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5 things to do with kids the week of May 11-17

Some attractions are opening, such as the Florida Aquarium and a sunflower farm, but virtual events are still going for families.

For the first time in almost two months, we have some actual things to do with kids in the real world that require leaving your house. If you decide to do that, we recommend following CDC guidelines like washing your hands often and wearing a mask. Otherwise, we have a whole calendar of virtual events at

1. Sunflowers: Two farms on the Pasco-Hernando county line that usually have sunflower mazes in May have turned them into you-pick sunflower farms — by appointment only, for social distancing reasons. And they have so far sold out almost every day. Sweetfields Farm and HarvestMoon Farm plan to keep the flower-picking blooming through the end of May. At Sweetfields, there is a minimum $6 purchase per person (three flowers each) required to access the picking area. More sunflowers are available for purchase, for $2 each. They suggest keeping a close eye on their Facebook page to be alerted when new tickets go on sale. That’s at 17250 Benes Roush Road, Masaryktown. (352) 279-0977. At HarvestMoon, sunflowers are $2 per flower with a $10 minimum purchase. The reservations are for one hour at the farm and can be made on the farm’s Facebook page or website at The farm is at 15990 Stur St., Masaryktown.

Dinosaur World in Plant City has reopened, though there are no hands-on activities.

2. Dinosaur World: No extinction jokes, please. The kitschy Interstate 4 roadside attraction Dinosaur World has reopened, though without its many hands-on activities. Only the dino walk, a 1-mile path that meanders through lush Florida landscape, and indoor museum and store will be open. Because of the reduced attractions, admission will be $10, a $5 savings. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is free. Pets on leashes are welcome. 5145 Harvey Tew Road, Plant City, (813) 717-9865, ext. 201.

Related: CEOs of Florida Aquarium and ZooTampa talk about decision to reopen

3. Florida Aquarium: Starting Friday, the Tampa aquarium will be open to the public for the first time in seven weeks. You have to make a reservation online for a time to arrive because they are limiting visitors to 150 per hour. Once you arrive, you can stay as long as you’d like, but know that there will be a guided path on the floor and no dive shows, because they don’t want an audience to gather for 20 minutes to watch. The aquarium wants the crowds moving along, but thinks we could use the mental health break to visit the fish, penguins and other animals. It will be open daily 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 701 Channelside Drive in Tampa. Make a reservation at or call (813) 273-4000.

Florida Aquarium president and CEO Roger Germann holds a news conference with two penguins (Shelly and Roben) to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the aquarium in Tampa. It reopens to the public on May 15, but guests will have to book a time to visit. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times]

4. Make a droid: One of the most popular attractions at the new Star Wars land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the shop where you can custom-make your own droid. With the theme park closed, Disney has released a new Droid Depot mobile app. It’s available now for free through the App Store and Google Play. It features BB-series or R-series astromech droid units found at the park’s new land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. In the mobile app, you can customize droids by name, see their profiles and pilot them on a virtual path around their home by activating sounds and maneuvers. You can also play a game of tic-tac-toe, choose some favorite galactic jams by DJ R3X straight from Oga’s Cantina or choreograph your droid to dance its way through your home.

Droid parts are seen on a conveyor belt at the Droid Depot at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios in Orlando. With the park closed, Disney has released a mobile version to build your own droid. [ALLIE GOULDING | Times]

5. Scholastic summer reading: Scholastic has launched its Summer Read-a-Palooza, a free program designed to increase book access and keep kids reading this summer. Kids can join the newly created summer zone on Scholastic Home Base, a free digital destination. They will be encouraged to explore free resources, read select e-books, engage with fellow readers and favorite authors, and keep Reading Streaks, which also helps unlock a donation of 100,000 print books. For every two consecutive days a child checks into the zone they will create a Reading Streak, which will unlock a new free print book. Kids will be able to earn accolades ranging from bronze, silver, gold and diamond levels for their Reading Streak progress while collecting summer-specific accessories to dress up their avatar.

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