Explore America's Campgrounds
Finding activities for kids in a retirement community like The Villages in central Florida can present a challenge. Although the town itself doesn't have many options, the surrounding areas do offer many kid-friendly activities. You don't have to go as far as Orlando, which is about 60 miles away, to find some fun things to do with the kids.
Kids will likely enjoy spending time outside in the warm, sunny weather. Lake Griffin State Park (floridastateparks.org/lakegriffin) is only about 10 miles south of The Villages. Here, kids can hike on the nature trails, fish, canoe, picnic, go boating and even camp. The park also has a playground. Travel just 11 miles north of The Villages and you'll find Lake Wier (lakewierlife.com). This recreation area offers swimming, jet skiing, boating, water skiing and fishing, not to mention the white sandy beaches.
Tree Top Golf (golftreetops.com) is an option located 6 miles east of The Villages in Lady Lake. Along with the regular golf course and driving range, which are well suited for the older kids, Tree Top also has an 18-hole mini-golf course and batting cages. Kids can take golf lessons here as well. Lady Lake also has two bowling centers: Fiesta Bowl and Spanish Springs Bowling (thevillagesbowling.com) both have tournaments, bumper bowling, events, programs for kids and a full snack bar.
For the kids who love cars, it might be worth the 30-mile drive to the Mount Dora Museum of Speed Building (classicdreamcars.com). The museum features restored classic American cars, foreign motor cars and "professional" cars. The Grand Oaks Resort and Carriage Museum (thegrandoaks.com) is located 8 miles northeast of The Villages. It has a large collection of carriages and equine artifacts. Kids can learn about the history of the carriage through the exhibits and tours. Visitors can also take carriage rides, touring the stables and resort grounds.
Silver Springs Nature Theme Park (silversprings.com) is just 23 miles north of The Villages and is worth the trip for kids. There they can see wildlife including alligators, bears, panthers, sheep, rabbits, donkeys and much more. There are also river cruises aboard glass bottom boats for underwater viewing. In addition, the kids can visit the playgrounds and rides, see live educational animal shows and ride a jeep into the wild forest. Just 38 miles south of The Villages stands the Citrus Tower (citrustower.com) at 226 feet high. Built in 1956, this attraction allows visitors to ride to the top where there's a glass-enclosed observation deck that provides tremendous views of the area.
Jane Rodda has been a writer since 2004, with articles featured in "Gameday Magazine" and "Urban Family Magazine." She is also the social media director and lead copywriter for a piano instruction website. Rodda holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies with a concentration in psychology from Point Loma Nazarene University.