There is much more to South Florida than beaches, you have to know where to look is all.
I grew up in South Florida. I spent a lot of my youth shut indoors reading and doing house work but I occasionally got to go see what was around me. When I was out of high school I managed to get out some more while attending college and spending time with my boyfriend (now husband).
Having a history with Florida, I feel that as an adult with children I find more cool and fun things to do than when I was younger. I know what I am looking for. I know some tricks to find those things. And, I have more reason to explore. With three little kids I am anxious to get outdoors and take a breath of fresh air!
If you aren’t from here (or even if you are) I hope that these suggestions can help you to get a better look at South Florida! Because there is quite a bit in Florida, there will be separate posts for The Keys, Central Florida (Maybe separated into Tampa and Orlando areas), and Northern Florida. As new posts go live of the listed places I will update with links to those entries.
NOTE: 2017 is looking to be a big year for hurricanes! After the damage from Irma in mid-September I am hoping that these places are able to recover well. Some of these may be out of commission for a few months.
I LOVE food (even though my relationship with it is getting complicated as I age). Good food is key to having a full and fun experience. It’s “icing on the cake” and makes everything better. These places are kind of a combination of food and experience.
(Closed for Summer months) Knaus berry farm is an awesome little farm and store that offers fresh baked bread and other delicious treats (their cinnamon rolls are famous!) at great prices. When available you can hand pick strawberries and tomatoes as well!
(Closed in September and October) This Homestead produce stand has much to offer: Exotic fruits, honey, jams, and fresh fruit smoothies with whatever flavor combination you want made fresh. There is a mini splash pad and even a little zoo out back!
This famous ice cream parlor in Hollywood is one of my favorite places to take visitors and to go for special occasions. The servings are large, and everything is made super fresh. They even make their own sodas. One special item they offer is the kitchen sink! You get an actual sink filled with a selection (you choose) of ice cream and toppings. (Read about the food Here) (Read about the Ice Cream Here)
If you want to see alligators then this is the place for you! It’s a little drive out into the Everglades with some gift shops and air boat rides on the way. You can walk the trail (14miles total), ride a bike you bring or rent, or ride the tram that offers a guide who’ll tell you all about the Everglades and aligators. I’ve done this many times and am sure to go some more!
If you live in Southern Florida then it is a good idea to get the year family pass here. You can spend all day here and the kids will have a blast. I love to do almost the entire park in the morning then take a late lunch break next to the splash pad so the kids can run and play in the water before going home.
Come to the Seaquarium to see dolphin shows, a killer whale (and maybe get splashed!), manatees, and lots of other sea creatures. There are shows through the day and plenty to view at your own pace. Eating the food is an “at your own risk” kinda situation, it is not high quality.
Butterflies everywhere! You get to walk through an area with free flying butterflies and some areas with lots of tropical flowers and plants. There are other areas of the facilities with birds, flowers, etc. but the butterflies are our favorite thing. You can see butterflies at their different stages as well. My children really enjoyed this even when they were about 3 and younger.
This may be a little bit of a drive for those living closer to Miami but it is worth it. You drive through the “Safari” with animals all around (we thought a Rhino was going to charge us once!) and it so neat to see. There is also a petting zoo portion plus food and activities. It’s a fun day trip for all ages.
This place is a little off the beaten path, but a cool place to visit. There is a small animals meet and greet show, trails to walk, a tram tour, and a gift shop. Across Flamingo Road from the Gardens are some “farms” with more neat things to view: plants, yard art and decoration, and there is a shop where you can get fresh fruits and vegetables, smoothies, homemade jams, jellies, and honeys.
Monkeys monkeys everywhere. Need I say more? This place is loads of fun for a family.
Visit this rehabilitation and conservation center to see sea turtles! There are summer and winter camps available, birthday parties, etc. You can view live sea turtle cameras and can even adopt a sea turtle. It is also right next to the beach so you can take a walk down there as well.
This non-profit center is all about the education of Florida’s environment and resources. An acquaintance of my husband went there recently as a bird watcher and said it is a beautiful location, enjoyable for his family, and of course a good spot to see a handful of birds.
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