Pleasant surprises can benefit traveling families and a big toddler-friendly one happened in The Palm Beaches of Florida. This author expected mostly arts, culture and fine food, but also found abundant delights for her toddlers. She shares 13 fun things to do with toddlers in the Palm Beaches, FL.
When I first heard the Palm Beaches, Florida, a vacation with my toddler was not the first thought that came to mind. If you are like me you think of the Palm Beaches as a great Florida destination for experiencing arts and culture with some beautiful beach time. However, a recent trip to the Palm Beaches of Florida with my toddler gave me a much different perspective of this East Coast Florida destination. From a number of hands-on exhibits, up-close animal encounters and plenty of play time opportunities, my three year old cannot wait to go back to Florida’s Palm Beaches!
1. South Florida Science Center
This West Palm Beach Science museum has a lot of fun interactive science exhibits, an aquarium, a planetarium and a nature trail with fun activities along the way like a fossil dig and a miniature golf course. We have been to a number of science museums, but my daughter really enjoyed being able to explore both indoor and outdoors.
2. Manatee Lagoon
Located in West Palm Beach, Manatee Lagoon is a FREE Palm Beach County educational attraction. My daughter loved listening to the sounds of the manatees and touching all the shells in the hands-on learning exhibits at the 16,000-square-foot center. Outside, we saw a shark and several large fish. In colder months you will have the opportunity to view tons of wild manatees up close.
3. Lion Country Safari
We loved Lion Country because it is a two for one attraction! We first went through the safari where we saw hundreds of animals including zebras, rhinos and lions. After the drive-through safari we enjoyed playing at the small amusement park. Be sure to pack your swimsuits because there is a huge splash pad. Plan to give Lion Country Safari at least 3 hours of your day.
4. Cool Beans Cafe
This indoor playground was a perfect way to entertain my three old after a busy sightseeing morning in the Palm Beaches. We were able to get out of the Florida heat, grab a light meal and run off energy before bedtime.
5. Calypso Bay Waterpark
The children’s water playground will entertain your toddler for hours. This is the perfect place to go if you have kids of all ages. From the lazy river to the four story high water slides, there is some type of water fun for everyone. My daughter especially enjoyed the water playground!
Even on vacation, little ones need to do some normal activities like climb, swing and run. Luckily, in Florida’s Palm Beaches toddlers have the perfect weather to play outside. We found so many playgrounds scattered throughout Palm Beach County. After 5 playground finds during our trip, my daughter declared Veteran’s Park in Delray Beach as her favorite. She loved that it is a pirate ship structure located right near the Intercoastal waterway, making it a nice breezy spot!
7. Palm Beach Zoo
The Palm Beach Zoo is located in West Palm Beach on 23 acres of tropical land, housing over 550 animals, many of them endangered. Multiple shows take place each day to give you an up close view of the animals. There is an interactive fountain that the kids can play in, so bring your swimsuits!
8. Chalk Way Cafe
A cozy indoor playground located in Delray Beach gave us a cool play space with other toddlers while it rained one afternoon on our trip. This small indoor playground has a large variety of developmental toys and fun play structures. And a calming vibe for me!
9. Sandoway Discovery Center
The unique Delray Beach facility is an exciting hands-on learning experience, focusing on Florida’s fragile ecosystems and their inhabitants. It is fun getting such an up close view of invasive reptile species, meeting sharks at the coral reef pool and exploring Southeast Florida’s largest private shell collection.
10. Silverball Museum
It was fun teaching my little one how to play old school arcade games at Silverball Museum in Delray Beach. I had a wonderful time playing pinball with my toddler; she picked it up quickly. They provide stepping stools so that little kids can easily play the games. In addition to hundreds of pinball machines from all decades, there are other games like Skeeball, Frogger and Pac-Man.
11. Gumbo Limbo Nature Center
The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Rotan offers a variety of things to see and explore. We had fun learning about the hurt sea turtles onsite and watching the schools of fish swim around the large outdoor tanks. If you enjoy exploring nature like us, take to the walking trails and enjoy the butterfly garden. Make sure you print out a scavenger hunt here to make the walk more fun!
12. Loggerhead Marinelife Center
The center puts a large emphasis on the conservation of ocean ecosystems and endangered sea turtles. Visitors get to learn about various types of sea turtles, and meet the sea turtles that are currently being rehabilitated. If you are lucky, you may get to watch a surgical procedure in the onsite sea turtle hospital. During our visit, we attended the Mommy & Me Paint class in the center’s educational center for an additional $8 fee. My daughter had the chance to paint a turtle dish, sing and hear a story. Be sure to check their website for current visitor experience offerings.
13. Explore the Beaches
No visit to Florida’s Palm Beaches would be complete without spending time at the beaches. There are so many wonderful beaches to explore with a toddler- 47 miles of beaches to be exact! Clear, clean Atlantic ocean stretches from Jupiter Beach Park in North Palm Beach County down to the South Inlet Park in Boca Rotan with many to discover in between.
Palm Beach Florida Family Friendly Hotels
There are numerous choices of beautiful hotels in Palm Beach County. I have personally experienced two hotels with my toddler in the Palm Beaches. Both hotels I highly recommend but for different reasons.
If you will be visiting the area for an extended amount of time, then stay on Singer Island at the a Palm Beach Marriott. This condominium-style hotel offers spacious bedrooms, full kitchens, living space and laundry. You can read my family’s full hotel experience at Acupful.com.
If you enjoy boutique style hotels with a touch of luxury that remains kid-friendly then book a room at Delray Sands Resort on Highland Beach, which is located between the Palm Beach cities of Boca Rotan and Delray Beach.
About the Author
Mandy Carter is a Florida-based travel writer and editor for TOTI Media Magazines. She’s turned her lifelong passion for travel and food into a career after working 15 years in marketing. Mandy has two young kids who have enjoyed traveling since they were just a few weeks old. She loves exploring as much as she can in each destination she visits from local food to historic sites and everything in between. Follow her adventures on her blog at Acupful.com.