The good news is school is out for summer. Parents get more time with their kids and a break from chasing down unbrushed hair, forgotten lunch boxes and waiting in long pick-up lines at the end of the day.
The bad news is school's out and parents struggle to keep kids occupied and fear the sounds of boredom if they don't. Sometimes all families need is a little cheat sheet. Here is a local summer survival guide for parents to help them keep their sanity:
WORKING PARENTS SURVIVAL - Kids' College at Lake Sumter State College: This program has been a rite of passage for local kids for years. The college offers three sessions of dozens of classes for kids to choose from including arts, sports, technology and more. Kids can go half day or full day and there is early drop-off and late pick-up.
- Mount Dora Center for the Arts offers a weekly day camp in downtown Mount Dora. Kids get a variety of hands-on exposure in their half day or full day sessions.
- Mount Dora's Parks and Recreation Department provides an affordable, all-day camp for local families They have separate programs for elementary and middle school students.
- The Golden Triangle YMCA offers a weekly Camp Discovery for elementary school students. The day camp is offered must weeks through the first week in August.
- If money isn't an object, there is a range of horseback riding and athletic camps in Eustis, Mount Dora and Tavares.
DEVICE-FREE SURVIVAL Summer vacation doesn't have to mean more time plugged into the XBox or tuned into the TV. There are plenty of opportunities to unplug kids for at least part of the day.
- Tubing at Kelly Park at Rock Springs: Just 10 minutes from downtown Mount Dora, this natural Florida setting and slow moving spring is perfect for family tubing. Bring your own tube, pool noodle or rent one just before the park's entrance. There is also a small beach area and plenty of picnic tables.
- Nature walk on Palm Island's boardwalk: Located across from Mount Dora's lighthouse, the boardwalk brings plenty of nature to the day, Be sure to go in the cooler morning hours and bring water, sunscreen and bug spray.
- Picnics at waterfront parks: Once a week pack and picnic and head to a different shaded, waterfront park with a fun playground. Try Gilbert Park in Mount Dora, Wooton Park in Tavares, Ferran Park in Eustis, Trimble Park in Tangerine and Lake Idamere in Tavares.
- Splash Parks: This year Eustis joined Tavares as another local city with a family-friendly waterpark on the lakefront. For a nominal admittance fee, kids can play in the water all day.
SURVIVING TEENS - Try an afternoon of kayaking on Lake Dora. Rentals are available through Penguin Paddling in Mount Dora, as well as Tavares Water Sports. - Sailing lessons at Lake Eustis Sailing Club is a way to get them outside for a big chunk of the day, - Teens can stay busy at Kelly Park at Rock Springs whether they go tubing, snorkeling or just hang out at the beach area. - Don't tell them about the dorky shoes and head to Triangle Lanes bowling alley for a little healthy afternoon competition. - They'll be happy to spend a couple of hours at the big arcade and bowling alley at Via Port at Leesburg Mall. - Kids twelve and older can workout as guests of their parents at Gold's Gym with certain memberships or they can be signed up with their own discounted summer membership. You'll need to pre-arrange this with the front desk
WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, RUN! No matter how well a parent's summer is going, sometimes it's necessary to escape for some adult time. Here's some tips for that most important aspect of surviving the summer.
- While the kids are at camp plan a lunch with friends at Goblin Market - Little kids love the kids' gym at Gold's Gym in Mount Dora. Parents can get a break and a workout will the kids play in their own supervised area. - Indulge in a mani & pedi with a glass of complimentary vino at Star Nails on US and Donnelly St. - There is a plethora of day spas in the area, so book an appointment at your favorite for a relaxing massage. - On Sunday's indulge in the strawberry basil sangria at Maggie's Attic in downtown Mount Dora - Fit in the affordable yoga classes offered by the City of Mount Dora on Thursday evenings in the Donnelly Building - Get your creative juices flowing at painting or jewelry-making classes and workshops at one of the area's galleries downtown. Try Painting Outside the Lines, Jane Slivka Gallery or Two B's Studio for silversmith lessons.
For more local news and events for Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here.