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A lifestyle magazine for Central Florida's modern parents

Letter from the Publisher

Our Team

Wendy Meyer

Wendy Meyer is a Winter Park mom to son, Beckett, a self-proclaimed #Disnerd and an integral collaborator at PLAYGROUND Magazine. She currently holds the titles of social media manager, events editor and writer. (That's what happens when you're good at everything they throw at ya!) You can read her single-mom musings on her blog: Mommy’s Little Rebel.

Heather Reneau

Heather Reneau is an Oviedo mom of two and a graphic designer/art director with a natural flair for writing. Her entrepreneurial spirit has led her down many business paths, including conceiving and producing PLAYGROUND Magazine back in 2007. It's her passion to celebrate local people and spread the word about quality family businesses, services and events in Orlando and beyond.

Cortney Thekan

Cortney Thekan lives in Conway and is the mother of two brilliant, quirky kids. She serves as PLAYGROUND Magazine’s irreplaceable editor-at-large, business consultant and den mother. Cortney is the owner of Core Publishing, providing professional writing and editing services to businesses large and small.

Jessica Friend

Jessica Friend lives in Audubon Park with her husband and daughter. She is PLAYGROUND Magazine’s all-around creative mama, helping with photography, graphic and web design and editorial planning. Jessica also operates her own thriving photography business: Jessica Friend Photo Design.

Jessica Ventura

Jessica Ventura lives in Baldwin Park with her husband and two kids. She is PLAYGROUND Magazine’s advertising manager and biggest fan. Jessica knows local business is the backbone of our community, and she works hard to create exciting marketing options for our partners. She is also a successful independent business consultant for Rodan+Fields.

Alicia McKee

Alicia McKee lives in Apopka with her husband and daughter. She is PLAYGROUND Magazine’s advertising coordinator and E-newsletter guru. Alicia came to us excited to have found a magazine that helped her navigate the new world of parenting. We put her right to work on the many important tasks surrounding our advertising partners.

Brant Muekeley

Brant Muekeley is married to the publisher and uses his engineering mind to crunch the numbers for PLAYGROUND as our financial manager. He works behind-the-scenes generating invoices and writing checks to keep PLAYGROUND financially successful. Brant is also the owner of Measure Dynamics of Orlando, which provides laser measuring and drafting services.

Alisha Champ

Alisha Champ lives in Ocoee but travels all around Central Florida attending to multiple creative projects and assisting parents with the business of their lives. Alisha is PLAYGROUND Magazine’s special projects manager and fashion editor. She is also the owner of Consider Any Thing Done, where she assists families with everything from babysitting to interior design.

Contributors

Tracey C. Velt

Tracey C. Velt is a married mom of two children living in Heathrow. She's a UCF graduate and has been the editor-in-chief of regional and statewide magazines. In 2004, she start her own freelance writing and editing business, Tracey Velt Consulting. She's also a regular contributor of PLAYGROUND Magazine.

Nicole Mitchem Photography

Nicole Mitchem is a Florida Native, proud mom of three sons and a former model. She picked up a camera when her oldest son was born 18 years ago and fell in love with photography. Nicole has been shooting professionally ever since. Her desire is to convey vibrance, fun and expression in all of her work.

Lisa Beach

Lisa Beach is a local mom, freelance journalist, content marketing specialist and copywriter. Check out her writer’s website at LisaBeachWrites.com.

Simply Shelby Photography

Simply Shelby Photography is an Orlando mom of three children and natural light photographer. During her photo sessions, her goal is to create a fun experience for your family that will result in capturing true and candid moments together.

Amy Nielsen

Amy is a former educator of 20 years. She has four children ranging in age from 3 to 30. In addition to being a mother, she enjoys watching sports and traveling. She is also a special needs advocate and you can read her blog Big Abilities.

Amanda Keefer

Amanda Keefer is a Lake Nona mom and the author of the travel blog "Mamma Mia!". She spends her days at Produce for Kids educating families on the importance of a healthy diet full of fruits and veggies.

