Spring Break = Spring Training

 

My first spring training experience occurred during Spring Break the year we moved to Pompano Beach. The Washington Senators drew huge crowds anxious to see the Cy Young award winning pitcher, Denny McLain, and the team’s coach, the legendary Ted Williams.

Then as a high school student at Pompano Beach High School, it wasn’t unusual to return to the student parking lot after lunch to find no available spaces. Our student parking lot was across the street from Pompano Municipal Stadium, the spring home of the Texas Rangers. And despite the fact students purchased parking passes, our lot was too tempting to baseball fans anxious to watch their teams in action. From February until the first pitch of opening day, Spring Training was a way of life.

With two weeks remaining in the MLB spring training season, there’s a lot of baseball on the calendar. Fifteen teams will be competing in cities from Kissimmee to Clearwater to Jupiter to Ft. Myers…but no longer in Pompano. In the final thirteen days of the Grapefruit League season, 83 games will be played (click here for the schedule), so there’s plenty of time to see a couple of the teams in action.

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For complete details on Florida Grapefruit League games at your fingertips, you can download the app which includes detailed information about teams including the daily schedule.

Check the schedule and catch a game! After all, in Florida, Spring Break = Spring Training.

 

 

 

Spring Break is Spring Time: 9 Springs You Need to Visit

For the first time in more than fifty years the words Spring Break don’t have the same meaning. Since 1964, I’ve either been a student or a teacher looking forward to the days away from school, not only a well deserved and needed break from the routine of academic activities, but also as a time to enjoy doing something outdoors.

I don’t remember being disappointed during Spring Break as a student. In middle school anything outside and with friends seemed absolutely perfect. In high school, living less than two miles from Pompano Beach guaranteed a good time and returning to South Florida with friends during college was the definition of Spring Break.

However while the time off was appreciated, as a teacher the week rarely lived up to the anticipation. This may be because we frequently planned camping trips in the Panhandle or farther north only to be faced with cool or cold or rainy weather and not enough time in the sunshine outside. Even when we vowed to only head south we were frequently disappointed with rainy and windy and sometimes cold weather after spending too much on high priced accomodations in popular south Florida locales.

Now that any week can serve as Spring Break, the answer to the Spring Break getaway seems simple. Relax. Don’t over plan. Don’t spend a lot of money. Living in Florida, the options are numerous. Spring Break is the perfect time for day trips especially to our state’s springs.

Florida’s Best Springs for Spring Break :

DeLeon Springs State Park

Make and eat pancakes at Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill and Gridlehouse and then take a swim in the spring or drive a few miles down the road to Orange Springs and visit Blue Springs State Park and look for manatee.

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Eat pancakes at DeLeon Springs State Park
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Look for manatee from the boardwalk at Blue Springs

Weeki Wache Springs State Park

Rent a canoe or kayak and paddle down the river at Weeki Wachee Springs or if mermaids are more your style, go in the park and watch the mermaid show.

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Rent a canoe or kayak at Weeki Wache

Silver Springs State Park

Ride the glass bottom boat at Silver Springs or this is another place you can go for a short canoe trip. This is also a great place for a picnic lunch followed by ice cream at Paradise Treats.

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Glass bottom boat tours are $11 for adult and $10 for seniors and children

Alexander Springs Recreation Area

Snorkle in Alexander Springs, part of the Ocala National Forest. Since it’s a spring, the water temperature is 72° year round so it’s nearly perfect. This is also a great place for a cookout either before or after you get in the water.

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Swim, snorkel and cookout at Alexander Springs

Gemini Springs and Green Springs

Bike from Gemini Springs to Green Springs and enjoy the parks. Swimming is not permitted in either spring but they’re both beautiful bodies of water and there are trails to walk and a picnic area at Gemini Springs. The length of the Spring to Spring Trail is 17 miles, but the section that connects these two parks is less than 5 miles one way.

Rainbow Springs State Park

Visit the spring head and then go tubing down the Rainbow River. Tubers are not permitted to enter the headsprings, but canoes and kayaks can be rented in the park and swimming is allowed in the spring as well. Tube rentals are available at K.P Hole. Click here for more information on tubing the Rainbow River.

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Juniper Springs

Located in the Ocala National Forest, the 7.3 mile run at Juniper Springs is not recommended for beginners, but it is not a difficult paddle since you’re moving with the current. The most difficult part of the trip is navigating around low lying trees and brush. Pick up is included with the cost of a canoe rental. Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks since the trip may take up to 4 hours.

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Homosassa  Springs Wildlife State Park

Manatee are the stars at Homosassa Springs since they swim around the people in the park’s fish bowl underwater observatory or should that be people bowl? There are three manatee shows daily and the park’s home to a number of Florida species, and don’t forget to take a ride on the boat tour…it’s included in the price of admission. There’s even an egg hunt on Saturday, March 26th at 8:00.

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Spring Break is spring time in Florida.

Spring into Spring

Tomorrow is March 20th, the first official day of spring! Time to put away coats, gloves and boots. Time to prepare for extra daylight after work. Time to create a spring checklist.

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40 Things to do this Spring:

  • Fly a kite
  • Picnic in a park
  • Buy a new bathing suit
  • Walk barefoot
  • Lie in a hammock
  • Enjoy time on the porch
  • Watch a baseball game on opening day April 3rd. The Tampa Bay Rays play at home at 4:05 if you want to watch in person. (Click here for opening day schedule.)
  • Eat outside
  • Take a hike
  • Splash in the puddles
  • Play golf
  • Take a spring break trip to the beach

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  • Plant flowers
  • Pick strawberries
  • Buy a pair of sandals
  • Complete a spring cleaning project
  • Open the windows
  • Look for four leaf clovers
  • Dye eggs
  • Read poetry
  • Drink a mint julep and eat a slice of Derby Pie (Click here for Derby Pie recipe.)

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  • Celebrate mom
  • Watch March Madness and celebrate if any of your bracket teams survive
  • Watch for rainbows
  • Run a marathon…or better yet, watch the Boston Marathon on April 18th
  • Check out a book for the library. National Library Week 2016: April 10-16
  • Pick blueberries

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  • Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
  • Plant a tree
  • Drink a margarita on Cinco de Mayo
  • Play a round of miniature golf
  • Go for a sail
  • Commemorate Memorial Day
  • Ride your bike to work or school
  • Visit a garden
  • Go for a paddle

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Eat salsa and guacamole

Take a hot air balloon ride

Get a pedicure

Thank a teacher, Teacher Appreciation Day: May 3rd

And of course, celebrate the religious days in spring:

Palm Sunday: Today, March 20th

Maundy Thursday: March 24th

Good Friday: March 25th

Easter: March 27th

Passover: April 22nd-April 30th