The Raddest Parks Around

Listen up, kids:

If you’ve got time to burn after school or on days off, you might as well burn it on a board, bike or somewhere like Boing! Trampoline Park. Put down the gadgets, head outside and check out these venues in our roundup of all places totally wicked. You may just find yourself an awesome new hobby. We also caught up with some track veterans and owners to get the inside scoop on their upcoming events.


Stirring Up Santos Trailhead

Mountain biking at Santos Trail guarantees some beautiful scenery and a great workout, so grab a map, a helmet and a biking buddy to stir up some dust. In 2006, the Santos Trail System was dubbed one of 40 elite “Epic Rides” by the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

There are a variety of mountain biking terrains for all skill levels and a skills development area to help new kids get the hang of things. The freeride area is full of daring drops and challenging obstacles to appeal to more advanced riders. There are also covered and open picnic tables and grills available at the trailhead, so packing a lunch is highly recommended. The Ocala Mountain Bike Association (OMBA) organizes plenty of events for all ages, so keep an eye out for newly released events on their online calendar at If you like them enough—and we’re sure they don’t bite—you can join the club and enjoy the company of fellow cyclists.

Want to go?

Santos Trailhead is located at 3080 SE 80th Street in Ocala. Visit for more information and trail maps. If Santos isn’t your scene, you could always drop into one of these other Cross Florida Greenway trailheads instead. With over 115 miles of trails to traverse, you can have a new adventure on every ride.

49th Avenue Trailhead

12555 SW 49th Ave., Ocala

Baseline Trailhead

SR 35 N of SE Maricamp Rd., Ocala

Landbridge Trailhead

Co. Hwy 475a, Ocala

Ross Prairie Trailhead

10660 SW Hwy 200, Dunnellon

Vortex Freeride and Trailhead

9150 SE 25th Ave., Ocala

What’s going on at this year’s event?

The main trailhead from noon on Friday until the afternoon Sunday is a bike expo. There are over 30 trucks from bicycle manufacturers to local bike shops, anything bicycle related. Trek Bikes is coming with some custom bikes this year. If you have a license, they’ll loan you a bike and you can sample it on a marked trail, which is a really rare opportunity. This is the only place you’ll see this many trucks and shops all open to the public.

Will there be any special demos?

On Saturday afternoon, on the Vortex side, there will be guys jumping on the biggest features from noon to 3pm for some big-time entertainment. There are also special classes. We’ve hired a guy to give one-hour lessons all weekend. For the littlest kids, we have a company coming in with Strider bikes, which have no training wheels, so they can learn, too.

Where do the funds go?

OMBA is a non-profit; we’re the group the state contacts to maintain the cyclist trails, so the funds go toward that. For example, where it gets sandy, we’re getting special lumber to improve those areas. We also have a gift basket raffle that funds Christmas bikes for kids.

Why should kids try outdoor trail cycling?

It’s free, exciting and a great way to make friends. It’s something you can do your whole life just about anywhere. It also makes you see where you live differently, and you see how much fun it is to be outdoors. It’s great for the whole family, too. You can be at any level because we have trails for every level.

Can you give us any inside info on the plans for new trails?

We’re trying to build westward to Dunnellon and connect to Palatka. Trail connectivity is a huge thing in Ocala and statewide right now. There will be experts at the expo explaining this and taking people’s input as well. For the kids, we have developed a really nice pump track to teach them to ride a bike.

What events happen regularly at the trail?

We do Wednesday night social rides, and you just have to meet in the parking lot. We also do workdays the first Saturday of the month, so we do maintenance projects and a local shop buys us lunch. We’re always looking for workday volunteers.

Want To Know More?

Visit to see the Fat Tire Festival event schedules.

Start Your Engines

Hardrock Off Road Park, located at 6849 NW Gainesville Road in Ocala, boasts 100 acres of off-road awesomeness with quite possibly the best variety of tracks in Florida. The star of the show is Hardrock’s two-mile, national-caliber motocross track stacked with various elevations and obstacles, including an extreme half-mile portion just for the pros. Novice riders should feel right at home on the Outback Track. Baby racers can hit up the Pee Wee Track to put some miles under their size-small belts, as well.

The sports facility also includes four racetracks and three off-road trails, each catered to riders of varying experience levels. Jeeps and other large 4×4 vehicles have a section all to themselves loaded with hill climbs, rock crawls and all those other hard-to-find-in-Florida features. Racing-type ATVs are also welcome to take a spin on the motocross tracks. Give ‘em a call at (352) 732-6697 or visit for more information.

Out At The Track

If you’re looking to spend a day at the races, check out Florida Vintage Motocross’s online calendar at Here are a few of their upcoming races, all of which start at 10am:

3/30 at Sunshine Motocross

4300 126th Ave. N, Clearwater

4/13 at North Florida Motocross

28422 Liberty Trail, Hilliard

5/04 at Hardrock Off Road Park

6849 NW Gainesville Rd., Ocala

5/25 at Sunshine Motocross

4300 126th Ave. N, Clearwater


Bouncing Off the Walls

On an extra energetic day, grab some friends and check out one of these sweet trampoline parks.

Boing! Jump Center

532 S. Econ Circle, Suite 120, Oviedo

$12 per hour

13,000 sq ft of trampolines, dodgeball room, tumble tracks with airbag

College Night Tuesdays 8-9:30pm


6725 South Kirkman Rd., Orlando

$14 first hour, $10 every additional hour

24,000 sq ft includes trampolines, foam pit, dodgeball, basketball slam arena

(407) 704-6723,

Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park

2510 S Hwy 27, Clermont

30-min jump: $10, 60-min jump: $14, 90-min jump: $18, 120-min jump: $20

Dodgeball tournaments Friday and Saturday nights from 9-11pm

(352) 404-4134,

Shred Central Florida

These parks are dedicated to athletes on wheels of all sizes, so break out your boards, blades and bikes and start tearing up the nearest venues.

