boots and Diego
      • Milli & Geo from Team Umizoomi
      • Molly & Gil from Bubble Guppies
      • Blue from Blue’s Clues
      • Little Bill
      • Pablo from the Backyardigans
      • Ming-Ming from Wonder Pets
      • NEW Julius Jr. (September 26-28 only)

    * Characters listed appear throughout the week.

    Special Event Weekends include:

    Dora & Friends Weekend

    Saturday, August 23 2:30pm & 4:30pm Studio B
    Meet Dora, Kate & Pablo, including an episode screening, snack and special giveaway (no charge to attend)
    Sunday, August 24 1:00pm Studio B
    Meet Dora, Kate & Pablo, including an episode screening, snack and special giveaway (no charge to attend)

    Julius Jr. Weekend

    Saturday, September 27 2:30pm & 4:30pm Studio B
    Meet Julius Jr., including an episode screening, snack and special giveaway (no charge to attend)
    Sunday, September 28 1:00pm Studio B
    Meet Julius Jr., including an episode screening, snack and special giveaway (no charge to attend)

    Find out about our Nickelodeon Preschool Package, click here.

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    Everything Is Awesome

    Legoland Hotel California

    COPYRIGHT: 2013ErikPeterson

    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 colored and highly themed rooms and suites, thousands of Lego models and interactive play areas! The addition of the Hotel gives guests the opportunity to extend their stay and explore Legoland Florida Resort for more than one day giving them the ultimate family experience.

    To book your reservation to Legoland Hotel, visit: www.LEGOLANDHotel.com.

    Construction is going strong since the November groundbreaking and Legoland Hotel recently reached its “topping off” milestone as the concrete was poured onto the roof. Emmet, from “The LEGO Movie,” dusted off his construction hat to help with the placing of the Merlin flag. Merlin Entertainments, the parent company of LEGOLAND Parks, is the number one attraction operator in Europe and the second largest in the world with more than 100 attractions in 22 countries and across four continents.

    Located at the main entrance of Legoland Florida, the Hotel includes a pool, restaurants including a kid-size buffet, interactive play areas and is truly designed to inspire imaginations and create memories for all visitors. Hotel guests will have early access to the Park and be treated to nightly entertainment.

    Families can choose from one of three popular Lego toy lines as their room theme: Pirate, Kingdom or Adventure. All rooms include two separate sleeping areas, with a queen-size bed for grown-ups, and a separate sleeping area for up to three little ones, complete with a bunk bed, pull-out trundle bed and their very own TV! An exciting new room theme will be announced at a later date. Room rates start as low as $249, varying by season. For the most updated information, visit Florida.LEGOLAND.com.

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    Back 2 School Bash 2014

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    Shop and PLAY at PLAYGROUND Magazine’s 4th Annual BACK 2 SCHOOL BASH at Oviedo Mall on Saturday, August 2, 2014 (TAX FREE WEEKEND) from 12-4 p.m.

    This is a big party in the mall with a DJ dance party, live performances and exciting workshops, a kids fashion show, awesome swag bags and our after-school enrichment expo that includes vendors throughout the mall offering free and interactive experiences for kids of all ages. Plus, Oviedo Mall will be offering a free gift with a minimum purchase! Did we mention that we’re giving away tickets to Legoland?! Come PLAY with us!

    Featured FREE Activities Include:

    • Kids modeling back-to-school looks from The Children’s Place, Gymboree, Sears and Dillard’s during the Kids Runway Fashion Show
    • The Event Specialists will be hosting a DJ Dance Party in the food court or scale their rock climbing wall
    • Score at Orlando City Soccer’s inflatable soccer goal
    • A Kids Gym’s mini obstacle course
    • Keller Williams Realty’s balloon bender
    • Take home your own sand bottle art compliments of KinderCare Oviedo
    • Meet Professor Wonder from WonderWorks and learn pocket magic tricks
    • Celebrate Marvel Day at Barnes & Noble — the 75th Anniversary of Marvel Comics. Customers will also have the chance to win a  variety of merchandise including Marvel tote bags and Marvel 75th Anniversary posters
    • Make slime to take home at the Mad Science Lab
    • Face painting at Teddy Mountain
    • Grounded will be having skateboarding demos
    • Family scavenger hunt to win swag bag
    • Temporary Tattoos from Primrose School of Oviedo
    • Try to win St. Luke’s Lutheran School’s memory game
    • Make music with Seminole Music Together
    • Get Jamberry Nail Wraps from The Prego Expo
    • Wood burning workshop with Sears

    More activities will be provided by these exhibitors throughout Oviedo Mall:

    Thanks to our sponsors who make this event a success: A Kids Gym, Nemours Children’s Health System, Primrose School of Oviedo, St. Luke’s Lutheran School and Pinnacle Realty Group at Keller Williams Classic Realty

    What better way to shop for back to school supplies? RSVP for the event here.

    SponsorLogosforWebsite

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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 weekends!

    THE SCHEDULE:
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    Summer Celebration Series

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    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 us on the weekend of July 26 – 27, 2014, when all three shows are playing along with activities and fun.

    The REP Youth Academy performs Crazy For You on July 18 – August 3, 2014. This Gershwin hit is filled with foot-tapping musical and dance numbers, along with a hilarious story. Carefree New Yorker Bobby meets spunky Polly in Deadrock, Nevada, where they quickly fall in love. Populated with Follies girls, cowboys, socialites, and plain folk, this Tony-Award winning musical is packed with classic Gershwin tunes including “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” “Embraceable You,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” and “I Got Rhythm.” Things are looking up! Crazy For You features music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin and a book by Ken Ludwig.

    After a statewide tour of Florida, The REP is happy to bring back by popular demand, The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful (and Her Dog!) with book and lyrics by Lauren Gunderson and music by Brian Lowdermilk, is presented on July 23 – August 1, 2014 and is a co-production with Miami’s City Theatre. Fly through the solar system with Dr. Wonderful and her amazing adventure team of Newton (the dog) and Ben (the human) in this musical as Dr. Wonderful and her team receive an important call causing them to leap into action from their laboratory/bedroom into outer space. Saving a superstar from disappearing is no small task; especially when the star is 1.3 million times the size of Earth and 93 million miles away. With a couple of butterscotch candies and a rock song from Mom in the mix, the mystery solvers are amazed by their final discovery.

    The REP is thrilled to present Leslie and Lolly Make Stuff Up! featuring Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, a 2014 Daytime Emmy Nominee for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series for her work on Sesame Street, where she is best known as Abby Cadabby. Join Leslie and her sock puppet sidekick, Lolly Lardpop, for a show full of music, joy, and laughter on July 26 – 27, 2014. This show is also a homecoming for Leslie, as she has appeared in many shows throughout the years here, beginning in the 90s.

    Mark your calendar for the weekend of July 26 – 27 for The REP’s Birthday Celebration! Single tickets to Crazy For You are $15, and The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful (and Her Dog!) and Leslie and Lolly Make Stuff Up! are both $10. Multiple Show Summer Passes are also available – Two Show Summer Passes are just $20, and Three Show Summer Passes are $25. Please call the Box Office to receive your Summer Pass and save up to 20%! This offer is not available online.

    For tickets or more information, please call 407.896.7365 or visit www.orlandorep.com.

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    Local Model Search

    Pigtails&Crewcuts_ModelSearch

    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 anniversary in Orlando,” said Jennifer Tribble, Owner of Pigtails & Crewcuts Orlando. “The Local Model Search is our way of thanking our customers for welcoming us into the community and showcasing the adorable children we have gotten to know and love.”

    The Model Search seeks to feature children ages 0 to 12 residing within the community and will be open to anyone who “Likes” the Pigtails & Crewcuts – Orlando_Dr Phillips Facebook Page. The search begins July 1, 2014 and runs through August 1, 2014. Photos of aspiring models will be featured on the Facebook Page and open to the public for “voting.”

    Winners of the Model Search will include two boys and two girls determined by the photos with the most “Likes.” Winners will be invited to a professional photo shoot and receive a free haircut from one of Pigtails & Crewcuts’ licensed stylists. Photos from the photo shoot will appear in ads and promotional materials used by Pigtails & Crewcuts Orlando throughout the year.

    Proud parents can find more details on the Model Search, Headshot Events, and photo submission guidelines at www.pigtailsandcrewcuts.com/drphillips or on its Facebook Page.
    Pigtails & Crewcuts Orlando is located at 7536 Dr Phillips Blvd, #300. The hours are Monday ‐ Friday 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.–4 p.m. No appointment necessary. For more information, please email drphillips@pigtailsandcrewcuts.com or call 407.351.1017.

    Pigtails & Crewcuts is a high quality children’s salon dedicated to providing a fun and comfortable experience for each of our young patrons. Moms and dads rest easy in our clean, safe and professional facilities designed to fit the needs of their child. Pigtails & Crewcuts specializes in haircuts for boys and girls of all ages, trend‐setting hair styles, children’s parties, and retail products. With 38 national locations and growing, Pigtails & Crewcuts is one of the most respected children’s hair salon franchises in the country.

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    BLOCKHEADS: Recycled Art Project

    Purple-Block-Head-Hi-Res

    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:

    • Wood blocks cut from a 2-by-4-inch piece of lumber
    • Sandpaper
    • Craft paint
    • A paintbrush
    • An array of junk, such as bottle caps, plastic spoons, pop tabs, old keys, nuts, bolts and washers — almost anything can be used!
    • An array of craft materials, such as pipe cleaners, yarn, googly eyes, ribbon pieces, zipper pieces and buttons
    • Glue
    • A creative imagination

    STEPS:
    (PARENTS: Cut 2-by-4 into a 2-by-4-by-3-inch size. Then, using sandpaper, smooth out block.)

    1. Use your imagination to decide who or what you want your Blockhead to be.
    2. Paint your wood and let it dry.
    3. Gather materials, including glue, and start creating!
    4. Some creative ideas: Plastic spoons can be painted and used as ears; pop tabs can be used for noses, washers or bottle caps can be used for eyes. There’s no limit to your imagination!

    Go green at The Craft Shack, a creative recycled arts and crafts studio for ages 8 to 108. The Craft Shack has space for a great girls night out, birthday parties and other artsy-craftsy events. 407-448-1375 www.thecraftshackstudio.com

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    Disney on Ice Presents Frozen in Orlando

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    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.  Anna, a girl with an extraordinary heart, embarks on an epic journey to find her sister, the magical Elsa, who is determined to remain secluded as she finally feels free to test the limits of her powers. Rugged mountain man Kristoff, his loyal reindeer Sven, the lovable and hilarious snowman Olaf and the mystical trolls help Anna along the way in this story about love conquering fear. Audiences will get to sing along with such musical masterpieces as “Let it Go,” “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and “Fixer Upper.”

    In Disney On Ice presents Frozen, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse take the audience through the magical story based in Arendelle, with special appearances by beloved Disney princesses and favorite characters from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story and Finding Nemo and Disney’s The Lion King, who come together to prove that true love is the greatest power of all.  Director Patty Vincent says, “Our goal is to showcase these heartwarming characters in a way that allows the audience to cheer and sing along throughout this emotional journey.”

    To create a completely immersive experience for the audience, the set design will encompass the space from the ice surface up through the air, drawing everyone into the story and closer to the characters. Families will feel that they are trekking up to the North Mountains with Anna, Kristoff and Sven, and they will tangibly experience the storm inside Elsa.  Elsa’s magic will be enhanced by state-of-the art special effects while her emotions will be conveyed through powerful skating.

    Where: Amway Center, 400 West Church Street – Suite 200, Orlando, Florida 32801

    Dates and Times of Performances:  
    Friday, September 5 at 7:00 p.m.
    Saturday, September 6 at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
    Sunday, September 7 at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

    Ticket Prices and Purchase:
    Tickets start at $16.  $65 Front Row, $39 Premium, $30, $22, $16
    (Ticketmaster service charges and facility fees not included.) All seats are reserved, and tickets are now on sale to the public.  Tickets are available at www.DisneyOnIce.com or www.ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster outlet, by calling 800-745-3000, or at the Amway Center box office (phone for information only: 407-440-7900).  For group ticket sales and information, call 866-248-8740.

    For a complete list of tour dates, visit the Disney On Ice website (http://www.disneyonice.com) and stay current on the latest developments through social media, including instructions on how to access presale codes for tickets as early as May 20th:

    ·       Facebook  (www.facebook.com/DisneyOnIce)
    ·       Twitter  (@DisneyOnIce/@NicoleFeld (show’s producer twitter feed))
    ·       YouTube  (www.youtube.com/DisneyOnIce)

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    Curious George Returns to Orlando Science Center

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    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: Let’s Get Curious!,” will introduce young children to Curious George’s world and lead visitors on a fun and meaningful math, science and engineering-based adventure. The exhibit will be on display at the Orlando Science Center through the summer.

    “Curious George: Let’s Get Curious” inspires young children’s natural curiosity as they explore early science, math and engineering through hands-on interactive play. The immersive exhibit environment takes place in the neighborhood where Curious George lives with his friend, The Man with the Yellow Hat.

    The exhibit’s content is based on educational standards developed by Minnesota Children’s Museum and an expert advisory panel to the PBS KIDS series, as well as national science and math standards for young children. The exhibit is designed, developed and built by Minnesota Children’s Museum in partnership with Universal Studios Consumer Products Group.

    The immersive exhibit environment takes place where Curious George and The Man with the Yellow Hat live. Insatiably curious, George lives to find new things to discover, touch, spill and chew. Learn like George — through direct experiences and problem solving.

    This engaging exhibit features several areas, including:

    Apartment Building: Operate wheels to move George on pulleys from window to window. Climb the fire escape and climb inside to play with color, light and shadow.

    Sidewalk Produce Stand: Play customer or salesperson and explore shape, sorting, weighing and counting with fruit and vegetables.

    Construction Site: Climb into the construction trailer and design a building, then make use of a bounty of building materials and get to work constructing different structures and using machines to move materials.

    City Park: Enjoy the urban green space: rest or give a hug to a full-size George and take a picture! Our youngest visitors will enjoy our busy wall activities for babies and toddlers.

    Mini Golf: Use pipes, ramps, funnels, turntables, bumpers and force to experiment with physics and engineering as you putt through three holes of mini golf.

    Space Rocket: Climb into the rocket Curious George took on his space adventure! Catch a glimpse of George in his space suit then take a picture from the control station and email it home.

    Farm: Take a vacation to the country and visit the farm. Experience cause and effect and use wind power to move yard art like whirligigs, windmills, windsocks, and wind chimes. Build your own whirligig and care for the farm animals.

    Museum Within the Museum: Learn new things about George when you visit the Museum within the Museum. Follow H.A. and Margaret Rey’s work, the escape from France to safety during World War II that saved the Curious George manuscript, and Curious George throughout the years.

    The return engagement of “Curious George: Let’s Get Curious” features the 2,500-square-foot experience as compared to its first run at the Science Center in spring 2011 which was the 1,500-square-foot version.

    And for four days only (May 15 – May 18), see “Curious George” in the Digital Adventure Theater: A National Geographic Experience. When The Man In The Yellow Hat befriends Curious George in the jungle, they set off on a non-stop, fun-filled journey through the wonders of the big city toward the warmth of true friendship. The 88-minute-long film features the voice talents of Will Ferrell and Drew Barrymore.

    The exhibit “Curious George: Let’s Get Curious” and the film “Curious George is included with admission to Orlando Science Center, which is $19 for adults and $13 for youth (ages 3 – 11). Tickets include access to all four floors of exhibits, giant screen and 3-D educational films, one Hollywood feature-length film, and live programming.

    For more information, call 407.514.2000 or visit www.osc.org.

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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

    See Gone With the Wind (1939) on TMC.  TM & © 2007 Turner Classic Movies.  A Time Warner Company.  All Rights Reserved.  tcm.com

    See Gone With the Wind (1939) on TMC. TM & © 2007 Turner Classic Movies. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved. tcm.com

    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 through artifacts and memorabilia. The exhibition features original gowns, costumes and artifacts of the film and is derived entirely from one collector, James Tumblin, who has the largest privately-held collection of memorabilia from the film.

    James Tumblin, who was a former head of the Universal Studios makeup and hair department, started his collection in 1962 when he purchased the first dress from the film for only $20. “I was doing research for a film and looking at costumes, and noticed there was this dress lying on the floor. I went over to pick it up when someone told me, ‘don’t bother we’re throwing it away’, says Tumblin. I had no idea where it was from. I saw the label that read Selznick International Scarlett, and I realized I was holding something from Gone With the Wind.” Actress Vivien Leigh wore this dress during the attack at Shantytown scene in Gone With the Wind. It is featured in the exhibit Gone With the Wind: Reel to Real.

    Tumblin’s collection now includes more than 300,000 authentic Gone With the Wind items including, says Tumblin, three Oscars won by cast members. The exhibition runs August 16 – November 30, 2014 at the History Center. A series of special events and a VIP reception will be presented including a grand opening August 16.  “We are excited to have the opportunity to host Mr. Tumblin’s collection of Gone With the Wind memorabilia. What better way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the film’s premier than to bring this exhibit to Central Florida. We know our guests will be thrilled to discover the history behind the making of the movie and see all of the costumes and items from Gone With the Wind. Mr. Tumblin’s collection is a must-see and a great way to find out the story behind one of the few movies to have shaped our culture and how we think about history.” Michael Perkins, Curator of Exhibits.

    Released in 1939 and based on Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Gone With the Wind, the movie’s depiction of pre-Civil War American South and Reconstruction “continues to resonate in the national consciousness.  It is captivating and enthralling, heartfelt and ironic, troubling and comforting, repulsive and compelling—all at once!” wrote popular culture historian, Spencer Downing, Ph.D. in 2007.  Both the book and the movie have helped define our impressions of the South—from the stereotypes of African Americans to Southern belles, to Yankee scoundrels—shaping our memories throughout the 20th century and even into the 21st century.  To explore these contradictions  and our impressions of both the novel, the movie and this time period in American history, the Orange County Regional History Center is planning a series of programs throughout the exhibit’s stay.

    About the Orange County Regional History Center

    The Orange County Regional History Center, housed in a restored historic five-story 1927 courthouse in downtown Orlando, showcases the vast collection of the Historical Society of Central Florida, Inc. The museum features three floors of permanent exhibits and presents nationally limited-run exhibitions. The museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and accredited by the American Association of Museums. We honor the Past, Explore the Present to Shape the Future. We do this through preserving our local history, acting as a repository for the community’s artifacts, archives and collections, and through providing a place for non-partisan dialogue on our community and history, through educational programs and exhibits, which reinforce that we all are part of history.

    The Orange County Regional History Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. General admission during the exhibit is $15; seniors (60+), students, and military with I.D. $13; and children ages 5-12 $12. Historical Society Members and children ages 4 and under are free. Parking is available at the adjacent Orlando Public Library garage on Central Blvd. For general information, call 407-836-8500 or visit www.thehistorycenter.org.

