Lakeland, Florida, appropriately named as it has roughly 40 lakes, is located in central Florida between Tampa and Orlando. According to the 2011 U.S. Census estimate, the population is 98,589, making it a large enough area to offer plenty of activities for the kids. You are sure to find water and outdoor fun, as well as many other options, in this lake-filled region.
Kids will likely have a blast at the Family Fun Center (thefamilyfuncenter.com). Here, they can try to navigate through the laser maze, putt their way through the miniature golf course, spend some time in the arcade, play laser tag and climb on the four-story soft play area complete with tunnels, slides and ball pits. Skate World (skatelakeland.com) is another exciting place for kids, providing open skating, fun theme nights, a fully stocked snack bar and a "Stuff Shop," which sells trinkets, balloons, candy and other items for kids.
Explorations V Children's Museum (explorationsv.com) aims to expand the minds of children in the areas of art and science through hands-on exhibits and programs. The "V" in the name references the founding idea of the museum, that children use all five senses for learning. It houses three floors of interactive displays including picking, packing and sorting in an orange grove. The Florida Air Museum (sun-n-fun.org/Museum) provides visitors with an up-close look at classic aircraft while offering educational programs for children. The museum frequently offers camps, workshops and tours geared toward kids.
Just Dance Academy of Dance and Etiquette (smilejustdance.com) offers kids martial arts, dance, culinary and etiquette classes, as well as special art projects. Dance classes are available for ages 3 and older and include a variety of styles such as jazz, hip-hop, lyrical and ballet. Gymnastics Etc. (gymetc.org) has parent-toddler classes, recreational gymnastics for boys and girls, tumbling and cheerleading. Gymtek Gymnastics (gymtek.com) features team cheerleading, tumbling, gymnastics and gymnastics summer camps for kids ages 3 and older. Gymtek has a special program for the 1- to 5-year-olds called "Funtastiks," teaching the basics in a small teacher-to-child ratio.
Parks and Lakes
Colt Creek State Park (floridastateparks.org/coltcreek) provides all things outdoors on a 5,067-acre wilderness area. Creeks, lakes and wildlife abound where visitors can canoe, fish, swim, camp, hike, bird-watch, ride horses and simply enjoy the outdoors. Kids will likely have fun exploring the outdoors, even if it's just hunting for bugs. Common Ground Park (no website; 1000 E Edgewood Drive; 863-834-2233) is an all-inclusive playground for kids of all abilities and disabilities. The park has many different play structures and fun things for kids to do. Lake Parker Park (no website; 910 E Granada Street; 863-834-2233) features playgrounds, lake recreation, sports courts and picnic areas.