Spring Break 2018 is about to commence for Sarasota and Manatee County students. Aah, Spring Break, which signifies a “resting” period before kids and teachers give that last push to the end of the school year. For so many families, the rush is on to find something innovative to do around town if you haven’t already booked flights to cooler locations. Thankfully, we live right where everybody wants to be for a Spring Break experience; smack dab in the center of famous beaches, significant landmarks, and theme park extravaganzas. What will you and yours be doing for Spring Break this year? And if you aren’t going anywhere, what are your plans to get the kids off the games and outside playing? I’ve laid out a Spring Break map for my own family that is frugal, fun, and family-oriented.
Monday: Sleep in, all of us. I have waited 13 years for everybody to be old enough to sleep in. I did not raise children who got up and prepared their own cereal and quietly watched cartoons until I woke up. No, my children are my dependents in every sense of the word. So, now that they are old enough to sleep in, the first day of Spring Break will find us slumbering in to the late recesses of the morning, followed by bacon and French toast. Then, I will do my best to pry them from their screens in their rooms to engage them in screen time with me, watching movies from the ‘80s which they will vehemently protest. Yep, goals for Monday are minimal. Moving on to Tuesday.
Tuesday: This is the day we get moving, as in out of bed and off the couch by 10:00 A.M. Time to pack a picnic lunch, and head to the beach. Our beach list reads like a “best of” so our options could include Siesta Key, a leisurely stroll around St. Armand’s followed by a swim on Lido Beach or maybe we’ll stay closer to home, and hit the quiet, but lovely, Manasota Key. With a 7,000-year old Indian burial area just offshore, this option seems a bit more mystical and interesting. Whatever beach you are seeking on your Spring Break, remember to pack the sunscreen, plenty of water, and healthy snacks. Then drop the Mom act. Time to get sandy and salty with the kids. Nothing like playing until exhausted, grabbing an ice cream cone on the way home, rinsing off in the shower and feeling like you somehow achieved something important. A day at the beach does that for me.
Wednesday: Today we will gather with some friends for lunch out and a good movie. So many options: Cine’Bistro, though a bit pricey, offers food and movie fun all under one roof, so that is convenient. The “cheap” movies are a nice option at Parkway 8 Cinema, and even though the movies are not new releases they are new enough that the kids might find one they want to see. Hollywood 20 Downtown is great because window shopping afterwards is fun for everyone. O.k. Maybe just fun for the adults.
Thursday: Today we are going to choose one local attraction and see it from top to bottom. Sarasota Jungle Gardens is usually a fun afternoon. There is almost always a nice breeze blowing in from Sarasota Bay and seeing natural flora and fauna provides educational value to your students, so it feels like a responsible option for family fun. Admission is $12.99 for ages 4 through 16, $17.99 for ages 17 through 64 and $16.99 for 65 and older. Another great choice for an exciting afternoon is provided by Fun Life Entertainment. They operate a giant floating platform that you can jump off, slide down, swing from, or trampoline hop right into the Gulf of Mexico located next to Beer Can Island. For $15 an hour, your kids will love the rush of adrenaline, and you can soak up the rays while you watch them play. A giant floating slide? Count us in. For contact and ticket information, please visit their Facebook page at Fun Life Entertainment. The are located at 301-319 N Shore Rd, Longboat Key.
Friday: Today, we will join the long line of travelers headed to Orlando, a Spring Break Student’s idea of heaven on earth. Sure, it may take us the better part of the day to navigate our way there, but car games, NPR, and my musical playlist should keep us all sufficiently entertained. Once there, for about a month’s income, we will enjoy roughly two days at the park of their choice. $150 per person to get into the gate for the day, $8 sodas and $12 hot dogs should make us feel that after a week of “sitting around,” we are finally having Spring Break worthy fun. We will fight the crowds and after waiting hours in long lines for the hottest ride, we will momentarily question if the wait was worth the 90 second thrill. But, in the end, the time we spend together, face-to-face will far outweigh the alternative of kids with their noses pressed to screens for days on end. We hope you enjoy your Spring Break 2018 and that fun memories are made. Don’t forget to check out the splendor that living in Sarasota has to offer, sometimes we forget how good we have it here. And no matter what, we hope you unplug, destress and soak up valuable time with your families.
Photos courtesy of Fun Life Entertainment, Jungle Gardens, and I Love Siesta Key Facebook pages