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    YOLO: 100 Things to Do This Summer in Central Florida

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    Words by Regina Knabe

    Click the link to download the PDF: YOLO: 100 Things to Do This Summer in Central Florida

    Lighthouse
    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 WonderWorks. 9067 International Dr., Orlando, 407-351-8800
    www.wonderworksonline.com/orlando

    3. View an icon. The Lake Eola Fountain show, complete with music and lights, is daily at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. throughout the summer. 512 E. Washington St., Orlando, 407-246-4484 www.cityoforlando.net/parks/lake-eola-park

    4. Wield a sword at the Orlando Fencing Club. Kids classes are Mondays at 6 p.m. at the College Park Community Center. 2393 Elizabeth Ave., College Park, 321-246-1813 www.orlandofencingclub.org

    5. Monkey around in the treetop ropes course at Zoom Air Adventure Park. Located at the Central Florida Zoo, Zoom Air offers kids an adventure in the trees they’ll never forget. 3755 N.W. U.S. Hwy. 17-92, Sanford, 407-330-0767 www.zoomair.us

    6. Drift on a tube while relaxing in this 70-degree natural spring at Kelly Park. Bring your own tube, or find tubes at rental shops near the entrance. 400 E. Kelly Park Rd., Apopka, 407-245-1902 www.ocfl.net

    7. Climb the walls at Aiguille Rock Climbing Center. With 10,000 square feet of climbing, there is a wall for all levels of ability. 999 Charles St., Longwood, 407-332-1430 www.aiguille.com

    8. Reach terminal velocity (or close to it!) at iFly Indoor Skydiving. Flyers as young as 3 years old may enjoy this simulated free fall in a 45-foot flight chamber. 6805 Visitors Cir., Orlando, 407-903-1150 http://iflyworld.com

    9. Smooch among the flowers on date night at Leu Gardens, which provides an outdoor movie experience on select Friday evenings. Bring your own food, or get some grub from the Curbie’s food truck. 1920 N. Forest Ave., Orlando, 407-246-2620 www.leugardens.org

    10. Count the butterflies, or spend the day trying, at Lukas Butterfly Encounter. It’s one of the largest native butterfly conservatories in the state. 1909 Slavia Rd., Oviedo, 407-365-6163 www.lukasnursery.com

    11. Volunteer! There are so many ways to help others, and kids can help too. Hands On Orlando has tons of opportunities. 407-740-8652 www.handsonorlando.com

    12. Zip through the treetops, 65 feet high, on one of eight zip lines at Zip Orlando’s Canopy Tours. Tours are 1.5 to 3 hours long. 4509 S. Orange Blossom Tr., Kissimmee, 407-808-4947 www.ziporlando.com

    13. View eight counties from the 22-story-high glass-enclosed observation deck at The Citrus Tower. 141 N. Hwy. 27, Clermont, 352-394-4061 www.citrustower.com

    14. Become a chocolatier at Farris and Foster’s Chocolate Factory. Create your own creamy, dreamy chocolate yummy goodness. For the best value, check out family night. 4875 New Broad Cir., Orlando, 407-770-1607 www.farrisandfosters.com

    15. Cruise through the Winter Park chain of lakes on a guided Scenic Boat Tour. 312 E. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, 407-644-4056 www.scenicboattours.com

    16. Organize a pet food drive for The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Central Florida. Your donations go directly toward the animals’ care. Visit either of the two facilities. Orlando and Sanford, 407-351-7722 www.orlandopets.org/volunteer_youth.htm

    17. Soar high above Lake Dora on a seaplane. Jones Bros. & Co. offers a variety of adventurous splash and dash seaplane tours. You can even customize pickup and drop-off to your private location. 150 E. Ruby St., Tavares, 352-508-1800 www.jonesairandsea.com

    18. Pick your own veggies at Hydroeats. Learn about hydroponic farming, and make a salad for dinner. Choose from a variety of hydroponically grown summer vegetables. 18430 S.R. 19, Groveland, 352-429-0686 www.hydroeats.com

    19. Battle Darth Vader at Jedi Training Academy in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Register early for this unique experience,
    as the place only allows 12 potential Padawans per show. 351 S. Studio Dr., Lake Buena Vista, 407-939-5277 www.disneyworld.disney.go.com

    20. Witness a live venom extraction from some of the most dangerous snakes in the world at Reptile Discovery Center. The venom is used for making antivenom that is shipped worldwide. 2710 Big John Dr., Deland, 386-740-9143 www.reptilediscoverycenter.com

    21. Throw clay on a potter’s wheel to create a bowl from start to finish at Super Awesome Cool Pottery. 6100 S. Orange Ave., Orlando, 407-452-2452 www.superawesomecool.com

    FoodTruck

    22. Hold a family food-tasting competition at any Orlando’s Food Trucks event. Check the website for daily, weekly and monthly events throughout Central Florida. www.orlandosfoodtrucks.com

    23. Be a paleontologist and dig for authentic fossils at Dinosaur World. You’ll be transported back in time as you explore more than 150 life-sized dinosaurs. 5145 Harvey Tew Rd., Plant City, 813-717-9865 www.dinosaurworld.com

    24. Drum by the light of the moon at Dandelion Communitea Cafe’s Full Moon Drum Circle. 618 N. Thornton Ave., Orlando, 407-362-1864 www.dandelioncommunitea.com

    25. Grab your camera, and head to Downtown Disney for a hidden Mickey scavenger hunt. 1490 E. Buena Vista Dr., Orlando, 407-939-6244 www.disneyworld.disney.go.com

    26. Discover how boats are made at the Regal Boats Factory Tour, Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. 2300 Jetport Dr., Orlando, 407-851-4360 www.regalboats.com

    27. Power a swan-shaped paddleboat at Lake Eola. 512 E. Washington St., Orlando, 407-246-4484 www.cityoforlando.net/parks/lake-eola-park

    28. Catch air on a half pipe at Orlando Metro Skateboard Academy. Skateboarding classes are offered for kids age 4 and up. Don’t worry if you don’t have the equipment; they have rentals. 4624 L.B. McLeod Rd., Orlando, 407-650-8171 www.metroskateboardacademy.com

    29. Stargaze at Seminole State College’s Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium. 100 Weldon Blvd., Sanford, 407-708-4722 www.seminolestate.edu/planet

    30. Paddle your way through the bioluminescent Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon. You’ll be awe-inspired by nature’s watery illumination show. Titusville, 321-268-2655www.adayawaykayaktours.com

    31. Milk a cow at Green Meadows Petting Farm. 1368 S. Poinciana Blvd., Kissimmee, 407-846-0770 www.greenmeadowsfarm.com

    32. Touch a moon rock at Kennedy Space Center. 6225 Vectorspace Blvd., Titusville, 866-737-5235 www.kennedyspacecenter.com

    33. Land a triple toe loop at RDV Ice Den—or just try to stay upright! 8701 Maitland Summit Blvd., Orlando, 407-916-2550 www.mvpsportsclubs.com/florida-orlando-rdv-sportsplex-ice-den

    34. Treasure hunt with your smartphone or GPS. The possibilities are endless. Start by reading the Geocaching 101 guide at www.geocaching.com.

    WPVchess

    35.Play a game of life-sized chess with your kids at Winter Park Village. www.winterparkvillage.com

    36. Touch an alligator at Jungle Adventures. 26205 E. Colonial Dr., Christmas, 407-568-2885 www.jungleadventures.com

    37. Glide through the air as you go parasailing at Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre. Disney’s Contemporary Resort,407-939-0754
    www.disneyworld.disney.go.com

    38. Go fly a kite! Check out the worldwide database of the best places to fly a kite anywhere: www.kitmap.org.

    39. Take in a free family-friendly movie at Enzian Theater in Maitland, during the KidFest Summer Movie Series.
    407-629-0054 www.enzian.org

    40. Wave good-bye to the cruise ships at Jetty Park as they set sail out of Port Canaveral. 400 Jetty Park Rd., Cape Canaveral, 321-783-7111 www.jettypark.org

    41. Get sweaty and eat watermelon at the Watermelon 5K on July 4 at 7 a.m. Register your children for the shorter kids run.
    N. Mills Ave., Orlando, 407-898-1313 www.trackshack.com

    42. Sing along with local children’s recording artist Mr. Richard at one of his free shows. www.mrrichard.net

    43. Rent a “skate mate” for your little skaters so they can feel confident about roller-skating. Let’s Skate is a great value, and the extra $5 for the skate mate is totally worth it to help your kiddos feel a better sense of achievement. 14207 W. Colonial Dr., Winter Garden, 407-614-3812 www.letsskateorlando.com

    44. Touch a stingray at the Marine Science Center. 100 Lighthouse Dr., Ponce Inlet, 386-304-5545 www.marinesciencecenter.com

    45. Jump, bounce, leap and roll off the walls at Boing! Jump Center. 532 S. Econ Cir., Oviedo, 407-542-7844 www.boingjumpcenter.com

    46. Go back in time at 1876 Heritage Inn. This postal museum is housed in what was the first post office in the area. 300 S. Volusia Ave., Orange City, 386-774-8849www.1876heritageinn.com

    47. Cloud-watch. Find shapes in the sky on a cloudy day at beautiful Gemini Springs. 37 Dirksen Dr., Deltona, 386-668-3810
    www.deltonafl.gov

    48. Hit the trails on June 7—National Trails Day. Go to www.floridahikes.com to find trails near you.

    49. Sign the Declaration of Independence at The Presidents Hall of Fame, one of the largest depositories of presidential memorabilia in the nation. 123 N. Hwy. 27, Clermont, 352-394-2836 www.thepresidentshalloffame.com

    50. Catch him if you can! The JiggleMan captivates all ages with his zany physical humor. He is an eight-time David Letterman guest. www.bankshelfrich.com/banks/jiggleman

    51. Adopt a bird at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey. 1101 Audubon Way, Maitland, 407-644-0190 http://fl.audubon.org/audubon-center-birds-prey

    52. Dance like no one’s watching at Friday Night Live, Cranes Roost Park’s free live music series. 274 Cranes Roost Blvd., Altamonte Springs, 407-571-8863 www.altamonte.org

    53. Grow a Tower Garden. Start with a vertical garden greenhouse tour at Living Towers. 19621 Lake Lincoln Lane, Eustis, 352-357-4453 www.livingtowers.com

    54. Become a passenger on one of the world’s most famous ships at Titanic the Experience. 407-248-1166
    www.titanictheexperience.com/orlando

    55. Cool off in the largest library in Central Florida. Orlando Public Library, 101 E. Central Blvd., Orlando, 407-835-7323 www.ocls.info

    56. Splash all week on your very own splash pad tour. Hours and prices vary, so call before you go: Capehart Park (Orlando) 407-254-9160, City of Oviedo Splash Zone 407-971-5570, Downey Park Splash Playground (Orlando) 407-245-9180, Dr. P. Phillips Community Park 407-254-9038, Lake Mary Splash Pad 407-324-3068, Trotwood Park (Winter Springs) 407-327-6597; Fort Mellon Park (Sanford) 407-688-5103

    Chocolate Kingdom

    Chocolate Kingdom

    57. Follow a cocoa bean’s journey from a cacao tree to a chocolate bar at Chocolate Kingdom’s interactive factory adventure tour. This is where true chocoholics come to learn about “the food of the gods.” Make your very own chocolate bar at the end of the tour. Sweet! 2858 Florida Plaza Blvd., Kissimmee, 407-705-3475 www.chocolatekingdom.com

    58. Rent a River-bana, and get away for a day at Wekiva Island. 1014 Miami Springs Rd., Longwood, 407-862-1500
    www.wekivaisland.com

    59. Watch Rapunzel escape her tower at Orlando Shakespeare Theater from June 19 through July 27, 2014. 812 E. Rollins St., Orlando, 321-622-2284 www.orlandoshakes.org

    60. Celebrate National Watermelon Day on August 3. www.watermelon.org

    61. Build something at Lowe’s Build and Grow program. Saturdays at 10 a.m. www.lowesbuildandgrow.com

    62. Read enough books to earn a free pizza from Pizza Hut’s Book It! program. www.bookitprogram.com

    63. Savor a fresh-baked authentic German treat from Yalaha Bakery. Check out the events calendar, and schedule a tour.
    8210 C.R. 48, Yalaha, 352-324-3366 www.yalahabakery.com

    64. Plunge toward the earth on the largest skycoaster in the world at Fun Spot Kissimmee. This giant swing will hoist you 300 feet and let you go, so you can soar through the air at upwards of 75 miles per hour. 2850 Florida Plaza Blvd., Kissimmee, 407-397-2509 www.funspotattractions.com

    65. Row a canoe through the cool waters at Blue Spring State Park, and look for manatees. 2100 W. French Ave.,
    Orange City, 386-775-3663 www.floridastateparks.org/bluespring

    66. Play Frisbee golf at the UCF Arboretum. The nine-hole disk golf course is fun for everyone. 4312 Scorpius St., Orlando,
    407-823-3583 www.arboretum.ucf.edu

    67. Go on a helicopter ride over Orlando attractions at Air Florida Helicopter Tour. 8990 International Dr., Orlando, 407-354-1400 www.airfloridahelicopter.com

    68. Knock down all 10 pins for free. There are several ways for kids to bowl for free. Learn more at www.kidsbowlfree.com.

    69. Take a sewing class at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores (for kids age 5 and older). www.joann.com/kidsstudio

    ShowcaseofCitrus

    Showcase of Citrus

    70. Feed an orange to a cow from the top of the world’s largest 4×4 at Showcase of Citrus’ Swamp Safari and Eco Tour. Tour a working 2,500-acre estate. With 70 varieties of citrus, zebras and more, this is a truly unique experience. A reservation is recommended. 5010 U.S. Hwy. 27, Clermont, 352-394-4377 www.showcaseofcitrus.com

    71. Feed farm animals any Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Good Neighbors Farmer’s Market and Petting Farm. 1101 Lloyds Lane, Oviedo, www.goodneighborsmarket.com

    72. Cool off in the 72-degree natural spring at Wekiwa Springs State Park. 1800 Wekiwa Cir., Apopka, 407-884-2008
    www.floridastateparks.org/wekiwasprings

    73. Get an official Legoland driver’s license (kids ages 6-13) at the Ford Driving School at Legoland. http://florida.legoland.com

    74. Observe Galapagos Tortoises at the world’s third-largest turtle and tortoise museum. Chelonian Research Institute,
    402 S. Central Ave., Oviedo, 407-365-6347 www.chelonianri.org

    75. Host a foreign exchange student for the summer through Education First. www.ef.edu/ehp/host-a-student

    76. Stomp the grapes at Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards’ Harvest Festival. June 20-22,10 a.m.-5 p.m., Clermont, 800-768-WINE www.lakeridgewinery.com

    77. Stand in victory lane at Daytona International Speedway. Choose from multiple tours of this legendary racetrack. www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com

    78. Feed and pet the dolphins at SeaWorld. http://seaworldparks.com

    79. Spend a night at the museum. Orange County Regional History Center, 65 E. Central Blvd., Orlando, 407-836-8580 www.thehistorycenter.org

    80. Dance-walk around Lake Eola with the Jolly Ninjas. Or, join any of their random attacks of kindness. www.facebook.com/jollyninjas

    81. Indulge in a chocolate volcano at Rainforest Cafe, the wild place to eat. 1800 E. Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista, 407-827-8500 www.rainforestcafe.com

    82. Dig out your earplugs, and close your mouth to keep the bugs out during a Black Hammock Adventures airboat ride. 2356 Black Hammock Fish Camp Rd., Oviedo, 407-365-1244 www.theblackhammock.com

    83. Safeguard your summer with classes at Children’s Safety Village. 910 Fairvilla Rd., Orlando, 407-521-4673 www.childrenssafetyvillagefl.org

    84. Get a free Lego at the Lego Store Monthly Mini Model Build event on the first Tuesday of every month at 5 p.m. until supplies last (for children ages 6-14 only). Downtown Disney,  407-828-0065  http://stores.lego.com

    85. Investigate urban legend and strange phenomenon at Spook Hill. GPS coordinates: 27°, 54′, 43.35′N; 81°, 34 , 56.47′W. www.spookhill.info

    86. Get your feet wet on an ecotour at Marine Discovery Center. 520 Barracuda Blvd., New Smyrna Beach, 386-428-4828 www.marinediscoverycenter.org/ecotours

    87. Experience the behaviors of nocturnal animals at the Night Hike at the Zoo event, Saturday, June 21, from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at the Central Florida Zoo. 3755 N.W. Hwy. 17-92, Sanford, 407-323-4450 www.centralfloridazoo.org

    88. Compete in a triathlon. There are great kids events throughout the state—some are shorter than you think. www.kidstri.com

    89. Pitch a tent, and go camping. The Florida State Parks site can help you find just the right spot. www.floridastateparks.org

    90. Slip and slide into the natural sulfur spring at Wekiva Falls. Or, play in the waterfall. 30700 Wekiva River Rd., Sorrento, 352-383-8055 www.wekivafalls.com

    91. See how animals are rescued, raised, rehabilitated and released at Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge & Education Center.
    10525 Clapp Simms Duda Rd., Orlando, 407-568-5138 www.btn-wildlife.org

    92. Cheer for your team at an Orlando City Soccer game. Games are at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. 407-478-4007 www.orlandocitysoccer.com

    93. Listen to the bells, stroll through the hills and have a scenic picnic lunch at Bok Tower Gardens. www.boktowergardens.org

    94. Tour an orange juice factory at Florida’s Natural. 20160 U.S. Hwy. 27, Lake Wales, 863-679-4110 www.floridasnatural.com/co-op/visitors-center

    95. See the oldest fire truck in Central Florida at Orlando Fire Museum. 814 E. Rollins St., Orlando, 407-898-3138 www.cityoforlando.net/fire/museum

    96. Take a ride on the Orange Blossom Cannonball vintage steam train. 352-742-7200 www.orangeblossomcannonball.com

    97. See, touch and sit inside of retired military vehicles and aircrafts at the Corporal Larry E. Smedley National Vietname War Museum. 3400 North Tanner Rd., Orlando, 407-601-2864 www.bunkerflorida.org

    98. Learn about Florida ecosystems and conservation at Lyonia Environmental Center. 2150 Eustance Ave., Deltona, 386-789-7207 www.lyoniapreserve.com/lec.htm

    99. Get crafty at Lakeshore Learning. Free kiddie crafts are offered every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 335 E. S.R. 436, Fern Park, 407-260-5566 www.lakeshorelearning.com

    Banana-FroYo

    Photo and recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids

    100. Make your own Fro-Yo at home. Ingredients: 2 bananas (chopped), 3 cups lowfat yogurt, 1 cup pineapple (chopped), 1⁄4 cup caramel dip. Directions: (1) Place bananas in freezer bag and freeze overnight. (2) Blend bananas, yogurt and pineapple in blender until thick and smooth. Portion and freeze 25 minutes. (3) Drizzle with caramel dip.