Marliese Carmona Photography

Marliese Carmona is a commercial and editorial photographer in Central Florida. She is a toddler chasing, yoga loving, mad scientist creative with two kids, a house full of corgis, and a serious, serious love affair with light. Marliese also develops talent portfolios for models and actors in the Florida market.

Stephanie Patterson

Stephanie Patterson is the managing editor for Orlando Date Night Guide, a local photographer, travel blogger and food tour guide. She shares her creativity on traveltasteclick.com.

Angelique Luna

Angelique Luna is a sex education advocate, coach, educator and entertainer. She is mom to her daughter, Diva (a nickname), and believes that education is essential in keeping our children safe.

Kristen Manieri

Kristen Manieri is a prolific writer who has been blogging about relationships and date night for 12 years through her sites: Orlando Date Night Guide and Date Night Guide. Kristen is also the host of The Synced Life podcast, which explores topics related to human connection. She lives in the Orlando area with her husband, Marc and their two daughters.

Angela Browning

Angela C. Browning and her husband, Brandon, are the proud Orlando-based parents of three boys. Angela holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and literature from Eastern Michigan University and earned her Juris Doctor from Ave Maria School of Law. Follow her group’s effort at facebook.com/groups/ocpsrecess and @RestoreRecess on Twitter.

Christa Melnyk Hines

Freelance journalist Christa Melnyk Hines and her husband are the parents of two boys. Christa is the author of "Confidently Connected: A Mom's Guide to a Satisfying Social Life."

Kate De Luca

Kate De Luca is an Orlando mom and wellness advocate who has fun beingcreative with healthy foods she buys at Trader Joe's. For more easy recipes that parents and kids can follow, check out Kate’s Instagram @katedoesjoes.

Avani Desai

Avani Desai is a mom of two, executive vice president at Schellman & Company, member of board of directors at Central Florida Foundation and co-chair of 100 Women Strong, a collective giving initiative of the Central Florida Foundation that inspires women in Central Florida to help improve the lives of women and children through strategic philanthropy.

Dr. Mandana Nabizadeh, DDS

Dr. Mandana Nabizadeh, DDS, known to her patients as Dr. Nabi, attended the University of Illinois at Chicago and earned her D.D.S. degree in general dentistry. She specializes in working with pediatric dental patients in the downtown Orlando-based pediatric practice Your Downtown Dentistry. Dr. Nabi is married to Dr. Ali Behzadi and has a young daughter, Melody.

Galina Sullivan

Galina Sullivan lives in Tampa with her husband, John, and her two kids, Sophia (11) and Theo (5). The four of them love to travel together as a family and explore places near and far. You can follow Galina and her family travel adventures on Instagram at @kidslivemodern.

Debbie Helton

Debbie is a local mom and owner of The Craft Shack in Longwood, which provides arts and crafts enrichment with a recycled flair through scheduled classes, private parties and corporate meetings.

Megan Padilla

Megan may live in Orlando, but her friends know she and her family are gypsy nomads at heart. She writes about travel and passionate people who do cool things. Follow her on Instagram @travelswithmeg.

JJ West

JJ West lives in Oviedo with her husband and three children. She is a former teacher and a “wannabe blogger.” When she isn’t changing diapers, preparing snacks or answering a million questions, she enjoys the beach, sweet tea and college football. You can read more about faith, family and funny stories on her blog, Mrs. JJ West.

Viviana Valencia-Serrano

Viviana is the Assistant Manager for Community Relations of the Orange County Library System. She holds an M.L.I.S. from the University of South Florida and has 10 years experience as a Children’s Librarian. Viviana is a voracious reader, obsessed with all things Harry Potter and is happy to pass that on to her 5-year-old son.

Kodi Churchill

Kodi Churchill is an Orlando mom to a spunky 2-year old boy and enjoys fostering cats, listening to 90's band Hanson and watching Disney movies. Her previous roles include writing and marketing for the tech and sports media corporations. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and Mass Communications.

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Family Events

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March 2019

March 15, 20196:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Play Date


Drop your kids off for a night to themselves in a safe, supervised and friendly environment. They will enjoy themed games, crafts and gym time. Included is this packed night of fun is always a great movie and yummy pizza.





