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Crestview Library – Lap sit (under 3) Fridays 10:15 am/Story time (Age 3-5) Tuesdays 10:15am; they have other activities like Family Library time, a summer reading program, book clubs, beginner chess club, and so much more.
Twin Hills Children’s Park/Walking Park/Duck Pond/Dog Park (Crestview) – On 90E T-Sat 10am-8pm; Sun 2-8pm *Park Closed Mondays One side is home of the children’s (M-F 8am-7pm; Sat 8am-3pm) and on the other side is a walking trail with an exercise area.
Cleo Park (Crestview) – In the Lee Farm subdivision, 2099 Cleo Lane Covered pavilion and playground. No restrooms and limited parking because it is more of a neighborhood park.
Flip & Fun Gymnastics – 2118 3rd Ave Crestview 850.331.3656 Fridays: Flip-in-Out Fridays (walking to age 4) 9:30-11:30am $10 per child (a parent must stay); Flip-in-Out Fridays (age 5-12 years) 6-9pm $25 per child (parents can leave) usually the first and third Friday of the month, check website for dates (you can preregister online).
Fort SK8 Family Fun Center – 202 Racetrack Rd NW Fort Walton Beach 850.863.1223 Friday 7-10pm $9 admission $3 skate rental; Saturday 11am-4pm $7 single activity/$10 skate & bounce (they have a jump zone area) $3 skate rental; Saturday 7-10pm Glow Roll $9 admission $3 skate rental; Sunday 2-5pm $5 single activity/$8 skate & bounce $3 skate rental (you can bring your own skates to save $3).
Emerald Coast Zoo (formerly Sasquatch Zoo) – 5262 Deer Springs Dr (8 miles east on Hwy 90) Tues-Sun 10-4pm 850.682.3949 under 2 free; age 2-9 $7 ($6 military rate); age 10 and up $10 ($9 military rate). They have some low cost animal encounters. It has a big selection of animals for a small zoo and a shorter drive than the Gulf Breeze Zoo (which is a nice, more costly zoo, but has more animals).
Marquis Cinema 10 – 850.306.2500 2828 Richbourg Ln, Crestview. We prefer to go to the AMC out in Destin (because I need closed captioning and the Marquis does not offer it), but this movie theater is good for a rainy day. Also, it’s always my go to in the summer when they offer free movies for kids twice a week. They usually post the free summer movie list on their Facebook page close to the end of school.
Baker Park – 1450 Charlie Day Rd (Located up SR4 on the left) This is a nice park that offers shade, has picnic tables, restrooms.
Brooks (Strawberry) Farm Produce – 5760 Griffith Mill Rd Baker, FL (off SR4, pass Akers) Tues-Sat 9-5pm, call to make sure they are open 850.902.3465/ $1.65 lb. They also sell fresh vegetables, strawberry yogurt, milkshakes, shortcakes, pies and many varieties of jam! Cash and checks only.
Triple J Blueberry Farm – 850.685.1850/537.4259 801 Melton Rd, Baker; contact: Rodney Bolton. Take SR4, turn left on Melton Rd. Go 2 miles down Melton; the farm is on the right. There are several other blueberry farms in the area, but this is just one of the closer ones. Seasonal. Call ahead, because I haven’t been out here in years.
Sweet Season Farms Corn Maze/Pumpkin Patch – 850.675.3573 2260 Horn Rd, Milton. Friday Nights 6-10pm; Saturdays 9am-5pm; Sundays 11am-5pm. They have a corn maze, pumpkin patch, hayrides, and other activities. Prices vary. Last season it was $10-11.50 for ages 3 and up, 2 and under free (they have military rate too). Pony rides and concessions are extra. This is seasonal usually from the end of September to beginning of November. We go out here for the activities and maze, but get our pumpkins at the Niceville Crosspoint Church (CC has a pumpkin patch every October, open daily 10am-8pm with a fun Family Day on Saturdays [activities are free, pumpkins are by donation]).