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    Hook Kids on Fishing

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    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 to fish.

    After the fishing clinic, each child will be able to take home their very own fishing pole and tackle box. (All children must be accompanied by an adult family member.) A free lunch will be provided for all participants.

    Bring the whole family to enjoy the Hook Kids on Fishing event and build special outdoor memories that will last a lifetime! This event is sponsored by the City of Casselberry, Friends of the Park, and Fish Florida.

    REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED as this clinic is limited to the first 100 children under 16 years of age. Call 407-262-7700, ext. 1576 to register.

    Secret Lake Park is located at 200 N. Triplet Lake Drive in Casselberry. For more information visit the City of Casselberry website at www.casselberry.org, email Mario Algarin atmalgarin@casselberry.org.

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    Avalon Art Installation

    Abrakadoodle

    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 added to a large tree to represent the tightly knit neighborhood. The collaboration will culminate in a grand art display and will be a beautiful addition to the Avalon Park Group office lobby.

    “The tree is symbolic of how deeply rooted we become as a community when we support and care for one another,” said Tiffany Hill Brittain, owner of Abrakadoodle of Orlando.

    “I’ve heard Beat Kahli say that his vision when creating Avalon Park was to create a place where people could be born, grow up, and spend their final days in one place,” continued Brittain. “We are based here in Avalon Park; this project is especially important to us. We work with people of all ages and artistic abilities, and I wanted all of them to have the opportunity to participate in the creation of Avalon’s first community art installation.”

    Abrakadoodle of Orlando is sponsoring this project and will be present at community events this month. Young students in their comprehensive art program will each contribute, but those who are not Abrakadoodle kids will get the opportunity to take part, as well. The art company is hosting booths at various local events in the East Orlando area.

    The art installation will be unveiled on May 17th, 2014, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. during an opening reception sponsored by the Avalon Park Foundation, in the Avalon Park Group Lobby, located at 3680 Avalon Park E Blvd. Artwork from Abrakadoodle’s Avalon art classes will be displayed, as well. Children will gain a real art-opening experience and get the chance to proudly display their works of art. Avalon Park Group will provide refreshments. Members of the community are encouraged to attend the presentation of the beautiful art installation.

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    Easter at Outdoor World

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    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, April 20*.

    The Easter Bunny is a favorite holiday symbol for many children, and families are invited to bring the kids to their nearest Bass Pro Shops store to have their FREE 4×6 photo taken with the Easter Bunny during the following days and times:

    • Saturdays and Sundays, April 12-13 and 19-20 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

    • Monday-Thursday, April 14-17 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

    • Friday, April 18 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.

    The Bass Pro Shops store in Vaughn, Ontario, will offer the free photo opportunities at the following times:

    • Monday through Thursday, April 14-17 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    • Saturdays, April 12 and 19, and Sunday, April 13 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Kids ages 2-10 will have a blast searching for eggs during Bass Pro Shops old-fashioned Easter egg hunt.

    • Saturdays and Sundays, April 12-13 and 19-20 • 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

    • Registration begins at 1:30 p.m. at main entrance. • Hunt starts promptly at 2 p.m. • Kids that find five eggs can return to registration for candy.

    Another fun activity includes holiday crafts for the kids, including:

    • Color an Easter Egg

    Saturday and Sunday, April 12-13 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. (while supplies last/crafts may vary)

    • Color a Bunny Frame or create a Scratch Art Bunny Craft

    Friday, April 18, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

    Saturday and Sunday, April 19-20 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. (while supplies last/crafts may vary)

    Head to Bass Pro Shops April 12-20 where families can enjoy making special Easter memories.  For more information visit http://www.basspro.com/easter/ and click on the local store link for more details.

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    10 Family Activities for Valentine's Day

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    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 breakfast, cut out toast with a heart shaped cookie cutter. Spread the heart shape with cream cheese and top with strawberry or raspberry jam. Then, use the rest of the bread by placing the piece of toast with the heart cut out on a plate and filling the center with red berries. Wet the rims of wine glasses or plastic cups then dip into pink or red sugar. Fill the cups with sparkling apple juice.

    3. Draw a large, open heart on the bathroom mirror at kid-height with a dry erase marker. Write “I love” with an arrow pointing to the heart shape. When your child looks in the mirror to brush their teeth, his or her face will be in the heart!

    4. Glam up lunch boxes by using your heart cookie cutter to shape sandwiches. Include a treat of valentine candy and—of course—a love note.

    5. Draw a trail of hearts on the driveway or sidewalk in red and pink chalk. Kids can follow the path by hopping from one to the next on the way to the car or bus stop.

    6. Visit a local nursing home and hand out flowers or valentines to the residents.

    7. Cook up a valentine-themed dinner. Serve heart-shaped individual pizzas, or top pizza with heart-shaped pepperoni. (Cut pepperoni pieces into hearts with a mini cookie cutter.) Many pizza companies offer heart shaped pizza for takeout or delivery on V-Day as well. Serve with pink milk or sparkling juice.

    8. During dinner, have each family member say why they love the person sitting next to them. Go around the table one way, and then do it again in the opposite direction.

    9. After dinner, cuddle up in PJs to watch a Valentine’s Day show such as a Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That: Hurray! It’s Valentine’s Day, Winnie the Pooh, A Valentine for You, WordWorld: My Fuzzy Valentine, or Madly Madagascar.

    10. Last but not least, don’t forget story time! Try one of these love-themed books: Queen of Hearts by Mary Englebreit, Love, Splat by Rob Scotten, Snowy Valentine by David Peterson, I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt or Pete the Cat: Valentine’s Day is Cool by James Dean.

    Spread the love by trying one or more of these ideas this February 14th. By replacing candy and gifts with time spent together, you will surely brighten your kids’ days and make fun family memories.

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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.

    PLAYcalendar_January2014

     

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    The 12 Days of Christmas

    12DaysofChristmas

    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 with Santa in December from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  There is also Santa’s Christmas Tree Village where you can buy a fresh Christmas tree and all the trimmings.  The Garden Theatre will be hosting a myriad of holiday concerts, movies and live performances.  There are free concerts every Friday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Gazebo for Fridays on the Plaza in the heart of Downtown.

    Enjoy live music, holiday movies, lights, Christmas trees, “A Very Merry Farmers Market,” live theatre, local food and an eclectic mix of stores that will help provide that perfect gift!

    Be sure to check out the Free Holiday Movie Night at the Pavilion on Saturday, December 14th. They’ll be playing Shrek the Halls at 6:30 p.m. and Miracle on 34th Street at 7:00 p.m. Bring a blanket or a chair.  Refreshments will be provided for purchase.

    Visit www.cwgdn.com and click on special events for details.

    WG-12Days-poster

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    Aquatica Announces Two Special Offers

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    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 only valid on the date selected.  Tickets must be purchased at least 24 hours in advance to receive the offer. Limited quantities of $19 tickets per day are available.

    For Florida residents who would like to visit Aquatica Orlando again and again, they can purchase an Annual Pass with EZpay, the convenient monthly payment plan.  Back for a limited time, residents can enjoy an entire year of splashin’ family fun for only $8 per month with EZpay.

    Even during the fall, the waters are always warm and comfortable at Aquatica Orlando. Open throughout the holidays, Aquatica Orlando sends guests through racing rides, glistening lagoons and winding rivers all kept at a warm 82 degrees. Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark, offers unique attractions that promise unlimited fun that will delight all ages and interests this holiday season.

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    Red Tail Pilots

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    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 the 2012 film “Red Tails” in the Digital Adventure Theater: A National Geographic Experience
    • Science of flight activities such as the Egg Drop Challenge, which emphasizes the engineering design process and demonstrates an understanding of aviation concepts such as gravity and lift
    • Microsoft Flight modules provided by Vision of Flight

    HISTORY LESSON: The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the U.S. armed forces. There were 932 pilots trained at Tuskegee, Ala., of whom 356 airmen were considered an elite group of fighter pilots that were sent to various bases in Europe. Flying escort for heavy bombers, the pilots earned an impressive combat record. The Allies called these talented airmen “Red Tails” or “Red-Tail Angels” because of the distinctive crimson paint predominantly applied on the tail section of the unit’s aircraft. Today, there are fewer than 50 surviving Red Tail pilots.

    Experience these activities with admission to Orlando Science Center which is $19 for adults and $13 for youth (ages 3 – 11). Tickets include all Red Tails weekend activities as well as access to all four floors of exhibits, giant screen and 3-D educational films, one Hollywood feature-length film, and live programming.

    For more information, call 407.514.2000 or visit www.osc.org/redtails.

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    Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents: Legends

    elephants-142_20120107_11443-EditRingling 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 awe-inspiring feats of daring spectacles of strength and thrills of wonder to summon the mythical and the mysterious: a Unicorn, a Pegasus and a Woolly Mammoth
    Performance Schedule:
    Thursday, January 9 at 7:30 p.m.
    Friday, January 10 at 7:30 p.m.
    Saturday, January 11 at 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
    Sunday, January 12 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
    Ticket Prices and Purchase:
    Tickets for Thursday and Friday performances are: $75 (Front Row), $35 (Premium Seats), $27, $23 and $16
    Tickets for Saturday and Sunday performances are: $75 (Front Row), $40 (Premium Seats), $30, $23 and $16
    Visit www.ringling.com or www.ticketmaster.com to purchase tickets.
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    Winter Park Boat Parade

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    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 lighted boats along the lakes’ shorelines.

    Event Schedule 

    3:30 pm: Water ski show presented by Southeast Marine Sales will be on Lake Virginia with viewing on the Rollins College campus by the Jump Ramp in front of the Campus Student Center/Swimming Pool. The area’s leading water skiers will be performing a one-hour ski show set to music. Over two dozen professional skiers will be pulled by Tige’ boats performing routines featuring jumps, multiple skiers’ acts, barefoot, wake boards, and high-performance equipment.

    4:00 pm to sundown: The Polasek Museum hosts the official viewing station and judging stand for the Winter Park Holiday Boat Parade, where the festivities kick off with live music, face painting, a sculptural Christmas tree unveiling with this year’s artist sculptor Amy Wieck and her apprentice, family art activities and Santa. This year’s parade will truly be an event to remember; watch as the historic Capen-Showalter House floats on top of a barge at the center of this spectacular procession around the lake. Witness this engineering marvel in action, truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The Rotary Club of Winter Park hosts this fundraiser to benefit local non-profits, with food, wine and beer available for purchase. Admission to the Polasek Gardens for the Parade is FREE. Limited onsite parking will begin at 3:30 p.m. for a $5 donation. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, friends and family to The Polasek to enjoy a Winter Park holiday tradition. Additional public viewing of the boat parade at Dinky Dock (off Fairbanks Avenue) beginning at sundown. Bring lawn chairs or blankets. Be sure to stop by at the WUCF tent and say hello! They will be on hand to emcee the festivities and play some great jazz music (including jazz with a holiday theme)! The Gazebros Band (Sheila Aquilia, lead vocal; Jack Byrd, vocal, guitar, mandolin, harp; Trevor Hall, vocal and guitar; Craig Taylor, vocal, guitar and banjo; Chip Weston, guitar and percussion) will be entertaining with selections culled from the great music of the 40s through the present time, with an emphasis on classic rock, folk, bluegrass, and blues. They will also be adding some “sing-along” holiday tunes for the evening. The Winter Park Public Library’s Spellbinders will perform/recite Christmas stories. Other musical offerings will include the “Minute Men,” an all-male, a cappella Winter Park-based choral group, performing Christmas carols live (approximately a 15- to 30-minute set).

    Sundown: The parade will begin on the east shore of Lake Virginia (near Dinky Dock) and proceed clockwise around the shores of Lake Virginia, navigating through the Palm Canal to Lake Osceola.

    About 6:30 pm: Boat parade passes in front of judges at the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens and continues around Lake Osceola.

    CALL FOR BOATS: Organizers of the event are seeking resident and business boat entries. For resident boats there is no entry fee, and all local licensed area boat owners are invited to participate. Boat registration is required with applications available at www.wpboatparade.com or by calling 407-647-6294.

    Key Sponsors: Southeast Marine Sales; The Rotary Club of Winter Park; The Mayflower; Scenic Boat Tours of Winter Park; Winter Park Memorial Hospital; Costco; City of Winter Park Lakes and Waterways Department; Beck Realty, LLC; Francesco’s Ristorante-Pizzeria in Maitland; Rollins College; and the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens.

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    Family-Friendly Hiking Trails

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    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, as the trail is part sand and part paved. Watch for gopher tortoises, ducks and turtles. Then, run around on the big playground by Turkey Lake.

    • GPS: 28.500772, -81.475042
    • Best for: Spotting wildlife
    • Bonus: There’s a children’s farm along the trail.

    Lyonia Preserve
    2150 Eustace Ave., Deltona 32725
    The best place to see Florida scrub jays is right in your backyard. Pretend you’re Snow White in this teeny, tiny forest, where these colorful and curious birds often will come out to greet you.

    • GPS: 28.930217, -81.225438
    • Best for: Florida scrub jays
    • Bonus: There’s an interactive nature center and café at the trailhead.

    Oakland Nature Preserve
    747 Machete Trail, Oakland 34760
    A stroller-friendly boardwalk leads through marshes to the shores of Lake Apopka. Visit the nature center, and walk the gentle trails on the hills behind it.

    • GPS: 28.554992, -81.639834
    • Best for: Swamp creatures
    • Bonus: Antelope graze next door.

    Shingle Creek Regional Park’s Historic Babb Landing
    2491 Babb Road, Kissimmee 34746
    Paved trails lead past a historic homestead and playground to a landing along Shingle Creek. Wide-open spaces let the kids pedal fast while you keep an eye on them.

    • GPS: 28.318133, -81.457217
    • Best for: Biking
    • Bonus: Twistee Treat ice cream is less than a mile away.

    Trimble Park
    5802 Trimble Park Road, Mount Dora 32757
    Broad boardwalks parallel two lakes on this breezy peninsula. With a big playground beneath ancient live oaks, this is also a great picnic spot.

    • GPS: 28.765659, -81.652135
    • Best for: Bird watching
    • Bonus: Families can camp in the shady campground.
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    Festival of Trees

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    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 HOLIDAYS

    $50 Per Person – Lighting of the Grand Tree – Pre-Festival Opening

    Friday, November 15th 7-11 pm THE GREAT GALA

    $125 Per Person – Preview Festival – A Gatsby Evening

    Tuesday, November 19th 10am-5pm SENIOR’S DAY

    $9 Per Senior – Celebrating Seniors

    Wednesday, November 20th 6:30-8:30 pm REINDEER ROMP

    $12 Per Person – Santa, activities and more!

    Friday, November 22nd 7-11:00 pm SHAKE, GLITTER & STROLL

    $40 Per Person – Happy Days – Good Times – Date Night!

    The Orlando Museum of Art will be filled with glimmer, entertainment and surprises that will be sure to enchant guests of all ages. The Festival of Trees will showcase awe-inspiring displays of designer deco­rated trees, wreaths and gingerbread creations and stunning holiday vignettes which are all available for purchase. Visitors will enjoy the gift boutique, the Toyland Town activity area, Holiday Garden, and a Festival Café, complete with live daily entertainment and much more!

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    Snow White Ballet for Families

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    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 mother, Chiaki has managed to create a captivating version of this classic tale.  She was involved in every detail from script to choreography to casting and executing the movements with the cast. The scene with the seven dwarfs is not to be missed and her interpretation of mirror, mirror takes on a more contemporary approach. My daughter already has her Snow White costume pressed and primped for this magical fantasy performance.

    Saturday, October 19, 11 a.m.
    Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre
    Family Series – Ballet for young audiences. Arrive early with your family to enjoy family-friendly activities, story-telling and an opportunity to take pictures with the characters of the story. Doors open at 10AM. Tickets start at $25. Call the box office at 321-418-7632 today. www.orlandoballet.org

     

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    About the Writer:
    Tammara Kohler, owner of Fused Fashion, offers such services as personal shopping, wardrobe styling and fashion production. Tammara has provided a fresh and modern style to many national ad campaigns, editorial features and local celebrities walking the red carpet. She’s also setting the standard in kids fashion with Style Tot for PLAYGROUND Magazine.

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    Orlando Science Center School Break Camps

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    Fall-Tastic Festivals

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    SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular

    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 hunt, the world’s largest Lego jack-o-lantern and a special Halloween-themed build.
     
    October 19th
    Lost Legends Haunted Trail
    Osceola County Historical
    Society’s Pioneer Village
    http://ochslostlegends.com
    Only the bravest little goblins will navigate the Lost Legends Haunted Trail, but the rewards are great. Survivors can enjoy the haunted village, the pumpkin patch, the corn maze and a s’mores roast.
     
    October 19th – 20th and 26th – 27th
    ZOO Boo Bash
    Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
    www.centralfloridazoo.org
    Take a walk on the wild side for some not-so-scary trick-or-treating at the Central Florida Zoo. Be sure to bring your most boo-tiful costume, as a costume contest will be held at 1 p.m. each day.
     
    October 25th and 26th
    Oktoberfest at Celebration 
    Celebration Town Center 
    www.celebrationtowncenter.com
    Think that leaves don’t fall in Florida? They do in Celebration, where colorful leaves drop nightly on Market Street during Oktoberfest weekend. Hop on a hayride, paint a pumpkin, or stroll through the downtown area to enjoy the crisp fall air.
     
    October 26th
    Pumpkin Bash
    Winter Park Village
    www.shopwinterparkvillage.net
    Join PLAYGROUND Magazine for a frightfully fun time. After your costumed kiddos have decorated their own cupcakes and played Pumpkin Pick, local photographer Jessica Friend will be available to capture all the cuteness in a mini photo shoot!
     
    October 26th
    German American Society’s Oktoberfest
    381 Orange Lane, Casselberry
    www.gasocf.com 
    Oktoberfest can be a family affair! Bring the kids for the live music, Alpine dancing, face painting and bounce houses. We promise not to tell them you’re really there for the beer garden.
     
    October 26th
    Halloween Carnival of Screams 
    Riverside Park 
    www.cityofoviedo.net
    This family-friendly event will take place at 1600 Lockwood Blvd. in Oviedo. The event includes costume contests, carnival games, children’s activities, food, music and a frightening haunted house.
     
    Ocotber 26th
    Spooktacular
    Downtown Avalon Park
    www.avalonpark.com
    Check out this Halloween hot spot for an evening of family fun featuring a haunted house, pumpkin carving and a costume parade. It’s spooky, but not scary, fun for the kiddos!
     
    October 27th
    Trick or Treat Safe Zone
    Orange County Regional History Center
    www.thehistorycenter.org
    Trick-or-treat your way through three floors of haunted mazes, scavenger hunts and creepy crafts. Or, for a walk on the mild side, decorate a pumpkin in the museum’s own pumpkin patch.
     
