As excited as everyone becomes about summer vacation, the time eventually comes when the typical ideas fail to relieve boredom. Even people with two-week vacations can find the time moves too slowly without something interesting to do. Many find reading an interesting book, visiting friends or a trip to the library enriching, but there are plenty of alternate activities. South Florida has one of the richest environments for summer learning activities for all ages of any area in the state. There are museums of all types to visit, many of them with hands on activities for families to enjoy. Activities for the budding historian, music or art enthusiast, and sporting activities of all types can be found in South Florida, whether the person is an adult or a child. Here are just a few of the options for fun, educational events or sites in Broward County.
The Venetian Pool in Coral Gables is a fresh-water public pool at a beautiful Southwestern style complex. People of all ages will enjoy the resort-like environment and the chance to swim, sunbathe and play water games. The address for this unique pool is 2701 De Soto Blvd, Coral Gables, and the website is coralgables.com.
For a world famous experience, you cannot do better than to take a ride on the world famous Jungle Queen. There are group rates for this Riverboat extravaganza, covering every group size from fifteen to three hundred and eighty five. For the younger person, there are opportunities as well for learning, as the vessel is available for interesting and educational tours all year round. Groups will learn about popular landmarks and Ft. Lauderdale’s history and culture in a fascinating environment. Information on the Jungle Queen can be found at www.junglequeen.com or call 954- 771-1221.
The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens in Ft. Lauderdale is a national treasure, literally. The National Trust for Historic Preservation included the home and gardens in its Save America’s Treasures program, due to the threat of massive over development in the Ft. Lauderdale area.
Visiting the home, once owned by early settler Hugh Taylor Birch, then given to his daughter, Helen and son-in-law, Frederic as a gift, will give visitors a good sense of the reasons why.
The history of the home is a fascinating tour through not only the lives of the Bartlett families but Florida’s history as well. Events going on at the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens include Cool Saturdays where one can tour the home and gardens from 9 am to 4 pm for a discounted rate. ($10 for adults, free for children twelve and under). Bonnet House is located at 900 N. Birch Road in Ft. Lauderdale, and the web address is www.bonnethouse.org.
For tennis enthusiasts of all ages who want to be more than just a spectator, The Frank Veltri Tennis Center offers both camps for the children and adult clinics and classes. The children’s camps are held on-site every summer and offer skills training for every level, from beginner to advanced tournament. Children in the older age categories have the benefit of playing games with non-elimination tournaments and modified rules, allowing more opportunities to win trophies. The youngest and newest receive awards for improvement and effort as well. For the adults interested in learning tennis, or honing their skills, the tennis center holds classes Mondays and Thursdays for beginners. The classes are timed late enough in the evening to permit dinner before attending, 7to 8:30 p.m. For those who work in the evenings, there are Thursday morning classes with Lori from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Contact the tennis center at 954-513-3540 or visit www.plantationtennis.org
At Acts2Acres Equestrian Center the goal is to cultivate character and confidence in the horse lover, ride by ride. Riding lessons are offered for both children (five years old and up) and adults with calm, even-tempered horses and quality instruction. The lessons are taught for any skill level from beginner to advanced, and prices are affordable. The owners firmly believe in the power of God working through his creation to accomplish life-changing interaction. The center sees its horses as counselors in their own way, as people with anger issues or poor grades can testify. Caring for the horses, riding and interacting can change children’s and adult’s attitudes and demeanor as God ministers through a strong but gentle horse.
The owners, Michelle and Jesus Alvarez, manage the care and board for twenty-five client horses as well as five lesson horses. Michelle has loved horses since at least age ten, when she started learning to ride and care for them. The horses are well cared for in a clean, spacious facility that Acts2Acres just recently moved to, with access to the Tradewinds Park trails just out the back door. The Acts2Acres website is www.acts2acres.com, and the phone number is 954-326-2528.
These are just some of the many opportunities for Broward County residents to learn new skills or develop existing ones over the summer. Be thankful for them, and pursue a new interest with passion.
Penni Bulten is a homeschooling mom who is fascinated with the Founding Fathers and their faith. She can be reached at [email protected].