Florida holidays: Adventures for active kids
Let’s face it, if you’re taking the kids to Florida soon they’ve probably been lying awake anticipating fast-paced thrill rides for weeks. We’ve already spilled the beans on some of Orlando’s best new theme park attractions (link to theme park piece here) but if your kids are the adventurous type they might want to step away from Mickey for a few days and try something completely different….
Take a bioluminescent kayaking tour
According to A Day Away Kayak Tours, the waters of central Florida’s Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River come to life with bioluminescence during the warm months of summer, and their night tours are one of the best ways to experience this magical natural phenomenon.
Bioluminescence is the process by which hundreds of species of marine invertebrates and microorganisms produce light through a complex chemical reaction, resulting in sparkling flashes and an illuminating glow with every movement of the water. Just stir your paddle in the ripples to whip up what looks like a trail of glittering stars, or wait for a slow-moving manatee to swim past leaving a luminous glow in its wake.
Trips take place at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, just over an hour’s drive east from Orlando on the coast north of Cape Canaveral. They last around 90 minutes and prices in 2016 are $36.95 and $26.95 for adults and children respectively ($39.95 and $29.95 on Fridays and Saturdays).
New ATX Family Astronaut Training
For would-be Buzz Aldrins, we also recommend the Astronaut Training Experience at the Kennedy Space Center. The experience is available as a half-day family programme for ages 7 and over, and you’ll have the opportunity to meet a veteran NASA astronaut and perform a mocked-up space shuttle mission to the International Space Center.
The ATX Family programme is most suitable for younger kids, while the ATX Core programme may be more appropriate for those aged 14 and over. The package includes the four-hour training session plus general entrance to the Space Center. Current 2016 prices start at $145 plus tax.
Learn to swing with the Flying Trapeze School
A few hours south, Miami’s Flying Trapeze School operates out of the city’s Bayfront Park and is run by professional flying trapeze artists. Two-hour classes are available for all ages and abilities, from the complete novice to the already-competent flyer. Every student receives one-on-one tuition so they can start to master the fundamentals of the flying trapeze, with an opportunity to feel the adrenaline rush of letting go and being caught by an experienced catcher.
A two hour lesson costs $60 plus a $10 insurance fee, available on Wednesdays – Sundays 7–9pm, plus 4–6pm at weekends.
Try n’ Fly taster sessions are also available for $20 for the less intrepid or pushed for time, which consist of a few swings back and forth and even a somersault dismount onto the safety net if you’re brave (or bendy) enough.
Written by Maxine Sheppard