    October 31st
    Mall-o-ween
    Waterford Lakes Town Center and Florida Mall
    www.simon.com/mall/waterford-lakes-town-center & www.simon.com/mall/the-florida-mall
    Bring the kiddies in costume to the fun, family-friendly Halloween events the in safe, well-lit, and climate-controlled environments at Waterford Lakes Town Center and Florida Mall. 
     
    November 2nd and 3rd
    Fall Fiesta in the Park
    Lake Eola Park
    www.fiestainthepark.com
    As if the awesome playground and friendly swans weren’t enough to make a day at Lake Eola a hit, the Fall Fiesta in the Park features a huge kids zone with bounce houses, face painting, live music and clowns.
    September 10th – November 1st
    SeaWorld Spooktacular
    SeaWorld Orlando
    www.seaworldparks.com
    Dive into an ocean of Halloween fun with an under-the-sea dance party, crafts and games in Penelope’s Party Zone, then trick the kids into making their own treats at the apple and crispy rice treat decorating station (we promise they won’t complain!).
     
    September 10 – November 1
    Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

    Disney’s Magic Kingdom
    disneyworld.disney.go.com
    This limited-access party is a great way to experience Disney with shorter lines. Characters and guests dress in costumes, and enjoy trick-or-treating, a special HalloWishes fireworks show and the best Halloween Parade in town! 
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    Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra

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    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 are age 9 to 15; Philharmonia, featuring 11 to 18-year-olds; and Symphonic, a pre-professional group whose members are age 13 to 20 – will present works from composers including Verdi, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. The Symphonic orchestra program will feature a piece for solo cello and orchestra with cellist David Bjella: currently Associate Professor of Cello and Director of the Chamber Music program at Stetson University and Co-Principal of the IRIS Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Michael Stern.

    Mr. Bjella will be performing Gabriel Faure’s Elegie for cello and orchestra; a piece he believes stands apart as both beautiful and emotive. When asked to speak about the piece Mr. Bjella:

    “It [The Elegie] is a solo cello piece with orchestra that is extremely emotional and gut wrenching at its core. It has the full range of dynamics and it is written in the incredibly dark key of c minor. It is also an “old friend” of mine and I absolutely love the way Faure has orchestrated the piece”.

    The most special and attractive aspect of this piece is a “dark singing quality I love… It should soar above the orchestra”. He says. “The biggest challenge is bringing across the emotional element of the music along with projecting beyond the symphonic sound.” This piece will be the special focus of the opening concert.

    The professor has spent time with various FSYO students helping them to strengthen their skills, but this will be the first time he has played with an FSYO orchestra in concert. “I love the FSYO! I have had students in this group for the last 20 years and I have found this group is quite professional in every way– the conductors, the administration, the students and parents.”

    Mr. Bjella sees playing for a live audience essential to a young developing musician. “Playing music with an audience is the best for any of us! There is an edge that comes with a live performance that one can never duplicate in the practice room or rehearsal. The art of communication is a wonderful thing to feel and react to as well. I love it and it is important for kids to experience that as well”.

    Audience members can join this exciting event by purchasing tickets, which range from $8 to $16, through the FSYO website (www.fsyo.org).  The concert begins at 4 p.m. Sunday, October 13, at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center, 401 W. Livingston St. This concert is part of the Season Subscription Package.

    ABOUT: The Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra aims to educate and inspire Florida’s top young musicians through programs committed to strengthening musical talents and developing appreciation of the arts through classical music. The FSYO, in its 57th Concert Season, comprises three full orchestras and one string training orchestra made up of more than 250 students from eight Central Florida counties.
    Programs are sponsored in part by the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs; the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; Darden Restaurant Foundation; Universal Orlando Foundation; and United Arts of Central Florida. The FSYO is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For more information, please visit www.fsyo.org.

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

    MadHatterTeaParty

    Photo by Brittany Miller

    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 series of programs designed to teach children manners through classic children’s stories such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate FactoryAlice in Wonderland and more. Geared toward providing “edu-tainment”, each session offers KAMPers educational and entertaining instruction in areas such as social introductions, table etiquette, the spirit of giving and receiving gifts, how to be a gracious guest, the art of writing thank-you notes, and culminates with a dazzling ballroom dance lesson.
    The programs include fantastic prizes, fun trivia questions, movie and music favorites, and an award ceremony and presentation upon completion.
    The 2013-14 season kicks off with the Mad Hatter Tea Party Saturday, October 19th,  at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and costs $85 per child. To reserve a space online visit https://ewfkamp5-12ritz-carltonorlando.eventbrite.com.
    In addition to the kids, parents can enjoy a pampering visit to The Ritz-Carlton Spa while the children attend the K.A.M.P. program and choose a multi-service package that includes a massage and organic facial plus a glass of champagne for $269 or a choice of either a massage or facial and a Florida Fresh Manicure and Pedicure plus a glass of champagne for $245– to book online visit the Ritz Carlton Spa website.
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    A Night in New Orleans: A Magic Tree House Adventure

     

     

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    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 and set him on the path to becoming the legend we know him as today. The show features a live band, a cast of skilled performers, and a powerful message about dreams, race, and possibilities.

    The show will open on October 17th, and will run till November 23rd. For tickets and show times visit www.orlandoshakes.org.

     

     

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    Family Day September 23

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    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 child will do better in school, and be less prone to anxiety and depression.

    To help parents, Informed Families has created a video game contest called “Family Dinner Dash” to learn how to overcome these obstacles. Children and parents can register at www.FLfamilyday.com to play the retro-style challenge and compete for prizes. The grand-prize winner will win a $250 Publix gift card and six regional winners throughout the state will win a $100 Publix gift card. The entry deadline is September 24th and winners will be announced on October 1st.

    Informed families has also provided a list of tips you can implement now to make the most of dinnertime:

    • The dinner table should be an electronics-free zone—and this rule doesn’t just apply to the kids. Take a break from the outside world and focus on family.
    • Become a team—turn dinnertime into an event for the whole family. Let the kids help with the cooking, and show them how much you appreciate their participation. Assign a table-setter, and let him/her choose the place settings. Plan for next week’s dinner menu together, with each member of the family having input.
    • Make conversation the main course.  Use open-ended questions like “what was the funniest thing you saw today?” or “what was the best thing that happened to you today?” to get everyone talking and sharing.
    • Keep dinnertime positive. Avoid discussions about discipline, arguments, or broken rules. Make the dinner table a peaceful place for the whole family.
    • Always sit together—whether it’s at the table, out on the patio, or on a picnic blanket (even in its in your living room), make sure the family comes together for this time.
    • Make a “You Are Special Today” place setting and celebrate each other’s accomplishments, whatever they may be.
    • Have fun! Change things around and serve breakfast for dinner, with everyone in the family wearing their pajamas.
    • And remember, it’s the time together that counts—don’t stress over making an elaborate meal.
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    Sesame Street Presents: The Body

    CountBones

    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 Sesame Street where the lovable characters anchor an exciting hands-on, interactive experience. A result of Sesame Workshop’s initiative Healthy Habits for Life, Sesame Street Presents: The Body is an interactive exhibition created in response to the current childhood obesity crisis in the United States. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, and Thinkwell Design & Production created this experience to teach families about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially at an early age.

    The exhibit will feature three different education zones related to the human body: Your Insides, Your Outsides, and Staying Healthy. Each area has multiple activities to provide age-appropriate and exciting learning opportunities for your children.

    Experience Sesame Street Presents: The Body with admission to Orlando Science Center which is $19 for adults and $13 for youth (ages 3 – 11). Tickets include access to all four floors of exhibits, giant screen and 3-D educational films, one Hollywood feature-length film, and live programming. Get your tickets here.

    The exhibit will run from September 23th, 2013 to January 5th, 2014.

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    Talk Like a Pirate Day

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    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 iPhone and iPad that features high seas, romance, and of course, treasure. The object of the game is to rescue Princess Annie, if you can find her that is. You can get the app here https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pirate-rush-speed-boat-adventure/id638166540?mt=8.

    Have a date night at Treasure Tavern: Pirate Dinner Adventure’s “dirty sister” show has been known to raise the bar on raunchy pirate behavior. The show is for adults only, and for good reason. Enjoy food, drinks and a live show that will get you wishing everyday was National Talk Like a Pirate Day. www.treasuretavern.com

    Take the Kids to Pirate’s Dinner Adventure: This is a dinner show for the whole family that is a must-see, not just on this pirate-themed occasion. Enjoy an interactive dining experience where talking like a pirate is more than encouraged. www.piratesdinneradventure.com

    Visit Magic Kingdom’s “Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas”: This new interactive experience gets its guests in the pirate groove with a treasure hunt throughout Adventureland. Using pirate maps, guests engage in five different raids as they join the most lovable pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow, in facing a whole slew of enemies.

    Take a Disney Pirate Cruise: Set out on the high sea’s for this two-hour treasure hunt. Children ages 4-12 will be donned with a red and white pirate’s hat as they board their maiden voyage. This one is just for the kids and the pirate crew, no parents allowed. At each “port of call” a new treasure awaits. At their final stop, they can share their booty while enjoying lunch. Cruises depart daily from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. from the Yacht and Beach Club, Grand Floridian, Caribbean Beach Resort and Port Orleans Riverside resorts

     

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    Penguins 3D

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    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 penguins, as well as hundreds of albatrosses, fur seals, and elephant seals.

    Join King Penguin on his journey to earn his place among his natural habitat and fulfill his destiny of finding a mate and building a family. What follows is the story of the most challenging time in a King Penguin’s life, when he is driven to nurture and defend his offspring against harsh weather and fierce predators.

    See “Penguins 3D” with admission to Orlando Science Center which is $19 for adults and $13 for youth. Tickets also include access to all four floors of exhibits, unlimited educational films, one Hollywood feature film and live presentations. “Penguins 3D” will run through the fall season, so don’t miss this epic event.

    For more information and show times, visit www.osc.org. Visit the film’s website at www.PenguinsTheFilm.com.

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    Arabian Nights Holiday Show

     

    Arabian Nights holiday show image

    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 Kissimmee.

    Tickets may be purchased online at www.arabian-nights.com.

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    Spooky Skate

    Spooky2012_On-Ice

    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 receive $1 off of admission.

    To make a group reservation call 407-916-2666.

    RDV Sportsplex is located at 8701 Maitland Summit Blvd. just a 1/4 mile west of I-4.

    www.mvpsportsclubs.com/florida-orlando-rdv-sportsplex-ice-den

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    Museum Day Live!

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    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 Institution’s Washington, D.C.-based facilities, encourages learning and the spread of knowledge nationwide.

    The museum will be open 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.. With a focus on the importance of Historic Preservation, enjoy complimentary art activities in the Museum’s Gallery that the whole family will love! Learn about preserving your family’s history with a “Life Casting” demonstration by President of the Central FL Sculptors Guild, Amy Wieck. Preserve part of you in this hands-on demo! And then gather up at 11 a.m. for a special presentation by The Maitland Art Center’s Curator of History, Christine Madrid French, on The Capen House Preservation Project. What’s it all about? Find out the scoop from the Capen House Project Director herself.  Ask questions, be inspired, and learn about the POWER of Place. Have fun and get involved with your family and with historic places that matter in our community!

    Inclusive by design, Museum Day Live! fulfills Smithsonian Media’s mission to make cultural education accessible to everyone. For one day only, the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens will grant free access to visitors who download a Museum Day Live! ticket at Smithsonian.com.

    The Museum Day Live! Ticket will be available to download at http://www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/

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    Casselberry Art House Offers Parent/Child Workshops

    Casselberry Art House

    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 3rd Saturday of every month from 1 to 3 p.m. During these one day workshops, families will work with a professional art instructor to create one-of-a-kind paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and more! Every month is a new project. All supplies are included and classes have limited seating, so please register early!

    Classes are $20 for residents and $25 for non-residents, and that includes both the parent and the child. Register now for upcoming workshops at www.casselberry.org/register.

    Class Schedule:

    • September 21 – Clay Creations
    • October 19 – Casting Keepsakes
    • November 16 – Urban Plaster Refrigerator Magnets
    • December 14 – Winter Mosaics

    For more information or to view and register for any Casselberry Art House class visit www.casselberry.org/register or contact Ajay Monnett at 407-262-7700 x 1122 or amonnett@casselberry.org.

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    B2SB

    OVIEDO MALL CELEBRATES TAX FREE SHOPPING WITH
    PLAYGROUND MAGAZINE’s
    BACK TO SCHOOL BASH
    & AFTER SCHOOL ENRICHMENT EXPO

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    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, from 12 p.m.-4 p.m. throughout the mall. This free family event will feature three kiddie fashion shows, DJ dance party, indoor rock climbing wall, interactive activities, swag bags, and after school enrichment vendors. Families can enjoy in store activities with Sears, Mad Science, Teddy Mountain, Spoil Me Sweet Bakery, and more. The Back to School Bash & After School Enrichment Expo is sponsored by Primrose School of Oviedo, Boing! Jump Center, After Hours Pediatrics, and The Event Specialists.

    Kiddie Fashion Shows
    Your little fashionistas can rock the latest fashion on their first day back to school. Come check out the newest trends all available at the Oviedo Mall.

    12 p.m.  Macy’s & Gymboree
    2 p.m.  Dillard’s
    4 p.m.  Sears & The Children’s Place

    Hair Styling by Regis Hairstyles; Accessories by Claire’s; Shoes courtesy of The Shoe Dept., Payless & Foot Locker

    Specific Activities

    • Face painting @ the Primrose School of Oviedo table
    • Wii Dance Party & Wood Kit Building @ Sears
    • Cupcake decorating @ Spoil Me Sweet (4 cupcakes for $5)
    • Mad science projects @ Mad Science
    • Free face painting @ Teddy Mountain
    • Recycled art projects @ the Craft Shack table
    • Spin the prize wheel @ the After Hours Pediatrics table
    • Sand Art @ the KinderCare Oviedo table
    • Bean bag toss @ the Studio 5D Dynasty Dance table
    • Instrument petting zoo @ the Kindermusik table
    • Play along @ the Seminole Music Together table

    Winter Cover Casting Call
    PLAYGROUND Magazine will also be holding a casting call for their winter issue cover family, during the event, inside Ashton Photography. Interested families should visit Ashton Photography, in their new location across from Modern Furniture Gallery, between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.

    Tax Free Weekend
    Tax free shopping is available Friday, August 2 through Sunday, August 4. Oviedo Mall will be open regular mall hours for shoppers to shop and prepare for the upcoming school year. Oviedo Mall hosts a wide variety of stores, to make tax free back to school shopping a breeze for families, such as The Children’s Place, Justice, Journey’s, Payless ShoeSource, Claire’s, The Shoe Dept., Foot Locker, Champs Sports and Gymboree.

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    Free LEGO Fun

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    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 local thrift stores, garage sales and Craig’s List. You may find people selling Legos by the tub. Ask your friends with grown children if they are done using their Legos. Many people are happy to give them away, knowing they will be going to a good home. You don’t need to purchase expensive kits with instructions. We have found that kids have a lot more fun when they use their imagination and make up their own instructions!

    2. Have a Lego Block Party

    Why not round up all your friends and neighbors this summer and host a Lego Block Party? We often dump our Legos in the driveway and just sit outside in the sunshine and build with friends. It’s a great way for kids (and adults) to spend time using their imaginations and having fun.

    3. FREE First Tuesday at Lego Stores

    On the first Tuesday of every month, the Lego store at Downtown Disney hosts a FREE “Monthly Mini Model Build” where your child can build a model and take it home at no cost to you. So pop on in for a fun FREE time. http://stores.lego.com/en-us/stores/us/orlando/

    4. Build Together FREE Building Projects

    Lego has a website called “Build Together” (buildtogether.com) where you can find FREE building projects based on your child’s building ability and the amount of time you have to build. Love this! http://www.wired.com/geekmom/2012/05/lego-build-together/

    5. FREE Lego Magazine (and Lego Jr. Magazine)

    If your child(ren) likes to receive snail mail then you might want to sign him/her up for a FREE subscription to Lego Club Magazine. There’s a Lego Club Jr. version for kids 6 and under. Lots of fun stuff to read and do! Sign up here for a FREE two-year subscription … http://club1.lego.com/en-US/subscription/default.aspx?SkuId=9052b50e-271e-46d2-9abb-e1950f8cc438&step=1&CountryId=US.

    6. Rebuild

    Rebrickable.com allows you to get more bang for your bricks. Just enter in the Lego set numbers you already own, and this site will spit back to you other things you can make with the parts from old sets. This site is not owned, published or endorsed by the Lego company but it’s worth a try! http://rebrickable.com/

    7. FREE Lego Online Games

    And for the computer users in your house, there are lots of FREE Lego games online here: http://www.lego.com/en-us/games/default.aspx

    This should keep your little Lego Builder(s) happy for the rest of the summer. 🙂 One last note: If you have Legos that you don’t use any more, please consider giving them to a friend who would use them. Or, consider donating them to Stenstrom Elementary School for use next year and beyond. We’d be happy to take them off your hands!

    Betsy Jewell is the volunteer chairperson for Stenstrom Elementary’s Brick Buddies Lego Club in Oviedo, Florida.

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    Day trip to Busch Gardens

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    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 Jessica Long

    In addition to everything you already know and love about Busch Gardens, here are three brand-new reasons to make that drive down I-4.

    Adorable Lion Cubs
    Have you ever seen a lion so cute and cuddly that you just wanted to pick it up and squeeze it? Probably not, but the three newest additions to the Busch Gardens family will make you wish you could do just that! The trio of South African lions – two females and an unrelated male – has formed a new pride and can be seen in their habitat in the Edge of Africa. Though only a few months old, the cubs are growing quickly, so be sure to get there this summer if you want to catch them while they’re still cuddle-worthy.

    Madagascar Live: Operation Vacation
    When you’re ready to cool off from your time on the savannah, head over to the Stanleyville Theater (newly-enclosed and air conditioned!) to “move it, move it” with all your favorite Madagascar friends in this brand new stage show. Accompanied by singers, dancers and a live band, Alex, Gloria, King Julien and of course, those crazy penguins vacation right along with Busch Gardens guests. After the show, stick around for a meet-and-greet and photo op with the characters.

    Summer Nights
    In addition to longer park hours, Busch Gardens is ending each night this summer with its award-winning Kinetix show, a rock-fueled performance by singers, dancers, acrobats and musicians from around the world. And as the grand finale, they light up the sky with an incredible fireworks extravaganza that can be seen from all parts of the park.

    Whether you’re there to take on the legendary roller coasters or to get up close and personal with the newest animal additions, this fun, diverse park is the perfect solution to the end-of-summer slump!

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    The "World's" Coolest Hotel Pool

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    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.