Drop your kids off for a night to themselves in a safe, supervised and friendly environment. They will enjoy themed games, crafts and gym time. Included is this packed night of fun is always a great movie and yummy pizza.





For potty-trained 3 year olds up to 5th graders. All for only $25 per child ($15 for each additional sibling). Call for availability: 407-365-6800


March 15, 20196:30 pm
Play Date


Join us on Friday, March 15 for a special Family Swim to Celebrate the Colors of the Rainbow! We will have raffles, crafts, pizza and and open swim. Raffle winners will be announced at 7:45 p.m., and you must be present to claim your prize.



Join us on Friday, March 15 for a special Family Swim to Celebrate the Colors of the Rainbow! We will have raffles, crafts, pizza and and open swim. Raffle winners will be announced at 7:45 p.m., and you must be present to claim your prize.





Reservations ARE required for this event, so call 407.614.6363 to reserve your spot. This event is FREE for Goldfish Swim School members and their family. Cost for non-members is $5 a person, with a $15 maximum per family.


March 16, 201911:00 am - 11:45 am
Educational / Free


Sensory Storytimes are special needs-friendly, relaxed and interactive. These programs are designed to increase your child's comfort level with the library environment. Children of all ages and their families are welcome on one Saturday of the month from 11 a.m.-11:45 a.m. The 2019 scheduled alternates monthly between East (Oviedo) branch ...

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March 22, 20199:00 am
Class http://edibleed.org


During this Spring Break Seed-to-Table Workshop (Cost: $80) with Edible Education Experience at the Emeril Lagasse Kitchen House & Culinary Garden in College Park, kids 10-15 will learn how to make brunch favorites like crepes, breakfast potatoes, eggs, fresh pressed juice and make-your-own fruit jam to bring home.


&...

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March 24, 20191:00 pm
Festivals


The inaugural Family Day event at Ivanhoe Park Brewing Co. is just around the corner! Families can enjoy great times with face painting, balloon twisting, bounce house, and

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March 30, 201910:00 am
Festivals https://www.facebook.com/events/276027659759705/


Keeping Kids Safe in Our Community is how to stay COOL this summer!





Join The Parke House Academy for a fun, family health and fitness fair!



Keeping Kids Safe in Our Community is how to stay COOL this summer!





Join The Parke House Academy for a fun, family health and fitness fair!





The event will feature the Police Department, Fire Department, a S.W.A.T Vehicle, an ORMC Helicopter Landing, the Big Red Bus and more.





Saturday, March 30th, at Park Avenue by the Rose Garden in Winter Park






March 30, 201911:00 am
Festivals / Free


Check out the newly updated (and beautiful) Rieter Park (301 W Warren Ave, Longwood, FL 32750) for a family-friendly day packed with music, great food and lots of fun. There will be a FREE kid zone featuring a pirate ship, shark ride and maybe even a mermaid or two. A huge variety of ...

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March 30, 201911:00 am
Recurring Events


See how marshmallows are made! Hear the story of Wondermade, get a tour of the kitchen and become an official marshmallow agent. This kid-friendly workshop lasts for one hour and includes a complimentary slab of marshmallows. Tickets are $10/person and space is limited. Family workshops take place the last Saturday of ...

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March 30, 20193:00 pm
Educational https://eduxkids.com/



https://youtu.be/u7DLWtXSziU



https://youtu.be/u7DLWtXSziU




Calling Future Innovators and Entrepreneurs!





Experience the excitement of bringing ideas to life in a fun filled festival. Kids can compete to win seed funding money for their business idea and receive coaching from a panel of local judges. Don’t miss out on this amazing event for kids filled with STEAM activities, entertainment, face painting, bounce houses and much more.





To learn more and register:https://eduxkids.com/


March 31, 20197:30 am - 4:00 pm
Lake Nona Town Center
6900 Tavistock Lakes Blvd, Orlando, FL, 32827
Fundraiser http://www.diabetes.org/lakenona


The American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) 13th Tour de Cure in central Florida will be even bigger and better than ever. Regarded as one of the top multi-site cycling events in the country, the Tour de Cure offers routes for people of ...

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