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A lifestyle magazine for Central Florida's modern parents

Is Flex Learning the Future of Education?

iStock | Rich Vintage

What you need to know about this nontraditional way of schooling

Last school year, parents had to make difficult choices about their children’s mode of schooling: face-to-face, virtual or a hybrid of the two. Some families opted to homeschool instead. While many families are eager to get their kids back to full-time face-to-face learning, others are turning toward a flex learning model again this year. 

Simply put, flex learning provides students the freedom to choose how, what, where and when they learn. Parents choose this format through Florida Virtual School or by registering as homeschoolers through their school district. Thanks to a continuing surge of flexible learning options, Central Florida families have a plethora of educational and enrichment opportunities available right in their own backyards.

Central Florida Zoo Homeschool ZOOventures

Having spent the first few months of school last year in a constant state of uncertainty, Michelle Forrestal decided to enroll her boys, Reid (13) and Miles (11), in the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) Flex program after their winter break. Michelle was apprehensive at first. She is not a teacher and was concerned that her boys’ academic progress would suffer. In search of solidarity, she joined multiple Facebook groups to seek out other parents in FLVS Flex, and it was within these virtual forums that she found an invaluable community of support. 

Over the next few months, it became clear to both Michelle and her boys that they had made the right decision. The benefits were obvious: The boys were able to learn at their own pace, and their interaction with their FLVS teachers was a dream come true. Michelle has continued to see a huge improvement in her boys’ engagement and performance. “In a public school setting, Reid would rarely raise his hand or participate in class. Now he can text, email and call his teachers as often as needed, and they respond quickly and thoughtfully,” she explains. 

Flex learning has also taken the pressure off trying to strike the right balance between school and life. The Forrestal children are involved with extracurricular activities like music and competitive cheer, so in the past, they had to rush from school to practices and competitions, and in turn, stay up late to complete assignments due the following day. Now, they have the ability to work based on their availability, significantly reducing the family’s stress. “We were so caught up in the ‘public schools race’ and jam-packed schedules that I’ve had to train my brain differently,” Michelle admits about the transition. 

If you were to ask Mandy Pacheco to describe her family’s homeschooling environment, her reply would include “car schooling,” “Panera schooling,” and “wherever we happen to be schooling.” Mandy and her children, Jules (15) and Trey (12), have successfully navigated the flex learning space for years and continue to evaluate and adjust as needed with each new school year. 

One of the reasons the Pacheco family first embarked on a flexible learning path was because Jules is on the autism spectrum and has been diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia. Despite her diagnosis, Jules is thriving in her art classes at the Florida Film Academy in Winter Garden, and she has already completed 12 dual enrollment college credits. 

Parents should keep in mind that they don’t need to be experts in order for flex learning to be successful. While Mandy has a Ph.D. in education and teaches at the University of Central Florida, she maintains that her role as a flex learning mom is more to facilitate, not necessarily to teach. For example, Mandy knew she wasn’t the best person to teach writing to her children. As a solution, she hired a tutor, a former NASA technical writer, who has been certified in the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) method. Lessons take place on a 20-acre cow farm, and the kids couldn’t be happier. 

Mad Science of Central Florida

When it comes to planning curriculum, Mandy recommends involving kids in the process. “Include your child when deciding how, when, and where they will learn because together you will be able to choose what works best,” she advises. Jules has a varied schedule that includes activities like dance, printmaking, drawing, and volunteering with the public library. Trey belongs to a fencing club and a paintball team and participates in First Lego League. Mandy believes that these experiences offer opportunities for Jules and Trey to thrive outside of a traditional classroom setting.

If you can relate to either Michelle or Mandy’s stories, your family may be ready to make the leap into the world of flex learning. Luckily, Central Florida offers options for just about any subject or area of interest. For example, if your child is science-minded, check out Mad Science of NE Central Florida’s homeschool offerings for kids of all ages. Their mission is to inspire children through science, sparking lifelong imagination and curiosity. “Be sure to keep mixing in different opportunities for kids to work together in groups and face-to-face,” advises Kylie Koscoe, owner and “Chief Mad Scientist” of the program. “Find out how your child learns best, and then make sure [your choices] are continuing to benefit them.”

