Sightseeing in Haines City

Select Local Merchants

Kids learn with all five of their senses—that's literally what puts the V in the name of Explorations V Children's Museum. Spread across three floors, the museum brims with hands-on activities in a range of permanent exhibits. And the organization's interactive approach to learning has helped it earn accolades, such as a grant from Disney's Helping Kids Shine award program.

On the lower floor, an exhibit charting the journey of the Florida orange begins with local history and ends with a look at global ecosystems. On the first floor, the exhibit Marvelous Me! teaches about the human body with an interactive skeleton and memory tests; Water Matters teaches water conservation with interactive stations. At the top of the museum, check out the temporary exhibits and the Dragon of Toys, a colorful sculpture of plastic trinkets. It's also here that instructors conduct daily programs ranging from open art studio sessions to nutritional cooking classes.

109 N Kentucky Ave
Lakeland,
FL
US

Brooke Pottery features fine ceramic crafts and a host of handmade doodads from more than 400 American artists. A glazed, tri-colored McQueeny Belt Bowl ($48) offers a fetching soup-holding alternative to cupped palms, while the Heart Coaster Set ($40) lovingly shields countertops from clammy cocktails and over-fizzed sodas. Decorate feng shui–deficient gardens with ash-wood Chi Energy Amber wind chimes ($35), or embellish tree limbs with colorful Aloha Chimes ($42). For kids, the Blues Band Harmonica ($7) provides hours of fun in the key of harmonica.

223 N Kentucky Ave
Lakeland,
FL
US

Though the creatures on display at Dinosaur World don’t need much space to roam, plenty of care has been taken to furnish them a comfortable habitat. They peer imposingly from the hillsides of Kentucky, crane their necks up through native trees, and stomp through prairie fields. Although a life-size mammoth or T. rex might be hard to miss, little visitors might still jump with delight at noticing a baby dino suddenly appear from behind a bush. Giant brachiosaurus necks arch high above treetops, while toothy meat-eaters and spiny stegosauruses roam the world below. The fiberglass, steel, and concrete models reach up to 80 feet in length, and are built according to the latest scientific discoveries about what dinosaurs looked like and what styles were trendy in the Mesozoic era.

The first Dinosaur World location was a former alligator farm in Florida and five years later another one was opened in Kentucky. As Swedish-born Christer Svensson began to fill it with statues, he consulted with experts around the world to not only create realistic reptiles but to surround them with fun, educational activities. Kids can sift through sand to find shark’s teeth, gastropod shells, and trilobites in a fossil dig, get to know some lizards a little better on the playground, or examine ancient eggs and raptor claws in the museum.

5145 Harvey Tew Rd
Plant City,
FL
US

Nestled on the shores of the eponymous southern Florida lake, Lake Okeechobee Resort is an ideal base camp for outdoor recreation. Popular pursuits here include bass fishing, boating, and hiking or bicycling along a segment of the 1,400-mile Florida Trail that wends around the lake’s perimeter. You can set off into the lake from the resort’s 100-slip marina. From its location on the southeastern side of the lake, the resort has a spot to watch sunsets over the water.

For those camping, Lake Okeechobee Resort has especially long lots for oversized RVs or sleeping bags designed for giraffes. An onsite restaurant, public bathrooms, and pool take the edge off of roughing it while staying at the campground or in the cabins.

2950 Crump Rd
Winter Haven,
FL
US

In more than 100 locations around the country, ThrillZown's staff facilitates adrenaline-filled excursions full of extreme water, air, and land adventures. Under the supervision of experts, brave souls defy gravity as they skydive, hang-glide, bungee jump, or play films of apples falling off trees in reverse. On land, crews harness the power of horses, stock cars, and snowmobiles; in the water, groups navigate whitewater rapids or explore aquatic depths as they scuba dive or surf.

3800 Chalet Suzanne Drive
Lake Wales,
FL
US

Although the 1960s was an era of change, children were still not allowed to pick their own produce at Milwaukee-area farms. This seemingly minor policy was the spark that began Green Meadows Farm, Kissimmee's family-oriented petting farm populated by 300 animals. Bob and Coni Keyes started with a hog and cattle farm in Waterford, Wisconsin. Believing farms were places where kids could learn and interact with animals, the couple converted their 80 acres into a raspberry and veggie patch that also featured a handful of friendly farm animals to welcome kids. The petting farm was born in 1965 when a local teacher asked if her youngsters could drop by to visit the animals and give the roosters mop-top haircuts.

More than 40 years later, the Keyes are still at it. Over the years, their quest to enrich the education of children with a "low-tech" farm experience has taken shape in Texas, Illinois, and Florida. The owners live right on the Green Meadows acreage with their small village of cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and other barnyard citizens. Bob and Coni lead hands-on daily tours for visitors and facilitate pony rides, along with a host of other seasonally varied activities offered 363 days a year.

1368 S Poinciana Blvd
Kissimmee,
FL
US