Things to Do with a Toddler near The Villages

By: Dalia Colon

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A few days ago, I received an email question from a reader named Maureen.

Can you help me identify things to do with a toddler within 30 miles of The Villages? she wrote.

GREAT question.

The Villages, as you may or may not know, is a mega retirement community in Central Florida. There’s lots to do for active adults, from golf to shopping to the community’s Lifelong Learning College.

But when the grandkids come to visit, you’ll need an arsenal of toddler entertainment up your sleeve. Here are the suggestions I shared with Maureen; as the mom of a 20-month-old girl myself, I’ll be bookmarking these ideas, too.

  • At DIY Studio in Ocala, you can paint your own pottery or canvas. My daughter has enjoyed this activity since she was only a few months old.
  • Toddlers may not be comfortable riding a horse at one of Ocala’s many stables, but Best Hay Farm and Petting Zoo offers and up-close encounters with docile animals, plus pony rides.
  • The Discovery Center in Ocala offers preschool programming that includes songs, art projects and more.
  • The public library in Bushnell holds toddler time and story time -- another favorite activity of my daughter!
  • The Ocala Drive-In shows some children's movies, and since you're in your own car (or lawn chairs), toddlers can be as loud as they want.

As you can see, most of the toddler action is in Ocala. For additional suggestions, contact the Ocala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau at 352-438-2800.

And for things to do all around Florida, check out my Smart Travel page. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

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