Are you in the summer doldrums? Have you run out of ideas for kids’ activities? Here are a few suggestions that will maybe spark an idea or two.
Englewood is a beach town, so take advantage of our wonderful beaches. See who can find the most shark’s teeth (better beaches for finding them are Manasota Beach and Blind Pass Beach,) build a sandcastle (but remember to flatten it down afterwards so turtle hatchlings don’t get stuck in the moat,) watch the sunset, picnic, and play in the waves. Just remember the sunscreen! If you can get to the beach at first light, tag along with the sea turtle patrol volunteers as they monitor turtle nests and you might be lucky enough to see a turtle hatchling emerge from a nest or watch a nest being excavated after the hatchlings have left the nest. These knowledgeable volunteers are willing to answer your questions about turtles, too. Just bring a mask if you want to get close up.
If you want to give the kids a special treat, sign up for a guided kayak or SUP tour through the mangroves and learn about the creatures and plants that live in the mangroves and local waters. Some local shops for rentals are Island Jet Ski Tours & Rentals, 1450 Beach Road; Beach Road Watersports, 1350 Beach Road; Hooked on SUP, 8450 Placida Road & 900 Gulf Blvd.; Allure Boat Rentals, 1937 Beach Road and Glass Bottom Rentals, 5810 Gasparilla Road.
We have access to great local nature parks. Try a walk around Lemon Bay Park, 570 W. Bay Park Blvd., Oyster Creek Regional Park Environmental Park, (accessible from Ann & Chuck Dever Regional Park, 6791 San Casa Drive) and Cedar Point Environmental Park, 2300 Placida Road. Check out the eagle nest at Cedar Point and walk back to Lemon Bay to wade in the water at low tide there. Just remember to bring the insect repellent and wear appropriate footwear in case of wet spots.
To turn an outing into an educational experience, order an “Activity Pak” from EYE on Nature Youth Explorers Club. This is a program offered by Englewood Community Services to introduce children to local wildlife by taking them on a series of rewarding adventures. In the six stories, children become heroes who learn from the magic turtle guide, named Scout, how to help wildlife and become good stewards of the environment. Kits are $25 each. Order online and then pick up your order at the Englewood Chamber of Commerce, 601 S. Indiana Avenue. Website: www.letshelpenglewood.com/eye-on-nature/order.
If your kids like playgrounds, you can find them at Tringali Park, 3460 S. Access Road; Rotonda Park, 100 Rotonda Blvd. East; Englewood Park, 101 N. Orange Street; Middle Beach Park on the bay side, 6725 Manasota Key Road; Buchan Airport Community Park, 1390 Old Englewood Road; Englewood Sports Complex, 1300 S. River Road; South Gulf Cover Park, 10150 Amicola Street.
An activity the whole family can enjoy is fishing. There are fishing piers at the base of the Tom Adams Bridge on Beach Road; El Jobean Bridge and Centennial Fishing Pier, 14021 Garparilla Road. You can also fish at Chadwick Park (2100 N. Beach Road across from Englewood beach;) Indian Mound Park, 210 Winson Avenue; Blind Pass Beach, 6725 Manasota Key Road (both beach and bay;) and many other locations around town. Florida residents between the age of 16 and 64 years old need a fishing license. Depending on where you fish, you will need either a freshwater or saltwater license. Non-residents will need to purchase either a temporary or annual license. If you go on a saltwater fishing charter, the cost covers your license for the trip. Bring kids’ proof of age to show Coast Guard if under age 16. Seniors need to bring proof of age and residency. Licenses can be purchased at your local tax collector’s office, some registered retailers or online at www.Myfwc.com/license.
If the family likes to bicycle, try the Legacy Trail and Venetian Waterway in Venice (this can be busy!) In Englewood there is the Cape Haze Pioneer Trail, an 8-mile rail trail with trailheads on Gasparilla Road behind Gulf Cove Publix, Rotonda Blvd. East and the southern end on Gasparilla Road near Coral Creek Country Club. There are a few streets that you will need to cross. The trail can also be used for skating.
It’s an oldie but still a wonderful fun resource for both kids and adults. Elsie Quirk Library is open so kids can pick out books (Hey, Mom, it will keep those reading skills sharp) and movies for family entertainment. While there are no in-library summer programming activities, there is a wide variety of fun and educational opportunities listed on their event schedule. Check it out! Visit the library at 100 W. Dearborn Street or online at www.scgov.net/government/departments/libraries. The Englewood Charlotte Library, 3450 N. Access Road, remains closed for visits; however, materials can be requested online and picked up curbside. However, you can find scheduled online virtual activities. The website for the county library is www.charlottecountyfl.gov/libraries.
It’s summer and it’s hot. What’s a cool treat that everyone loves? Ice Cream! Englewood has some great ice cream shops. There’s A Better Scoop, 70 S. Indiana Avenue; Made in the Shade Ice Cream, 2411 S. McCall Road; Swirls N Curls Ice Cream, 6945 Sunnybrook Blvd.; Irving’s Coffee & Creamery, 405 W. Dearborn Street, Lickity Split Café, 2828 S. McCall Road and The Arctic Alligator Creamery, 3385 S. Access Road.
For an old Florida style outing, visit Snook Haven Restaurant, nestled away in a bend on the Myakka River off South River Road near I-75 (5000 E. Venice Avenue.) Try some gator bites, catfish, farm-raised Snook and BBQ. You can enjoy some good music by area bands there as well. Kayak and canoe rentals are available.
Are the kids into fossils? Fossil Expeditions out of Arcadia, offers shark, mammal and reptile fossil collecting day trips along the Peace River and other locations. For more information, call 239•368•3252.
The Bishop Museum in Bradenton is open with limited hours, but you can also enjoy the museum from home, explore videos about the exhibitions, animals, meet the manatees and more. There is Facebook story time on Saturdays; IQuest, Think+drink/science and KidSpace. Go to www.bishopscience.org to find out more about the museum.
If the kids love the outdoors, Peace River Charters offers airboat tours, swamp buggy rides and horseback riding along the Peace River. They are located at 4192 SW Adventure Way, Arcadia. Contact them at 863•444•0693 or visit peacerivercharters.com.
Try star gazing on a clear summer night if you can find a dark location. Download one of the many stargazing apps for iPhone or androids such as SkyView Lite, Star Chart, Sky Map, SkEye, Star Walk 2 Free, Star and Planet Finder, Pocket Universe. Try ISS Detector Satellite Tracker to find out when the International Space Station or the Chinese space station Tiangong2 are view (these are visible to the naked eye when passing over!) Some apps are free although others have to be purchased.
If you have your own special brand of summer fun, share it with us here at the Englewood Review on our Facebook page. There can never be too many ways to have fun!