BMX Tracks

First Coast BMX

1600 Allen Nease Rd., St. Augustine

Practices every Tuesday and Thursday at 7pm for $5 and every Saturday at 6pm for $7.

(904) 584-8364,

High Springs BMX

1050 NW 2nd St., High Springs

Practices every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30pm and every Saturday at 10am. Local races held Sundays. Registration and practice take place from 2:30-4pm with a fee of $8.

(352) 514-9735,

Jacksonville BMX

1946 Ray Greene Dr., Jacksonville

Practices every Tuesday from 6:30-8:30pm, Friday practices at 6:30pm and races at 8:30pm

(904) 314-9520,


4801 W Colonial Dr., Orlando

Practices every Monday from 6-8pm, $4. Ribbon races every Wednesday. Registration at 6pm with fee of $6; start time at 7:30pm. Trophy races every Friday. Registration at 6pm with fee of $8; start time at 7:30pm.

(407) 297-3589,

Sarasota BMX

1500 North Tuttle Ave., Sarasota

Practices every Tuesday and Thursday from 6-8pm for $3 and every Friday from 6-7:30pm with race at 8pm for $5.

(941) 957-4393,

St. Cloud BMX

2401 Peghorn Way, St. Cloud

Practices every Friday 6-8pm with race at 8pm and every Sunday from 11am-1pm with race at 1pm.

(321) 624-1751,

Behind the BMX Scenes

ORL BMX has been around for decades, and Clerk of the Course Theresa Cavender is giving us the inside scoop on everything coming up at the track.

What sets ORL BMX apart?

We’re a nonprofit park, so all the money here goes back into the riders and the tracks, and it’s run entirely by volunteers. Florida has 17 tracks, but we were the home track for the BMX Worlds back in the ‘80s, and we used to regularly hold the Disney Cup before it moved to Kissimmee. We are among the top five tracks in the state, ranked No. 5 for membership and rider count.

What events are coming up at the track?

Saturday, April 6 is our state championship race. Saturday, June 14 is a district Race for Life, which is a fundraiser race for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society we do once a year. Our annual Warnicke Race is a race for the Bob Warnicke Memorial Scholarship Fund, which helps students and families meet their needs for undergraduate and trade school. There is also a local pro race, and they’re pretty cool because things get competitive when they’re racing for money.

Does the track offer lessons or other special services?

We are open for practice every Tuesday, a practice and race every Thursday and Saturday, and we open at 6pm all of those days. We have an Olympic Day on June 28 when you don’t have to have a membership to race. It’s neat because kids that aren’t sure they like it can still come out. On occasion, we have clinics with a large number of pros that come to the track and teach. We rent out the track and even do birthday parties.

How can beginners get started?

All they need is a bike. It doesn’t have to be anything special, just a regular Walmart bike, but no pegs, kickstands or reflectors. Then show up with long pants, long sleeves and a parent to sign a waiver. We rent full-face helmets, and then they can come out and ride. We offer a one-day free trial. They get to see everything on the track, and often a pro will take them around the track. Tuesdays are the best nights for trying it out. It’s all practice, all night, and most times we have more pros there. Our website has everything they need to know about the sport and getting started.

When can spectators watch?

We’re always free for spectators to come check it out. A Saturday night would be great to come watch a race, which starts around 8pm. We’re really laid back; we have a full concession stand open all the time and real bathrooms, too. We keep our schedule on Facebook and our webpage, and they’re updated consistently with our race days.

Check it

Skate Parks

Bicentennial Skate Court

501 N. Baseball Pt., Crystal River

Skatelite surface, outdoor

Free Open dawn to dusk, 7 days a week

(352) 527-7677,

Albert “Ray” Massey Skate Park

1001 NW 34th St., Gainesville

Concrete, outdoor

Free Open dawn until dusk, 7 days a week

(352) 334-5067,

Possum Creek Skate Park

4009 NW 53rd Ave., Gainesville

18,000 sq ft, concrete, outdoor

Free Open dawn until dusk, 7 days a week

(352) 692-1802,

Metro Skateboard Academy

4624 LB McLeod Rd., Orlando

Skatelite surface, indoor

$10, pads required

2:30-9:30pm Monday through Friday, 10am-11pm Saturday, 12:30-7pm Sunday Day camps and lessons offered

(407) 650-8171,

Robert-Laryn Skate Park in Treaty Park

1595 Wildwood Dr., St. Augustine

28,000 sq ft, outdoor, concrete


2-9pm Monday through Friday, 12-9pm Saturday & Sunday

(904) 209-0385,

Tavares Skate Park

12106 Woodlea Rd., Tavares

12,000 sq ft, outdoor, concrete

Free Open 9am-10pm 7 days a week

(352) 742-6319

Orlando Skate Park

400 Festival Way, Orlando

Concrete, outdoor

$8, pads required

2-10pm Monday through Thursday, 2-11pm Friday, 9am-11pm Saturday, 9am-9pm Sunday

Day camps and lessons offered

(407) 246-2800,

Northeast Complex Skate Park

1100 NE 14th St., Gainesville

Skatelite surface, outdoor

FreeOpen dawn until dusk, 7 days a week

(352) 334-5067,


What Is Skate- lite?

Skater lingo is a dialect all its own, but this new surface is gaining traction in the skate world. Skatelite is a composite material made of recycled and sustainably harvested paper. Its smooth finish reduces friction for a smoother ride and less abrasive landings. Parks with this surface are definitely worth a ride.

Posted in Ocala Style Features

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