Since the Villages is strictly a retirement community, many of the town’s local activities tend to cater to older adults rather than kids. Don’t worry -- there’s plenty of fun for the younger set, too. Just keep in mind that the community rules typically require kids to be accompanied by adult residents and that children younger than 19 are limited to one-month visits during the year.
If your children are visiting grandparents during the summer, take advantage of the Villages' eight-week-long Camp Villages program. Kids and their grandparents or other adult residents can sample activities from pizza making and archery to bowling and swimming at these well-organized summer camps. The roster of activity options varies from week to week, but there’s usually a good mix of active recreation and arts-and-crafts-type activities from which to choose. Camps run most of the summer, and residents can sign up for weekly sessions or for the whole summer.
Kids are welcome at the Villages' several Village Recreation Centers. These centers -- not to be confused with the smaller, less kid-friendly Neighborhood Recreation Centers -- have family pools that welcome splashing youngsters. If your kids have never played bocce ball, horseshoes, shuffleboard or pickleball, the center’s courts are a practical spot for their first attempts.
It’s a quick three-minute drive from the Villages to the miniature golf course at Tree Tops Golf in nearby Lady Lake. The 18-hole, lighted course will keep kids occupied for a couple of hours. The Fiesta Bowl bowling alley in the Villages has automatic bumpers and participates in the Kids Bowl Free summer bowling program. Kids will appreciate the chance to play Wii games on the 10-foot television screen at Spanish Springs Lanes. If they take a break to bowl, this bowling alley also has automatic bumpers.
It takes about 20 minutes to make the drive south to Lake Griffin State Park. Rent a canoe or kayak to explore the water and connected basin swamp with the kids, or pick up a fishing license and try your luck fishing for bass, catfish and crappie. Kids can keep an eye out for herons, alligators, ospreys and cormorants on the park’s nature trails or just burn some energy on the playground. Lake Weir is also nearby, just under 10 miles from the Villages. Kids can enjoy the sandy beach at lakeside Carney Island Park.