For children with an interest in wildlife and ecology, The Central Florida Zoo has worked with the homeschool community for over 20 years delivering interactive Zooventures for kids, teens and adults. With over 40 different species of animals, a natural wetland habitat, a botanical garden and a partnership with Florida Fish and Wildlife, there’s something for everyone at the zoo. “We really are where the classroom comes to life. We provide exciting opportunities through hands-on experiences for individuals, groups and families,” says Dawn Danzi, the zoo’s education manager.

Another important aspect to consider when choosing a flex curriculum is its long-term or real-world benefits. Take Code Ninjas in Waterford Lakes. “No matter what path children choose in life, technology will be a part of their world. Coding is the new literacy,” says owner Ieshah Geary. Kids ages 5 through 14 can learn to code at their own pace via fun and familiar video game platforms, like Minecraft, Roblox and  YouTube. No matter what their proficiency level — at Code Ninjas this is measured in belt colors, much like martial arts — students will learn different coding concepts and languages. Younger children who are unable to read begin with block-based code and advance later to languages. Once a student reaches the black belt level, they have a chance to develop their own app and publish it to the Apple or Google app store, providing an opportunity for kids to self-direct their learning while creating something tangible. 

While interacting with animals at the zoo or coding in front of a computer all day may sound like all fun and games to many parents, at the end of the day, flex learning is still learning. It’s important to keep in mind that flex schooling can have its own challenges. First, children need to be able to work independently and be self-motivated to complete their work, even in subjects they don’t enjoy. Parents will have to spend time educating their children at home or driving them to their learning locations. Most importantly, parents who choose to customize their kids’ flex learning path using nontraditional programs and curriculum will need to comply with state laws to ensure their children are showing educational progress each year. More information, including the Home-Education Program Florida Statute 1002.41, can be found on the Florida Parent Educators Association website at fpea.com.

Emily Blomquist, local teacher & founder of Big Dreams Bloom
Flex Learning Resources 

Here’s a list of PLAYGROUND’s favorite educational programs to support families through their flex learning journey.

4-H Youth Programs
Kids and teens complete hands-on projects in areas like health, science, agriculture and civic engagement in a positive environment where they receive guidance from adult mentors and are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles.
florida4h.ifas.ufl.edu

All Kids Spanish
A fun Spanish immersion program for children.
Orlando, 321-460-2844
allkidspanish.com

Big Dreams Bloom
Elementary school students explore influential women through popular children’s literature, book club-style discussions and maker-style STEM projects.
bigdreamsbloom.com

Central Florida Zoo Homeschool ZOOventures
Monthly virtual and in-person classes for children ages 5–13 starting in September and concluding in May. Each class comes to life with a natural science lesson, activity and up-close animal encounters. 
Sanford, 407-323-4450 
centralfloridazoo.org

Cheyne Ranch Homeschool Nature Club
Weekly classes focus on caring for and learning about the health and behavior of horses, goats and bunnies in a small group setting.
Oviedo, 407-680-3348
cheyneranch.com/nature-clubs

Code Ninjas
Kids learn to code in a fun, safe and inspiring learning environment, with a game-based curriculum that they love.
Waterford Lakes, 855-563-2633
codeninjas.com/fl-orlando-waterford-lakes

Faithful Fruit Leadership, Inc.
Liz Washington provides in-person and online math tutoring, in addition to resume help, college advising, academic support, professional development, career counseling, and educational events to the Central Florida Area.
407-341-6910
Facebook.com/FaithfulFruitLeadership

FIRST Lego League
FIRST LEGO League introduces science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to children ages 4–16 through fun, exciting hands-on learning. Find a team near you.
firstinspires.org

Florida Film Academy Home School Studio
Film production, editing, makeup, illustration, photography, animation and more creative classes are available for home school students aged 7–18.  
Winter Garden, 407-654-8400
flfilmacademy.com/home-school

