Endless Family Fun: Kid-Friendly Activities in The Palm Beaches

April 5, 2021

No matter what time of year you visit, fun for the entire family abounds in The Palm Beaches.

From animal sanctuaries and museums to small-scale theme parks and outdoor adventures, you’ll find plenty in The Palm Beaches to keep the whole family entertained whether you’re planning a short staycation or a weeks-long getaway.

All these experiences are currently available with COVID-19 safety protocols in place; check their websites for the latest information.

Animal Sanctuaries & Attractions

Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, Jupiter – View furry, feathered and scaly creatures at this local family favorite dedicated to the protection and conservation of Florida’s wildlife and natural resources. See Florida panthers, bobcats, black bears and other native wildlife, and walk through various Florida habitats such as pine flat-woods, oak hammocks and cypress wetlands.

Florida panther, Busch Wildlife Sanctuary
A Florida panther at Busch Wildlife Sanctuary

Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC), Juno Beach – Fans of the ocean can’t miss this stop, which houses rescued sea turtles, as well as engaging exhibits on the marine environment. LMC promotes the conservation of ocean ecosystems with a special focus on rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing sea turtles back to the wild. It’s steps away from some of the most densely nested loggerhead sea turtle beaches in the world, so plan to enjoy the beach pre- or post-visit.

Sea turtle interaction at Loggerhead Marinelife Center
Observing a sea turtle at Loggerhead Marinelife Center

Lion Country Safari, Loxahatchee – Roam in the comfort of your own vehicle through Florida’s largest drive-through Safari Park and view more than 1,000 animals. There is also a walk-through safari area with a petting zoo, lorikeet feeding experience, amusement rides, gift shops and food and beverage options.

Giraffe calf at Lion Country Safari
A giraffe calf at Lion Country Safari

Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society, West Palm Beach – Home to hundreds of animals and 190 different species, many of which are endangered, this zoo likely has at least one animal you’ve never seen before. Popular animal exhibits include the Malayan tigers and the Aldabra tortoise. The Fountain Plaza splash pad is also a super-fun activity for small children.

Tiger at the Palm Beach Zoo
Tiger drinking water at the Palm Beach Zoo

Sandoway Discovery Center, Delray Beach – Here, you can learn about Florida’s fragile marine and freshwater environments through educational outdoor animal encounters. Open since 1998, the center is most recognized for its shark, stingray and alligator feedings, as well as Southeast Florida’s largest private shell collection.

Seashell collection, Sandoway Discovery Center
Part of the seashell collection at Sandoway Discovery Center

Museums & Historic Sites

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, Jupiter – Explore the grounds and take in the view from atop of the landmark lighthouse, a guiding light in The Palm Beaches since 1860. Listen to audio tours from your phone via the Jupiter Lighthouse Tours smartphone app in English, French or Spanish. A “The Adventures of Charlie Pierce” children’s tour option is also available on the app. Wear comfortable shoes for the 105-step climb to the top, and marvel at one of best vistas in The Palm Beaches.

Sunset at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse
Sunset over the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse; photo by William Leonard

South Florida Science Center & Aquarium, West Palm Beach – This is not your typical science museum. This highly educational but fully fun attraction features a conservation-themed mini golf course, planetarium, aquarium, live science demonstrations, interactive experiments, science trail and discovery playground.

Exhibit at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium
One of many educational exhibits at the South Florida Science Center & Aquarium

The Silverball Museum, Delray Beach – This retro museum features a collection of nearly 200 classic pinball machines and arcade games. Not only are the machines on display available for play, but each includes an informational card noting the year it was made and quantity produced. The museum also has a bar and restaurant as well as live music on select nights.

Inside the Silverball Museum
Playing vintage games at the Silverball Museum; photo by Steve Zuckerman

Thrill Rides & Fun Games

Boomers, Boca Raton – This mini amusement park may be small, but it’s big on excitement and outdoor attractions. Go for a spin in the disco-themed bumper cars, race go-karts, tackle the climbing wall, play mini golf, float around in the bumper boats and take a swing in the batting cages.

Drive Shack, West Palm Beach – The whole family can enjoy golf in a new way at Drive Shack. From your open-air, temperature-controlled bay, you can virtually play courses from all over the globe as well as interractive games, while enjoying delicious food and refreshing drinks.

Fun Depot, Lake Worth – Feel the breeze through your hair as you enjoy the half-mile go-kart track, or opt for a fog-filled, black-lit laser tag adventure. Play an abundance of arcade games, ranging from old classics to new favorites. If you work up an appetite, grab a bite at the on-site café.

Go-karts at Fun Depot
Go-karts ready for a race at Fun Depot

Rapids Water Park, West Palm Beach – Founded in 1979, this local staple (open March through October) offers 42 water attractions, including a variety of slides, a FlowRider wave machine and lazy river. Tickets and parking passes are available for purchase online to make it even easier for your whole family to stay cool this summer.

Water slides at Rapids Water Park
Colorful slides at Rapids Water Park

Lighthouse Cove Adventure Golf, Jupiter – Play one or both of the 18-hole mini golf courses, followed by lunch or dinner at the on-site Burger Shack or ice cream at 3 Scoops. Tip: If you bring your own putter, you save $1. Bonus: The holes are separated by 25 to 40 feet, which gives groups plenty of room to spread out.

Lighthouse Cove Adventure Golf course
One of the courses at Lighthouse Cove Adventure Golf

Outdoor Wonderlands

Riverbend Park, Jupiter – This lush, green paradise has nearly 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, 7 miles of equestrian trails and 5 miles of canoeing and kayaking trails. This site is also home to the Loxahatchee Battlefield, a site of two battles during the Second Seminole War, and the Loxahatchee River, one of only two nationally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers in Florida. Learn more on Wild & Scenic Loxahatchee River Tour offered at the park through Jupiter Outdoor Center. Canoe, kayak and bicycle rentals are available.

Kayaking in Riverbend Park
Kayaking the Loxahatchee River in Riverbend Park

John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, North Palm Beach - At Palm Beach County’s only state park, nearly 2 miles of pristine beaches and warm waters beckon for swimming, snorkeling and fishing. Keep an eye out for dolphins, manatees, mullet and bird species as you paddle the park’s estuary waters. If you’re an experienced paddler, venture over to Munyon Island for shelling, swimming or lounging. Prefer dry land? Hike nature trails through this preserved subtropical coastal habitat. Kayak and paddleboard rentals are available.

Aerial view of John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
Aerial view of John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

Snorkel Trail at Phil Foster Park, Riviera Beach – Snorkelers may spot a unique variety of marine life, including sea turtles, tropical fish, sailfish, goliath grouper and dolphin, along this 800-foot stretch of limestone boulders and artificial reef — ranked among “50 Best Dive Sites in the World” by Scuba Magazine in 2013. Manatee sightings are frequent, especially in the winter months. Sea turtle sightings are common year-round.

Colorful fish on the Snorkel Trail, Phil Foster Park
Colorful fish spotted on the Snorkel Trail; photo by Mike Scott Photography

Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation – Days of outdoor recreation await at Palm Beach County’s park facilities. At more than 80 parks, you’ll find ample space and outdoor activities including kayak and canoe rentals, disc golf, basketball, volleyball, racquetball, tennis, water skiing, dog parks and equestrian trails. Some favorite spots include Jim Brandon Equestrian Center, John Prince Golf Learning Center, Okeeheelee Golf Course, Osprey Point Golf Course, Palm Beach Training Center, Rick Macci Tennis Center and Shark Wake Park.

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