By Angela Ardolino of Tampa Bay Parenting, TBParenting.com

It’s amazing to think that we’ve almost reached the last leg of the 2013-2014 academic year normally marked by spring break. Bay area schools will mostly take spring break in March which means that families all over the bay area will have to find ways to keep their kids engaged and active over the weeklong break.

If you’re not sure of when your child’s spring break is, here’s a chart for bay area counties.

Hillsborough – March 10 - 14

Pasco - March 17 – 21

Pinellas – March 24 - 28

Sarasota - March 10 - 14

Hernando - March 17 – 21

Polk - March 24 – 28

*Remember: if you attend a private, charter or religious school, confirm your spring break dates with your school’s administration as your dates may vary.

If you’re not planning a vacation anywhere this year, here are some fun ways to keep the kids active and engaged without the help of electronics.

Circle F Dude Ranch
Spend spring break living and having a blast on a working ranch in central Florida. Spring Break camp is open to 6 to 16 year olds, who stay in their rustic bunkhouse cabins and enjoy days filled with swimming, horseback riding, rock climbing, hiking, crafts and many other adventures. Kids aren’t the only ones that can have fun at Circle F. Families are invited to one of their many family weekends. www.circlefduderanchcamp.com

Tampa Bay History Center
This year’s spring break camp is themed “Retro Mania”. Campers age 7 to 11 will dive in to the food, games, crafts, and music of the 1950s and 60s! They’ll live like an astronaut from Florida’s “space coast” and travel back to the atomic era filled with songs by the Beatles and drinks like “Tang”! www.tampabayhistorycenter.org

Busch Gardens
Some people forget the benefit of having a theme park in your backyard…great deals! Get an annual pass and enjoy the park all spring long. www.buschgardens.org MOSI

Spring break doesn’t mean a break from learning. MOSI is Tampa’s interactive classroom and offers spring break campers a chance to get hands-on and DIRTY at this unique full-day camp. www.mosi.org

See Manatees
Head to the great outdoors around Plantation on Crystal River. You and the kids will get a chance to explore the preserved area the plantation calls home and you might even get a close up look at manatees. The plantation can help you arrange area tours. www.plantationoncrystalriver.com

Lowry Park Zoo
Let your kids enjoy the wild at the beautiful Lowry Park Zoo. Get a chance to see so exotic animals up and close. For the little zoologist, Zoo School offers day or week-long camps when kids are out of school. www.lowryparkzoo.com

Glazer Children’s Museum
Spend the day exploring Tampa’s state-of-the-art museum built just for kids. They’ll get to enjoy hands on activities and enjoy special camps. www.glazermuseum.org

Florida Aquarium
Take time over spring break to see the newly renovated wetlands at the Florida Aquarium. The aquarium offers camps during schools holidays where kids will explore the aquarium, meet biologists and get up close and personal with creatures from the deep. www.flaquarium.org

Join the YMCA
Get fit with your kids at your local YMCA! Take classes, exercise and even teach your littlest ones how to swim. And while you’re working out, enroll the kids in one of the Y’s numerous school break camps and activities. www.ymcatampabay.org

City of Tampa – Parks and Recs
Spring fever dragging you down? Send your kids to the coolest camp around! During spring break, spend your week full of action packed fun. Arts and crafts, games, sports, and a field trip are just a few of the fun things planned for this camp. www.parks.tampagov.net

Spring Break on a Dime!

Picnic at the Park
Pack lunch and have a picnic at the park. Take a soccer ball or a football and play a game!

Scavenger Hunt
Plan a scavenger hunt! You can even incorporate this into your day of errands and it will help keep the kids focused and entertained while you get your "to do" list done.

Biking
Take a bike ride on a trail. They've converted several old rails to trails. Upper Tampa Bay trail is a really nice one to check out! Visit www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/ and search for other locations near you.

Enjoy Riverwalk
Grab the dogs and take a leisurely walk down Tampa’s 2.6-mile-long walkway along the Hillsborough River through downtown Tampa.

For a full list of happening going on in Tampa Bay during spring break, visit TBParenting.com/calendar

Photo: In Green/Shutterstock