Florida Virtual School
Offers a free, standards-based, full-time and part-time, online curriculum and live classes supported by Florida teachers for Kindergarten through 12th grade.
Flvs.net

IEW at the Farm
Mary Odell is a writing tutor and former NASA technical writer, who has been certified in the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) method.
Geneva
iewatthefarm.com

Mad Science of Central Florida
A leading science enrichment provider that delivers unique, hands-on science experiences for children. 
Oviedo & Ocoee 386-898-4570
cfl.madscience.org

Orange County Library System
Kids can learn how to run a business, make a web page, build video games, embroider and even how to cook through free classes at the library!
Multiple branches, 407-835-7323
ocls.info/classes-events

Orlando Science Center
This bi-monthly science lab for homeschoolers in grades K–8, exposes students to a variety of exciting topics such as chemistry, astronomy, physics, renewable energy and more! 
Orlando, 407-514-2000
osc.org/learn/education

The Studio School
A new arts-immersive academy for dyslexic learners. A part-time program for homeschoolers in 1st–5th grade. Classes are led by Orton-Gillingham practitioners and professional artists.
Orlando, 407-243-8286
languageisart.org

Sword Masters Club
An array of classes for fencers of all abilities, levels and ages.
East Orlando, 321-246-3850
swordmastersclub.com/classes-programs

UKnight Training Center
A fun but direct approach to coaching, all while striving to create a positive and challenging atmosphere for athletes.
Winter Park, 407-679-6620
uknighttrainingcenter.com

Walden Community School
An out-of-the-box school for the out-of-the-box thinker. Full-time and part-time programs available.
Winter Park, 407-677-8225
waldencommunityschool.com 

Written by
Betsy Jewell

Betsy Jewell is a Central Florida-based content creator and mother of two teenage boys. When she's not providing career coaching to teens and young adults, you can find her behind the microphone hosting the High School Hamster Wheel podcast.

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Written by Betsy Jewell

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Class
All working days All Day
July 19 to August 20
Are you looking for amazing and fun ways to engage your child every day during this hot and stormy Summer weather? Kindermusik classes are your answer! Summer Session B Kindermusik will begin very soon in OVIEDO/UCF, WINTER PARK, WINTER GARDEN & PORT ORANGE, so sign up today! These classes are for age 0-7 kids and full of music, movement, and fun.
Read More
8:30 am / 10:00 am
August 1

Offered Saturdays & Sundays from 8:30 – 10:00 am
Weekday reservations available upon request.
Adventure is open to all ages but we suggest one adult per two youth.

Embark on a behind-the-scenes tour through this fan-favorite exhibit which emulates animal habitats found in nature. Throughout your guided experience, you will participate in animal touches and feedings while learning about animal husbandry and the care that goes into keeping our animals happy and healthy. Once you’re familiar with the lay of the land, it’s time to learn the ropes and become an animal keeper!

Did you know our animal ambassadors are big fans of food prep? Our animals’ diets are designed to fit each of their unique nutritional needs. Help us prepare the day’s meals and feed some of our four-legged friends!

Enrichment is also a crucial part of our animals’ health and wellbeing. Learn how keepers use enrichment to keep animals physically and mentally fit. This will be demonstrated while an animal ambassador paints a two-colored masterpiece for you to take home as a keepsake for your exciting day!

Meet an animal ambassador! Once you've finished your animal keeper training, there will be time for a special opportunity to interact with an animal ambassador* and pose for photo-ops.

*Animal encounters are just as enriching for the animals as the humans who participate in them but, like humans, sometimes they want to stick to their own schedule. Animal well-being is our top priority, so if a particular animal does not want to participate in that day’s private experiences, our staff will select another exciting animal ambassador for you to meet!

Read More
August 1

New Weekly Indoor Sunday Market inside the Altamonte Springs Mall featuring Fresh Produce, Packaged Foods, Food Finds, Flowers, Local Artisans just off Center Court 1st floor

Read More
August 1

How long? 1.5 hours for Family Members (ages 5+)

When? Various Dates and Times

Note: Adult Family Members Must Take Class with Children 5 to 17 years old

You and your family (friends/co-workers) can learn how to throw on the potter's wheel from one of our experienced artists. Children 5 to 17 years old must take class with an adult member of the family.  We will guide you and your family members step-by-step through the process of throwing a bowl on their own.  Everyone will have the opportunity to make 1 bowl during class, and then paint it with colors from our large selection of glazes. This is a super cool and a memorable experience you can do together! Book each family member’s seat individually up to 6. (by reservation only)

$35 per person.

