Can’t get your kids off their screens? Head to Florida, where awesome experiences blow Xbox into the water.
1/9 Dolphins up close
Thankfully nature is highly visible in Florida and a major way of engaging children. If your kids have always wanted to swim with dolphins but you’ve been wary of the ethics involved, head to Panama City Beach where you can take a boat to Shell Island to sensitively snorkel with the wild bottlenose dolphin.
Find our more about wild dolphin encounters
2/9 Turtle quest
Turtles are another natural phenomenon in Florida that entrance youngsters. Sections of its central Atlantic coast such as Brevard County are a haven for loggerhead sea turtles, which lay their eggs on the beaches during June and July. The Sea Turtle Preservation Society organises discreet evening walks on Melbourne Beach that let families witness this life-affirming scene.
Find out more about the preservation of sea turtles
3/9 Flora ‘n’ fauna
Flamingo Gardens is a vast Botanical Garden and Everglade Wildlife Sanctuary. The botanical gardens, feature over 3,000 species of rare and exotic, tropical, subtropical, and native plants and trees. Flamingo Gardens wildlife sanctuary is home to the largest collection of Florida native wildlife including alligators, bobcats, eagles, otters, panthers, peacock, and of course, flamingos.
Find out more about visiting Flamingo Gardens
4/9 Take it to the top
Kids will love Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse just south of Daytona Beach, where they can clamber the 203 steps to the top and say they’ve climbed the tallest lighthouse in Florida and met a real live lighthouse keeper. Next door is the Marine Science Center where kids can learn all about Central Florida wildlife from stingrays to seabirds.
Find out more about visiting the Marine Science Center or the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse
5/9 Art appreciation
At the Perez Art Museum Miami, contemporary art is on the menu with works by American visionaries such as Purvis Young and Joseph Cornell. Art sessions for kids are available every second Saturday of the month.
Find out more about the Perez Art Museum
6/9 Get surreal
At the Salvador Dali Museum in St Petersburg, a kids’ programme brings the surrealist artist to life with games, clue trails and craft workshops.
Find out more about visiting the Salvador Dali Museum
7/9 Awaken the senses
If the notion of getting your kids inside an art gallery is implausible, head to Bradenton Riverwalk, a 15-mile promenade along the Manatee River where 19 interactive sculptures await. Children can experiment with the way sound moves by standing between Sound Dishes, pound at the steel instruments of the Drum Yard or dance in the Splash Pad fountains.
Find out more about art and culture in Bradenton
8/9 Into battle
Bring American history alive with a trip to St Augustine, America’s first city. The Castillo de San Marcos is the USA’s oldest fort, founded in 1672. Demonstrations of weapons used by 18th century soldiers – muskets and cannon – give a dose of boom and bang to visits every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Find out more about Castillo de San Marcos
9/9 Indigenous insights
Educate your kids with the Trail of Florida’s Indian Heritage which teaches children that Florida’s history started long before European settlement. This online resource pinpoints the state’s 66 key indigenous sites. These include Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum which details the culture of the Seminole people in child-friendly fashion at the Big Cypress Reservation, in the Everglades.