Friday, October 11, 2013

Family Fun Winter Break in Florida Welcomes Kids on the Spectrum

Christmas Week packages at oceanfront Florida resorts don't come along all that often, and kids clubs that cater to those on the autism spectrum are even more rare, but the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort has both.

The resort, fresh from a $20 million renovation, is located on the island of St. Pete Beach -- one of Parents magazine “America’s 10 Best Beach Towns” -- on the usually calm and warm Gulf of Mexico.

If you're longtime fans of the TradeWinds Island Grand, and many families with autism are because of its special programs for guests on the spectrum, don't fret about renovations. They include guest rooms, suites and public areas, but the beachfront, five heated pools, and the KONK (Kids Only No Kidding) club are as great as always.

Since 2010, TradeWinds Island Resorts have been designated "Autism Friendly" by the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (C.A.R.D.) which has trained TradeWinds employees how to better meet the needs of guests who have autism and their families. The resort has a “Safety Kit” available for guest use, which includes a hanging door alarm, corner cushions for tables and outlet covers. For those with special diets, they have gluten-free offerings and their own Snack Attack amenity which includes a TradeWinds lunch bag and gluten free snacks. For children on the spectrum, the KONK has special sensory activities available as well as selected drop-off programs for kids; call ahead to KONK at 727/363-2294 to speak with a counselor about your child's needs.

There's plenty to do for all families, together or apart. The fun Splash Island Water Park, a 15,750-square-foot water park and playground floating in the Gulf of Mexico, awaits. Families can look forward to paddleboating, fishing, golf or snorkeling excursions together. You can try the WaveJet electric surf school or JetLev flying jet pack. If you skip Christmas and go in summer, additional summer fun includes dive-in movies, a live pirate show, glow-in-the-dark beach volleyball, banana boats and wave runners. There's also the bungee trampoline and gyrosphere when you're suited up and, for a nominal fee, arts n' crafts and supervised kids club activities for a cool down session.

Tradewinds Resorts Offer

The Tradewinds "Beach Bowl Package," valid for up to 7 nights between December 18-25, 2013 guarantees 40% off best available rates. The first 100 families to book it get two free general admission tickets to the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl Game on December 23rd. Additionally, the package includes a Vacation Gourmet Card for 20% off all resort food and beverage; a nightly Resort Amenity Fee covering unlimited High Tide Slide rides, one cushioned beach cabana for two, guest room WiFi, one parking pass per room, paddleboats along the meandering waterway, fitness center and tennis court use, mini golf, beach volleyball and beach games, use of business center, daily newspaper and more. This offer is based on availability, and restrictions may apply.

Alternatively, the "Just LEGO! Package" based on a 3-night stay between September 25 and December 31, 2013 includes 3 nights room accommodations for up to 4 people; four discounted 2-day general admission tickets to LEGOLAND Florida nearby; and the features of the nightly Resort Amenity Fee as above. As we go to press, rates for a standard room are $238/night for a room with two doubles, Wet bar area, microwave, fridge, coffeemaker and toaster; or $308 for a One Bedroom Suite with a private bedroom with 2 double beds, living area with sofabed and a full Kitchenette.

Adults will enjoy that the Tradewinds Island Grand is next door to the Guy Harvey Outpost Resort, and between the two there are 15 restaurant and bar options, seven pools – including two for adults only – two fitness centers and a spa. To learn more or book one of these packages, visit or call 866/587-8538.

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