ACE OF CLUBS
Putt your way through time (and intricate scenery like waterfalls and caves) at Lighthouse Cove. The two 18-hole mini-golf courses incorporate Jupiter history, so this recess period also counts as educational enrichment for the day. Score.
Insider tip: Enjoy a nineteenth-hole sojourn at the adjacent Burger Shack, where you can build your own burger from bottom bun to top and everything in between. The secret Surf Sauce may just become your fries’ new best friend. (561-203-7965)
Let nature take its course on the amazing ¾3/4-mile boardwalk that winds through Delray Beach’s Wakodahatchee Wetlands. The park was built on 50 acres of unused utility land and transformed into a recreational wetland area that is now home to more than 140 species of birds as well as turtles, frogs, and alligators.
Insider tip: The best time to get a peek at the wildlife is early morning—and be sure to pack binoculars to get up close and personal.
Experience your own Willy Wonka moment with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Hoffman’s Chocolates factory in Greenacres. Visitors on this daily tour will learn how the chocolates are made and sample the company’s famous handmade truffles, chocolate-covered pretzels, and coconut-cashew crunch.
Insider tip: Walk-ins are welcome, but it is always best to schedule ahead of time. (561-967-2213)
DINNER DONE DIFFERENTLY
Get your family foodie groove on with the help of nutrition coach and culinary instructor Stacey Stolman. After a consultation to discuss eating patterns, dietary concerns, and food preferences, Stolman tags along to the grocery store to help with pantry-stocking strategy, then provides an in-home cooking class for the whole crew. With a background in children’s cooking instruction, Stolman is an expert at making food fun.
Insider tip: Click here to find out what Stolman is doing in local schools, camps, and recreation centers. (561-676-8716)
EINSTEIN FOR A DAY
The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is a thrill ride through a myriad of scientific branches including marine biology (with the 3,000-square-foot Aquariums of the Atlantic), astronomy (thanks to the newly upgraded observatory and the county’s only public planetarium), and an ever-changing touring exhibit.
Insider tip: Keep the science party going all night by signing up for the next Family Sleepover. Visit the website for upcoming events—or book your own private group sleepover (minimum of 40 kids). (561-832-1988)
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At 8 p.m. on the second Friday of every month, the great lawn on the West Palm Beach Waterfront transforms into an alfresco theater for Screen on the Green. With family-friendly movies and a fully stocked concession stand, even the harshest little critics will give this outing two thumbs up.
Insider tip: BYO blanket or chair if you want to be comfy. (561-822-1515)
It’s never too early to get involved with philanthropy. From November to July, CROS Ministries hosts weekly Saturday gleanings to gather leftover crops from farmers’ fields, cull lines, and donors’ backyards that are then
donated to local agencies with feeding programs for the homeless, working poor, or low-income individuals and families. All ages are invited (those younger than 12 must be accompanied by an adult).
Insider tip: Green peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers are the easiest crops for kids to pick—so call ahead to find out what’s on tap for that week. And don’t forget to bring a bucket and gloves. (561-233-9009)
Write your own turtle tales at one of Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s summer adventures. The Juno Beach organization invites kids to Hatchling Releases, where they’ll witness hatchling rehabilitation, learn about hatchling strengths and challenges, and even join staff members in releasing sea turtles back to sea. Evening Turtle Walks
allow participants to learn about and observe the nesting and egg-laying process of local sea turtles.
Insider tip: While these programs are open to kids ages 8 and older, younger tots can enjoy Hatchling Tales Wednesday mornings at 10:30, which include an ocean-inspired story coupled with a themed craft. (561-627-8280)
ICE, ICE, BABY
Cool down and master your figure 8 at Palm Beach Ice Works. Freestyle ice times throughout the day allow skaters of all ages to get their dose of cold-weather fun right here in Florida.
Insider tip: Avoid the masses by stopping by on Saturdays between 6 and 8 p.m., the least-crowded time on the ice. (561-656-4046)
JIMMY BUFFETT STATE OF MIND
Forgo schedules and plans for one day and embrace a chill, Buffett-esque lifestyle. Choose any one of the area’s gorgeous beaches and let the day run its course.
Insider tip: Bring along a family-friendly activity like a Bocce ball set, Pro Kadima, or traditional buckets and tools for sand castle fun.
East, prepare to meet West at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach. The Morikami offers activities and workshops, cultural demonstrations, and tours so the whole family can learn about Japanese culture together.
Insider tip: Check the website for a listing of Family Fun programs that add to the hands-on enjoyment of the day. Upcoming events include Mom & Kids’ Craft, Father’s Day Fish Printing, and Paper Cut Craft. (561-495-0233)
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Want a fun way to tire out your tots? Climb the 105 spiraling cast-iron stairs at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum. Stop by the museum to register for a guided climbing tour and get a little history lesson on this National Register of Historic Places structure. (Kids must be at least 4 feet tall to climb.)
Insider tip: For smaller kids (and acrophobiacs), the surrounding Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area offers a nature trail that leads to an observation tower overlooking a quiet manatee refuge. (561-747-8380)
Enjoy being young at art at the Boca Raton Museum of Art’s Artful Adventure Sunday family program. The one-hour hands-on art workshops are led by seasoned art educators who draw inspiration from the museum’s permanent collection to create studio classes like Pop Art Painting, Patriotic Collages, and Sensational Still Life.