Read More
4:00 pm / 5:00 pm
August 1

The Hive: A Makerspace- Join the Maker Movement! Go forth and create! In this collaborative workspace, you can try new tools, build new skills, and create something one-of-a-kind to take home. Makers are MacGuyvers. Through the simple act of making something, you are strengthening essential skills in problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. These experiences will challenge you to bring your ideas to life, and every choice you make will lead you to something new. Makerspaces cultivate community so enjoy sharing your creations with each other. Being a maker is all about creativity and experimentation, so select one of the following projects for your group’s private experience to explore and make your own: 3D Design for Printing, Make Your Own Mouse Ears, Sew a Felt Succulent Garden

Offered Saturdays & Sundays from 9-10:30am or 4-5pm however weekday reservations are available upon request. This adventure must be booked online and workshops are best suited for makers ages 8 and older.

Read More
9:00 am / 6:00 pm
August 2

Buckle up for your wildest car ride yet! Travel down gravel paths within our Drive-thru Safari Park and discover more than 100 native and exotic animals roaming freely. During your journey, you’ll have the opportunity to observe a variety of animals often only found around the world. Enjoy identifying species from as far away as the African savanna to others from the deciduous forests of North America, all from the comfort of your own car.

Read More
9:00 am / 6:00 pm
August 3

Buckle up for your wildest car ride yet! Travel down gravel paths within our Drive-thru Safari Park and discover more than 100 native and exotic animals roaming freely. During your journey, you’ll have the opportunity to observe a variety of animals often only found around the world. Enjoy identifying species from as far away as the African savanna to others from the deciduous forests of North America, all from the comfort of your own car.

Read More
August 4
Every August 4th is "Great America Outdoors", help us celebrate the Great American Outdoors Act, with free entrance to all national parks; which will enable national parks and other federal lands to repair and upgrade vital infrastructure and facilities that will enrich the visitor experience, protect resources, and enable increased access for all visitors. Come experience the national parks! On six days in 2021, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone. National parks are America’s best idea, and there are more than 400 parks available to everyone, every day. The fee-free days provide a great opportunity to visit a new place or an old favorite, especially one of the national parks that normally charge an entrance fee. The others are free all the time. The entrance fee waiver for fee-free days does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours. Mark your calendar for these entrance fee–free dates in 2021: • August 4: One year anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act • August 25: National Park Service Birthday • September 25: National Public Lands Day • November 11: Veterans Day
Read More
9:00 am / 6:00 pm
August 4

Buckle up for your wildest car ride yet! Travel down gravel paths within our Drive-thru Safari Park and discover more than 100 native and exotic animals roaming freely. During your journey, you’ll have the opportunity to observe a variety of animals often only found around the world. Enjoy identifying species from as far away as the African savanna to others from the deciduous forests of North America, all from the comfort of your own car.

Read More
Nature Play
August 4

Fables on the Farm is a children's fun time here at Wildflower Farm.

They will read a children's book in our pasture pavilion. After the book reading, the baby goats will come join for a meet and greet! We will supply fresh greens you can feed them.

Then they will ask for you to help to us give the "kids" a bottle of warm milk!

Farm products, local craft items and merchandise will be available for purchase.
Admission is $12.50 per person. (1 and under free)

Read More
Foodie Fun
5:00 pm
August 4

On Wednesdays, kids eat free* with the Little Piglet Dinner Special.

Wednesday, starting at 5pm, stop by Pig Floyd's locations for dinner and along with your dinner purchase, your child can enjoy a Quesadilla or Chicken tender kids meal, ON US.
Don't have kids, perfect night to invite a friend that does.

See you for dinner!

