by Larry Berle
Bring the entire family to Innisbrook Resort just outside of Tampa FL. If you are a golfer you are going to love the golf and the family activities will be enough to keep them busy all day for several days. This resort covers 900 acres with approx 1500 member families living in the area. If you want an active place to raise your family– come live here!!
They have 6 swimming pools on the grounds
I visited with Arica Haro, the director of recreation at the Loch Ness pool (its shaped like Nessie) . Depending on the season they have up to 20 counselors (like old camp counselors) to keep the family active all day. This program also has several interns– so if this is a field you are interested in, apply here. They have one of the most extensive family activity program that you can imagine.
They have the typical water slide, sand beach, walk-in pool, Volleyball and water volleyball. But they also have ceramics you can paint, build a buddy (basically you stuff a stuffed animal that you choose) and even edible sand art (various colors of sugar that you make into art). Daily hermit crab races (kids pick a crab and it gets put in the center of a 3 foot diameter circle. The first crab to the edge of the circle wins). There is a daily spotlight craft (today it’s tie-die T-shirts) and organized pool games.
Saturday nights in the summer they offer “dive in movies” They put up an inflatable 16 foot screen and you sit in or at the pool and watch the movie. Of course its preceded by face painting and a trivia contest about the movie.
At the tennis center there is camp Nessie, where Mom and Dad can drop the kids off for 1/2 day or the full day. They even have camp Nessie on Friday and Saturday evenings– so Mom and Dad can go out on the town knowing the kids are being well taken care of.
There are tennis clinics, golf clinics and in the summer from 4-7 in the afternoon, they have “Fox Squirrel golf” where they issue the kids golf clubs and they play a short 9 hole golf course with Mom and Dad. They even have “glow ball golf” on the driving range after dark.
The activities truly ramp up on holidays, with July 4 attracting over 2000 people each year, for the golf cart and bicycle parade. Nearly 1000 show up to celebrate Halloween every year. In the summer time, over 1/2 of the guests are families (less in winter as they get more meetings and golf groups)
There is a nature walk through the 2-acre preserve where the kids can feed the turtles.
Did I mention birthdays? They organize 2-4 birthday parties almost every day. There is one kid who has celebrated all of his 10 birthdays at the Loch Ness pool.
You should also note that Innisbrook is pet friendly– so bring Fido with you.
Don’t forget about Mom and Dad!! For them there is a fully equipped fitness center, brand new spa and 4 wonderful golf courses including Copperhead which is home to an annual PGA stop and one of the top rated public golf courses in the U.S. All of these courses are designed by Larry Packard who is 98 years old and still lives here at Innisbrook.
If you go
20 miles from the Tampa, FL airport
Larry Berle is a travel writer who writes primarily about golf.
Visit his book website www.GolfersDreamBook.com