    Sparing no expense to both thrill and chill, guests plunge into an entirely new experience with enticing enrichments inclusive of a new Icon Slide Tower featuring two, 200-foot winding waterslides and one, 90-foot speed waterslide — among the tallest and fastest resort slides in Florida — in addition to a Splash Zone offering kids a zero entry pool and playground, as well as a Kid’s Activity Zone and Poolside Bar and Grill.

    In an effort to continue offering endless experiences that are a “World Beyond Compare,” Orlando’s 200-acre tropical oasis invites summer travelers to slide-in and chill-out with “Suntastic” summer savings, starting at $131/night, bookable now – July 21,  2013, for stays now – Sept. 30, 2013 — representing savings up to 50% off peak season rates — when using promotional code: F8L.

    Orlando World Center Marriott will officially celebrate the multi-million dollar renovation completion July 18-21, inviting vacationers to come make a splash among sun-seekers. With a wide array of on property events and activities, including everything from live poolside music and entertainment, to a luau, golf clinics and yoga on the lawn, as well as culinary events like “Taste of Our World,” cooking classes and an exclusive Wine dinner – there is something to suit every lifestyle and interest. To build excitement and encourage everyone to join the fun and festivities, the resort has started a countdown clock on Facebook (Facebook.com/worldcenter) and will also engage on Twitter (@WorldCenter) using #SlideIntoSummer.

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    Kids splash zone and zero entry pool now open!

    Newly renovated suites with great views and more room for the family.

    Newly renovated suites with great views and more room for the family.

     

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    The World of Chima

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    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 use water cannons to activate the story in each of the scenes along their journey as well as have a chance to battle other boats and guests along the shore line.

    Those interested in even more splash and water fun can experience Cragger’s Swamp play area that features playful bubbles, intermittent water spouts and interactive elements that trigger swamp water effects.

    At the SpeedorzTM Arena, kids will enjoy a super-charged, super-fast competition where multiple players battle against each other using rip cord-powered LEGO vehicles.

    The World of Chima also features a character meet and greet and a merchandise location that carries the latest LEGO Legends of Chima building sets. All of these areas are complemented by the park’s 4-D movie experience, The LEGO Chima Movie Experience, an exclusive to LEGOLAND parks and LEGOLAND Discovery Centers.

    “The World of Chima will become a signature land for LEGOLAND Florida and provides an experience unlike any other in our park today,” said Adrian Jones, LEGOLAND Florida General Manager. “Developing and opening yet another expansion is a prime example of how LEGOLAND Florida continues to provide unique guest experiences, rides, shows and attractions for families with children ages 2-12.”

    The World of Chima features:

    • 2 million LEGO bricks, (bringing the total of LEGO bricks found in LEGOLAND Florida to an astounding 58 million)
    • Nearly 150 LEGO models
    • 219,000 gallons of water in The Quest for CHI
    • Capacity for approximately 1,200 guests per hour to experience The Quest for CHI ride
    • Mount Cavora which stands 55 feet from the ground, Weighs 7,500 lbs., Rushes 1,000 gallons of water every minute

    LEGO® Legends of Chima™ fans can also tune into Cartoon Network on July 10 at 8 p.m. for the cartoon series premiere.

    For the most current information on LEGOLAND Florida and to purchase tickets, visit www.LEGOLAND.com.

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    The new park map with the addition of The World of Chima expansion area, seen on the far right.

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    Character Breakfast

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    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 3 complimentary

    royalpacificconcierge@loewshotels.com
    407-503-3200

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    Flying Monsters 3-D

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    “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 3D,” a new adventure film from award-winning Atlantic Productions, in association with Sky 3D, and distributed by National Geographic Entertainment. The film uses 3D and CGI technology to immerse audiences in a prehistoric world inhabited by pterosaurs, flying vertebrates with a wingspan of up to 45 feet that lived alongside dinosaurs. “Flying Monsters 3D” was produced by filmmaker Anthony Geffen and narrated by veteran filmmaker and renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

    More than 220 million years ago, dinosaurs were beginning their domination of Earth. But another group of reptiles was about to make an extraordinary leap: pterosaurs were taking control of the skies. The story of how and why these mysterious creatures took to the air is more fantastical than any fiction — and one of the greatest mysteries in paleontology. How did lizards the size of giraffes defy gravity and soar through prehistoric skies? Driven by the information he finds as he attempts to answer these questions, Attenborough starts to unravel one of science’s more enduring mysteries, discovering that the marvel of pterosaur flight has evolutionary echoes that resonate even today.

    Applying the same state-of-the-art 3D CGI technology that was used in “Avatar,” “Flying Monsters 3D” also employs pioneering scientific techniques that reveal new details about pterosaurs. From discovering pterosaur embryos that show they might have flown from birth to figuring out how a creature the size of a giraffe could possibly fly, “Flying Monsters 3D” will resolve mysteries that have intrigued scientists for more than two centuries.

    “It’s almost as if this animated 3D technology was created to tell our story,” Geffen said. “With a pterosaur’s eye-view of a hyper-real prehistoric Earth in 3D CGI, our audience will see the challenges of survival, including courtship, flying and hunting.”

    “3D is a wonderful way of seeing the world as the pterosaurs did,” Attenborough said. “Pterosaurs are the most unlikely of creatures, but they dominated the skies for millions of years, and now this film will enable us to fly in 3D with them, the largest flying creatures the world has ever known.”

    “Flying Monsters 3D” will be showing at Orlando Science Center through fall 2013.

    See “Flying Monsters 3D” with admission to Orlando Science Center which is $19 for adults and $13 for youth. Tickets also include access to all four floors of exhibits, unlimited educational films, one Hollywood feature film and live presentations.

    For more information and show times, please call 407.514.2000 or visit www.osc.org. Visit the film’s official website at www.FlyingMonsters3Dmovie.com.

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    Extreme Weather Safety Station

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    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 life a series of 2004 “Kids Get a Plan” books.

    Developed jointly by IDEAS Orlando and the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the station’s interactive monitors allow children to explore new games and learn how to keep themselves safe from lightning, severe thunderstorms, hurricanes, and dry weather fire hazards. Florida holds the record in the nation for the highest amount of deaths by lightning strikes, is ranked third in average tornado frequency, and experiences the second highest number of wildfires, making weather safety education vital.

    As a pilot partner, the History Center and its visitors will help fine-tune the experience, while additional books and games are added to the station throughout the summer. “Kids Get a Plan” will travel throughout the state beginning in the fall of 2013. Visit thehistorycenter.org/exhibitions/current for more information.

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    Visit Space Shuttle Atlantis

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    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 than 60 interactive exhibits and high-tech simulators while shining a spotlight on the astounding achievements made during the shuttle program.

    For the very first time, the public will be able to get nose to nose with what many consider to be the most complex machine ever built by mankind – almost close enough to touch it.
    Other highlights and thematic areas include:

    • The Entrance – Outside Space Shuttle Atlantis, guests are greeted by a full-scale, 184-foot-tall vertical replica of the space shuttle’s external tank and two solid rocket boosters, giving visitors a true sense of the awesome power needed to launch the shuttle into orbit. The entrance walkway is lined with river rocks from Kennedy Space Center’s crawlerway, upon which Saturn V rockets and space shuttles were transported to the launch pads.
    • The Building – Space Shuttle Atlantis features two sweeping architectural elements, or “wings,” representing the space shuttle’s launch and return. The outer layer of the building, cloaked in iridescent hues of orange and gold, represents the fiery glow of re-entry. The taller, internal wing of the building is covered in a shimmering gray tile pattern representing the tiled underside of the orbiter. The building is designed to meet LEED Silver sustainability standards.
    • The Preshow – Multimedia and cinematic presentations build anticipation by illustrating the evolution of the 30-year Space Shuttle Program and the thousands of people who took part in creating and maintaining NASA’s five space-flown shuttles – Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour.
    • Hubble Space Telescope Theater – A high-fidelity replica shows the Hubble Space Telescope in all its glory, 43 feet long and 14 feet in diameter, with its solar panels fully deployed. A cinematic production in the 40-seat theater shows highlights of the Hubble program, including its 1990 launch, subsequent repair missions and stunning images of deep space.
    • International Space Station Gallery – Guests can climb aboard a high-fidelity replica of ISS modules and experience the sensation of floating in space. An interactive touch screen offers a variety of topics about living and working aboard the ISS. The topics are then explained using real footage shot exclusively for the Microgravity Theater by actual ISS crewmembers, who are shown in zero gravity inside the ISS. Freestanding pods recreate components of the station, including upside-down astronaut sleeping quarters and the space potty. A 16-foot-long, 4-foot-tall interactive media wall tracks the location of the ISS and provides downloads from the crew’s Twitter feed, as well as exciting updates about the scientific research conducted.
    • Shuttle Launch Experience – Guests can “get vertical” and strap in to experience the sights, sounds and sensations of a space shuttle launch. Veteran NASA astronauts who helped develop the attraction call it the next best thing to an actual space shuttle launch.
    • Astronaut Training Simulators – Future astronauts can practice landing the orbiter, docking to the ISS and manipulating the robotic Canadarm on 21 consoles modeled after actual NASA training simulators.
    • On Orbit Gallery – The 24-foot-long interactive Space Transportation System (STS) Timeline brings NASA’s 135 space shuttle missions to life with details on every launch, landing, astronaut, payload and more. Banks of interactive monitors provide an “X-ray” view of Atlantis’s crucial systems and prerecorded views of its interior, including the cockpit, middeck and payload bay. At the rear of Atlantis, guests can see an actual 8,000-pound space shuttle main engine. Virtual reality simulators invite guests to test their spacewalking skills, while budding commanders can take the controls in a space shuttle cockpit replica.
    • Space Shuttle Processing Area – The authentic “beanie cap,” or vent hood, from Launch Pad 39B finds a new home at the “Blast Off” game in which guests can kick together virtual molecules of hydrogen and oxygen to create the space shuttle’s liquid fuel. They can also try their hand at virtually mating the orbiter to the shuttle stack in the Vehicle Assembly Building. The wheels and tires from Atlantis’ final mission, STS-135, are also available for guests to touch and spin.
    • The Re-entry Zone – Visitors can see what it takes for astronauts to land the orbiter as a high-speed glider, creating their own sonic booms and gliding, or rather, sliding, to a landing on the steep slope of the Re-entry Slide.
    • Shuttle Express Gift Shop – The 4,000-square-foot shop features a wide array of shuttle and space-related merchandise displayed amid youth artwork depicting their visions for the future of space flight.

    Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (Kennedy Space Center), Fla. – the home of human spaceflight, 45 minutes east of Orlando.

    #ShuttleAtlantis
    Twitter: @ExploreSpaceKsc
    facebook.com/KennedySpaceCenterVisitorComplex
     

     

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    TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D

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    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 a powerful storyline, powerful technology, all-new hyper-real animation and massive sets into an action-adventure that grabs riders and does not let them go until the very last second.

    Riders are recruited for a high-tech, good versus evil battle in which they must save Planet Earth.  They join iconic film characters Optimus Prime and the Autobots as they fight Megatron and the Decepticons to the end.

    The 3D-action is mind-blowing and everywhere all at once; the 4K high-definition animation breathtakingly real.  Riders burst into battles between “life-sized,” three-story-tall Autobots and Decepticons.  They dodge relentless attacks, explosions and missiles.  And they come face-to-face with Megatron – who wants to destroy them.

    For more information about Universal Orlando and TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D, visit www.universalorlando.com.

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    Father's Day Craft

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    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)
    • Small cleaned out yogurt container
    • Acrylic Paint (optional)
    • Paint Brush (optional)

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    Steps:

    1. Add double sided foam tape to both sides of the paint brush. This will help to hold the aluminum foil “body” in place.
    2. Using skin-toned Model Magic and working on top of wax paper begin to create your Dad’s face. Wrap the “skin” around the metal part of your paint brush and down the handle just a bit (the foam tape in this area will help to hold it in place). Create the eyes, nose, ears and mouth and attach it all to the face. As you do this think about what your Dad really looks like … Does he have glasses? … Does he have a mole or freckle on his cheek, or a mustache or beard? … Does he have an earring?  What makes your Dad unique create it and add it to your figure.
    3. Tear off a medium sized piece of aluminum foil and start to wrap and crumble it around the paint brush handle just below the neck area of your figure. Take another piece of foil and wrap and crumble it over the first layer, but start to build your figure’s base. The bottom should be wide and flat in order for your figure to stand up.
    4. To create the arms tear off 3 medium-sized pieces of aluminum foil and fold them width wise to create 3 bands. Take one of the bands and crumple the aluminum foil to create your figure’s arms. Take the “arm” band and place it behind your figure and bring the arms in front, now use the other two bands to secure the arms by wrapping them one at a time over the shoulders and around the back and back to the front. Position your arms as desired.
    5. Cover the foil body with Model Magic for the shirts and hands. Get creative with your shirts!
    6. Now it is time to personalize your figure. Think about the things that your Dad likes to do; Does he play soccer, does he play guitar, does he listen to his IPod? Use the Model Magic and create that special something or maybe you want to add a cup to your figure so your Dad can use it for his guitar picks, golf tees, pens, spare change or anything his heart desires! Take a used cleaned out yogurt cup and decorate it and place it in your figure’s hands/arms.

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    Father’s Day Craft Workshop

    At The Craft Shack
    172 W. Warren Ave., Longwood

    Saturday, June 15, 2013
    11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

    $25 includes all supplies and materials

    Call to reserve your spot today: 407-448-1375
    The Craft Shack Website

     

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    Family Summer Camp

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    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!

    Free BB Shooting Range
    Noon-5 p.m.
    Try out the new BB shooting range. A great acitivity to enjoy after attending the Exploring Shooting & Hunting workshops!

    Free Carousel
    Noon-5 p.m.
    Ride along on a wildlife carousel filled with outdoor critters galore while enjoying festive music and lights!

    Free Shooting Arcade
    Noon-5 p.m.
    Take aim at the shooting arcade and compete against others to see who hits the most targets!

    Free Crafts
    Noon-2 p.m.
    While supplies last.

    Sample Homemade Ice Cream
    Saturdays only, 5-6 p.m.
    While supplies last.

    Workshops begin at Noon every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday
    Get a free lanyard and then earn a free pin for every workshop you complete! All workshops will be approximately 20 minutes in length.

    • Archery: Learn about bowhunting, equipment and safety tips. This year we’ll also learn more about the sport of bowfishing! Tuesdays at 2 p.m., Thursdays at Noon, Sundays at 1 p.m.
    • Fishing: We’ll discuss saltwater vs. freshwater. Learn about saltwater species and tackle. Do you know how to choose the right lure for different water conditions? Tuesdays at 1 p.m., Saturdays at Noon
    • Exploring Shooting & Hunting: We’ll discuss the history of hunting and conservation benefits along with safety tips. Learn interesting facts from the experts from the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). Thursdays at 1 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m., Sundays at Noon
    • Bird Watching: What birds will we discover this year? Learn about the fuction of different types of feathers. Tuesdays at Noon, Saturdays at 4 p.m.
    • Camping: What animals might you see while camping? We’ll talk about these and other fun tips for your next camping trip. Thursdays at 4 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m.
    • Water Safety, Fun and You!: Prepare for your summertime adventures around the water. Learn about how to play it safe while swimming and boating. Thursdays at 3 p.m., Saturdays at 1 p.m.
    • Backyard Adventure: Discover animals and insects you find in your own backyard. Learn about their homes and what they eat. Are they harmful or helpful? Tuesdays at 4 p.m, Sundays at 4 p.m.
    • Wildlife Exploration: We’ll discuss mammals, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods. Learn about their habitats and how they survive in the wild. Thursdays at 2 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.
    • Outdoor Discovery & Conservation: Listen to tips on how to enjoy the outdoors while hiking. We’ll discuss comfort, safety and ways to conserve the beauty of the outdoors. Have you heard about geocaching? Learn how to enjoy this fun activity! Tuesdays at 3 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m.

    Catch & Release Pond and FREE 4×6 Photo with Dad
    Saturdays and Sundays, June 8&9; And Father’s Day weekend, June 15&16, Noon-5 p.m.

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    Dinosaur World Offers Florida Resident Special

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    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 just $10.95; allowing a family of four to visit the theme park for less than $50!

    Don’t miss the largest Fossil Dig in Florida or the all-new Dino Gems Excavation. Enjoy the colossal skeletal playground area and explore the animatronic dinosaurs in the Hall of Dinosaurs Museum; both are sure to contain even the loudest pitter-patter of little dinosaur feet!

    Summer Florida Resident Special
    Adults – $10.95 per person
    Children (3-12) – $10.95 per person
    Children under 3 are always FREE!
    Offer Expires:  September 2, 2013
    Proof of Residency Required, Per Adult.  All rates are plus tax.

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    Aquatica's After-2 p.m. Unlimited Admission Pass

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    What makes Aquatica Orlando’s can’t-miss waterpark? By offering the latest and hottest deal for locals to enjoy Central Florida’s coolest beach again and again – including the After-2 p.m. Pass.

    For the cost of a single day’s admission, guests can enjoy Aquatica after 2 p.m. throughout the rest of 2013.  With no blackout dates and unlimited admission to Aquatica, after 2 p.m., Orlando’s coolest beach is a hit for all ages time after time. Whether it’s tiny tots splashing around in Kata’s Kookaburra Cove®, teens sliding down Taumauta Racer® or adults relaxing on the laid-back beaches, guests can enjoy Aquatica all year long.

    This is a one-of-a-kind waterpark that could only come from SeaWorld®. Inspired by a whimsical take on the South Seas, Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark, immerses guests in the playfulness of the sea, taking them in, over and under the water with the world’s most unique water rides and animal encounters. Aquatica mixes animal experiences, waters from serene to extreme, high speed waterslide thrills and wide, sandy beaches to create a day of non-stop fun.

    Aquatica’s After-2 p.m. Pass is $50 for children, ages 3-9, and $55 for adults. To learn more about Aquatica or to buy your After-2 p.m. pass, visit AquaticaOrlando.com, call 888-800-5447, or visit our ticket counters at Aquatica.

     

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    Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

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    Few have ventured to Antarctica, the coldest, windiest and driest continent on earth.  Now at SeaWorld Orlando you’ll feel what’s it like to take a voyage to the bottom of the world when you explore Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.

    Families will feel the majestic grandeur of the South Pole and see it through the eyes of a special hero penguin named Puck on a first-of-its-kind family ride. Guests will explore a massive penguin colony in an expanse that envelops them in cool extremes, both above and below the penguins’ icy world.

    This amazing new attraction – SeaWorld’s largest – is sure to top must-see lists for summer vacations. In fact, according to Frommer’s, Antarctica was named one of “The 8 Most Exciting Amusement Park Additions of 2013.”

    Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin combines a first-of-its-kind family adventure ride with up-close penguin encounters.  It’s all new, and it’s only at SeaWorld Orlando.

