Taking A Family Tour Of The Florida Keys? 5 Cool Things To Do With Your Kids

Posted on: 11 May 2017

The Florida Keys have a well-deserved reputation as premiere vacation and relaxation destinations in the U.S. But, much of the hype about this beautiful island chain is geared toward adults -- partiers, revelers, and Parrotheads.

The Keys, though, offer great things for the whole family if you look a little farther afield than Duval Street. Here are 5 awesome things your kids will love all across the islands.

Hemingway's Cats. Ernest Hemingway made Key West famous as his home for eight years while drinking and writing such classics as To Have and Have Not. And, while your kids may not be interested in Papa's novels, they're sure to love the collection of six- and seven- toed cats that litter his museum home on Whitehead Street. Descendants of a polydactyl cat given to Hemingway by a ship captain, about 50 famous felines lounge around the home today. Your kids can pet and enjoy playing with the strange-footed kitties, and any tour will stop at this famous landmark. 

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. On Key Largo, you'll find a premiere state park based around the only coral reef in the continental United States. The family-friendly park offers many ways to get out onto the water to see the reef, including snorkeling tours and glass-bottom boats. Aside from the reef itself, you can also enjoy nature in the park in rented kayaks and on birding trails filled with local cardinals, cranes, and even a few iguanas.

Theater of the Sea. Islamorada hosts a watery animal park sure to delight even the most jaded adults and teenagers. You can see dolphin and seal lions in shows and wonder at nurse sharks and crocodiles in exhibits. Purchase a chance to swim with dolphins and receive hugs and dorsal fin tows. Other animal encounters available include sea turtles and sea lions, so there's something for everyone. 

The Turtle Hospital. Marathon Key is within a stone's throw of its more famous cousin, Key West, and boasts a unique family animal attraction: a sea turtle hospital based out of an old motel. The Turtle Hospital rescues and rehabilitates numerous sea turtles in need of help for various reasons, and you can visit them on a 90 minute guided tour. Feed some of the turtles and go behind the scenes to see how the staff helps them. You may even spark a new curiosity in your kids after a family tour in this nonprofit center.

Mallory Square. Finish off your day in Key West with a visit to Mallory Square's ritual of sunset celebrations. Crowds are drawn to the square on the west end of the island to watch the sun go down, but your kids will undoubtedly love the atmosphere more. You can listen to street musicians and watch performances by jugglers, comedians, balancing acts, and more. You never know what you'll find each night at Mallory Square, but it'll fight off the late afternoon doldrums for everyone. 

Touring the Keys with your kids may get you off the beaten track a little more than some guests, but it will be well worth the effort as the whole family enjoys the unique beauty and animal residents of these beautiful islands. For more information, contact a company like Kuoda Personalized Travel.