Here are my picks for the best family-friendly adventures in town:
Eat at the new Black Bean Deli & Cuban Cafe
The family-owned eatery finally opened a second location this week at the old Vega’s location on Colonial Drive, except this time, you can actually sit at a table to eat rather than just carry out. Industrial lighting mixed with bistro chairs, high ceilings and original Spanish tile give the place a vintage modern edge, as if Havana was finally pulled into the 21st-century.
My son loved the ham croquetas (50 cents a pop) and the picadillo platter, which comes with savory ground beef, rice and beans, sweet plantains and a salad for about $7.50. If you bring the kiddos, sit outside at shaded picnic tables that manage to appear sleek with raised flower beds, or inside at the V-shaped table in the corner. If you pick any other spot, your kid is likely to knock over something on a neighboring table as the rest of the seating is pretty tight. Open for lunch and dinner only. Closed Sundays. www.blackbeandeli.com
Act like a pirate, matey
In honor of Pirate Week, the Orlando Science Center is hosting special activities this weekend, including black powder demos at the top of every hour (oooh), treasure hunts (ahhh), and pirate meet-and-greets (no way!). Special giveaways will include tickets to Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise, and the granddaddy of all, Disney World. Come dressed up or make your own eye patch when you get there. Aargh! www.osc.org
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Catch up with Ivy and Bean
Based on the popular book series, two very different second-graders try to figure out if they can become friends in this fun romp at the Orlando Rep. If you’ve never been, this is a gem of a family theatre, and it happens to be right across the park from the Science Center, in case you’re looking for two things to do in Orlando with kids in one day. With a good chance of rain in the forecast, it’s a great way to keep the whole fam entertained—even you.
This one is simple: Kids are taught yoga moves (“look at me, I’m a pretzel!”) while you read a good book—or sit back and try not to giggle as they slip into a downward dog pose. Free at the downtown branch of the Orlando Public Library. Class starts at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Be a Superhero
Remember the telephone? The one with the rotary dial? Chances are your kid has never seen one of those before, either, so what better time than Superman Superhero Saturday at the Maitland Historical and Telephone Museum? Starting at 1 p.m., kids can draw their own superhero comic, make their own capes, and slip into an old-fashioned telephone booth, just like Clark Kent. Free with museum admission. www.artandhistory.org.
Dance Your Tushies Off
Boogie the afternoon away starting at 4 p.m. in Winter Park’s Central Park with some of the stars from Radio Disney. Pack a picnic and stretch out on the lawn, or stroll to one of the dozens of restaurants within walking distance. Burger Fi and Briarpatch are your best kid-friendly bets on the Park Avenue stretch. Free.