Adventures Unlimited – 850.623.6197 8974 Tomahawk Landing Rd, Milton. They have canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and overnight river trips, paddle boarding, zipline tours, and more. For the shorter day trips, canoes without seatbacks cost $58.30; a max of 2 adults and 2 children 12 and under (children ride in the middle) can ride in a canoe. We have canoed the day trips with the kids, it’s fun to pack a picnic (waterproof your container) and cooler and swim in the creek. Pre-kids I have done the 1.5 day overnight canoe trip and camped out along the creek. I don’t know if I could handle that yet with kids.
The Original Blackwater Canoe Rental – 850.623.0235 6974 Deaton Bridge Rd, Milton. They have canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and overnight river trips. For day trips canoes are $25 per person, you need at least 2 people (children 12 and under are free with 2 paying customers); kayaks are $30; tube floats are $18. Overnight canoe trips are $35 per person for 1.5 days, $40 per person for 2 days, and $45 per person for 3 days. They also rent tents and sleeping bags, but I prefer to bring my own (waterproof them, because it is no fun sleeping in a wet bag when it gets cooler at night).
Blackwater River State Park – 850.983.5363 7720 Deaton Bridge Rd, Milton. They have so many recreation areas and trails to hike (my favorite is the Sweetwater trail, starting at Bear Lake going to Krul Lake). My husband and his friends have done a couple of camping/hikes over 30 miles on some of the longer trails. My family enjoys camping at the Titi Loop campsite because it has a bathhouse nearby so it’s great for beginner campers, campers with children, or campers that can’t give up a toilet. We used a tent, but RVs are permitted too. It cost $20 a night to camp.
Krul Lake – April 1-Sept 15 7-7pm; Sept 16-March 31 7am-sunset; off of SR 4 (no pets allowed); hiking/swimming/camping; I like parking at Bear Lake (leashed pets allowed up until the boardwalk) about 2.5 miles east of Munson off of Hwy 4 and hike about 1.3 mile Sweetwater trail to Krul Lake (you cross a suspension bridge and gristmill along the way).
Florida Park (Valparaiso) – (go out East gate, take first right after middle school, and go down and take a left at end of road, park on right side) I love this park, it’s never packed. Has a playground, pavilion, dock, restrooms.
Lincoln Park (Valparaiso) – 1217 N Bayshore Dr; (go out the East gate and once you cross Tom’s Bayou bridge (the first bridge about 1 mile or less out the gate), make that immediate right) swimming area with docks, picnic areas, restrooms, playground
Turkey Creek National Park — (Nville) 340 John Sims Pkwy opens at 6:30 am, closing times are seasonal and posted at facility; pavilions and restrooms open 8am. Note that boardwalk is ¾ mile one way, and you have to walk back to get back to restrooms.
Niceville Library – 206 Partin Dr. Niceville, FL. Baby Bookworm for infants and prewalkers Thursdays 9:30. Baby Bookworm for toddlers up to 3 Thursdays 10:30. Story time (3-5 yrs) W/Fri 10:30am; they also have youth book clubs, Lego club, family movie nights, and more (registration required).
Niceville Children’s Park/Spray Park (next to library) – Park Hours Wed-Sat 9am-6pm; Sun 1-6pm/Spray Park Hours W-Sat 9:30am-5:30pm; Sunday 1pm-5:30pm (only open on wkends in Sept) *Closed on Monday and Tuesdays* Please check the hours before planning your visit, because they close for extreme temperatures and weather.
Niceville Skate Park – 200 Campbell Dr. 32578 Th-Sun 1-8pm; Helmets required ($2 helmet rental); knee and elbow pads required for under 13. Recommended for 6 years and up. Main area for in-line skates, skateboards, and bikes. 850.279.6436 ext 3005
Jump’in Jacks – Indoor bounce house (socks required). 1041 John Sims Pkwy, Niceville. Mon-Wed 10am-6pm; Fri-Sat 10am-7pm; Sun 12-6pm. 850.424.7204. For children 12 and under; admission for under 2 $5; age 2-3 weekdays $8/weekends $10; age 4-12 weekdays $10/weekends $12.
