Last year, my twins started Kindergarten. I remember contemplating what to do during Spring Break. After all it was their first real Spring Break, I had to make it special, right?
I realized that having school every day kept us from enjoying some of our favorite outings. It was then that I decided to just stay local for Spring Break. Last year, we spent a day at the Jacksonville Zoo, we spent another day doing our Skyway trip to the library but also snuck in a lunch with Daddy, we had a fun play date with friends, and we also took a short overnight trip up to Savannah to visit family. It was incredibly special for my kids.
This year we plan on doing the same thing. We will kick off the break by enjoying the St. Paul’s Carnival, then we are heading to Marineland, taking a tour of the U-Pick Strawberry Farm in St. Augustine with a lesson in hydroponic farming, hosting an art party, and spending at least one day at the beach.
Typically, I am not much of a planner, but I have found in the past that if I don’t plan sometimes Spring Break will pass me by without doing something special with the kids. Maybe you are looking for ways to spend your Spring Break this year. Here are a few ideas:
Marineland Dolphin Adventure
We try to make it down to Marineland about once a year. I feel like it is one of North Florida’s hidden little gems. Located about an hour south of Jacksonville, it is a small park that is a great place for my kids to experience one of their favorite sea animals.
There are lots of ways to explore the park. You can simply pay general admission and watch the dolphins swim and play in their tanks, or you can make reservations to do one of their animal encounters. There are age requirements for each encounter so availability will depend on your child’s age. I still have a three-year-old so we are opting to do the Touch and Feed where my children and I will get to get up close to a dolphin, shake his flipper, and feed him a snack.
The experiences range from a shallow water experience where you actually get in the water with the dolphin, to another experience where you can actually swim in deep water with the dolphins, too. Be sure to check the age requirements to make sure it is appropriate for your child. It is also important to make reservations as these encounters are limited each day. We are excited about the new Behind the Seas Tour that we will get see this year!
We have not done this with the kids yet, but I have done one with adults and enjoyed the experience and the kids were so jealous when I brought home my painting. There are now several places in Jacksonville that offer the opportunity for kids to paint on canvas. I am super stoked about trying out Kristen Abrahamson Fine Art. The prices are a little higher than other places, but I look forward to having a smaller private party for my kids and some friends. I am hoping that they will get a little more instruction and attention than they would at a larger class, meaning less work for me! Look for a future blog post on the experience!
Even though the weather may not permit swimming and playing in the water, we will still hit the beach. We have found the beach enjoyable at Spring Break even without the water. My kids are very much into just walking the beach and looking for shells or sharks teeth. For me, it just feels like Spring Break when I smell the Banana Boat suntan lotion, so I love just taking it all in!
We will also bring all of our sand toys, kites, and fishing gear. We could spend the whole day just building sand castles, shore fishing, or flying kites. Shore fishing is one of the only ways you can fish in Jacksonville without a permit. There is also the option of throwing your pole out from the pier where you pay a fee to fish, but my kids much prefer just walking the length and watching the much more experienced anglers reel them in. Some great places to hit the beach include the Jacksonville Beach Pier and Micklers Landing. We also have enjoyed going by the Lifeguard Station and splurged on rentals from Rent Beach Stuff.
Spring Break Camps
Maybe the thought of entertaining your kids every day when they are out of school is a bit overwhelming for you. Maybe you work and cannot take the time off. Most of the places around Jacksonville that offer summer camps also offer mini camps during spring break. Jacksonville Zoo, TNT Gymnastics, The St. Augustine Alligator Farm, Pump It Up, My Gym, St. Paul’s Sports Camp, Doing Dishes, Surf Station, Starlight Gymnastics, Kona Skatepark, and the MOSH to name a few. I am entertaining the idea of putting my kids in for a day of camp since several of these places are offering daily rates so that you don’t have to do the whole week. Then, I can get some rest from our other big adventures!
Each spring break we invite our friends over for a special play date. One day we had a pirate party where we dressed up and designed treasure maps. Another time, we had a tea party where we made and decorated special Easter Egg shaped rice krispie treats. We then served some decaffeinated iced tea from my husband’s grandmother’s china tea set.
For another one, we celebrated Dr. Suess’s Birthday with fun hats, green eggs and ham, lots of reading, and of course some cake! They were very special days for my kids, for our close friends, and for me! Use your imagination and spend the day creating fun for your kids at home!