While most people head to the pristine beaches or pools of Palm Beach County, Florida, there is plenty to do off the sand and surf. We’re lucky to have family who live in Delray Beach and over the years, we have enjoyed exploring a wide variety of family friendly attractions. Palm Beach County includes 39 cities, towns, and villages from Jupiter (the northern most part) to Boca Raton in the southern part of the region- see the full list here.
A great place to start your research if visiting the area is ThePalmsBeaches.com. The website offers tons of advice on what to do, where to stay, where to eat, and plenty of special events and programs. The Family Fun section is especially helpful for planning activities that will engage kids of all ages. And be sure to download the full guide here and the free savings pass here.
There are over 40 miles of coastlines in Palm Beach County and seemingly endless parks, nature trails, and ways to explore the outdoors. We included a few of our favorite outdoor spots on this list, but here are some other helpful indexes:
12 Places Kids Will Love in Palm Beach County:
- Jupiter Lighthouse and Museum in Jupiter began protecting ships in 1860 and added the Tindall Homestead (built in 1892, one of the oldest houses in Palm Beach County), moving it from the original site on the banks of a nearby river to the lighthouse complex in 2007. Today, the lighthouse is part of a park that includes a playground, nature trails, and indoor exhibits for visitors. Visitors can climb the 105 steps (plus 34 more to get to the base) to the top of the lighthouse, and on a clear day, see for miles. There are also piers and a massive Ficus Tree area to rest tired feet in the shade.
Kids will especially love the Keepers’ Workshop & Exhibit and looking out for sea turtles and manatees in the Loxahatchee River. Note: Children must be at least 48” tall to climb to the top of the lighthouse.
Travel Tips: Up to date information on hours and admission fees here; Plenty of free parking inside the park; Check in at the admission trailer (with gift shop), and follow the clearly marked paths; Restrooms are currently located outside the admission trailer; Check here for information on special events and programs like story hours; plan on 90 minutes to climb the lighthouse and explore the exhibits.
Read our full post here.
- Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach is located directly across the street from the beach. The center originally opened in 1983, but moved to its current, larger green facility in 2007 and includes a large indoor exhibition hall with hands on displays and saltwater aquariums, and a hospital that helps over 100 injured sea turtles each year. Daily tours allow visitors to learn about each patient at the sea turtle hospital.
Kids will especially love seeing the sea turtles in their own tanks and learning about all about their healing, habitats, and daily life.
Travel Tips: The center is free to visit and is open from 10am-5pm daily; plenty of free parking out front; the Tortuga Cafe is open for lunch, drinks, and snacks; restrooms and gift shop located near admission; plan on
- Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee is ranked as one of the best zoos in America and the first “cageless zoos.” Founded in 1967, the 600+ acre drive through safari park, waterpark, and amusement park is home to over 900 animals. Guests can drive through the four mile trail, have fun on the Safari World adventure park rides, attend special events and programs, and picnic and shop.
Kids will especially love the Greater Rheas who will come right up to car windows on the safari, the dozens of animals on the safari, the three rides, the waterpark slides, splash pads and water playground, paddle boats, fun slides, mazes, and miniature golf.
Travel Tips: The complex is open 10am-5pm weekdays and 9:30am-5:30pm weekends and closes; information on reservations and tickets here; Guests can rent strollers, wheelchairs, and cabanas; plenty of free parking and dining facilities on site- see the full list of dining options here; make sure to listen along to the audio guide will on the safari loop; make sure to grab a map to the full complex; plan on at least four hours for the safari and rides.
- Manatee Lagoon in West Palm Beach is THEE spot to see dozens of manatees who swim to the area, looking for warm waters. The center is organized by Florida Power and Light and is located next to their Next generation Clean Energy Center. The Florida manatee is the world’s largest manatee and can grow to be 12 feet long and weigh over 1200 pounds. Manatees prefer warmer waters, and gravitate to the area right outside the center during their “peak season” in the cooler winter months. First floor exhibits include manatee skeletons, trivia about manatees, listening stations (hear manatees “talking”), fish tanks, and ways visitors can help protect manatees. Both floors have observation decks, and the first floor has plenty of seating to take views of Palm Beach Island. Check here for information on special events and programs like Lagoonside chats, Waterfront Walks, and Storytime.
