By Saundra Armhein

Central Florida from Orlando east to the beaches on the Atlantic Ocean can pack a vacation full of adventures at theme parks, resorts, nature trails and water sports.

But maybe you’re looking to unwind after a busy schedule and want to feed your creative side. Plenty of studios provide popular, family fun options, from guided painting and pottery classes to drawing, bead making and photography workshops. Some invite the adults to bring their favorite bottle of Merlot or Chardonnay or provide adult beverages for sale.   

Here are some studios that can help unlock your inner Picasso and send you home with unique souvenirs made with your own hands:

Super Awesome Cool Pottery, a few miles south of downtown Orlando, offers fun selections for the whole family. You can paint your own pottery by selecting from a wide variety of pre-made ceramic pieces, choosing a color from the glaze wal, along with stencils. Professional staff artists are on hand to help out with more ideas. Afterward, your piece will be put in line to be fired, and later you can pick it up. (Firing times may take up to two weeks). Another fun option is the family hand-building with clay, where you get your hands dirty by using your imagination to build your own small- to medium-size wet clay project. Or go even further by taking a turn at the wheel in a class where you will build a medium-sized bowl at the potter’s wheel, and then decorate it however you’d like. (This class is appropriate for ages 5 and up.) Or, if painting on canvas is more your thing, take the new painting class guided step-by-step by an instructor, running about 2.5 to 3 hours. Make it romantic and take a break from the family with your loved one during Friday Date Night’s painting or potter’s wheel class.
For prices, schedules and more information, visit:

Beads, Etc., about 10 miles north of Orlando in Maitland, is a full-service bead store and educational center where you can find thousands of varieties of beads – from Swarovski crystals to Bali, Thai, sterling silver, gold-filled, vermeil, and base metal findings. In specialty classes, you will learn or brush up on seed bead techniques, bead embroidery, wire wrapping, pearl knotting, bead crochet, and Viking knit, and design with precious metal clay. Jewelry-making classes can be turned into family affairs or fun “girls night out” parties, where adults are invited to bring their favorite snacks or beverages.

Crealdé School of Art, about 9 miles northeast of Orlando in Winter Park, can take you on nature or architectural tours around Orlando with your camera. The school is a nonprofit community arts organization offering more than 100 visual arts classes, workshops and humanities-based programs for people of all ages at two Winter Park locations as well as a new location in Winter Garden. While some of the classes run across several weeks, the school also offers day-long workshops that are great for a visitor’s schedule. Past photography workshops have included walking photography adventures around the lakes and shimmering architecture of downtown Orlando; or another on the back roads and historic places along the St. Johns River, including crossing on a 19th century ferry and traveling on a dirt road through the Ocala National Forest. In addition to film and digital photography, the school also holds classes and workshops on painting and drawing; ceramics and sculpture; and a young artist program.
For schedules, prices and locations, visit:

Jamie Brown with her novelty painting  from a class at Painting With a Twist

Jamie Brown with her novelty painting from a class at Painting With a Twist

- Tom Burton for VISIT FLORIDA

Painting with a Twist in Daytona Beach helps you discover your inner artist through fun, step-by-step painting on canvas classes under the guidance of a professional instructor. The classes are normally two to three hours long and offer wine and beer for sale. Open classes are great experiences for individuals, friends or family; private parties can be scheduled for relatives or friends with groups of 10 or more people. Special family-friendly and senior classes are also available. Painting selection include moonlight, Paris themes, bubblegum beaches and mermaid goddesses.  The business also has two locations in and around Orlando with more opening soon.

Rosemay Roseland works on her seascape at the Bob Ross Art Workshop.

Rosemay Roseland works on her seascape at the Bob Ross Art Workshop.

- Tom Burton for VISIT FLORIDA

The Bob Ross Workshop in New Smyrna Beach offers classes – including make-it-and-take-it classes – in the Bob Ross style of oil painting as seen on PBS. Classes include landscape, seascape, floral and wildlife themes. Full-day classes and half-day classes are also available as are teacher-training seminars that include instruction on special wildlife paints, brushes and mediums and how to depict realistic eyes and various types of fur and hair. The workshop also holds a large collection of original oil paintings, oil-painting frames, books and painting products.