Uptown Station – 99 Eglin Pkwy, Ft Walton Beach The kids love playing in the park, looking at the small animals at the Pet Supermarket or the dogs at Central Bark dog park, watching outdoor movies on movie night, and sometimes we dine (Buffalo Wild Wings has kids eat for .99 on Mondays) and have ice cream at Baskin Robbins.
Bounce Party Playzone – Indoor bounce house (socks required). Santa Rosa Mall (near carousel by food court). Mon-Sat 10am-9pm; Sun 12pm-6pm. 850.865.3191. For children 12 and under; admission is $6 for 30 minutes, $10 for an hour, $15 for all day; crawlers under 2 are half price. We like going on Tuesdays when the carousel is free for family day and we usually stop by the small indoor park in front of JC Penneys.
Surge Trampoline Park – 300 Mary Esther Blvd Ste 117, Mary Esther, FL (behind the Santa Rosa mall). Mon-Thurs 11am-8pm; Fri 11am-11pm; Sat 9am-11pm; Sun 12pm-8pm. Must fill out waiver (stays on file for one year). Jump times range between $13.95 for an hour to $27.95 for 3 hours. Under 2 is free with adult ticket purchase. Socks needed are $2.50 a pair (reusable). Toddler discounts Mon-Fri age 6 and under $7.99 and accompanying adult $2. My kids spend hours here! 850.226.4334
Goofy Golf – 401 Eglin Pkwy NE, Fort Walton Beach 850.862.4922 currently M-F 3-8pm, Sat-Sun 10-8:30pm weather permitting, call for hours; Adults $3, kids under 12 $1.50 (limit of 5 per group) 2 courses with 18 holes. Cash only.
Emerald Coast Science Center – 31 SW Memorial Parkway, Ft Walton Beach 664.1261 FL residents: adults $10/kids $8 (kids 2 and under free); $5 Fridays from September to May; military 10% discount; Wed-Sat 10am-4pm *last admission 1 hr prior to closing
Gulfarium – 1010 Miracle Strip Pkwy Ft Walton Beach 850.243.9046 open daily 9am-5:30pm; last admission at 4:30pm. 2 and under free; kids 3-12 $15.95 (FL resident $12.76); adults $23.95 (FL resident $19.16); military discount. They have free kid weekends (with the purchase of an adult ticket) from time to time in the off-season.
Rock Out Climbing Gym – 2001 98 Palms Blvd Ste 5, Destin (behind Target). Mon-Thurs 11am-8pm; Fri 11am-9pm; Sat 10am-9pm; Sun 10am-6pm. First visit bundle is $25 for adult, $20 for age 3-17. You can climb all day. We were worn out after a couple of hours, went to eat lunch and came back and climbed some more. 850.837.0526
Michaels – 850.269.1252 34940 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Destin. They offer art and craft classes 10am-12pm for kids that range from free to $5. During the school year it is on Saturdays; and more often during the summer. It is best to reserve a spot online or call ahead and see if they have any openings because they have limited seating.
Barnes & Noble – 850.837.3243 34904 Emerald Coast Pkwy Ste 118, Destin. Sun 10am-9pm, Mon-Thurs 9am-9pm, Sat 9am-10pm. My kids loved their storytimes, they still have them every Saturday at 11am. The kids’ corner is amazing!! My brother works here now, so we have a reason to drive out more. They have a Starbucks inside too (my husband’s favorite part).
Destin Commons – 4100 Legendary Dr. They have a park, splash area, and several family events, such as a Mardi Gras parade, Halloween contest and trick or treating, Christmas tree lighting, and more. We enjoy going to Bass Pro Shop to see the fish or attend holiday events (Easter bunny, Santa, etc.). The AMC movie theater usually has free or low cost movies for the kids in the summer. My daughter and I could spend all day in Books-A-Million (850.650.3435). Also the Commons is pet friendly, so you can bring your dogs (not allowed inside most stores).
