My family & I are into what we call “Experience-Based Homeschooling.” To us that means that we prefer to forgo passive learning activities in favor of active ones, things that get our hands dirty. With 5 very active kids still at home, getting outside and doing something is crucial not only to the kid's education but to my sanity! As a result of our educational methods we go on a lot of field trips, I've never actually counted but it's pretty close to 60 trips a year. All of our trips happen within 3 hours of the Orlando area, and there is no shortage of field trip opportunities to be had in Central Florida! I do have several rules when it comes to deciding which activity is worth out time, and the top rule is that the trip must be affordable, for that means $5 or less per person. Occasionally I will splurge on a more expensive trip, but never more than $10/person, and only rarely will I spend that much. Since we all love a good deal I'm proud to present my list of
5 Fabulous & Frugal Florida Field Trips!
1.Lake Meadow Naturals Located in rural Ocoee, Lake Meadow Naturals is a cage-free poultry farm and organic meat market. Lake Meadow Naturals offers free tours once a week but you can call ahead to schedule a tour at your convenience. The tour introduces you to the various types of poultry the farm raises, as well as their other animals. You'll learn about what it takes to maintain healthy animals that produce healthy food. The tour lasts about an hour and ends in the farm market with a food sampling. Lake Meadow Naturals is a local favorite with amazing food and really nice people (and a Collie named Samson that you will fall in love with), but the best part is that the tour is totally free!
2. Theatre Winter Haven - Central Florida is home to a lot of award-winning theatres, both professional and amateur. Unfortunately, the cost of most theatre events in the area aren't what I consider to be affordable for a larger family. Theater Winter Haven in Polk County, however, is a rarity. Theatre Winter Haven offers several academy productions a year for just a few dollars per seat. These weekday matinees are performed by the children's theatre and are delightful. TWH is very homeschool-friendly, offering free theatre tours and low cost classes just for homeschoolers. They also offer a teen intern program that gives teens a chance to earn volunteer hours while learning how to produce a play.
3. NASA Exploration Station at Kennedy Space Center – I know what you're thinking, and it's true. With an admission price of over $40 per person, Kennedy Space Center is not exactly an affordable destination. Actually, if you are a student (or educator, including homeschoolers), it's free. When you book an education program at NASA's Exploration Station, located at Kennedy Space Center, you not only get a free 1 hour class but you get FREE admission to Kennedy Space Center. The catch is that you need a minimum of 15 students and there are age requirements.
4. Raymond James Stadium Tour, Tampa - I was pretty sure I wouldn't enjoy this tour, sports rank second on my list of things I find dull beyond belief, washing silverware is the only thing I find more boring. I was wrong however, the Raymond James Stadium Tour was fascinating, did you know they have an in-stadium daycare AND jail? Neat stuff! Tours for individuals and families are scheduled daily or you can call ahead to arrange a tour for your group. Student tours start at just $3 per student and $5 per adult!
5. Crayola Experience Orlando - The newest attraction in Orlando, this is one of the few field trips for which I will pay a little more than usual. Some things, like a huge air-conditioned play space that focuses on art, is worth a greater admission price. Group admission includes full access to the Experience, which includes 25 Crayola craft stations, two playgrounds, and a theater show. Group rates start in the $10/person range with lunch and party room upgrades available.
Meg Grooms lives in beautiful Central Florida within view of the evening fireworks. She lives with her husband, their 6 kids, a dog, a cat, and a fish named Lucky Steve. Meg is a long-time homeschooler, community volunteer, self-confessed lover-of-all-the-food, Disney addict, frugalista, and when she has time she blogs about all of it at The Brainy Tourist (a blog about educational travel), This Big Happy (a blog about mindful living), and Homeschool Gameschool (a blog about hands-on education).
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