Insider tip: Be sure to browse the museum’s store, which has unique finds for all ages. (561-392-2500)
The early bird may get the worm, but those taking the monthly Night Stalkers tour at the Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands in Boynton Beach get a glimpse of much cooler critters. After dark, participants join a naturalist on a walk along the center’s 1 1/2-mile elevated boardwalk to learn all about its many nocturnal animals.
Insider tip: The Friends of Green Cay runs an annual amateur photography contest open to nature paparazzi of all ages, so bring your camera and snap away. (561-966- 7000)
Set sail aboard the 50-foot catamaran Hakuna Matata for a “no worries” underwater adventure. Depart from Singer Island on a snorkeling excursion to explore the undersea landscape and its fascinating inhabitants.
Insider tip: Travel light. Snorkel gear, an in-water guide, and refreshing fruit-infused drinking water are all included in the ticket price. (561-881-9757, visitpalmbeach.com)
Enjoy the cycle of life with a scenic bike ride on Palm Beach’s Lake Trail. The six-mile path along the Intracoastal offers traffic-free biking with postcard views of the water and the backyards of mansions. Need a set of wheels? You can rent bikes at the Palm Beach Bicycle Trail Shop.
Insider tip: Plan your route to include a stop at Green’s Pharmacy on North County Road for one of the legendary milkshakes. (561-659-4583)
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Unleash your inner Picasso at Uptown Art. The three locations (Jupiter, West Palm Beach, and Boca Raton) offer classes six days a week and provide all supplies—paint, brushes, aprons, and canvases—as well as expert instruction on how to create your masterpiece.
Insider tip: The evening classes are designed for ages 14 and older, but afternoon classes are open to kids as young as 5.
ROOM AND NOT BORED
Room escape games turn every teenager’s nightmare (being locked in a room with their parents) into an exciting challenge. At Master Escape Room in Boca Raton and Legends of Xscape in West Palm Beach, groups race to solve all the puzzles to escape the themed rooms—like Boca’s Egyptian Tomb Escape—before facing the wrath of the mummy.
Insider tip: Assemble a group to ensure a private room. (561-571-5381; 561-406-0611)
STAND AND DELIVER
It’s standing room only at South Florida Paddle’s private lessons and eco tours (except for those younger than 7, who ride on the front of an adult’s board). On the Singer Island-MacArthur Beach State Park Eco Tour, get a land-based paddleboard lesson before setting out on a two-hour tour through Lake Worth Lagoon to Munyon Island. Keep your eyes peeled for manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, stingrays, and aquatic birds.
Insider tip: Want to chart your own course? For $30, get a two-hour board rental plus a free lesson. (561-231-1659)
Thrilling Minor League action (home of the Jupiter Hammerheads and the Palm Beach Cardinals) with tasty concession treats (peanuts or Cracker Jacks, anyone?) make Roger Dean Stadium a home run summer destination. Don’t miss fun activities like Halfway to Halloween (May 28) with a helicopter candy drop.
Insider tip: Kids 15 and younger can join the Knothole Gang Kid’s Club. For $26, they receive admission to every Tuesday game as well as special activities and free movies at Cobb Theaters (with paid adult
Head to the Juno Beach Pier to fish the big surf without ever leaving the turf. The 990-foot pier offers amazing saltwater fishing opportunities—and gorgeous sunrise and sunset views.
Insider tip: The full-service Pier House sells everything from snacks to fishing tackle and rents out fishing poles. (561-855-6185)
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VIP (VERY IMPORTANT PLAYTIME)
Have your cake and eat it too with date night at The Italian Restaurant at The Breakers. The restaurant is connected to the 6,160-square-foot Family Entertainment Center, so the kids can frolic while you enjoy a little quiet time.
Insider tip: The resort offers Camp Breakers for kids ages 3 to 12 during both morning and evening hours with tons of fun educational and fitness activities. (561-655-6611)
WICKET GOOD TIME
Grab a mallet and get some on-course croquet instruction every Saturday morning at the National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach. The center offers free lessons to anyone 10 or older at 10 a.m. Reservations are required.
Insider tip: There is also a six-week summer league for teams of as many as four people—a great option for families. (561-478-2300)
X MARKS THE SPOT
Forget gold coins; the goal of this treasure hunt is a strike. Lace up your bowling shoes and head to Revolutions for some friendly family competition complete with jumbo projection screens, upbeat music, and a dedicated server to cater to your every dining and libation whim.
Insider tip: On Family Fun Day Sundays, $59.99 per lane buys you two hours of bowling, shoes for the family, a large cheese pizza, and a pitcher of soda for as many as six people. (561-203-6188)
Sometimes, you just have to indulge—especially when there are five Sloan’s ice cream locations nearby. Choose among 50 unique flavors or splurge with one of their signature sundaes like the decadent Tracy’s Kitchen Sink, featuring 12 scoops of ice cream and all of the shop’s toppings—served in an actual sink.
Insider tip: Don’t miss the shop’s famed restroom, known for its “magic” see-through door.
ZEBRAS, TIGERS, AND BEARS
The Palm Beach Zoo’s 700-plus animals from Florida; North, South, and Central America; Australia; and Madagascar make it easy to walk on the wild side. With a constantly changing array of inhabitants, such as the two orphaned grizzly bear cubs that visited this winter, no two trips to this zoo are ever the same.
Insider tip: Take things up a notch with an Animal Experience, which lets visitors of all ages interact with creatures like koalas, giant anteaters, black bears, tigers, jaguars, and sloths. (561-547-9453)