The sounds of air hockey pucks whishing toward their targets intermingle with myriad beeps, bells, and general revelry inside Game Time's colorful space, where participants stand captivated by the dizzying selection of games at their disposal. After high-stakes rounds of skee-ball or Cyclone, ravenous players can sidle up to the restaurant at the Tampa location only, where classic American staples such as chicken wings and club sandwiches sate victory-fueled hunger.
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.
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.
Red Fox Stables' experienced equine lovers bring together human and horse for relaxing trail rides, enlightening lessons, and equestrian camps for kids. During trail rides, riders steer their four-hoofed vehicles through the Alafia River Corridor Preserve, keeping their eyes open for passing deer, armadillos, and other wildlife. Horse whisperers match riders to their mobile half based on gender, height, and age, providing helmets that riders 18 or younger must wear.
During lessons, lone rangers or small groups get hands-on training in grooming and tacking before seizing the reins themselves on the riding area and trails. The stables’ seasoned instructors record each lesson on video, allowing students to track their progress and search their gentle steed's expressions for signs of true love. Red Fox Stables also caters to horse-oriented youths with camps and birthday-party specials, during which kids interact with equine residents and enjoy horse-related crafts and games.
Situated on roughly 120 acres of battle-ready landscape, Köhn Sports Paintball Park is one of the largest paintball and air-soft parks in West Central Florida. A rousing excursion for novices and experts alike, today's paintball package grants you park entry (a $15 value), 500 rounds of paint (a $15 value), paintball gun rental (a $10 value), and all other necessary rental gear (a $15 value). Suit up with a facemask, chest protector, three-pod paint-carrying case, and nitrogen-gas air tank, and round up friends to duck and dodge a flurry of pigmentation before unleashing compressed-air torment upon a combatant. Köhn Sports Paintball Park is open on Saturdays and Sundays, and reservations are needed during the week.
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.