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Take the Kids

The River of Lakes Heritage Corridor has a number of attractions and activities oriented to children. Here are a few fun suggestions to start with.

Tour One: Blue Springs, Snakes & Manatees

Blue Springs State Park

If it’s the warm months Blue Spring State Park can provide a whole day of outdoor fun – from tubing on the river, to cruising the St. Johns on a pontoon boat tour, hiking the boardwalk to the Spring itself, and picnicking on the grounds. You can rent a canoe there, and there are snack stands and restrooms near the spring.
If it’s the winter months, pick a cold day (from Nov. to March) and stop by the spring to view the manatees. They flock here in the winter to enjoy the constant 72-degree water pumped out by the spring. Depending on the day, you can see anywhere from 10 to over 300 manatee.

Blue Spring State Park
2100 W French Ave, Orange City, FL 32713
(386) 775-3663

Reptile Discovery Center

Start your day out with a visit to the Reptile Discovery Center, just outside Deland. The Center includes some exhibits and regularly scheduled Venom Extraction Presentation. The Center is one of only five Anti-Venom laboratories in the U.S. Watch (from behind protective glass) as experts extract snake venom to supply hospitals with anti-venom for people bit by poisonous snakes.

Reptile Discovery Center
2710 Big John Dr. DeLand, FL 32724
(386) 740-9143

Tour 2: Zoo & Ziplining

If you want another place for a full day of activities, head to Sanford for wildlife viewing at the Zoo and for the older kids there’s also a zip-lining course right outside the Zoo grounds.

Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Garden

This zoo is particularly kid-friendly with demonstrations, shows, and a petting area. There are rhinos, giraffes, gators, servile cats, monkeys, birds, and a host of other critters. The Bird Show features birds swooping over the audience’s heads from tree to tree. The petting area allows children to feed llamas, goats, a camel, and zebu. And there’s a miniature train that winds through the lush tropical forest.

Central Florida Zoo
3755 NW US Highway 17-92, Sanford, FL 32771
(407) 323-4450

Zoom Air Adventure Park

This zip-lining course is one of Central Florida’s most popular. If you’re a beginner, there’s a simpler course; for the more adventurous there’s a more advanced course. You can climb up to a 40-foot high platform and zip over 100 yards over a pond to another perch in the trees. The instructors here will help orient you and the numerous safety straps and harnesses will keep you safe.

Zoom Air Adventure Park at Central Florida Zoo in Sanford
3755 NW US Highway 17/92, Sanford, FL 32771
(407) 330-0767

Zoom Air National Site  |  Zoom Air Popular on TripAdvisor

Tour 3: Pioneer Settlement, Indian Village, & Green Spring

For some nature and history, start the day with a little trip to Green Spring in the Enterprise/Deltona area to view the only emerald-green spring around.

Green Springs Park

This little gem of a park has easy access for visitors and provides a nice, quiet, early morning visit to a unique Green Spring. There is a nice little playground for the kids here as well. The interpretive kiosks explain the unique source of the brilliant green water.

Green Springs Park
994 Enterprise/Osteen Road, Enterprise, FL 32725
(386) 736-5953

Lunch along the Byway

Head north toward DeLand on 17-92 and grab lunch with the kids in any of the numerous restaurants along the way. Check out the Featured Restaurants on our site for some suggestions.

Barberville Pioneer Settlement for the Arts

After lunch, head north of Deland on 17 to the northern leg of the byway and the Pioneer Settlement in Barberville. This is a wonderful place to step back in time with your kids. The collection of historic buildings here represents life in Florida during the early 1900s. There’s a large old school house, a blacksmith shop, a train depot (don’t miss the miniature trains in the depot), among others. There are demonstrations and some farm animals as well. If it’s a weekend, there may be a festival with lots of music. The two biggest festivals are the Fall Jamboree (Nov.) and the Spring Frolic (March) with lots of blue grass, country, and old time Cracker music.

Barberville Pioneer Settlement for the Arts
1776 Lightfoot Ln, Barberville, FL 32105
(386) 749-2959

Timucuan Village

Just inside the Barberville Pioneer Settlement is a replica of a Timucuan Native American village. The Timucua were the ancient Native Americans who lived here for centuries before the Europeans arrived. Here you can walk along a trail and see a variety of types of Timucuan shelters and structures that represent Timucuan life.

Barberville Pioneer Settlement for the Arts
1776 Lightfoot Ln, Barberville, FL 32105
(386) 749-2959

Tour 4: Pontoon Boat on the St. Johns River & Scrub Jay Viewing

The St. Johns River winds all along this byway and is the reason it’s named “River of Lakes.” The St. Johns River runs through a number of lakes which the Native Americans called the “Welaka” which means “river of lakes.”

Scrub Jay viewing at Lyonia Environmental Center

After your pontoon boat tour on the St. Johns, head over to Deltona and the Lyonia Environmental Center. This wonderful center and preserve has a special Scrub Jay viewing area. The scrub jay is one of Florida’s endangered species and they require a special habitat. The short trail takes you into their world. Guided tours with on the other specialists here often provide viewers with up close encounters with these friendly, timid birds. Inside the Center are some interpretive displays and a gift shop.

Lyonia Preserve & Environmental Center
2150 Eustace Ave., Deltona, FL 32725
(386) 789-7207

St. Johns River Eco Tours in DeBary

The people at the St. Johns Eco Tours in Debary offer one of the best pontoon boat tours along the River. Jeannie Bell and Doug Little will take you out for a few hours and entertain you with the wildlife along the river. This is the real deal: the real “wild Florida.” There are places along the river that have been pretty much untouched by man and look like they have for centuries.

St. Johns River Eco Tours
488 W. Highbanks Road, DeBary, Florida, 32713
(386) 626-9004

For more tour  ideasClick Here