*Special offer restricted to this date/time only and applies to quesadilla or chicken tender kids meals. Items cannot be substituted.
FoodKid FriendlyFood tasting

Read More
9:00 am / 6:00 pm
August 5

Buckle up for your wildest car ride yet! Travel down gravel paths within our Drive-thru Safari Park and discover more than 100 native and exotic animals roaming freely. During your journey, you’ll have the opportunity to observe a variety of animals often only found around the world. Enjoy identifying species from as far away as the African savanna to others from the deciduous forests of North America, all from the comfort of your own car.

Read More
August 5

How long? 1.5 hours for Family Members (ages 5+)

When? Various Dates and Times

Note: Adult Family Members Must Take Class with Children 5 to 17 years old

You and your family (friends/co-workers) can learn how to throw on the potter's wheel from one of our experienced artists. Children 5 to 17 years old must take class with an adult member of the family.  We will guide you and your family members step-by-step through the process of throwing a bowl on their own.  Everyone will have the opportunity to make 1 bowl during class, and then paint it with colors from our large selection of glazes. This is a super cool and a memorable experience you can do together! Book each family member’s seat individually up to 6. (by reservation only)

$35 per person.

Read More
August 5

You can do the $25 drop-in class rate or monthly membership is $75. There are limited spots available so please be sure to message me to reserve your spot. Social distancing will be practiced during this class.

Read More
7:30 pm
August 5
Supported by Experience Kissimmee. Part of our revamped Frontyard Festival™, presented by AdventHealth—with twice as many boxes to enjoy live, outdoor entertainment, unique experiences, and food and drinks delivered from on-site restaurants. Now through mid-December 2021. A charismatic high-school student convinces his repressed best friend to play hooky with his girlfriend and attempts to bring the young man out of his shell during a memorable day in Chicago. PG-13 (Parental Strongly Cautioned) – Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Read More
August 6

Babies love music. With Virtual Little Music Makers, you and your baby can sing, play, and share the joy and whimsy of music while fostering language, movement, and social-emotional development milestones. Gather any instruments you have at home and engage your little ones during class time.

0-6 mo – 9am-10am

6-12 mo – 10am-11am

12-18 mo – 11am-12pm

All virtual classes held on Friday mornings during regularly scheduled hours.

Read More
August 6

Enjoy complimentary admission the last Friday of the month May through September compliments of Wawa. Committed to the communities they serve, Wawa is keeping the Gardens growing with their generous support.
To receive complimentary admission, please come to the Entrance Gate. Visitors do not need to make a purchase. No voucher or reservation necessary.

Read More
9:00 am / 6:00 pm
August 6

Buckle up for your wildest car ride yet! Travel down gravel paths within our Drive-thru Safari Park and discover more than 100 native and exotic animals roaming freely. During your journey, you’ll have the opportunity to observe a variety of animals often only found around the world. Enjoy identifying species from as far away as the African savanna to others from the deciduous forests of North America, all from the comfort of your own car.

Read More
August 6

How long? 1.5 hours for Family Members (ages 5+)

When? Various Dates and Times

Note: Adult Family Members Must Take Class with Children 5 to 17 years old

You and your family (friends/co-workers) can learn how to throw on the potter's wheel from one of our experienced artists. Children 5 to 17 years old must take class with an adult member of the family.  We will guide you and your family members step-by-step through the process of throwing a bowl on their own.  Everyone will have the opportunity to make 1 bowl during class, and then paint it with colors from our large selection of glazes. This is a super cool and a memorable experience you can do together! Book each family member’s seat individually up to 6. (by reservation only)

$35 per person.

Read More
7:00 pm / 9:00 pm
August 6

Host A Family Movie Night At Home

Gather the gang for Family Night, weekly family viewing events featuring movie specials or themed programming.

Download printable Family Night movie tickets , movie marquee signs and a movie snack box !

Don't miss family night every Friday from 7 - 9 PM on PBS KIDS!