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    Disney's Monstrous Summer

    To announce the 24-hour Disney Parks “All-Nighter,” the sphere of Spaceship Earth in Epcot was transformed from Disney Parks icon to Disney●Pixar “Eye-con,” becoming a 180-foot-tall, fully animated Mike Wazowski from the upcoming Disney●Pixar film Monsters University. Epcot is located at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (David Roark, photographer)

    To announce the 24-hour Disney Parks “All-Nighter,” the sphere of Spaceship Earth in Epcot was transformed from Disney Parks icon to Disney●Pixar “Eye-con,” becoming a 180-foot-tall, fully animated Mike Wazowski from the upcoming Disney●Pixar film Monsters University. Epcot is located at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (David Roark, photographer)

    Monstrous Surprises Around Every Corner

    Be on the lookout for Mike and Sulley from the upcoming Disney•Pixar film Monsters University. They’re scaring up all kinds of surprises throughout the summer at Walt Disney World Resort.

    • Monstrous 24-Hour “All-Nighter”: A Monsters University-themed kick-off to a Monstrous Summer where you can spend an entire day (and night) inside Magic Kingdom park—don’t miss your chance for a firsthand education in fright!
    • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor: Led by Mike—the “monster of ceremonies”—a colorful gang of comics has been studying up on their jokes. Will they graduate to new comedic materials? Check out the “frights” and sounds in this attraction to see for yourself!
    • The “Monsterail”: One of the iconic Monorail trains has been redesigned and monster-ized with visuals from the newest Disney•Pixar film. So go ahead and hop onboard—this is one frighteningly fun Monorail ride you won’t soon forget!
    • Monsters University Meet Up: Drop in to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a magical encounter with some monstrous friends from Disney•Pixar’s Monsters University, and pop off a few frighteningly good photos with Mike and Sulley!
    • Monstrous Summer Wake-Up Call: Start the days during your stay the most monstrous of ways—schedule a call and wake up to the voice of Monsters University scare student, Mike Wazowski, each morning when staying at select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels!
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    Walt Disney World Resort guests Patrick Dougall, left, and Kaitlyn Gladden, of Orlando, Fla., rock their pajamas at the Disney Parks All-Nighter dance party May 25, 2013 at Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kellie Warren, photographer)

    DISCOVER DISNEY Discount:
    From now until early June, Florida residents can kick-start their summer — and score real savings with the Discover Disney ticket, offering three days of park-going fun for $119 (plus tax) for adults and children age three and up. The special Florida resident ticket can be purchased through June 3, 2013 for use any day (excluding block-out dates) from now through June 7, 2013.

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    Blue Man Group "Making Waves"

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    BMG-MakingWavesBlue Man Group—Making Waves, the national touring exhibit will open at Orlando Science Center on Saturday, May 25.

    The 1,500-square-foot exhibit—designed to bring together science and art—will take the whole family through a multi-sensory exploration of sound that provides an opportunity to play together while discovering the fun of music.

    Onstage, the Blue Man is one-part inquisitive child, one-part trickster and one-part superhero on a journey of discovery. Throughout Blue Man Group—Making Waves, families are encouraged to learn, play and explore with the same curiosity as these renowned performing artists.

    Co-founder of Blue Man Group Chris Wink says, “After years of being able to express ourselves creatively on stage, it has become increasingly important to us to develop experiences that encourage and expand the creative development of others—particularly children and their parents. We’re very excited to see this exhibit come to life with JBL technology, and who better to demonstrate the true value of understanding quality sound than Harman.”

    At the Slide-u-lum, Build-u-lum, Sand Drum and Theramin, children will have an opportunity to see, feel and create sound. At the PVC Station, visitors of all ages will have a chance to play the unique Blue Man Group instruments while learning how sound works. The whole experience culminates in the JBL®-equipped Surround Sound Theater where engineering genius combines with a short musical piece by Blue Man Group to illustrate the elements of sound.

    On Sunday, June 2 from Noon-2 p.m., the Blue Man Group will be visiting the Science Center to interact with guests in the exhibit, conducting paint and music workshops, and hosting a homemade instrument contest. They will play the Tube Phones, Slide-u-lum, Build-u-lum, Sand Drum, PVCs and Belly Drum and engage with guests the best way they know how through fun and discovery. They will also roam all four floors of the Science Center, where guests can get up close and personal with Blue Man Group.

    The exhibit will be at Orlando Science Center through the summer.

    Admission to the Orlando Science Center is $19 for adults and $13 for youth (ages 3–11) and includes access to “Blue Man Group—Making Waves” as well as all four floors of exhibits, giant-screen films in the Dr. Phillips CineDome, one Hollywood feature-length film in the Digital Adventure Theater: A National Geographic Experience and live programming.

    For more information, visit www.osc.org or call 407.514.2000.

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    Orlando REP 2013/14 Season

    The Orlando Repertory Theatre’s 2013/2014 Season Lineup

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    Now Showing: The Wizard of Oz

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    Now playing at Pinocchio’s Marionette Theater…

    The Wizard of Oz
    A 45-minute string puppet musical. Dorothy and friends follow a yellow brick road!
    www.pinocchios.net

    May 8 through June 30, 2013
    Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m.
    Saturday: 12:30, 2:45, 5 p.m.*
    Sunday: 1 p.m., 3 p.m.*, 5 p.m.
    Tickets $6 for adults and children 2 years and up

    *Reservations are encouraged but usually not necessary, as there is currently availability for all shows (except for the 3 p.m. show on May 26 and the 5 p.m. show on June 1). To make reservations or to check availability for your family, group, or school, please call 407-834-8757 or, preferably, BoxOffice@Pinocchios.net.

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    Summer on the Cheap

    Fun For The Family, Easy On The Wallet

    Download this guide to fun and inexpensive activities to make summer twenty-thirteen the most memorable yet!

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    Handmade Gift for Mom

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    What mom doesn’t love flowers for a special occasion? The Craft Shack has created this step-by-step guide to create a special Mother’s day gift that includes a flower that will last a lifetime! This adorable Mother’s Day canvas can be made from recycled materials, is fun to make and a sweet gift for Mom.

    You Will Need:

    • Upcycle an old canvas (prep with gesso) or buy a new one
    • Acrylic paints from your art bin
    • Any paint brushes you have around the house
    • Mod Podge (available at any art store)
    • Any type of glue
    • Reuse some old rubber stamps, bubble wrap, or anything that will make texture
    • Reuse some fabric scraps or old scrapbook paper (small prints work best)
    • Ribbon scraps or lace pieces
    • Chenille stems (AKA pipe cleaners)
    • Photo of Mom and kid(s)

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    Step 1: Gather your fabric scraps or scrapbook paper and decide what color chenille stems would work best.

    Step 2: One chenille stem will make two petals.  Cut the chenille stem into half and bend into a petal shape (tear drop).  Twist one end around the other to secure.  This will leave a small tail.

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    Step 3: Add a line of glue around one side of the petal (leave out the tail) and place the petal on top of the fabric or scrapbook paper.  Press down to ensure a good bond and let dry completely.  Repeat for all petals.

    Step 4: While the petals are drying paint your canvas, “junk” it up with stamps and/or add texture by using bubble wrap or anything else you can find.

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    Step 5: Using modpodge adhere your photograph.  Frame your picture with ribbon using glue to adhere.

    Step 6: Once the petals are dry, trim the fabric or scrapbook paper being careful not to cut through where the glue was applied.

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    Step 7: Glue petals onto canvas in a flower shape.

    Step 8: Add a button or any other embellishment for the center of the flower.

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    Step 9: Type out a saying on your computer, cut it out and glue it down.  You could also stamp or write directly on the canvas.

     

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    Mother’s Day Mixed Media Canvas Workshop

    At The Craft Shack

    172 W. Warren Ave., Longwood

    Saturday, May 11, 2013

    10:00 am – 12:00 pm

    $25 includes all supplies and materials

    Call to reserve your spot today: 407-448-1375

    The Craft Shack Website

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    Chocolate Kingdom

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    Orlando’s new chocolate factory tour.

    Want to know what heaven smells like? One visit to Chocolate Kingdom, and it’s pretty clear. It’s a family affair for the Schaked family, who just developed the royally fun, interactive family tour in Kissimmee.

    This chocolate adventure got started when Edgar’s father announced that he was retiring and selling his chocolate shop in South Florida. Third-generation chocolatier Edgar, determined to keep the family`s passion alive, scrapped his engineering career to continue the family legacy. In 1995, the first Schakolad retail store opened in Winter Park. “We wanted to make it special,” says Schaked, who is married to Aileen and is dad to Max (9) and Sophie (7).

    In addition to the Schakolad retail stores, the Schakeds also produce the annual Festival of Chocolate. From there came the idea for Chocolate Kingdom, an interactive chocolate factory tour. “We noticed the eagerness from people to learn more about how chocolate is made,” says Edgar. That’s when Edgar packed up his family and the group traveled to Germany and France and throughout Europe visiting chocolate museums. “I wanted to see how my children would react to the museums,” says Edgar. The reaction? Not good. “They were bored. There was a lot of reading,” he says.

    Upon their return, the Schakeds developed a story that would make the Chocolate Kingdom tour entertaining for both adults and children. As a former Disney producer, Aileen created three characters, modeled after her own children, who help tell the story of chocolate. “Prince George the Good Looking is my son (complete with different-colored eyes), Princess Chocolina is my daughter, and the silly dragon is modeled after our dog, Lucy,” says Aileen.

    The adorable story line follows Princess Chocolina on her 21st birthday. “Princes from around the land are coming to the castle to bring her a gift in hopes that she will choose one to marry,” says Edgar. The animated story comes replete with a dragon, a dashing prince and a fairy tale ending. “The dragon melts the prince’s gift of chocolate shoes, so the poor prince has to create a new pair,” says Edgar. The animated prince interacts with the audience throughout the 45-minute tour as tour goers learn how chocolate is made. Of course, the prince makes the chocolate shoes, and he gets the girl. Never fear, the audience gets a piece of the fairy tale action by receiving a pair of yummy chocolate shoes.

    Tours run daily from 1  to 7 p.m. The cost is $15 for adults and $12 for children 4 to 12 years old.

    Chocolate Overload
    If you find your kiddo wanting more after the tour, good news! Chocolate Kingdom offers customized birthday parties, private group tours and even summer camps.

    Summer camps will run one to three days. The children will learn how to make things with chocolate. We can’t think of a better way to get your chocolate fix!

    For more information, call 407-705-3475 or go to ChocolateKingdom.com.

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    Mother's Day Celebration Ideas

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    Mother’s Day is just around the corner and Daddy Nickell has brainstormed some creative ways to tell Mom just how much she is loved on her special day.

    • Breakfast in Bed: As kids get older, they love to make things for Mom. Nothing is more special than making a memory! Mother’s Day morning, surprise Mom in bed with her favorite breakfast foods. Bring up family photos to share and talk about special family times spent together.
    • Plant a Garden: What Mom doesn’t love using fresh ingredients in her meals? Even if you have a small space, you can plant a special garden for Mom to enjoy. Consider using a beautiful planter with ingredients to make her own special salsa. Include items like sweet peppers, jalapenos, onions, Chile peppers, cilantro, and tomatoes. Not only will planting the garden together be memorable, but every time she gathers ingredients from the garden she will be reminded of the time spent together as a family.
    • Spa Day: Set the mood for a nice relaxing day for Mom. Let her know how much you appreciate her by creating a family spa experience. Light candles in her favorite scent to set the mood. Play some of her favorite songs in the background. Start the experience with stretching or yoga to loosen up her muscles. Have a fruit smoothie ready for her when she is done. Fill a basin with warm water to soak her feet, give her a hand massage, then paint her nails. While her polish is drying, slip cucumber slices on her eyes while her egg white/yogurt (2 egg whites combined with 2 T plain Greek yogurt) facial refreshes her skin.  After a nice hot shower, have lunch on the patio.
    • Create at Blessings Book: Cover a composition book with patterned paper. Inside, use special writing pens to jot down special memories shared with Mom or Mom’s words of wisdom. Include family photos of favorite times shared together. Leave space at the back of the book for her to write down the things she is most grateful for in her life. This will be a gift she will cherish forever.
    • Make a Family Video: Pretend you’re a journalist writing a story about Mom. Interview all of the kids in the family and have them share what makes their Mom so special. Be sure to include special memories like stories she read to you, family traditions, and favorite recipes. You can also include interviews with her parents and siblings to document her success as a Mom. This will also make a sentimental family heirloom to be passed down through generations.

    Robert Nickell (a.k.a. Daddy Nickell), father of 7, offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of DaddyScrubs.com, delivery room duds, gifts and apparel for dads, and the Daddyscrubs.com blog where he covers topics about parenting and the latest baby and kids gear, all from a Dad’s perspective.

    Photo by The Nielsens Photography

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    Big Time Rush @ Universal Studios

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    Register for a chance to win a ticket to the Big Time Rush concert at the Universal Studios Florida Music Plaza on Sat., June 8.

    Universal Orlando Resort announced today one of the powerhouse acts performing at the 2013 Summer Concert Series. Big Time Rush will return to the Universal Studios Florida Music Plaza stage on Sat., June 8. Summer Concert Series features six nights of incredible performances, including some of the biggest names in the music industry.  The full line-up will be announced at a later date.

    Before the concert, Universal Studios Florida guests will have a chance to interact with members of Big Time Rush in a live Q&A session.

    Universal Orlando Resort and Nickelodeon are giving fans a chance to win a trip to the concert event through a sweepstakes starting April 1.  One lucky fan will win a trip to meet Big Time Rush, watch them perform a live concert and enjoy Universal Orlando’s two amazing theme parks. Plus, 50 additional winners will win the new Big Time Rush album. Fans should go to http://ads.nick.com/sponsors/2013/universal/big-time-rush-sweeps/ to register for a chance to win.

    By day, guests can enjoy some of the most popular entertainment experiences in the world– including the hilarious and heartwarming Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. On Saturday nights from June 1 to July 6, park guests can rock out to a live performance by a multi-platinum artist at the Music Plaza, a venue illuminated by the colorful LED lights of Universal Studios’ most rockin’ coaster, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.  And soon guests can join the intergalactic battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons on TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D, opening summer 2013.

    Access to Summer Concert Series performances is included with admission to Universal Studios Florida. For more information on this year’s event, visit http://www.universalorlando.com/Events/Summer-Concert-Series.aspx.

     

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    Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog

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    May 4 – September 8: Join Clifford, Emily Elizabeth and the other residents of Birdwell Island in a new exhibit opening at the Orlando Science Center.

    This traveling exhibit, on display May 4 through September 8, teaches guests Clifford’s Big Ideas — 10 simple, tangible life lessons designed to help children navigate their world. Clifford’s home on Birdwell Island comes to life with playful activities and delightful environments, giving children and caregivers a chance to explore Clifford’s world first-hand.

    “Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog” is included in general admission to the Orlando Science Center which is $19 for adults and $13 for youth (ages 3-11). Tickets include access to all four floors of exhibits, unlimited educational films, one Hollywood feature film and live presentations.

    www.osc.org

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    Sheryl Crow at SeaWorld Orlando

    Sheryl Crow and family spent St. Patrick’s Day at SeaWorld Orlando prior to her performance during the park’s Bands, Brew & BBQ Festival.

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    Sheryl Crow and her sons, Levi and Wyatt, not only got to “soak up the sun” in Orlando on St. Patrick’s Day, but also were able to meet Clyde, a California sea lion and huge Sheryl Crow fan. Crow performed at SeaWorld Orlando’s annual Bands, Brew & BBQ festival, which featured a variety of craft brews, barbecue selections and chart-topping country and rock performances.

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    Clyde, a California sea lion, lets Sheryl Crow know that all he wants to do is have some fun, too. Crow met Clyde before performing live at SeaWorld Orlando March 17 for the park’s annual Bands, Brew & BBQ festival, which featured a variety of craft brews, barbecue selections and chart-topping country and rock performances.

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    Anchors Aweigh

    A group of sailors compete in a recent regatta at Lake Eustis.

    A group of sailors compete in a recent regatta at Lake Eustis.

    Looking for a sport that will blow your kids away? Try sailing. You’ll be surprised at all the options right here in Central Florida.

    Written by Lupe Tucker

    When brother and sister Justin and Leah Harper were ages 8 and 9, respectively, they enrolled in the Learn to Sail program at Lake Eustis Sailing Club. Within a few days, they were at the helm of their own boats. Now, the Harpers, ages 10 and 11, from Oviedo, sail Optimist dinghies on Lake Eustis every Saturday and even compete against other local children.

    For mom Connie Harper, sailing has helped her kids be more confident and independent. “They learn how to be brave and not depend on their parents and teachers for every little thing,” she says. For the kids, it’s just plain fun. “You can go wherever you want on the water. In a car, you can’t do that,” says Justin.

    Just Add Water
    One of Central Florida’s best-kept secrets is that there are quite a few kid-friendly sailing schools in the area. And if your child can swim, he or she can learn to sail. Sailing doesn’t discriminate on physical prowess — children of all heights, sizes and even mental abilities can excel equally at sailing. The best part is by your child’s learning to sail, you put him or her in direct contact with nature. “I’ve seen fish jump out of the water,” says Justin, “and you have to find where the wind is, so you have to learn about that.” The unique thing about sailing is that children are in charge of their own boat. They have to engage the brain and adapt to the shifting winds to navigate themselves around a lake.

    Safety First
    Worried about having your little one all alone on a boat in the middle of the lake? Don’t be, says mom Connie. “The coaches are always out there with a safety boat, and the kids always have their life jackets on,” she says.

    A typical first class for any sailing program is spent teaching the children safety procedures and drills, such as how to flip a boat that has turtled. “The teacher taught us how to flip it over, how to bring it back up and right it,” explains Leah. “[We learned] how to sail it in the pool. Then she took us out on the lake and taught us the basics.”

    Both Justin and Leah sail for sport. Because lakes are abundant in Florida, there are many opportunities for young sailors to compete in friendly races around the state. “Just a few weeks ago, there was a regatta at Lake Eustis,” says Leah. “I raced and got fourth place overall. There were like 20 boats.”

    Not Just for the Elite
    One misconception is that sailing is an elite sport, and therefore expensive, but in reality, at the entry level, the costs are about the same as for any other sport. The biggest investment is sun protection, a life jacket and sunglasses. Beginner lessons run about $200 at Lake Eustis. And the benefits are endless. Sailing can open a child’s eyes to the world around him or her, and it teaches the child to respect the elements, all while having a blast in the great outdoors. Sailing moms, including Connie, agree. “I think they gain a lot of confidence,” she explains. “They learn how to deal with situations on their own because they’re by themselves on the boat.”

    “What’s cool about sailing,” says Leah, “is you get to meet a lot of really cool people. You get to travel to different places for regattas. … It’s really fun.” If you want to give your child an adventure and instill a positive change in his or her life, try sailing. You’ll not only be giving your child something to do this summer, but you also will be embarking with them on an adventure of a lifetime.

