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Give Kids the World Village

by Emily Wagner

Give Kids The World Village is a whimsical resort in Kissimmee that has welcomed more than 146,000 children with life-threatening illnesses and their families to Central Florida since the nonprofit organization was established 30 years ago. These children each decided their Wish was to meet Mickey Mouse or other favorite characters at Orlando’s theme parks, so they and their families travel to this one-of-a-kind resort built entirely for kids.

They stayed in “storybook” villas for a weeklong, cost-free vacation, away from doctor visits, hospital stays, long stretches apart and other issues faced by families battling a child’s illness.

Give Kids the World

In order to make magic for thousands of families each year, the Village heavily depends on volunteers, known as Angels, to make these whimsical attractions and entertainment come to life.

There are hundreds of volunteer shifts to fill every day, and a variety of positions available to those interested in inspiring hope. Volunteering at Give Kids The World Village not only creates priceless memories for children and their families, it’s an opportunity to give and receive smiles.

Most volunteer shifts are available for ages 12 and up (with a parent until age 16). Young Angels can help at mealtime in Café Clayton and in the Ice Cream Palace. Or they can be part of movie nights, arts and crafts, pizza delivery and more. Volunteering at Give Kids The World Village is a unique opportunity for kids to give back. It can help to teach children the value of volunteering at an early age, and make it a lifelong practice.

The Village is home to 144 two-bedroom villas, an enchanted carousel, a child-size train, two pools, horse stables, a CANDY LAND playground, a dinosaur-themed mini golf course and an ice cream palace. There is no shortage of celebrations, including weekly Halloween and Christmas parades and parties, as well as the birthday of Mayor Clayton, a six-food rabbit who serves as mayor. The Village is filled with playful characters and plenty of surprises.

This summer, Give Kids the World Village is introducing the Angel Bound program and inviting volunteers ages 10 and 11 to join the Angel family. Along with a parent, Angel Bound volunteers will be able to serve meals, carry trays and clean tables at Café Clayton. The all-new Angel Bound program begins August 1 and continues through October 15, 2016.

Any time spent volunteering at Give Kids The World Village is full of hope, happiness and smiles. It can be a fun and heartfelt way for parents to bond with their children and instill a sense of responsibility, empathy and compassion. Whether you’re a Central Florida local or interested in a volunteer vacation next time you visit, the Village is full of volunteer openings perfect for you and your family.

Blast Off with Orlando Science Center’s Newest Traveling Exhibit, Astronaut!

Orlando Science Center Astronaut

Grand Opening is Saturday, January 28

Member-Only Preview – 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Open to Public – 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2017) — Don your space suit and report for training, because the newest addition to the Orlando Science Center floor is opening this weekend and it’s going to be out of this world! The Astronaut exhibition designed and produced by SciTech in Perth, Western Australia, and produced by Imagine Exhibitions touches down on Saturday, January 28 and is bringing an entire space lab full of science fun!

Explore 26 interactive exhibits in Astronaut that reveal the physical and mental challenges involved in space exploration and gives visitors a taste of what life is like outside of Earth and its atmosphere! Astronaut goes beyond intergalactic travel by revealing all of the stages of becoming a space explorer from training to take off and even re-entry!

Exhibit highlights include seeing how many ‘G’s’ you can handle in the centrifuge capsule, climbing into a rocket and experiencing what it might be like to launch into space, and putting your flight skills to the test and see if you can land a capsule on another planet! Visitors will also learn more about daily routines in outer space by conducting maintenance on a space station, growing space food and discovering the answer to the number one asked question… “How do you use a toilet in space?”

Astronaut is an all-ages exhibit and will land at Orlando Science Center on January 28 and blasts off again on May 14, 2017.

Experience Astronaut with admission to Orlando Science Center which is $19.95 for adults, $17.95 for seniors and students, and $13.95 for youth (ages 3 – 11). Orlando Science Center members can experience Astronaut for free!

For more information, call 407.514.2000 or visit www.osc.org/astronaut.


Located in Orlando, Fla., interactive learning and discovery await within the Science Center’s hundreds of exhibits, programs, labs, films and planetarium shows. The Science Center provides educational opportunities both within and outside its walls including field trips, family science nights at schools and community centers, and other outreach.

World of Chocolate – Hidden Gem on I-Drive

The smell of chocolate is what you first notice walking into the World of Chocolate Museum and Café on I-drive in Orlando. Followed, of course, by the gorgeous chocolate creations under glass, which are available for purchase along with a great selection of coffees and teas. There is a certain coziness and comfort as you see the café and realize this may be a perfect place to sit and relax for a bit with some coffee and chocolatey treats. A stark contrast to the sensory overload that many of the Central Florida attractions offer.

The tour of course is the main attraction. Every hour, on the hour from 10am-6pm, guests can learn about the history of chocolate, what makes good chocolate, and even learn a bit about how chocolate is made. From bitter beginnings to sweet endings, this tour even offers samples to showcase the chocolate varieties available. Fun and entertaining, the tour guide keeps the crowd engaged and on their toes as navigating through the many rooms of the tour.

The museum sculptures include 25 pieces carved out of blocks of chocolate. From the Statue of Liberty to Big Ben and the Eifel Tower, the attention to detail and work on each piece is truly a masterpiece.

The World of Chocolate Museum and Café is perfect for groups or just an afternoon trip. The tour takes about an hour. And, of course, leave time for buying chocolate and hanging out in the café for a while after. You won’t be able to resist!

For more details contact the World of Chocolate at 407-778-4871 or wocorlando@gmail.com.

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© 2017 Story Institute, LLC - John E. Murray, III & Teri A. Murray
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