When memories can be larger than life.
I’m always amazed that whenever I return to one of the half-dozen towns where I grew up, things appear much smaller than when I was a kid—my elementary school building, the playground, the distance between my house and that of a friend. But there’s something different about cheerful childhood experiences. They seem larger in my mind now, particularly those I shared with my parents, whether fishing, golfing, gardening or playing board games like Monopoly or Aggravation. They probably didn’t seem like a big deal to Mom and Dad. But they were to me.
Keep that in mind as you enjoy our feature titled “Fun Things to Do with the Kids.’’ Whether you’re making pottery, climbing a wall, star-gazing, learning to cook or interacting with some amazing Arabian horses, there are plenty of family memories to be made in our area. A few on our list are relatively expensive, many are moderately priced, and some are absolutely free. The create-your-own-fun items are my favorites, including making pancakes, camping in your own backyard or watching planes land at Orlando Executive Airport. And climbing aboard SunRail! I can’t imagine how thrilled I would have been as a kid if I could have ridden that colorful train all afternoon.
So here’s hoping that one of our dozens of activities turns out to be one of the best days your children ever spend with you.
There’s much more for parents and kids in this issue. Our annual Guide to Private Schools provides essential information about many educational institutions in the area, from preschool through high school. Writer Jennie Hess explores whether cursive writing is still relevant in a digital age. And a 14-year-old yo-yo champ relates the dizzying tricks of the trade.
Elsewhere, dining critic Joseph Hayes explores a bounty of culinary gems in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area (along with a notable new restaurant in Orlando), and columnist Greg Dawson wonders why the Year of the Monkey has to start with the Month of Meltdowns. We also have an overview of cool subscription boxes you can treat yourself to monthly, as well as a Home + Garden section featuring the dazzling home of one of Orlando’s leading interior designers, along with a story on how the tiny home phenomenon plays out locally.
Don’t forget to vote online in our annual Dining Awards poll. The categories range from barbecue to Italian, most romantic spot to best place for kids. You can also pick your favorite restaurant. Voting ends Feb. 1, and you could win a dinner for two at a top restaurant just for voting. Click here to vote!