Calling all girl moms out there! I don’t know about you, but I have three daughters. We often go out together as a family, but it is rare – and truly special – when I can plan some one-on-one time in Pensacola with each of my girls.

Sometimes, of course, this is easier said than done. Our schedules aren’t getting any less busy. But as my girls are getting older, I am realizing that this precious time is disappearing before our eyes. I have to act now, because there is a good chance they won’t want to hang out with their mom in just a few short years. So I’m going to call on my husband, parents, friends, neighbors, babysitters, the National Guard – whatever it takes – so that I can find a little time for these little girls to have a date with their mom.

My girls and I have five ideas for a special day together in Pensacola:


1. See some wild animals.

Kid's Rule Gulf Breeze Zoo

It seems like just yesterday I was pushing a stroller around at the Gulf Breeze Zoo. Those days are long gone, but my girls still love to feed the giraffes and wander through the grounds at this zoo, which is about a 20-minute drive east from Pensacola Beach. You can see lions, goats, camels, gorillas and many other animals. This month, October 21-22 and 28-29, the Gulf Breeze Zoo hosts its annual Boo at the Zoo celebration. Guests are encouraged to wear non-scary, family-friendly costumes, and kids will enjoy collecting candy along the trick-or-treat trail manned by local vendors throughout the zoo grounds. The zoo is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily in the fall. Tickets for Boo at the Zoo are $15, with children under age 2 free (This represents a small savings over regular admission prices). Annual pass holders, military and large groups may be eligible for reduced rates.

In Perdido Key, Dolphin Tales offers a $10 dolphin cruise aboard their 40-ft. boat, The Explorer. Online booking is required. Also, check the website for the most up-to-date schedule and pricing.


2. Enjoy a sweet treat.

What girl doesn’t love ice cream and cupcakes? Pay a visit to Hershey’s Ice Cream Parlor & Café, located in Sorrento Plaza near Perdido Key, and you will feel like you have stepped into an old fashioned soda fountain. With black and white checkerboard floors and shiny red booths, this retro-style eatery offers a large variety of ice cream flavors and toppings, as well as candies and other foods.

If it’s cupcakes you and your girl are craving, try Smallcakes: Cupcakery & Creamery. This east Pensacola spot features a regular selection of cupcake flavors like birthday cake, strawberry and red velvet, as well as specialty flavors that change each month. Ice cream is available here, too. Smallcakes hosts special events from time to time, such as hosting Moana and Maui, characters inspired by Disney’s “Moana,” who greeted visitors in the store recently. Visit the store on Facebook for upcoming events.


3. Explore Pensacola with Hands-on Fun and Learning


Pensacola offers families plenty of ways to spend quality time together while exploring the city’s history and culture. The Florida Public Archaeology Network presents a free event, Archaeology Story Time, with crafts and hands-on archaeology activities for children in Kindergarden through 2nd grade who are accompanied by a parent or family member. Join them in Downtown Pensacola, Thursday, Oct. 12, for a reading of “The Temple Cat” by Andrew Clements, followed by lab time that helps children learn about archaeologists and how they learn about animals of the past.

Ever’man Cooperative Grocery & Café, also downtown, presents Story Sprouts, a weekly program for children ages 3-5 and their parents, every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Each session includes a snack, crafts and story time. Story Seedlings is a similar program for ages 4-7, although instructor Jennifer Fernandez says siblings under 10 are welcome to attend, too. This group meets the second Wednesday of each month from 2:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. The free classes have an organic, environmental and local twist.

Roll up your sleeves and get ready to create a special memento from your mom and daughter date at Kil’n Time Studio. All ages will enjoy painting pottery – from plates and mugs to figurines at this East Pensacola spot. Near downtown, check out the youth art workshops at First City Art Center.


4. Pamper yourself.

After all those hands-on activities, treat yourselves to a manicure. Stay the Spa in East Hill offers a variety of options for moms, plus a princess manicure and princess pedicure for younger guests. T&L Nail Spa in Perdido has kids’ pedicure chairs to help your little lady relax alongside mom.


5. End your day in the surf and sand.

Beach kid

Throughout the Pensacola Bay area, moms and daughters can have fun swimming and snorkeling, even in the fall. It’s still warm enough for a day at the beach. My girls have caught (and released) many a hermit crab in the Santa Rosa Sound when we’ve visited the beachy areas behind the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk. The shallow water here, plus the accessibility of parking and refreshments, makes this an easy space to explore.


Where else have you enjoyed quality mother-daughter time in the Pensacola Bay area? Leave us a comment.