    Where to Go
    • Lake Eustis Sailing Club offers sailing with Learn to Sail summer camps from July 9 to 19. Call 352-357-5976, or visit www.lakeeustissailingclub.org.
    • U-Sail of Central Florida offers one-on-one and parent-child sailing instruction year-round on Lake Monroe in Sanford. Call 407-330-0633, or visit www.usailflorida.com.

    Takeaways From Olympic Contenders:
    Brother and sister sailors Zach and Paige Railey started sailing as 8-year-olds through the Clearwater Community Sailing Association in Clearwater. Now in their 20s, they’ll be sailing for the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team in the 2012 Summer Olympics. And believe it or not, their parents didn’t know anything about sailing before the two started lessons. The reason they tried sailing? “We always loved being around the water,” says Zach.

    If you want to get your feet wet and give sailing a go, here are some of the benefits the Raileys gained from sailing as youngsters:

    LIFELONG FRIENDS: “For us, sailing was about being with friends, sailing to the next island, beaching our boats, then sitting around, talking and swimming,” says Paige.

    INDEPENDENCE:  “The biggest thing about sailing at a young age is that it develops your independence very quickly — not the kind of independence where, ‘I don’t need mom and dad anymore,’ but it helps kids take responsibility [for] doing things at a younger age,” explains Zach.

    DISCIPLINE: “A lot of discipline comes with sailing because at such a young age, you’re [responsible for taking care of your boat and staying safe],” says Paige. “Sailing teaches you the simple things, like how to be clean with your stuff and appreciate your equipment.”

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    All Aboard

    Calling all parents and their mini-conductor-wannabes. If your kids go loco for locomotives, check out these chug-a-lug kids rides throughout Central Florida.

    Written by Jen Burg

    Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Garden

    Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Garden

    Before you visit the animals at the Zoo, take a ride on Champ the Train.
    Track Length:  1 mile
    Capacity:  36 passengers
    Ride Duration:  10 minutes
    Ticket Price:  $3 for adults, $2 for kids

    Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
    3755 NW Highway 17-92, Sanford
    407-323-4450 www.centralfloridazoo.org

    Downtown Disney Train Ride

    Downtown Disney

    What makes shopping for Mickey ears even more fun? A train, of course! You’ll hear this mini-motive’s train whistle beckoning for lil’ engineers galore!
    Track Length:  About 50 feet
    Capacity:  22 kids
    Ride Duration:  2 minutes
    Ticket Price:  $2 for kids

    Downtown Disney Marketplace
    1780 E. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista
    407-828-3800 www.disney.com

    Gatorland Train

    Gatorland

    Hop on board The Gatorland Express for a gatorific ride around “the alligator capital of the world.”
    Track Length:  1/2 mile
    Capacity:  70 passengers
    Ride Duration:  15 minutes
    Ticket Price:  $2 per person

    Gatorland
    14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando
    407-855-5496 www.gatorland.com

    Green Meadows Farm Train

    Green Meadows Farm

    She can pet the chickens, goats and the train. After getting to know the local critters, take a trip on this locomotive chugging around the farm.
    Track Length:  About 1 mile
    Capacity:  70 passengers
    Ride Duration:  8 minutes
    Ticket Price:  Included with admission to Green Meadows

    Green Meadows Farm
    1368 S. Poinciana Blvd., Kissimmee
    407-846-407-846-0770  www.greenmeadowsfarm.com

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    Central Florida Camping With Kids

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    Getting down and dirty with Mother Nature requires a little bit of guts and a lot of gusto, resulting in pure glory for those granola munchers in your back seat. Whether you’re a grizzly bear or a teddy bear when it comes to the great outdoors, Central Florida has just the right fit for your wilderness excursions.

    Written by Jenny Fauser
    Photography by Abby Liga
    Modeled by Justin, Angela, Jake and Gracie of Orlando
    Shot on location at Wekiva Island

    TEDDY BEAR

    You prefer to traverse the jungle via the beaten path. Making friends with the forest is a priority to you, but you’re not quite ready to take Pocahontas and her little sidekick paddling over any waterfalls. Take camping up a notch. Put away the preschool pop-up tent in her room and grab the inflatable air mattress; it’s time to welcome her to the woods.

    CAMPING Well, more like “glamping” (glamour + camping)
    If you’re nervous about those lions and tigers and bears, Disney’s Fort Wilderness provides quality time with Mother Nature without getting the mother of all meltdowns from your kids. Boat rides, bike paths, an outdoor movie, Chip ‘n’ Dale, sing-alongs, fireworks from the boat dock, campfires, a fabulous kiddie pool, playgrounds galore, ponies to peer at and, oh yes, great campsites (with clean restrooms always nearby) make this place a five-star destination. Forget grilling your meals; hit the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue for dinner and a good ol’-fashioned jamboree instead. Even in the woods, the Disney magic works!

    HIKING
    Nestled along State Road 535 near Windermere, the Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve is the place to take your novice nature lovers. Pine needle-covered paths, a bridge over a swamp and a lush forest surround you as you hike with your tots (or older kids). Afterward, visit the hands-on nature center to learn about the plants and animals you’ve discovered. Plan to peruse the preserve any day of the week except Monday and Tuesday, when it’s closed for maintenance. 8777 S.R. 535, Shore of Lake Tibet-Butler, Orlando 407-876-6696

    CANOEING/KAYAKING
    Sing with me, “Just a boy and a girl in a little canoe …” The Wekiwa Springs State Park canoe trip is easy breezy for your tiny Indian braves. You’ve got your choice of tooling around the open area (likened to a lake-filled swimming pool) near the marina or voyaging further down the waterway to catch a peek at the wildlife. Keep in mind, this is an up and back trip. Be sure to account for that as you sing your way down the river.
    1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka 407-884-4311

    DSC_0351-silly-cards

    BLACK BEAR

    You want your kids to love the outdoors and realize the practicality of having a portable potty and your minivan within walking distance. Short trips, helpful gear and new challenges are just what your tree huggers need. Grab the sunscreen and battery-powered Coleman lantern, and let’s explore our environment.

    CAMPING
    Surveys show that Trimble Park has the best and prettiest campgrounds. With natural amenities and wildlife viewing, and not too far away in Mount Dora, this is the place to take the family. 5802 Trimble Park Rd., Mt. Dora 352-383-1993

    HIKING
    Come on, now, is anyone surprised that Disney is the sponsor of The Nature Conservancy in Florida? Check this out; take your hikers on a 2.5-mile looped adventure in hopes of spying bald eagles, bobcats, deer and, well, perhaps our favorite lizard friend — the gator. Spur off the beaten path out to Lake Russell, one of Florida’s few untouched pristine lakes. Be sure to wear lots of sunscreen and a hat; the path can get warm without a lot of shade to cool you off. 2700 Scrub Jay Trail, Kissimmee, 407-935-0002

    CANOEING/KAYAKING
    The all new Wekiva Island was conceived as an environmentally responsible oasis, a gathering spot, a place that through its natural splendor brings people together. Rent a canoe or launch your own for a quick run to Wekiwa Springs State Park. Or, make a day of it and take the river route to Rock Springs, and enjoy the sparkling scenery and wildlife as you paddle down the river. When you’re bored with the oars, rent a river-bana and chill a while as you sip grown-up drinks from the on-site bar, The Tooting Otter. Seriously, Tooting Otter. Wekiva Island has officially made canoeing posh.
    1014 Miami Springs Rd., Longwood, 407-862-1500

    DSC_0521-family-photshoot

    GRIZZLY BEAR

    You think the term “car camping” is ridiculous. Your summer project with the tykes was carving your own canoe out of the tree in your neighbor’s backyard, and last Christmas Santa brought everyone hiking boots and a compass. Watch out, wilderness, hear you rrroooarRRR!

    CAMPING
    Warning: Your Ocala National Forest trip will be hard-core. The challenge will bond you and your troopers. You’ve got to hike into the forest, bring your own supplies and use leaves as toilet paper. Okay, maybe not that extreme; you can bring your own roll of Charmin. Also, bring your camera, as bald eagles are particularly common around Lake George. Hopkins Prairie is reputed to be good for observing scrub jays and sandhill cranes. There are many black bears in the forest as well. From Ocala, take Florida Highway 40 east to the visitor center. 352-625-2520 www.myfwc.com

    HIKING
    You’ll feel a million miles away from it all on the Barr Street trailhead segment of the Florida Trail, located outside of downtown Oviedo. You’ll enjoy following orange trail blazes through shady trails and riverfront views as you hike along the Econ River discovering animal footprints and native birds. Escape to this special retreat as you slowly wind back and forth throughout the Little Big Econ State Forest. The kids will love the bridge over the Econlockhatchee River. It’s a 4.9-mile hike until you hit the Snow Hill Road trailhead. Be sure to pack a snack and your camera — you’ll want to see what’s around the next curve on this not-to-miss trail. Don’t forget to bring your mosquito repellent; you will be using it often. www.floridatrail.org

    CANOEING/KAYAKING
    The Little Big Econ State Forest canoe run is an eight-mile BYOC (canoe) event. Alligators, river otters, migratory waterfowl, wood storks, limpkins and herons will be your mates for this voyage. The site is located in Seminole County, 3.3 miles east of Oviedo. We recommend launching at the intersection of County Road 419 and Willingham Road. A small paved lot is available for parking where there’s a sign indicating canoe/kayak launch. The river runs north from County Road 419 and enters the Little Big Econ State Forest turning east. The take-out spot is at Snow Hill Road. Ideally, if you’re ready to brave a canoe adventure of this caliber, you should have two cars. Drop one off at the Snow Hill Road lot, and take the other one with the boats up to the 419 put-in. 407-971-3500 www.canoe-suwannee.com/Econ.htm

    TIPS FOR CANOEING WITH KIDS

    Planning
    • Plan your location and route.
    • Create meal menus and only purchase food items you need.
    • Check equipment to make sure it’s in good condition with all parts intact.

    Packing & PLAYing
    • Freeze all the food and liquid possible so perishables last longer.
    • Flip-flops are a necessity. Middle-of-the-night bathroom breaks are much easier when you can just slip on shoes quickly.
    • Don’t forget s’mores, a fun and tasty treat the whole family can enjoy (especially for the reluctant campers).
    • Essentials: trash bags to keep your campsite clean and the critters away.
    • Leave behind the daily toys. Instead, bring a ball, kites, his bike and perhaps a deck of cards.

    Precaution
    • Establish boundaries as soon as you arrive. Fire pits are off-limits to kids. Create an imaginary perimeter around the fire pits.
    • Know where the nearest ranger station is in relation to your campsite.
    • Bring a first aid kit.

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    Jenny's In Halloween Heaven

    Jenny Fauser, managing editor, as a pop-star princess, styled by Tammara Kohler. Daughters Saylah (3) as a fairy and Audrey (20 months) as an angel in Tutu Couture while trick-or-treating in their Winter Garden neighborhood. Photo by Brittany Miller

    Jenny Fauser, managing editor, as a pop-star princess, styled by Tammara Kohler. Daughters Saylah (3) as a fairy and Audrey (20 months) as an angel in Tutu Couture while trick-or-treating in their Winter Garden neighborhood. Photo by Brittany Miller

    I’m not sure if it’s the candy or the spooky decorations, the parties or the theme park events that make fall so fun, but wrap it all up, hand me a candy apple, and I am in Halloween HEAVEN.

    Written by Jenny Fauser

    Here are a few of my favorite things, and some cool new tricks I found, to make my hyper angels howl with delight this trick-or-treat season.

    Non-eerie Events
    SeaWorld’s Spooktacular
    is BY FAR my favorite theme park event for our spooky season. From silly Halloween-themed shows to gobs and gobs of candy for your goblins, SeaWorld offers a day of frivolity and carefree trick-or-treating. PLAYGROUND tip: Go before Halloween and beat the crazy October 31 crowd. Event begins October 3, continuing on select days throughout the month, and is included with park admission. www.seaworld.com

    Looking for more Hallow-themed events? Why not take your precious pixie for a night at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party? Take your tyke trick-or-treating throughout the park on select dates September 4 through November 1. Be sure to stick around for Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween parade and the bewitching “Happy HalloWishes” fireworks spectacular. For more info, visit the Magic Kingdom page on www.disneyparks.com.

    Trick-or-treat in the wildest neighborhood in town during the Central Florida Zoo’s ZOO Boo Bash October 17, 18, 24, 25 and 31 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Come in costume or get your face painted while visiting zoo residents. Hop on a haunted hayride, visit the pumpkin patch and trick-or-treat around the zoo. There will be no boohooing at this safe, fun and not-too-scary event. www.centralfloridazoo.org

    Celebrate the spookiest time of year at the Orlando Science Center on October 31 from 12 – 4 p.m. The 6th Annual Spooktacular Science Extravaganza features a terrifyingly fun day of activities, including face painting, live shows, crafts and, of course, some tasty treats. Come in costume to trick-or-treat and participate in Gross Out Science activities, like dry ice and liquid nitrogen experiments, brew a batch of gooey slime or create slimy mucus. There will also be crafts and fun for the littlest pumpkins. www.osc.org

    Saylah (3) as a fairy  Photo by Brittany Miller

    Saylah (3) as a fairy
    Photo by Brittany Miller

     

    Feeling Fall
    Please don’t hate me, but I’m not a native Floridian. Now that I think about it, probably most of you out there aren’t, either. But being from “up north” (really the Midwest), I find myself craving some fall feelings this time of year. If you’re like me, you can get your fall fix at Celebration’s Fall Festival. Filled with falling leaves every Friday and Saturday through October, this autumn-like atmosphere leaves me feeling groovy and ready for a cup of hot apple cider. www.celebrationtowncenter.com

    The Place to Patch
    I am one who “patches” every year with my girls. I’ve searched high and low for the most fall-ish rows of pumpkins out there. A little pumpkin patch in Sanlando (I love that name-Sanlando) is the most pumpkin-patchy place I’ve found since living in Florida. Offering rows and rows of pumpkins on hay bales, story time for the kids (upon group RSVP) and fun farm animal decorations, the patch at the Sanlando United Methodist Church is a real treat. Pick your pumpkins October 2 – 31. www.sanlando.org

    Time for the Treats
    Did you know you can take your goblins, princesses and pirates to Disney’s Marketplace to trick-or-treat? From east to west, north to south, practically every town has its own version of a fall event. On the west side, downtown Winter Garden has a killer Halloween event where your kiddo can beg for loot as local retailers dole out the goods. Get more details on Halloweenfest at www.cwgdn.com. If you’re looking for a daytime candy exploration, dress up your darling and take her trick-or-treating down Park Avenue in Winter Park during their 6th Annual Family Fall Festival. www.weekofthefamily.org

    The Central Florida Candy Crawl

    • Halloween at Cranes Roost: Saturday, October 31, 5 – 9 p.m. This community-oriented event features costume contests for all ages, inflatable games, live entertainment and booths chock full of candy and trinkets. It would be a fright to be late, as the trick-or-treating starts at 5 p.m. sharp. www.uptownaltamonte.com
    • Downtown Avalon Park Spooktacular: Saturday, October 31, 5 – 9 p.m. Carve out some time for the costume parade, bobbin’ for apples, a pumpkin carving contest and, of course, trick-or-treating. The Haunted House will be chilling children of all ages October 30 and 31, 6 – 10 p.m. www.eventsatavalonpark.com
    • My Gym Halloween Party: Friday, October 30, 5 – 8 p.m. Dress up the munchkins in “safe for climbing” costumes and head over to My Gym in Lake Mary for a thrilling time playing Halloween games, trick-or-treating and rompin’ around at the gym. Seek out more info at info@MyGymLakeMary.com.

    Go Green This Halloween
    Now, did you really think we’d do a “green” issue and NOT point out some really cool eco-friendly ways to celebrate? Mmmwaa haa haa haa. Come closer, dearie; let us share some suggestions that won’t leave you pale with fright.

    Believe it or not, there’s actually an organization that has gained lots of national recognition, called Green Halloween. Visit it at www.greenhalloween.org for great tips on green treats and cool Green Halloween events in Florida. You can get your little Picasso to submit a design for this year’s Chico Bag, to be used (and reused) for trick or treating.

    Here’s a nifty gadget for your rough-housing ranger. This shake flashlight found at Giaim will guide your reckless warriors to sweets as they bop down the streets on October 31. This light is lit by shaking, uses no batteries and is shatterproof. www.giaim.com

    My favorite new thing I learned while researching Halloween this year was the concept of reverse trick or treating. That’s when you go door to door with your kiddo and collect for Unicef or recycled cell phones. Trust me, the people who benefit from this cool concept are the ones who get the real treat this Halloween. www.youth.unicefusa.org/trickortreat

    Non-Dorky Ways to Decorate
    Don’t scare your guests away with tacky decorations this October. No need to flood your yard with every inflatable spider or Styrofoam tombstone that you can get your claws on. Celebrations.com offers these suggestions to spook up your interior. First, cover the sofas, chairs, dining room table and all other large furniture items with old white sheets. This will give your party space an abandoned look. Second, gather fall leaves, tumbleweed and dead flowers from outdoors and place them across tables and buffets. It will look like the windows opened and leaves have blown into the abandoned house from outside.

    And remember, don’t let your little lovely eat her candy before you’ve thoroughly checked it, never enter houses of strangers, always use a flashlight and watch out for black cats!

    Jenny Fauser, managing editor, as a pop-star princess, styled by Tammara Kohler. Daughters Saylah (3) as a fairy and Audrey (20 months) as an angel in Tutu Couture while trick-or-treating in their Winter Garden neighborhood. Photo by Brittany Miller

    Jenny Fauser, managing editor, as a pop-star princess, styled by Tammara Kohler. Daughters Saylah (3) as a fairy and Audrey (20 months) as an angel in Tutu Couture while trick-or-treating in their Winter Garden neighborhood.
    Photo by Brittany Miller

     

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    More Than Cookies

    GirlScouts

    The Girl Scouts have gotten a facelift.

    Written by Jenny Fauser | Photo by Brittany Miller | Styled by Tammara Kohler

    Girl Scouts are known for cookies and camping, but this green-centered, earth-loving philanthropy is way more than tents and Thin Mints. It’s influencing this country’s finest young women.

    With a recent national restructure, Girl Scouts of the USA is breaking their stagnant stereotype and becoming more relatable to modern kids and their interests. We like that each troop is completely unique and the young members drive the activities and interests they pursue. Today, scouts go rock climbing, swim with dolphins in the Florida Keys, go white water rafting and even travel abroad through troop or council programs.

    Depending on their interests, girls are given the opportunity to gain knowledge and acquire skills in: dance, drama, math, biology, poetry, fashion, problem solving, leadership and handling peer pressure — among countless other relevant topics. A favorite among the tween crowd is a program called “Mean Chicks.” Nope, they’re not being taught to be “ugly,” but rather addressing the rampant problem of gossiping and manipulating at school. The “Couch Potato” interest project gets girls exploring how youth and women are portrayed in
    the media.