Harborwalk Village – There is always something going on at Harborwalk Village. The kids love the atmosphere. They love watching the fishermen bringing in their catch along the dock. They have all kinds of events, an adventure zone area, live music, great restaurants, and always have fireworks throughout the year. You can click on the link and then go to “Events” on their site to see what is going on now.
Fat Daddy’s Arcade – 20009 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Destin. 850.424.6021 Open daily 10am-8pm. Over 120 arcade games. When we go, we always go next door to Fuddpucker’s “Gator Beach” to see the alligators for free anytime after 11am-restaurant closes.
Thrills Laser Tag and Arcade – 90 Seascape Dr #105, Miramar Beach. 850.842.4747 Open daily 11am-9pm. Over 50 games and laser tag. I’ve never seen it packed, so I enjoy going out there with the kids and also enjoy the great restaurants and stores out in Miramar.
Baytowne Wharf – 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Miramar Beach. Baytowne has a lot of free events for families. We love watching movies on the lawn, listening to live bands, and just walking around the village. It’s beautiful, if you click the link you can see some of the other cool things they have (playground, zipline, arcade, etc.). If you click the link “What To Do” on their site, you can see what events are coming up this month.
Beaches – I don’t think I have to remind you of the beautiful beaches only 30 minutes south of here that are usually free (unless you are going through a state park or the military beach). The kids love shell searching and burying each other in the white sand. Every summer we set a date to rent a pontoon to go to Crab Island (pictured above). The kids love the Boardwalk, but I enjoy the more secluded areas.
Panhandle Butterfly House – at foot of Navarre Bridge 8581 Navarre Pkwy (98) (Thurs-Sat. 10-3) M-W group tours (Theresa Friday 623.3868) Seasonal (usually opens beginning of May) right next to Navarre Park/Splash pad area (splash pad hours May 1-Sept 15 Tues-Sun 9-5pm)
Windmaster Horse Farm – I-10E, exit 70, lett on 285, right on 90E, 2m then left on Hwy 1087, 6m on right (5756) Great place to have a group of kids go to see and pet horses and have a picnic. If you go with a large group sometimes they will do a hayride; 850.834.3060 contact Melissa or Steve Forberg. They are such a nice couple that let you tour their farm for free. Carrots for the horses are appreciated.
Ponce de Leon Spring – I-10, exit 96, 81N, 90E, right on County Road 181A (45 min drive) $4 per car (limit of 8 per vehicle), $2 for pedestrians, bicyclist, etc.; open 8am to sunset year round; spring is 68 degrees year round 836.4281
Vortex Springs – 1517 Vortex Spring Ln 32455 850.836.4979 (in Ponce de Leon, exit 96 off I-10) M-Th 8am-4pm, Fri 8am-5pm, Sat 7am-5pm, Sun 7am-4pm Open year round except Thanksgiving and Christmas. The water is the same water is 68 degrees year round (that’s super cold!) They have diving boards, slides, a zip line, and rope swing. They have kayaks, canoes, etc for rent. No pets allowed into main gate (only in camping area) Admission is free for children under 5, $8 per person or a season pass is $67 for an individual or $226 for immediate family.
Falling Waters State Park – 850.638.6130 1130 State Park Rd, Chipley. It has Florida’s highest waterfall (when we went it was barely trickling because it hadn’t rained much) and sinkholes you can see. It was a nice place to hike, and take a swim in the lake. You can also camp and fish at the state park.
Seacrest Wolf Preserve – Wolf encounter tours on Saturdays, gates open at 11am; Age 10 and up $35 per person. BY RESERVATION ONLY. *No one under the age of 10 permitted on wolf encounters* 3449 Bonnett Pond Rd., Chipley, FL, 32428 850.773.2897 camping available
FL Caverns – 3345 Caverns Rd, Marianna, FL 32446 (1 hr 15 min drive). $5 per car/$4 single occupant car/$2 pedestrians/bicyclist. Blue Hole Spring swimming area; Cave tours (45 minutes, some paths are very narrow) Th-M 9-4pm; free for 2 and younger, 3-12 yrs $5, 13+ $8. 482.1228 *Cave Tours and Gift Shop closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays; camping available