Pensacola for Kids
Pensacola For Kids
Accessible Beaches, Free Museums, Amusement Parks and Day Camps
From canoeing through the “Canoe Capital of Florida” and fishing off one of the longest piers in the Gulf of Mexico to flying a simulated jet and racing around the go-kart track, the destination offers a kid-friendly vacation filled with discovery.
The calm waters of Santa Rosa Sound at Portofino Boardwalk on Pensacola Beach are perfect for small children who want to swim and build sandcastles without the waves of the Gulf of Mexico. The beach, nicknamed baby beach, is close to restaurants, shopping and public restrooms.
A SALUTE TO FUN
The National Naval Aviation Museum not only is one of the world’s largest air and space museums, it is kid-friendly. The museum offers more than 150 vintage aircraft (many are okay to touch), flight simulators, an indoor playground and special exhibits including a cockpit trainer for kids to climb into. Behind the museum on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, the Blue Angels practice their air show — a thrilling experience for the family. Plus, pilots are even available for autograph sessions after the show.
BOATLOADS OF FUN
Adventures Unlimited offers canoe and kayak excursions on Coldwater Creek, known as the “Canoe Capital of Florida.” Shallow rivers are inviting for families, and sandbars offer the perfect picnic spot. Key Sailing provides kayaks, parasailing and sailboat rentals, while Chase-n-fins offers exciting dolphin cruises. Lanier Sailing charters boats and offers classes for any age, and Condor Sailing offers catamaran excursions. And for those wanting to try the latest trend of stand-up paddleboarding, Coastal Paddle Company is ready to assist.
Gulf Islands National Seashore offers miles of scenic biking trails, whether near Fort Pickens, Portofino Island or on Johnson Beach. For mountain biking, the University of West Florida has a four-mile trail.
FOR YOUR AMUSEMENT
Sam’s Fun City is Pensacola’s only amusement and water park. Featuring more than 20 rides and attractions, Sam’s is a blast for kids of every age. Fast Eddie’s Fun Center is another fun stop, with four go-kart tracks and an arcade. Families can play on the low or high ropes course at Adventures Unlimited, which now offers an exhilarating zipline through the trees.
Kids will love getting up close to their favorite animals at the Gulf Breeze Zoo. The Gulfarium in nearby Fort Walton Beach features dolphin shows – another big hit for the family. And Uncle Sandy’s Macaw Bird Park lets kids feed beautiful, exotic birds.
At Plaza de Luna, children love running around in the big grassy area overlooking Pensacola Bay and splashing around the sprayground. Bayview Park, Sanders Beach Community Park and Perdido Kids Park offer great playgrounds for kids.
Walk through time at Historic Pensacola Village while costumed guides give informative and entertaining demonstrations. The T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum holds major pieces of history including the anchor believed to have belonged to Don Tristan de Luna, who discovered Pensacola in 1559. The Discovery Gallery invites kids to put on costumes and get involved in some hands-on, historic fun. Children 8 years old and up can climb to the top of the Pensacola Lighthouse for amazing views and ghost stories. Tours of Fort Barrancas and Fort Barrancas are offered daily so that kids can explore the massive brick tunnels of the 1830s fortresses.
Pensacola’s brand new baseball team, the Blue Wahoos, will begin playing this year at the Maritime Park, Pensacola’s newest attraction. Fans not only can watch the AA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, but they can be entertained throughout the evening with games, prizes, fireworks and more family fun.
CAMPS & CLASSES
In the summer, national park rangers at Gulf Islands National Seashore offer free camps for kids to explore the great outdoors with activities ranging from snorkeling to stargazing. The Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front and Portofino Island Resort & Spa offer special programs for kids. The Portofino Family Adventure Pass gives families unlimited use of kayaks, mirage kayaks, sea cycles, boogie boards, surfboards and snorkeling equipment. The High Tide Kids Club offers kids ages 5 through 12 years old an exciting schedule of active and creative activities and games while Friday Teen Scene Cruises gives older ones the chance to get out with new friends in a safe environment. The Pensacola Museum of Art offers art workshops for children, and Kaleidoscope Associates teach cooking classes at Distinctive Kitchens. For the more adventurous, Waterboyz offers surfing camps in the summer.