Are we there yet?
Four words that can be the bane of a parent's existence on the family summer road trip.
Now, a new book can help tame back-seat boredom, at least for travelers along Interstate 75 -- a path that extends from South Florida to Sault St. Marie, Mich. Kids Love I-75 (Kids Love Publications, $19.95) is the latest in a series of "Kids Love" books by travel authors George and Michele Zavatsky.
In addition to hundreds of family-friendly side trips -- all within 10 miles of the interstate -- the book includes helpful planning tips to prevent pint-sized impatience.
The concept of the excursion is that "getting there is half the fun." With planning and imagination, the ideas in Kids Love I-75 aim to put that notion in the family car.
WHAT TO SEE IN FLORIDA
The Sunshine State is well-represented in the Zavatskys book. Heading south from the Georgia line, stops range from an orange juice break at the Florida Welcome Center in rural Hamilton to a role-playing theme park in Fort Lauderdale's Sawgrass Mills Mall.
In Gainesville: The Santa Fe Community College Teaching Zoo offers daily tours of a menagerie that includes bald eagles, Galapagos tortoises, kangaroos that climb and live in trees, and endangered species from Asia, Australia and Europe.
At UF, kid-friendly attractions include the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Bat House, where its 60,000 residents emerge for a sunset eating frenzy any day that the temperature is at least 60 degrees. (Pretty much every day.)
In Ocala: There's more nature at the iconic Silver Springs, but muscle-car fanatics might be more interested in the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing and Classic Cars. Artifacts include vintage Fords, hot rods and some professional "swamp rat" racing cars.
In Tampa: Along with the educational stuff, the Zavatskys keep pure fun in the mix. In Tampa, Busch Gardens and the Museum of Science and Industry are both represented.
Fishing, hiking and equestrian trails are featured at Little Manatee River State Park, also in the Tampa area. Or experience the history of Florida rail travel at the Florida Gulf Coast Railroad Museum in Parrish. The museum's main attraction is a 90-minute, 13-mile round trip on vintage passenger cars through rustic Manatee County.
Jim Abbott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-420-6213.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times