    This organization focuses on personal pride. Its mission: Building girls of courage, confidence and character. The Scouting program encompasses every aspect required to build a well-rounded, dynamic and vibrant woman out of your sassy little diva. Check out www.citrus-gs.org for more info on how to get your daughter (age 5 – 17) in on the fun.

    A Few Famous Girl Scouts:
    • Dakota Fanning
    • Sheryl Crow
    • Vanessa Hudgens
    • Martha Stewart
    • Barbara Walters

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    Stay Cool This Summer

    Tasty Treats

    Nothing helps you stay cool during steamy months better than a tasty treat, especially if it’s frozen. Icy delicacies make hot days zip by and put everyone in a great mood.


    Stay Cool This SummerBeaches & Cream
    You’ll think you stepped back in time at this classic soda fountain shop. Located on the boardwalk at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Beaches & Cream has a vibrant family atmosphere, making this spot hot for summer. Serving up ice cream sundaes and floats, they are famous for the “Kitchen Sink,” a concoction loaded with eight scoops of ice cream, smothered in every single topping in the place and covered with a can of whipped cream. They also offer a traditional burger-n-fries menu to counterbalance the sugar high. Disney’s Beach Club Resort 407-934-8000

    Rainbow Sno-Cones
    There is nothing flashy about this independent walk-up on Corrine Drive. Rainbow Sno-Cones blends up their own delicious flavors that have created  generations of devotees. Served in traditional paper cups, the selections at Rainbow Sno-Cones include everything from the usual “rainbow” to crazy creations like Tiger’s Blood. Beware: While lounging out in front of the store enjoying your treat, flying snowballs may be tossed by Mr. Homer, the owner. We like to think it adds to the charm of the place. 3116 Corrine Dr., Orlando 407-896-9105

    Céfiore
    The trend has arrived! Known for tart and tangy frozen yogurt, Céfiore in College Park serves up fat-free treats, perfect for summer days. A modern take on family-friendly, you will be in awe of the big city vibe, and your kids will get a kick out of the option to choose  toppings like Fruity Pebbles or Oreos. Parents can pick healthier options, like pomegranates and blackberries, to top their guilt-free indulgence. Céfiore also offers ahh-mazing waffles and “snow ice” to suit all taste buds. 2104 Edgewater Dr, Orlando 407-648-8247 www.cefiore.com

    Dip In

    There’s no better way to stay cool then to get wet. Florida is packed full of pools, natural springs and water parks that vow to keep you chill.

     

    Stay Cool This SummerOviedo Splash Zone
    This public water play facility gets our vote for best in the area.  More than just a splash pad, the bubbly zero-entry pool is perfect for babies and toddlers, while the mini water park with a corkscrew slide is ideal for older kids. Complete with concessions, a day at the Oviedo Splash Zone will make the whole clan happy. Hours are 12 – 5 p.m. on weekdays and 12 – 6 p.m. on weekends, with an entrance fee of $9 for non-Oviedo residents. If you plan on becoming a regular, seasonal passes are also available. www.cityofoviedo.net

    The Hard Rock Hotel
    The perfect spot for the complete VIP treatment, the Hard Rock Hotel is ultra-glam. Breezy palm trees, a sandy beach and underwater tunes make this THE place to be. In August, their “Summer Days, Rockin’ Nights” begin, offering pool admission to locals for a small fee. On select nights, the Hard Rock offers a DJ to get the party started, “dive-in” movies, live bands and other planned “Rock-reation” activities for kids. Private cabana rentals are also available for the complete VIP experience. www.hardrockhotelorlando.com

    De Leon Springs Park
    Not only is this park home to a huge basin of refreshingly cold water once deemed the “Fountain of Youth,” this out-of-the-way state park is packed with history. A tour around the Old Spanish Sugar Mill will be a learning experience and you can make your own pancakes! Submerging yourself in 72-degree spring water is the perfect way to get refreshed. Afterwards, take the opportunity to paddle down the creek to catch a glimpse of what all the nature talk is really about. Entry fee is $5 per vehicle. www.floridastateparks.org

    Indoor Fun

    If there’s a chance you’re tired of water, but still feel the need to stay cool, check out these indoor family-friendly spots.

    Stay Cool This Summer

     

     

    Regal Cinemas
    A movie is the perfect excuse to break away from the heat just in time for summer. Regal Cinemas is bringing back their Free Family Film Festival. That’s right – free. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays from June 9 to August 5, movies are shown at 10 a.m. Seats to this popular event, showing G- and PG-rated movies, are on a first come, first serve basis and fill up fast. You can get a Kids Pack for $5.75 including popcorn, candy and a kid-sized drink. www.regmovies.com/nowshowing

    RDV Sportsplex
    Wanna see what it feels like to be a member at the RDV, home of the Magic? Take part in their limited-time summer offer, a one-week trial membership for $19 per person. Families can enjoy tennis, swimming, yoga and basketball together. Mom can get her hair done or work out while little ones have fun in Kid’s Stuff, a supervised play program full of scheduled activities. The Ice Den is open to the public daily for ice-skating, for less than $10 a person. Yeah, we’re going, too. www.rdvsportsplex.com

    Urban Think! Kids
    Calling all bookworms, Urban Think has expanded to College Park and caters to kids. This quaint and cozy bookstore carries both children’s classics and pop culture bestsellers. You can even check out books by local authors. Friendly staff make you feel at home and lead daily storytelling. They also present monthly family events like author signings and kid parties. They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with story times at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. 1309 Edgewater Dr., Orlando 407-615-0583

    Adrenalina
    Adrelina is a perfect spot for extreme water sport wannabes. Tucked away in Adrenalina’s clothing store at the Florida Mall, you will find the Flow Rider, an artificial wave that simulates surfing. That’s right, your kids can learn to surf inside! This cool opportunity allows kids to test out tricks without running into a shark or needing sunscreen. As an added bonus, the Flow Rider is behind a glass wall, so you can watch everyone take a turn and pick up some new tricks. One session of wave riding costs $20 per person. www.adrenalinastore.com

    Amaya Papaya
    The motto at this hip, family-friendly joint (opening in July) is “Where Kids Play and Parents Lounge.” Parents enjoy free WiFi while kids can play with new toys and explore themed play areas with role-playing, hands-on discovery and physical activity. Amaya Papaya is a nice break from the same old routine. Open from Monday through Friday, it’s closed on the weekends for private parties. Don’t forget to bring a pair of socks. Admission for children under 5 is $9.99, 8 – 12 months is $4.99. Adults are free. www.amayapapaya.com

    Seven Sisters
    Looking for a hip, eco- and family-friendly coffee shop? Seven Sisters is a warm and fresh place that offers local art and jewelry for sale, as well as organic coffee. They serve a popular drink called “Queen Bee” (the perfect latte) and yummy baked goods that your kids will fall in love with. You can relax while your kids enjoy the children’s playroom stocked with books and activities. Every Friday, Seven Sisters offers a Kid’s Library Book Day where kids bring in a checked-out library book to receive 20% off their order. www.sevensisterscoffee.com

     

    Breezy Boat Rides

    Staying cool on the water without getting wet is a challenge, but something we relish. Boat rides offer fun in the sun without the need for a towel.

    Stay Cool This SummerWater Sports
    Buena Vista Water Sports is a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind, 400-acre, Key West-inspired, privately owned, spring-fed lake where water sports rule. Here, you and your kids can water ski, wakeboard, water surf and tube to your heart’s content. The white, sandy beaches and lush, tropical foliage are the perfect setting for a steamy summer day. They do not offer concessions on property, so make sure you come prepared. Jet Ski Rentals start at $55 and chartered boats (including driver and gas) start at $85 for 30 minutes. www.bvwatersports.com

    Mini Jet Boat Rental
    Disney’s Cap’N Jack’s Marina offers boat rentals of all sizes (from tiny sprites to larger pontoons) and the opportunity to cruise down exclusive Disney World waterways. The river takes you from the docks by Cap’N Jack’s restaurant all the way down to the Port Orleans Resort. This uncrowded voyage guarantees you the chance to step back from the mobs of tourists and truly enjoy your surroundings. It’s a unique way to enjoy all things Disney. Prices from $20 to $40 for 30 minutes of play. Downtown Disney 407-WDW-PLAY

    Pontoon Boat Ride
    On the St. John’s River Boat Tour, you get the rare opportunity to relax and enjoy nature while someone else plays tour guide. With chances to view manatees gliding along or ospreys flying above while you cruise, your kids will enjoy keeping count of all the wildlife they spot. Captain Ron knows all the spots for optimal wildlife viewing so bring your camera! Bug spray is highly recommended and refreshments are available. Tours depart at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Cost per adult is $22 and children are $16. www.sjrivercruises.com

    Nickelodeon Cruise
    A major way to stay cool and wow your kids is to take the Nickelodeon Family Cruise. Seven fun-filled days packed with your kid’s favorite Nick characters and gooey green slime! Fun onboard activities and exotic ports of call (like Mexico) make cruising the open seas tons of fun for all. Yep, that’s right – this cruise is ideal for parents, too. It’s the ultimate family way to stay cool. Prices start at $4,999 for families of four. The ship sets sail from Port Canaveral on August 9 and returns on August 16. www.nick.com/minisites/familycruise/

    Winter Park Boat Tours
    A tradition for more than 50 years, the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour is a one-hour narrated tour through the watery backyard of some of Winter Park’s fancy-shmancy homes. The 12-mile tour takes you through seven lakes, by Rollins College, Kraft Azalea Gardens and the Isle of Sicily. Your skipper guarantees an off-the-beaten-path experience and kids will love gliding under bridges of narrow, man-made canals. Cost to ride is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Tours operate between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. www.scenicboattours.com

    Air Boat Tour
    If you’ve ever wanted to experience the natural side of Florida, take a tour on an airboat. Your kids are going to freak out about this. Both fun and educational, your family will enjoy flying on top of the water at 45 mph and experiencing a side of nature usually only seen on the Discovery Channel. Did we mention you might see a gator? Black Hammock has three airboats running daily. Reservations are not needed and ear protection is provided. Prices are $23.95 per adult and $19.95 per child. www.theblackhammock.com

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    Wekiva Island

    WekivaIsland

    Wekiva Island is perfect for a fun-filled summer day on the water. What used to be called the Wekiva Marina is under new ownership and has been completely redone to create an environmentally- responsible oasis with a bar, nice bathrooms, food on the grill, canoe rentals, riverside deck with green Adirondak chairs and private cabanas.

    1014 Miami Springs Rd., Longwood | 407-862-1500 www.wekivaisland.com

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    5-Star Summer Camps

    Summer is quickly approaching. We’re here to help get your boredom-busting game plan together with our insider’s guide to the coolest camps Central Florida has to offer this year. So, bring on the summer – we’re ready!

    Written by Cris Phillips-Georg

    Enzian Young Filmmakers CampTHAT’S A WRAP
    Give your resident Spielberg-in-training the experience of a lifetime at Enzian Theatre’s Young Filmmakers’ Summer Camp (Grades 5 – 8). Youth will experience the art of filmmaking by studying cinematic techniques and actually shooting their own independent film. (See ya’ at Sundance!) Family and friends are then invited to live out their red-carpet fantasies at a special screening of the final film projects. Students also receive free admission to all Kidsfest films. www.enzian.org

    MAKE A DISCOVERY
    Science rules this summer, thanks to Orlando Science Center’s something-for-everyone lineup of weeklong camps. Young scientists (Grades K – 6) can go on an astro-adventure, fiddle with fossils, create chemistry concoctions, study backyard bugs and do some serious sleuthing. Registration includes science-themed workshops, live science programs and hands-on exploration of the exhibits. www.osc.org

    Orlando Magic Camp

    HOOP DREAMS
    A record 20 basketball camps are being offered at the Orlando Magic’s Youth Basketball Camps for girls and boys ages 7 – 16 (placed in groups according to age, skill level, and experience). New this year: A first-ever overnight camp hosted by Magic guard Keyon Dooling. In addition to basketball skill training, campers also receive awards, giveaways, a camp T-shirt, their own full-size Magic basketball, and a ticket to a Magic home game. SCORE! www.nba.com/magic

    KID CENTERED
    After a hectic school year, kids need to find healthy outlets for social, creative and physical energy. SPARK! Family Enrichment Center’s Mind, Body, Spirit Camp puts a fun spin on getting Zen. Camp activities cover etiquette, the culinary arts, knitting/sewing, nutrition, yoga and hip-hop dance. Plus SPARK! offers a trendy, relaxing parent lounge (with Wi-Fi) where grown-ups can chill out and get “centered,” too. www.sparkec.net

    SeaWorld Overnight Camp

    UNDER THE SEA
    An ocean odyssey awaits your mini-Marine Biologist this summer at SeaWorld’s Day Camps. Take a “Seafari,” discover how animals play hide and seek, see how human senses compare to a shark or stingray’s, and find out “what’s for lunch” in the ocean’s cafeteria. Camp registration includes up-close animal encounters, fun activities, take-home crafts, lunch, snacks, complimentary parking during the program, and a camp t-shirt and water bottle. www.seaworld.org

     

    IT’S HISTORIC
    History just got a whole lot more exciting thanks to the Orange County Regional History Center’s “Adventures in History” summer camp series. Youth (age 5 – 11) will travel the world as art anthropologists, sail the high seas on a swashbuckling pirate ship, and travel back in time to experience life in a bygone era. Each camp series includes cool crafts, interactive activities, and tours of relevant exhibits in the museum. www.thehistorycenter.org

    CF Zoo Camp

    GO WILD
    The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is offering a “zoopendous” lineup of 18 cleverly themed half-day and full-day Summer Adventure Camps. Options include: Alien Invaders, Build-a-Zoo Workshop, Ickyology, I Dig Bones, Pirates of the ZOOribbean, Predator Prowl, ZOOper Heroes, and ZSI – Zoo Sleuths. A t-shirt and snack is provided at each camp. Need before- or after-care for your little monkeys? They offer that, too.
    www.centralfloridazoo.org

    HIT A HIGH NOTE
    Want to be a pop star? Then give Opera Camp a try! It turns out that opera is a merge of all the critical elements essential to pop/rock performance: Dance, theatre, voice, costume, set design and music. The Orlando Opera Center offers multiple fantastic summer camps (Grades K – 12) that teach the fundamentals of group singing, music, rhythm, dance/movement, voice-pampering and tips on successful auditioning. www.orlandoopera.org

    JCC Design Your Own Camp

    DESIGN YOUR OWN CAMP
    The Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando (JCC) is offering youth (Grades 3 – 9) the chance to “Design Your Own Camp.” Campers customize their experience by selecting from an imaginative list of enrichment courses including: Gymnastics, cheerleading, arts & crafts, magic, robotics, digital media, forensic science, puppetry, culinary arts, yoga, journalism, sports & fitness, dance, inventors’ closet and much more. Fieldtrip options are also available. www.orlandojcc.org

    TAKE A HIKE
    It’s all about fresh air and green thumbs at Leu Garden’s Garden Camp (Grades K – 6). Outdoor explorers will take daily hikes, participate in plant activities, learn about bugs and animals, and enjoy nature-themed games and crafts. Registration includes a healthy snack for each camper. Sounds like a great cure for Nature Deficit Disorder. Sign us up! www.leugardens.org

    Kennedy Space Camp

    BE A SPACE CADET
    “Reach for the stars” this summer at Camp Kennedy Space Center. Junior Astronauts (age 8 – 12) will experience cool space shuttle mission simulations, design space exploration vehicles and habitats, tour the Kennedy Space Center and hobnob with real-life astronauts during this unique five day experience. Registration includes lunch, snacks, t-shirt, an out-of-this-world ride on the Shuttle Launch Experience and a Kennedy Space Center season pass. www.kennedyspacecenter.com

    COLOR YOUR WORLD
    Let your child’s inner-artist out to play. OMArt’s colorful array of youth art programs (Grades 1 – 8) are just the muse your mini-Matisse needs to get the creativity flowing. Classes focus on self-expression, but also provide age-appropriate instruction in varied art media and techniques. Exploration of the museum’s galleries is also included. www.omart.org

    Page 15 Reading Camp

    WRITE ON
    Put your budding author on the path to a Pulitzer at Page 15 Young Writer’s Camp (hosted at Urban Think! Bookstore). This creative weeklong camp, for youth in Grades 1 – 8, helps kids discover their own voices through storytelling, bookmaking, songwriting, illustration, graphic novel design and screenplay writing. Camp registration includes age-appropriate writing activities, all supplies, a museum or park visit, Page 15 t-shirt, yummy lunch from Infusion Tea, and a book-of-choice from Urban Think. www.page15.org

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    Interested in Orange County Arts Camps?
    Click here to view the digital edition of the O.C.A.E.’s Arts Summer Camp Guide.

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    4 Places to Pamper Your Kids

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    The Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes is known for treating guests like celebrities, and children are no exception. The lavish spa offers mini spa patrons, age 2 – 10, “Princess Fizzing Manicures and Pedicures” perfectly suited for your little princess. We’ve had many a mani/pedi, but have you ever had your hands and feet soaked in strawberry scented pink fizzy water? Watch your daughter smile from ear to ear as the invigorating fizz introduces her to the spa life. Make sure your camera is out while she gets an actual massage on both hands and feet just like mom. After her tiny fingernails and toenails are dry, make a day of fun out of exploring the hotel grounds and having lunch on property. It is a day neither of you will ever forget.  www.grandelakes.com

    This club is for your family’s little VIP, because he deserves just as much doting as the girls. Kennedy’s All-American Barber Club on Park Avenue is taking kids’ pampering to the next level. Junior will get his own toy shave kit to keep him busy while he’s getting styled too. He and dad can bond over laughs and beers (Sam Adams and root beer, of course) while getting the spa experience, guy style. www.kennedysbarberclub.com

    Sure, parents can indulge, but kids rule at this color-splashed spa spot where any moment Sponge Bob might splash a wave to his fab fans. Your family can have the “slime of their lives” at Nickelodeon Family Suites’ high-energy pamper place. Kick back for a cool crown of hair braiding or get creative and design your own crazy hair wrap or clip-in (complete with handcrafted German clay beads). Nick’s airbrushed tattoos are so rad, even Dad won’t mind watching his family get temporarily inked. www.nickhotel.com

    The Grand Floridian Spa & Health Club caters to the Belle or Cinderella in your home. The mini royal treatment includes My First Facial and My First Massage for kids as young as 4. The staff is accustomed to handling little princesses, so they know exactly how to make even the most timid of first-time spa-goers feel right at home. Extra small robes and slippers, along with a plethora of mints, teas, water and fruit allow you to kick back, relax and savor the special experience. They don’t just stop at pampering; a full out spa education is given when highly trained spa professionals walk kids through every step of the process.  www.RelaxedYet.com

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