Read More
August 7
  • The Winter Park Farmers’ Market is normally held at the old train depot, located at 200 West New England Avenue, that has been restored into an historical landmark that hosts this NUMBER ONE produce and plant market in Central Florida. The market takes place every Saturday morning from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is a popular community gathering place that provides fine produce, plants, baked goods and so much more.
Read More
8:30 am / 10:00 am
August 7

Offered Saturdays & Sundays from 8:30 – 10:00 am
Weekday reservations available upon request.
Adventure is open to all ages but we suggest one adult per two youth.

Embark on a behind-the-scenes tour through this fan-favorite exhibit which emulates animal habitats found in nature. Throughout your guided experience, you will participate in animal touches and feedings while learning about animal husbandry and the care that goes into keeping our animals happy and healthy. Once you’re familiar with the lay of the land, it’s time to learn the ropes and become an animal keeper!

Did you know our animal ambassadors are big fans of food prep? Our animals’ diets are designed to fit each of their unique nutritional needs. Help us prepare the day’s meals and feed some of our four-legged friends!

Enrichment is also a crucial part of our animals’ health and wellbeing. Learn how keepers use enrichment to keep animals physically and mentally fit. This will be demonstrated while an animal ambassador paints a two-colored masterpiece for you to take home as a keepsake for your exciting day!

Meet an animal ambassador! Once you've finished your animal keeper training, there will be time for a special opportunity to interact with an animal ambassador* and pose for photo-ops.

*Animal encounters are just as enriching for the animals as the humans who participate in them but, like humans, sometimes they want to stick to their own schedule. Animal well-being is our top priority, so if a particular animal does not want to participate in that day’s private experiences, our staff will select another exciting animal ambassador for you to meet!

Read More
9:00 am / 6:00 pm
August 7

Buckle up for your wildest car ride yet! Travel down gravel paths within our Drive-thru Safari Park and discover more than 100 native and exotic animals roaming freely. During your journey, you’ll have the opportunity to observe a variety of animals often only found around the world. Enjoy identifying species from as far away as the African savanna to others from the deciduous forests of North America, all from the comfort of your own car.

Read More
10:00 am / 2:00 pm
August 7

Weekly Open House every Saturday at The Orlando School of Music!!

10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.!

Come visit us to view the school, receive a VIP tour of the school, and schedule a trial lesson! We have a lot of great perks for students and parents!

4968 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32803! (321) 281-8386!

Read More
August 7
A special family event before closing our five-year remembrance exhibition, Community: Five Years After the Pulse Tragedy. We will be joined by our community partners from the Orlando Science Center, Orlando Museum of Art, and the Zebra Coalition to present family-friendly activities inspired by the overwhelming outpouring of love experienced throughout Central Florida in the wake of the tragedy. Create handmade crafts like those lovingly placed at memorial sites throughout the city, participate in a drop-in dance party inspired by Keep Dancing Orlando, and more! Admission is free all day. Crafts and activities end at 3 p.m.
Read More
August 7

Public skating is for children 12 years old and younger and their parents.
$8.00 admission includes regular skate rental

Adults that want to skate the admission is only $5.00 with every paid child and as always non skating chaperones are free.

Need a lesson?

For $10.00, come in at 9 a.m. and have instruction from 9:15 to 10 a.m., which includes our Tiny Tot public session and regular skate rental!

Read More
August 7

How long? 1.5 hours for Family Members (ages 5+)

When? Various Dates and Times

Note: Adult Family Members Must Take Class with Children 5 to 17 years old

You and your family (friends/co-workers) can learn how to throw on the potter's wheel from one of our experienced artists. Children 5 to 17 years old must take class with an adult member of the family.  We will guide you and your family members step-by-step through the process of throwing a bowl on their own.  Everyone will have the opportunity to make 1 bowl during class, and then paint it with colors from our large selection of glazes. This is a super cool and a memorable experience you can do together! Book each family member’s seat individually up to 6. (by reservation only)

$35 per person.

Read More
Nature Play
August 7

Fables on the Farm is a children's fun time here at Wildflower Farm.

They will read a children's book in our pasture pavilion. After the book reading, the baby goats will come join for a meet and greet! We will supply fresh greens you can feed them.

Then they will ask for you to help to us give the "kids" a bottle of warm milk!

