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Let's face it...summertime can be expensive!  There are camps, activities, expensive play dates and 'summer bucket lists' that can cost an arm and a leg.  These cost rise exponentially with every child you have!  Not to mention the increase in alcohol we moms have to consume just to make it 'til August!

SO, my girls and I set out to have a FREE day of fun in our charming little town of Winter Garden and I'm sharing our adventure with you so you can too!

We began our day at Winter Garden Bowl.  I will admit, I was a bit apprehensive about it, but let me tell you, IT WAS AWESOME!  I signed all of my girls up for the 'Kids Bowl Free' program the night before.  As promised, the coupons arrived to my inbox almost immediately.  And guess what the coupons are good for?  TWO FREE games of bowling for each child every week day this summer!  I thought it sounded pretty awesome, but knew there had to be a catch once we arrived at the bowling alley.  Welp, there's not a catch...the only thing you pay for...shoe rental!  I think the total was $12 for my 4 girls.  Not too shabby!  The staff at Winter Garden Bowl was awesome!  I highly recommend giving them a try!  Tip: We got there at 10am and had the place to ourselves for quite a while, but it got pretty busy as we were leaving around 11:30.

Kids Bowl Free Link

After bowling, we headed to the Winter Garden Branch of the Orange County Library.  Again, I was pleasantly surprised by a beautiful facility and helpful staff!  Each of my kids got their very own library card {kudos to the staff for taking the time to print EACH of them a card-they LOVE having a [credit] card of their very own}!  During our 'probationary' three weeks, the kids were each allowed to check out 5 books. {Eeeeekkk!  Can mommy keep up with 20 books for three weeks?}  Shocking fact: After three weeks, each card can check out 100 books at a time.  Yes, you read that right!  ONE HUNDRED.  Uhhhhhm....ok?

OCPL Card

After this, we ventured to downtown Winter Garden.  I cannot say enough about this beautifully manicured and oh so charming little town!  When you enter downtown via Plant Street {it really is a red brick road!} it's like you take a step back in time.  You enter a sort of Mayberry...a place synonymous with happiness and easy times!  Take a stroll through Plant Street Market for a one-of-a-kind experience including a wonderful brewery that you can see through large picture windows at the rear of the building.  Although clearly too young to drink Crooked Can's brews, my girls love to see the large brewery equipment and workers executing their craft!

Plant Street Market

One of the first things my kids run to when we step onto plant street is the train and carnival model at Birket Engineering.  The kids can control this model, with their hands...from outside the glass!  It's such a nice gesture to maintain this model for the children.  So, thank you, Birket Engineering!  My kids wear out their welcome in front of your window each and every time we visit downtown!  And I swear I'm gonna bring the Windex next time so we don't show our love with 156,788 hand prints!

Birket Engineering Train Model
#pleasedontjudgemybabiesmullet
#orthewitchcostumeinJune

 After spending more time than we should at Birket's model train, we then headed to the Central Florida Rail Road Museum just down the street.  It is a very small building and I have a wrecking ball of a toddler, so cue the apprehension!  Much like the theme of the day: we were very pleasantly surprised!  There was a gigantic Thomas the Train set in the back of the museum that kept the kids busy for the better part of an hour while I was able to walk around and view each of the pieces of history the quaint little museum possessed.  I must say that they too found many of the historic pieces quite interesting!  I would highly recommend going to visit the friendly tour guides at the museum!  They offer a FREE 30 minute guided tour, but we declined, on account of said wrecking ball in tow.

Central Florida Rail Road Museum

No trip downtown would be complete without a dash through the splash pad!  End your trip by cooling off here and enjoying some good old fashioned {FREE} fun!

WG Splash Pad

As a side note, we chowed down at Urban Flats for lunch because we wanted to participate in Dine Out For Orlando to support #OrlandoUnited {and mommy really wanted a mimosa #sorrynotsorry}.  It was our first time there, but certainly won't be our last!  My girls LOVED the kids' pepperoni flatbread and it was gigantic!  So, cheers, mamas!  Here's to surviving the rest of the summer with what's left of our sanity intact!

Cheers!

Blog post courtesy of Driftwood Market
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July 01, 2016 by Bonnie DiCocco

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