Labor Day- Day Trips with Kids

cannon at historical fort in florida, overlooking bay

Here are some ideas for short trips that won’t break the gas budget.

North Florida – Jacksonville

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life by visiting the tranquil Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve in Jacksonville. A 2-½ hour trip will transport the whole family to one of the longest lasting coastal wetlands on the Atlantic Coast. Nature and history collide into an experience that will not disappoint at this destination.

While you’re there…

Tour the Fort Caroline National Memorial and view the ancient Timucuan Hut and Shell Mound and the Fort Exhibit that replicates a historic drawing of a French fort.

Hike the trails of the Theodore Roosevelt Area. View five different Florida ecosystems on one hike and learn of the different artifacts buried in the thick grasslands from a distinct culture.

Cross the St. Johns River to have access to the north side of the Preserve and visit the Kingsley Plantation. Jump into a time capsule by exploring one of the oldest standing plantation houses in Florida.

North Florida – St. Augustine

Travel to the oldest city in the country and spend a day learning the rich history from the battles, ghost stories and archeological discoveries. St. Augustine’s history dates back to 156 when discovered by Spanish Conquistador Don Pedro Menendezde Aviles.

While you’re there…

Kids can learn about the history of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and the maritime history through a hands-on experience. There are archaeological discoveries from lost shipwrecks waiting to be found. The lighthouse has a large World War II artifact collection to preserve the history and oral tradition of the lighthouse. Also, for the brave ones, the Dark of the Moon paranormal tour is one of the most popular ghost tours in St. Augustine.

The oldest masonry fort in North America, the Castillo de San Marcos has a rich and war-filled history. Kids aged 6 through 12 can earn their Junior Ranger badge when they visit. Print off the Augustin’s Adventure guide off online and have them bring it. They will love to fill out the information and to follow the history of the fort. From what was worn, who occupied the fort, the weapons that were used and who won in battle kids can earn their Junior Ranger badge with Augustin’s Adventure guide. The website estimates it will take about one hour to complete the Junior Ranger Program.

Central Florida – Tampa

The popular attraction site will provide a wide array of activities that the entire family can participate in. Almost an hour and a half away, Busch Gardens of Tampa Bay offers weeklong Resident Camps where children and young adults can learn about the different wildlife lurking the African safaris.

While you’re there…

Live and work at one of America’s largest zoos. Get up close encounters with over 12,000 animals while helping feed and care for them.

Go zip lining, snorkeling, and swimming across the unique campgrounds.

Gain first-hand experience working side-by-side with zookeepers and veterinarians to learn about the profession.

Central Florida – Crystal River

Something active and unique for your kids, they can learn how to scuba dive. Kidsaged 8 to 12 can become Scuba Rangers and go on monthly dives with Castaway Scuba Adventures in Oviedo. Scuba Rangers is a program created by Scuba Schools International and focuses on teaching the skills, responsibilities and experience to become a scuba diver. All students will be trained and educated by scuba instructors that are specially certified with Scuba Schools International to teach the program.

While you’re there…

At Castaway Scuba, the Scuba Rangers go on monthly dives to areas that are a maximum of 15-feet in depth. Recently they went to Crystal River for the day to explore and to put their skills to use. Visit their Facebook page for contact information about when the next class is being held.

South Florida – Coconut Creek

Home to the largest butterfly facility in the world, called Butterfly World, this Coconut Creek destination will land you right in the middle of complete butterfly immersion. A three-hour drive south of Orlando will lead to a place where both children and parents will be amazed by the tropical paradise that features thousands of butterflies, as well as, unique birds and plants.

While you’re there…

Hike along the paths of themed aviaries and exhibits to explore the natural habitat of butterflies. Learn and watch how butterflies go through the process of metamorphosis at the Lab Encounter.

Interact with bright colored birds at the Lorikeet encounter. Cool off with your favorite beverage while a bird perches on your shoulder and enjoy their favorite snack.

Listen to the relaxing waterfall and take a fresh of breath air at the 30-foot high Tropical Rainforest Aviary. At the observation decks, watch as an explosion of butterflies and birds fly above making the humid scene burst with a rainbow of colors.

South Florida – Naples

Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is zoo and botanical garden that is 95 years old. They are a nonprofit organization that prides themselves on open, but separated enclosures where guests can view the animals just a few steps away. The Naples Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is an institutional member of the American Association of Zoo Keepers.

While you’re there…

Take the Primate Expedition Cruise to meet the primates that live on the islands in the zoo. Monkeys, lemurs and apes are sure to greet you as you take the 20-minute boat ride. Photography is encouraged, but yelling or clapping or throwing things is not. This ride included with admission.

The Naples Zoo is one of four in the country to have Honey Badgers. With three energetic and adventurous honey badgers you can view them up close and see how they interact.

Every afternoon there is a Safari Canyon show that features different animals throughout the year in an educational open-air theatre. It combines information about predators and survival instincts from the most unlikely of animals. This show is included with admission.


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Written by Alahna Kindred

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