It certainly doesn’t feel like it temperature-wise this week, but spring break isn’t far off.
For Prince George’s County Public Schools students, spring break starts April 2 and lasts 11 days including the weekends. If you haven’t started planning a family vacation, The Sentinel has destination suggestions with kid-friendly activities that parents will enjoy too.
Whether your family prefers playing in the sand and surf or riding head-spinning roller coasters, Florida has family-friendly destinations for your spring break. This week we are sharing where to vacation in Central Florida, the land of theme parks and tourist attractions.
Central Florida’s Polk County is home to 554 lakes, 37 nature parks and preserves, a variety of outdoor activities and the largest LEGOLAND theme park in the world.
Located about an hour south in Winter Haven, Fla., the LEGOLAND Florida Resort could be a day trip for families visiting the Orlando theme parks — Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld and Discovery Cove.
LEGOLAND is easily manageable with young children, and many of the rides are designed for kids ages 6 to 12. The park has play areas, rides and shows to entertain little ones, while adults will enjoy the detailed cityscapes and “Star Wars” scenes created entirely from LEGO bricks. Seeking some shade? Take a stroll through Cypress Gardens to see the cypress tree knees.
The LEGOLAND Hotel won’t open until May 15, but families looking for a unique lodging option should consider the Westgate River Ranch Resort, recommended Kelly Rote, communications specialist at Visit Central Florida.
Located about 90 minutes from Orlando, the largest dude ranch east of the Mississippi River offers cowboy-themed accommodations including glamour camping and luxurious two-bedroom cottages.
The 1,700-acre ranch in Florida’s cattle lands has a Saturday night rodeo where courageous cowboys ride bucking bulls for eight seconds. Horseback riding, archery, fishing, airboat and swamp buggy rides, zip lining, hayrides, skeet and trap shooting, pony rides and visiting the petting farm will keep kids and kids-at-heart busy throughout their stay.
To see more of Florida’s natural wildlife, explore the county’s nature parks by hiking, biking or airboat. At Lake Wales Ridge, you may find exotic plants and animals you won’t see anywhere else. Airboat rides are available through Alligator Cove Airboat Nature Tours.
In Lakeland, Fla., families can see African animals on a safari tour, ride camels and feed lemurs at the Safari Wilderness Ranch.
For an authentic Florida experience, visit Ridge Island Groves in Haines, Fla., and pick oranges to take home. In Florida, it is illegal to pick fruit from groves along the roadside. The family owned-and-operated Ridge Island Groves is one of a few groves to offer legal you-pick citrus.
In next week’s issue we’ll share three family-friendly spring break destinations along Florida’s coastline.