The young and young at heart will create lasting memories playing, learning and laughing – together – throughout Florida’s Paradise Coast. Here are top attractions in Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades that the whole family will love.
Climb through a two-story banyan tree, navigate a garden maze, make a masterpiece in the art lab or explore a number of other brain-building (and fun!) hands-on exhibits.
Keep that sense of discovery going on the water on a Marco Island dolphin cruise. Book a three-hour eco-tour on The Dolphin Explorer to not only learn more about these beautiful creatures, but also help spot and count the ones you see. Even better? An ongoing study of the area’s dolphins has photo-identified many of them, meaning you may even learn the name of the ones you see and photograph. Just imagine the look on those little faces when they spot Jing Jing, Kaya and Jordan.
You’ll all have a swashbuckling good time aboard the Black Pearl for an interactive adventure playing high-stakes games, seeking hidden treasure and firing water cannons in an epic “battle.” All in good fun, of course. The Pirates of Marco Island Cruise will transform the kids into little buccaneers as they don pirate costumes for their quest to defeat Pirate Pete. (Spoiler alert: You’ll raise a victory flag at the end before opening the recovered treasured chest for all to dig in.) Seriously … Best. Day. Ever.
The Naples Zoo offers an array of exotic animals in a tropical garden oasis dating back to 1919, many of them surprisingly close – sometimes just steps away. A variety of wildlife and botanical exhibits await, but don’t miss your chance to feed the zoo’s giraffes or take a short catamaran cruise for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sail past monkeys, lemurs and apes frolicking in their natural habitat.
Looking to explore your creative side? Sign up for a “Make & Take” workshop at Artis-Naples, where families learn about one of the museum’s exhibits and then make their own art together inspired by it.
Unleash your inner scientist or see what it’s like to be a marine biologist at an ongoing series of rotating Science Saturdays. Each workshop features a different theme, where you’ll enjoy eco-crafts, interactive presentations, a featured film and lab demonstrations at this fascinating facility.
Home to more than 150 species of native and exotic wildlife, this 21-acre nature preserve is a hit with families thanks to a touch tank that puts you face-to-face with some of them and a Little Explorers Play Zone, where the kids can run free after a day of animal play.
Each evening, locals and visitors alike gather on Naples Pier for an all-ages celebration of another gorgeous Gulf sunset. Spark the little ones’ senses of wonder as you watch dolphins and pelicans dive in the surf, and keep an eye out for the fabled green flash, an elusive phenomenon that is said to lend a surreal pop of color the very instant the sun disappears.
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