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Myakka River State Park

Kids Driving You Crazy? Summer Family To-Do’s in SRQ

| Sande Caplin |

By now, you’ve done all the usual summer activities with the kiddos.  Beach days, splash pads, movies, pool parties, etc. etc.  But before the backpacks are bought and school supplies secured, there might be a few things left to do that you haven’t considered.  Here are a few “must-dos” to cap off their summer in style.

* If your child is the type who likes to swing off of things (You know what I mean, trees, bunk beds, chandeliers), then you might want to consider Tito Gaona’s Flying Trapeze Academy & Flying Fantasy Circus in Venice.  Here children and adults can see what it’s like to fly through the air on a real trapeze.  Pretty cool stuff, even for your most adventurous child.
* Keeping with the circus theme is a trip to the Ringling Museum of Art.  Mondays are free and it’s a great place to introduce the kids to the arts and to Sarasota’s rich history.   But beyond that, they have a drop-in art program on Thursdays and Saturdays where families can do an art project at the pavilion on the grounds.  And, drum roll please, this is absolutely free, no admission fees charged.

*Get the kids in the air at Treeumph! Adventure Course in Bradenton.  They have a very cool obstacle course where kids can find their confidence and parents can let go a little.  It’s amazing watching your little one master the course which ends in a super fun zipline at the end.  And, parents, if you are thrill seekers, you can find yourself 60 feet up in the air if you make it to the summit and you’ll get a 650 feet zipline thrill at the end.  Yep, something for all brave hearts here.

Skee A Rees*Check out a Ski-A-Rees show.  This local waterski group has been entertaining generations on Sarasota Bay with fun shows.  It’s a fun time to come out to the water and let them dazzle you with their skills.  How do they do that anyhow?  They even hold a world record for one of their feats.  Shows are free and are held near Mote Marine.

Ruskin Drive In*Although not in Sarasota, this one is worth the hour drive to Ruskin Family Drive-In.  Have a nostalgic night out with your kids watching a movie from the convenience of your minivan.  Or if you have a truck, load up your air mattress and back in!  Either way, it’s just a really cool way to spend an evening.    The same owners have operated this place since the 1950’s, and they show family-friendly movies.  They have a great concession stand where you’ll usually find the owner serving up pulled pork sandwiches and hand-pattied burgers.   And, you can even bring your dogs.
*Go canoeing!  There are a number of great waterways to explore in the area including the Myakka River, Manatee River, and the Mangrove tunnels at South Lido Park.  It’s great to unplug and get the family on the water for a fun day of paddling.  And if you can get everybody silent and still at the same time, the soft sounds of nature are so relaxing.

*Stay in your pj’s for the entire day and, by all means, have an ice cream supper.  Enough said on this one.

So these are a few suggestions, but, thankfully we live in an area ripe with activities.  We all know sometimes the least planned out days turn out the best, and in the end the kids just want your time and attention.  “Can you be finished?” just said my son…

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