Around Orlando, Florida, the entertainment capital of the Sunshine State, thrill seekers are turning to one of the most ancient forms of entertainment: archery. The sport is thriving in Central Florida, where residents and tourists alike have many options to hit the range.
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Seminole County Gun & Archery Association
In Orlando’s northeast suburb of Geneva, Seminole County Gun & Archery Association operates separate gun ranges for archery, pistol shooting, rifle practice and plinking -- informal target shooting -- as well as separate ranges for competitions and orientation sessions. The first Sunday morning of every month is Public Day, a time for any nonmember to tour the club and shoot. The club also offers hunters’ safety courses and many competitions and events, including Youth Fest. New members are subject to one-time fees of $200, along with the $120 annual membership fee.
Geneva Archery Club
The Geneva Archery Club’s primary focus is on instruction and youth development. The club is affiliated with the Junior Olympic Archery Development program, as well as the United States Archery Association. Highly decorated instructor Phil Graves coaches youths and adults seeking certification in coaching and instruction. Graves is also licensed by the state to teach hunter’s safety courses. GAC is not affiliated with the Seminole County club; both are coincidentally in Geneva.
A half-hour to the southeast in Melbourne, Florida, just south of Cape Canaveral, rockets aren’t the only things flying through the air. The Brevard Archers are letting their arrows fly in 14 shooting lanes and in a wooded area that is stacked with 3-D animal targets. The Florida Archery Association and Archery Shooters Association charter club is open to the public. Lessons start at $8 per person. The Kempfer Ranch 3-D Shoot invites archers of all ages and abilities. The event is free to enter for children 5 and younger, youths can enter for $5, young adults $10, and the adult trophy class costs $20 per entrant.
Central Florida Archers
The Central Florida Archers club is a slightly longer drive from Orlando, but the state-of-the-art archery center is well worth the drive. An hour southwest in Fort Meade, the nonprofit club rests along a perfect backdrop of protected woods and wetlands of the Peace River. The Central Florida Archers meets for monthly competitions and weekly “fun” shoots, typically on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. The club boasts two 14-target ranges with spot targets, 3-D animal targets and straw bale targets. Five practice targets can be positioned at any distance. Memberships are $30 for individuals and $40 for a family, and club members have daily access to the club.