Travel Tips: The center is free to visit and is open seven days a week from 9am-4pm (but closed on Mondays April through mid November); plenty of free parking out front; Restrooms are located on both floors, and a gift shop is located on the first floor near the entrance; the center is handicap and stroller accessible, although the toddler crew won’t want to sit; plan on 30 minutes to explore the exhibits, plus additional time observing the manatees in the water (most likely to happen in the fall and winter months).
- Palm Beach Zoo in West Palm Beach is a 23 acre zoo and conservation society that includes an area dedicated to animals native to Central and South America, a lorikeet feeding area, playgrounds, splash pad, a carousel, and tons of viewing areas to see some of the over 450 animals who call the zoo home. There are also daily Zoo Labs, guided tours, and special programs.
Kids will especially love seeing all the animals up close and getting the chance to feed some of them, and the Play Fountain.
Travel Tips: The zoo is open 363 days a year (closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) from 9am to 5pm. Information on admission hours and rates here; The zoo is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums– check here to see if your membership to your local zoo offers reciprocity rights;There are plenty of restroom facilities, picnic tables, water stations, and even changing rooms throughout the zoo; Definitely bring the stroller for the toddler crew (and to hold snacks and drinks); The zoo also offers safari wagon and wheelchair rentals; Plenty of free parking in front of the main zoo entrance, with an overflow lot across the street; Dining options include Latitude 26 with indoor and outdoor dining, and various kiosks for quick service; Check the daily calendar for special events, programs, and animal feedings and encounters; Plan on 90-120 minutes to see all the exhibits and take in an animal encounter or feeding; Before you go, print out this Field Guide for kids to complete (a super engaging way to learn about the animal). Check here for a full zoo map.
Read our full post here.
- Cox Science Center and Aquarium in West Palm Beach is one of the coolest spots in the county! Founded in 1959, the center showcases over 100 hands-on exhibits, planetarium, a 10,000 aquarium tank, outdoor science trail, and a mini golf course! The Fisher Family Science Trail runs ¼ of a mile and features a physics forest, splash pad, gem panning station, shark tooth dig pit, and spaces for picnicking. The 10,000 gallon aquarium is home to hundreds of native fish and there are additional exhibits showcasing the Everglades, space exploration, and states of matter. Be sure to take in a planetarium show (wide variety of topics offered each day), take a peek into the sky in the Observatory (especially at night for Nights at the Museum, and play a round of miniature golf on the Conservation Course.
Kids will love it all! Little kids will especially love the Discover Center and Early Childhood Playground (water tables, Lite Brites, storytime, outdoor playground) and the Science Trail; Older kids will especially love the hands on experiments and brain puzzles, and the mini golf course.
Travel Tips: Information on hours and admission fees here; the Center is part of the Association of Science- Technology Centers (ASTC) and participates in the reciprocal passport program; Nuts About Sugar is the onsite cafe that serves meals, snacks, and drinks; is there is a gift shop near the entrance and plenty of restrooms throughout the complex; Check here for a full calendar of events and programs; plan on 2-3 hours to full explore all the exhibits and attractions. See the full exhibit map here.
Note: We have not personally explored the Center (it’s on the list for our next visit) but we have heard so many positive reviews about it that we had to include it on our list.
- Green Cay Nature Center in Boynton Beach is built on what was originally a 100 acre farmland. The former farmers sold the property to the County with the promise the lands would be made into a wetland. It took two years, but in 2004 the property opened to the public and thousands of birds and wildlife began calling it home. Green Cay is part of the Palm Beach County Nature Center system, which includes six additional centers throughout the area- check out the full list and details here.
Kids will especially love the scavenger hunt and Nature Adventure Journal (with tons of fun stickers!), walking the wooden boardwalk (nice and flat and easy for the toddler crew), and the various tanks, home to turtles, fish, and even baby alligators.
Travel Tips: The boardwalk is open from sunrise to sunset and the Nature Center is free to visit and is open Wednesday through Saturday from 9am-3pm- more information here and here; There is plenty of free parking in front of the Nature Center; The Nature Center has restrooms, a small gift shop, and tons of print materials; Check here for a schedule of daily tours and special events and program; Plan on 90 minutes to explore the indoor exhibits and take a hike.
