Orange You Glad You Brought Your Family to Showcase of Citrus?

    By Dalia Colón

    The oranges are a given.

    At Showcase of Citrus in Clermont, you’ll find more than 50 varieties of U-pick fruit. Prime picking season is wintertime, with January and February being the best months for a bumper crop of sweet citrus.

    Beyond the grove, this working farm and cattle ranch offers family-friendly diversions any time of year.

    “It’s a family-owned attraction, so it’s got that family feel. Everyone’s really laid back,” says tour guide “Gator Johnny” Matos. “Everything is designed with kids in mind.”

    That includes a playground, petting zoo, gem mine, weekend circus show and the highlight for many visitors, an off-road tour of the 2,500-acre property.

    “What kid doesn’t like a monster truck ride?” asked Matos, a former alligator wrestler.

    Gators are one of the many animals you might see from your perch in the safari-style vehicle, which is actually a converted school bus. Keep your camera ready to capture water buffalo, zebras, watusi and other exotic and native wildlife, and listen out for citrus-related trivia from your tour guide.

    After the hour-long excursion, return to the country store to cool off with the signature Creamsicle, a vanilla- and citrus-flavored frozen treat that hits the spot on a warm afternoon.

    The store started in 1989 as a humble, family-owned orange stand and expanded into a cornucopia of products for all ages, from fruit wines to soaps to orange-themed souvenirs and local honey, so you can bring home a taste of Old Florida.

    When you go: Showcase of Citrus is located at 5010 US Highway 27 in Clermont, about 30 miles west of Orlando. The attraction is open 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Leashed pets are welcome. Wear close-toed shoes. For monster truck tour reservations, call (352) 394-4377. Coupons are available at

    Places to Remember