Farm products, local craft items and merchandise will be available for purchase.
Admission is $12.50 per person. (1 and under free)

Read More

End Of Summer Celebration Virtual Event

Online
August 7
Tune in for the live End of Summer Celebration. Join the virtual party on Facebook or YouTube as we celebrate all the new things we’ve learned and stories we’ve read this summer. The whole family can enjoy activities and lots of fun with our special mystery guests. We’ll also be announcing the winners of our Grand Prize Giveaway.
Read More
4:00 pm / 5:00 pm
August 7

The Hive: A Makerspace- Join the Maker Movement! Go forth and create! In this collaborative workspace, you can try new tools, build new skills, and create something one-of-a-kind to take home. Makers are MacGuyvers. Through the simple act of making something, you are strengthening essential skills in problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. These experiences will challenge you to bring your ideas to life, and every choice you make will lead you to something new. Makerspaces cultivate community so enjoy sharing your creations with each other. Being a maker is all about creativity and experimentation, so select one of the following projects for your group’s private experience to explore and make your own: 3D Design for Printing, Make Your Own Mouse Ears, Sew a Felt Succulent Garden

Offered Saturdays & Sundays from 9-10:30am or 4-5pm however weekday reservations are available upon request. This adventure must be booked online and workshops are best suited for makers ages 8 and older.

Read More
August 7
Annual Back2School Block Party! Come to Historic Downtown Kissimmee for backpacks and supplies giveaway alongside merchants and vendors.
Read More
August 7

Yee-haw! Eight seconds may not seem like a long time, but when a bull rider is trying to stay on a bucking bronc, you'll be frozen with suspense!WHAT TO EXPECT:
Get ready to be mesmerized by the excitement and unpredictable danger of the Rodeo at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo. Known for being an unforgettable evening of family-fun, the 1,200-seat rodeo arena draws rodeo athletes from all over to compete in trick riding, barrel racing, and of course, bull riding. Our Saturday Night Rodeo is a guest favorite and allows all guests to discover talented contestants while also enjoying a patriotic tribute to our armed forces. So come on down to the rodeo for a wild Florida night!INFO & TICKETS:
Tickets can be purchased at the entrance of the Rodeo. We do not offer advance tickets.Guests staying at the resort do get priority for tickets; any tickets left after resort guests are available to the public.Adults $25 • Children (ages 5-12) $15
Children 4 and under are complimentary
All ages are welcome

Read More
August 7

All Your Favorite Classic Cars Come Together at One Place.

Join us every Saturday and take a trip down memory lane. The Old Town Classic Car Show has been a local tradition for over 30 years, it is one of the premier weekly car shows in Central Florida.

The Saturday Classic Car Show begins at 1:00 pm and welcomes show-quality 1983 and older hot rods, street rods, and antiques. Cars will cruise at 8:30 pm and all registered cars are able to participate.

The Classic Car Show is free for participants and free for the public to attend. It's the perfect outing for families of every generation, young and old, to enjoy.

Here are some reminders and safety precautions to ensure everyone enjoys their time at Old Town:
- Practice safe social distancing between you and other guests of at least 6 feet.
- No gatherings or congregating of more than 10 individuals.
- Face masks or coverings are strongly encouraged while you enjoy Old Town.
- Face masks are county mandated inside public facilities in Osceola County.
- Old Town has placed additional sanitizing stations throughout the property and at each restroom.
- All Old Town staff, security and housekeeping are required to be temperature checked and wear masks at all times.
- Old Town requires cars be parked at least 6 feet apart to ensure cruiser and guest safety.

For more information on how to stay safe and healthy during your visit to Old Town, please visit Stay Safe.

PARTICIPATING CLASSIC CARS: enter Old Town from Highway 192 under the east (left) side of the Jukebox signs where you’ll be greeted by Event Staff. They will then direct you to a security escort down the brick streets. Please do not drive on the bricks without permission.

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8:30 am / 10:00 am
August 8

Offered Saturdays & Sundays from 8:30 – 10:00 am
Weekday reservations available upon request.
Adventure is open to all ages but we suggest one adult per two youth.