Read our full post here.
- Sandoway Discovery Center in Delray Beach, located directly across the street from Delray Beach, is a former private home on the list of National Historic Places. The two story center, which opened in 1998, includes dozens of exhibits on everything from tortoises and starfish to shells and shark teeth and focuses on the native coastal environment and its inhabitants. The Center recently expanded the outdoor area with an additional touch tank for stingrays.
Kids will especially love participating in animal feedings and practicing their shark tagging skills.
Travel Tips: The center is closed on Mondays; Only the first floor is handicap accessible and the center does not allow strollers inside the facility; There is a small, free lot for guests next to the center or metered street parking; No dining facilities on site but tons of options within walking distance; be sure to check the daily schedule for special events like animal talks and storytime and feedings. Plan on 90-120 minutes to explore the center.
Read our full post here.
- The Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Boca Raton is one of the largest wildlife refuges in America, with over 145,000 acres in the northern Everglades, and includes a cypress forest for 250+ species of birds; indoor, interactive exhibits; access to boat launches; and tons of hiking, biking, and paddling trails. The refuge is also home to a wide variety of reptiles and amphibians, from frogs and salamanders to alligators, crocodiles, and turtles. The Visitor Center is a great place to start exploring and make sure to leave time for outdoor trails and recreation.
Kids will especially love the Cypress Swamp Boardwalk, the airboat simulator, and hands-on exhibits.
Travel Tips: The grounds are open from sunrise to sunset and the Visitor Center is open from 9am-4pm; There is a per-vehicle entrance fee payable at the Visitor Center or all three entrance self pay booths; There is plenty of free parking in front of the Visitor Center and in smaller lots near the three boat launches; Restrooms are located just outside the Visitor Center; a gift shop is located near the admission desk; A variety of programs are offered throughout the week, including 90 minute tram tours, Wellness Walks, and Boardwalks; Plan on 90 minutes to explore the Visitor Center and Boardwalk; more time for exploring the trails.
Read our full post here.
- Sugar Sands Park is one of 35 (!!!) parks in Boca Raton, and, in our opinion, one of the coolest spots! The park is home to the Science Explorium, playground (with water features), carousel, hockey rink, athletic fields, Willow Theatre, classrooms, and community center. The Science Explorium includes two rooms of hands-on activities. Be sure to leave time to explore the outdoor science garden, home to 25+ species of butterflies and bugs, and a short walking trail.
Kids will especially love the air canon, Newton’s cradle, the Bop organ, and Archimedes screw in the Science Explorium, the two story playground (with designated toddler section), and the carousel (open on weekends). Make sure to ask to borrow a (free) Grab ‘n’ Go Eco Pack and Challenge Sheet.
Travel Tips: Information on hours and directions on the park and various amenities here; There is no admission fee for most attractions (the carousel charges a fee); Check here for the full calendar of events and programs; plenty of free parking and indoor restrooms; plenty on an hour for the Science Explorium and science garden.
- Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton is located in Red Reef Park on a barrier island in the Intracoastal Waterway. The complex includes an indoor nature center with hands-on exhibits, a sea turtle exhibit and rehabilitation facility, gopher tortoise habitat, butterfly garden, aquariums, classroom, and tons of trails. The aquarium includes stingrays, sea turtles, and native fish. Typical daily programs include guided nature walks, beach treasures, and daily programs.
Kids will especially love the daily animal feedings, the boardwalk trail, and completing the scavenger hunt.
Travel Tips: The Nature Center and Aquarium are open 7 days a week and the Boardwalk and Nature Trails have extended hours- check here; The center is free to visit; Bring a stroller if you plan on exploring the trails; Plenty of free parking in front of the center; Restrooms are located in the main lobby near the gift shop; Plan on 90-120 minutes to explore the complex and attend a staff led workshop.
- Coconut Cove Waterpark in Boca Raton. The waterpark includes a 986 foot river ride, two water slides (4 stories high each!), recreational pool, and tons of smaller water playgrounds for younger children.
Kids will love it all!
Travel Tips: The park is open on weekends late March through late May and mid August through mid September and then 10am-5pm late May through mid August (11am opening on Sundays); information on pricing and hours here; plenty of free parking; locker rooms and shower facilities available, as well as concessions.