With school getting out this month, parents are already wondering what to do. Luckily, our many fine institutions are a step ahead in planning family-friendly exhibits, activities and events that not only entertain young minds but educate and inspire them. Here’s a quick guide for ways to keep your children off their screens (if only for a little while). Have a great summer.
Beyond permanent and rotating exhibits, an aquarium, planetarium and summer camp (pre-K-8, June 14-August 13), the Frost Museum of Science offers extra relief through extended summer hours. Treat your brilliant brood to its new “Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs” daily until 7 p.m. Neither dinosaurs, nor birds, these prehistoric reptiles were the first and largest vertebrates to fly.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden also knows dinosaurs are a big deal for kids. On view through July 18, “Jurassic Garden” displays nearly two dozen, life-size dinosaurs throughout the property’s plant specimens, many of them prehistoric era living plants like ferns and cycads for extra effect. Expedition Discovery kits and classes such as dinosaur model painting are available for further exploration.
The Bass & the Norton
Among many art museums that provide fantastic family programming, the Bass and the Norton particularly excel here. The Bass in Miami Beach hosts weekly summer camps concluding with bona fide student exhibitions, including a special Teen Studio Art Intensive in August. The Norton in West Palm Beach regularly schedules outdoor films, studio art projects and public art cycling tours for families.
thebass.org | norton.org
School of Rock
Thanks to technology, teens and even younger children are producing top 40 hits in their bedrooms these days. School of Rock, which operates several South Florida locations, supports these budding musicians with performance-based lessons for numerous instruments. In addition to summer camps’ popular themes like 80s, punk and grunge, its new songwriting camp goes way beyond sampling beats at home.
Ron Jon Surf School
There are places to learn water sports from surfing to sailing up and down the coast, but none has the cachet of the iconic Ron Jon Surf School. The historic establishment offers group lessons and private lessons for individuals and families (kids’ minimum age is 5 years old), as well as a surf camp for kids aged 7 to 17.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center
Loggerheads are one of five types of sea turtles that nest on Florida beaches. With nesting season underway, it’s the perfect time to learn more about these interesting creatures during daytime and evening tours at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Jupiter. Other great nature escapes await at the nearby Grassy Waters Preserve, Riverbend Park and Jonathan Dickinson State Park.