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History and Heritage Means Ol' Family Fun

Kids love long days on the beach, but perfect family vacations offer much more than sandcastles and sunshine. The Pensacola Bay Area offers families scores of historical learning experiences and fun, hands-on activities beyond the beach.

With its long history, Pensacola is abounding with remarkable stories, from the Panzacola Indian tribe that gave our city its name to modern-era astronauts in the Space Shuttle program. When learning is this fun, it’s no longer a history lesson; it’s an adventure.

Historic Pensacola Village

Experience some of our nation’s earliest history at the Historic Pensacola Village. Tour 19th-century homes and properties with costumed staff that bring local history to life. These living history interpreters guide visitors through various periods of local history, from the early Colonial era through World War II. They interact with the audience, performing reenactments and demonstrations that delight children of all ages. Kids especially love taking part in hands-on activities, such as butter churning, woodworking and candle making.

Pensacola Children’s Museum

Geared toward children ages 13 and under, the Pensacola Children’s Museum allows kids to explore history through hands-on play. On the first floor, the Discovery Gallery recreates life in Colonial-era Pensacola. Younger children can dress up and romp through a Colonial cottage, military fort, trading post and ship. On the second floor, older children can delve into interactive and interpretive exhibits that trace our diverse local history from its Native American roots and European exploration, through early American history and the Civil War, to the Industrial Revolution and our modern-era ties with the U.S. Navy.

National Naval Aviation Museum

Located on Pensacola Naval Air Station, the National Naval Aviation Museum is the largest of its kind in the world. It’s also Pensacola’s #1 attraction, scoring rave reviews from families and children. There’s so much to see and do, it can easily fill an entire day. Experience the history of human flight, aerial combat and space exploration with the immersive impact of 4K resolution on a giant screen. Explore more than 350,000 square feet of indoor space, brimming with hands-on history and interactive exhibits that bring the past to life. Get up close with more than 150 aircraft and even climb inside the cockpits of some. Take a free, guided tour with a retired or active-duty airman and hear stirring tales that capture the human element of our shared history. Even the little ones can get in on the action — in an interactive play area inspired by the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier, children have fun with rope ladders, telescopes, a fireman’s pole and a ship’s helm.

Fort Pickens

Set one or more kids loose and they’ll eventually build a fort and stage an imaginary battle. At Fort Pickens they can walk in the footsteps of settlers and soldiers long past. Located on Santa Rosa Island within the Gulf Islands National Seashore, Fort Pickens is the largest of four forts built to defend Pensacola Bay and its Navy yard. Fort Pickens encourages visitors to explore its site, camp overnight and walk through their museum. Their summer Jr. Ranger Camp educates children through trail hiking, bird and plant identification and touch tanks.


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