Planning a trip to Florida but not sure how to keep those little ones happy and whine-free? It’s a daunting task. After all, things we find fascinating may be the last things on children’s minds. A historical adventure or museum side-trip might be fine with some kids, but others will find it boring to the max. The adults won’t have a very good time either with the constant complaints of “This is soooo boring . . . are we done yet?”
What your children find interesting all depends on their personalities. Some little girls will love the idea of visiting a botanical garden and others will detest the idea. Some boys will like to get wet on a water ride, and others won’t. After your children’s personalities, likes and dislikes have been established, it’s time to move on.
There are some Florida attractions that kids (and adults) of every age are sure to give a high thumbs-up. Cypress Gardens, located near Winter Haven, is sure to fascinate your children of all ages, and thrill you quite a bit as well. Since the park has grown and reopened, now including rides and more shows, there is much more to see, but the main attraction is still the beautiful exotic gardens, bridges, and unique plants as far as the eye can see.
Even kids, especially those who appreciate art or nature, won’t find much time to be bored here. There are waterfalls, photo op spots, a beautiful gazebo where you can take some memorable photos, and other sights of wonder. Keep in mind that some of the attractions in Cypress Gardens, such as floor shows and exhibit areas, might not interest younger kids. (Of course don’t forget to do some things you enjoy too, and not just what kids find interesting!)
Disney World is the quintessential “kid-friendly” Florida attraction. For decades it’s been a symbol of family fun and excitement. How much fun your child gets out of Disney World really depends on age. If he or she is past the age of enjoying Mickey and other animated characters, then character greetings and kiddy rides may not interest them as much. Fear not! Older kids will be delighted here as well. There are “big-kid” rides like Splash Mountain and the Haunted House to keep them busy.
Haunted House is a spooky attraction that isn’t very scary – it still has an aura of mystery, but aside from things popping out once and again there probably isn’t anything very questionable. If your child doesn’t like dark places or spooky encounters, it’s probably not the best choice. Splash Mountain’s action-packed ride carries a good guarantee of getting soaked, and if you’re traveling to Florida on a hot day (which is almost every day) this will feel wonderful. Make sure kids bring extra clothes if you’re going to be trying out this ride.
Children will also enjoy a ride known as Pirates of the Caribbean, especially if they are fans of the hit movie. It is a common parental note that some of the animatronic figures like skeletons that are shown throughout the ride may not appeal to some kids. If you think this is a concern, you can either skip the ride or conduct the child’s attention to another scene along the ride. Don’t forget to let kids spend some of their allowance at Disney’s many great stores, from the main gift shop called the Emporium, to little places along the way like pirate’s bazaars.
There is a historical city in Florida where even kids who aren’t enamored of history or culture will have no choice but to enjoy time there. St. Augustine, Florida is not a stuffy history-oriented attraction with no color or excitement; it’s just the opposite, bringing history to life in a fun and believable way.
There are many historical attractions that can help make children appreciate the past. A few examples are Old Florida Museum, an outside museum where three different time periods are represented and kids can play games, pump water, and do other farm work; Spanish Quarter Village, where a cluster of homes have been restored both inside and out to look as they did in 1740; the Castillo de San Marcos, a great 300+ year-old stone fortress with plenty of nooks and crannies for kids to explore; and Fort Matanzas, a fort from the 1740s where there isn’t too much to see and do, but kids will enjoy the ferry ride to reach the fort.