Embark on a behind-the-scenes tour through this fan-favorite exhibit which emulates animal habitats found in nature. Throughout your guided experience, you will participate in animal touches and feedings while learning about animal husbandry and the care that goes into keeping our animals happy and healthy. Once you’re familiar with the lay of the land, it’s time to learn the ropes and become an animal keeper!

Did you know our animal ambassadors are big fans of food prep? Our animals’ diets are designed to fit each of their unique nutritional needs. Help us prepare the day’s meals and feed some of our four-legged friends!

Enrichment is also a crucial part of our animals’ health and wellbeing. Learn how keepers use enrichment to keep animals physically and mentally fit. This will be demonstrated while an animal ambassador paints a two-colored masterpiece for you to take home as a keepsake for your exciting day!

Meet an animal ambassador! Once you've finished your animal keeper training, there will be time for a special opportunity to interact with an animal ambassador* and pose for photo-ops.

*Animal encounters are just as enriching for the animals as the humans who participate in them but, like humans, sometimes they want to stick to their own schedule. Animal well-being is our top priority, so if a particular animal does not want to participate in that day’s private experiences, our staff will select another exciting animal ambassador for you to meet!

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August 8

New Weekly Indoor Sunday Market inside the Altamonte Springs Mall featuring Fresh Produce, Packaged Foods, Food Finds, Flowers, Local Artisans just off Center Court 1st floor

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August 8

How long? 1.5 hours for Family Members (ages 5+)

When? Various Dates and Times

Note: Adult Family Members Must Take Class with Children 5 to 17 years old

You and your family (friends/co-workers) can learn how to throw on the potter's wheel from one of our experienced artists. Children 5 to 17 years old must take class with an adult member of the family.  We will guide you and your family members step-by-step through the process of throwing a bowl on their own.  Everyone will have the opportunity to make 1 bowl during class, and then paint it with colors from our large selection of glazes. This is a super cool and a memorable experience you can do together! Book each family member’s seat individually up to 6. (by reservation only)

$35 per person.

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4:00 pm / 5:00 pm
August 8

The Hive: A Makerspace- Join the Maker Movement! Go forth and create! In this collaborative workspace, you can try new tools, build new skills, and create something one-of-a-kind to take home. Makers are MacGuyvers. Through the simple act of making something, you are strengthening essential skills in problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. These experiences will challenge you to bring your ideas to life, and every choice you make will lead you to something new. Makerspaces cultivate community so enjoy sharing your creations with each other. Being a maker is all about creativity and experimentation, so select one of the following projects for your group’s private experience to explore and make your own: 3D Design for Printing, Make Your Own Mouse Ears, Sew a Felt Succulent Garden

Offered Saturdays & Sundays from 9-10:30am or 4-5pm however weekday reservations are available upon request. This adventure must be booked online and workshops are best suited for makers ages 8 and older.

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9:00 am / 6:00 pm
August 9

Buckle up for your wildest car ride yet! Travel down gravel paths within our Drive-thru Safari Park and discover more than 100 native and exotic animals roaming freely. During your journey, you’ll have the opportunity to observe a variety of animals often only found around the world. Enjoy identifying species from as far away as the African savanna to others from the deciduous forests of North America, all from the comfort of your own car.

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9:00 am / 6:00 pm
August 10

Buckle up for your wildest car ride yet! Travel down gravel paths within our Drive-thru Safari Park and discover more than 100 native and exotic animals roaming freely. During your journey, you’ll have the opportunity to observe a variety of animals often only found around the world. Enjoy identifying species from as far away as the African savanna to others from the deciduous forests of North America, all from the comfort of your own car.

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9:00 am / 6:00 pm
August 11

Buckle up for your wildest car ride yet! Travel down gravel paths within our Drive-thru Safari Park and discover more than 100 native and exotic animals roaming freely. During your journey, you’ll have the opportunity to observe a variety of animals often only found around the world. Enjoy identifying species from as far away as the African savanna to others from the deciduous forests of North America, all from the comfort of your own car.

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