Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014
Agri Leader

Florida’s family fun includes ag adventures


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Summertime is here and parents are wondering, “What should we do with the kids?” Kids are looking for fun, while parents are also looking for something enriching and educational. Here are a few ideas that you could work into your summer plans.

U-Pick farms are always fun and 31 Produce & Mining Co., located in Alva, is no exception. This u-pick farm also has a gem and fossil mining facility where visitors can pan for precious stones and fossils, and gain a lesson in geology.

On location, there’s also a fresh produce stand that also has local honey and fresh salsa, guacamole, pickles and delicious ice cream made every day. And there’s the Cracker Shack Café offering up old-fashioned favorites like pot roast, fried catfish and baked chicken. The onsite bakery offers delicious pies, cupcakes and cake balls. Field trips and tours are also available by appointment.

Those who like to take a trip back in time might well enjoy the Florida Agricultural Museum in Palm Coast, as it’s a chance to visit Florida’s rural past and learn about the history of our state. Visitors can tour the grounds on a wagon ride. On location lays a dairy barn, a mule barn, a granary barn and a bell barn, along with an original pioneer home. There’s also heritage horses, grazing cattle, chickens, ducks, a donkey and a pig.

Along with the tour, visitors can enjoy a display of a turn of the century store and other exhibits, including the Black Cowboys exhibit that unfolds the story of Africans and African Americans and the Florida cattle industry.

Afterwards, a hike on the trails, or yet another leisurely stroll through the farm is always enjoyed. With a short hike over the milldam, one can visit the archaeological site of a water-powered sawmill, John Hewitt’s Sawmill. Horseback riding and riding lessons are also available.

At Winter Land’s LEGOLAND, Florida’s Fresh From Florida Greenhouse, kids and parents alike will love watching, interacting and learning about the growing process from seed to harvest. A collection of hands-on and visual displays each demonstrate the six stages of production – seeding, sowing, watering, tending, harvesting and serving — it’s a lesson in how crops grow and the experience also helps promote healthy eating. Besides gardening, other lessons are learned, such as why natural resources are essential to crops, and how certain insects and animals play a role in providing the foods we eat.

For farm fun, Stanley Pond Adventure Farm, located in Astatula, is open on select event days during the summer, such as Father’s Day (June 7), Parent’s Day (July 26), and Back to School Bash (Aug. 2). The Farm offers a variety of kids’ activities, such as a trike track, a sand mountain and a jumping pillow, along with horse rides, as well as an educational honeybee watch (a viewing experience), and a chance to catch and release catfish and bass in Stanley’s Catfish Junction (Bring your pole, bait and tackle). With The Catfish Junction VIP Fishing Pass, visitors can enjoy catch and release fishing 7 days a week, from dawn to dusk.

Other outdoor activities such as farmer’s markets, and flea markets can also be fun and enriching agricultural experiences to enjoy this summer. Parents can help kids learn about locally grown fruits and vegetables and get a hands-on learning experience in how to make a good selection when shopping. For a list of famer’s markets nearby, check out Central Florida Farmer’s Market Finder: http://www.centralfloridafarmersmarket.com/. Flea markets can be found at Flea Markets of Florida: http://fleamarketsofflorida.com/

Thanks to the fact that Florida’s agricultural industry is the second largest industry in the state outside of tourism — there are plenty of great choices that will please both kids and parents this summer.

If you go:

31 Produce & Mining Co.

18500 St Rd 31

Alva

239-313-8213

http://www.31produce.com

Florida Agricultural Museum

7900 Old Kings Rd. N.

Palm Coast

386-446-7630

http://www.myagmuseum.com

LEGOLAND

One LEGOLAND Way

Winter Haven

877-350-5346

http://www.legoland.com

Stanley Pond Adventure Farm

15426 County Road 48

Astatula

352-742-8180

http://www.stanleypondfarm.net

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