Family Friendly Things to do in Fort Myers, FL
Fort Myers has become somewhat of a second home for us. Ever since my parents moved their several years ago we seem to make it to southwest Florida about 2 or 3 times a year. And because my parents have lived there since we started having kids, we have tackled quite a few of the family friendly attractions in the Fort Myers area. If you have a visit planned in the near future, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of things to do in Fort Myers with kids, regardless of their ages!
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1. Spot a Manatee at Manatee Park
If you’re visiting between December and February you should definitely make a point to visit this non-captive warm water refuge for Florida Manatees. You can view the manatees from walkways surrounding the water or from canoes or kayaks. And even if you are visiting during the warmer months when manatee are less likely to be seeking warmer waters at Manatee Park, you can still enjoy the picnic ground, playground, and the large butterfly population.
Entrance to the park is free and parking is $2 per hour or $5 per day. Kayak rentals are available onsite as well as a playground and gift shop.
2. Ride a Mini Train at Lakes Park
This park is a local favorite and a spot we visit almost every time we are looking for things to do in Fort Myers with kids. My kids love the splash pads and the playground and especially the train ride! Guests can take a mile long train ride on a 1/8 scale train around the park. And families can rent surrey bikes, pedal boats and kayaks on site.
3. Check out a Spring Training Game
Fort Myers is home to spring training for both the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. The Red Sox Stadium was recently renovated, and if you’re a fan you’ll notice several of the characteristics of Fenway park used at Jet Blue Stadium, including the “Green Monster” and a manual scoreboard. Tickets go on sale for both teams in late December or early January for games starting in late February and running through March.
4. Play Around at the Galisano Children’s Museum
Our family has visited the Galisano Children’s museum several times and it is always a hit, especially for the younger ones! It is full of hand’s on exhibits, a water play station, and a 2 story tree for children to climb through. The museum is open every day except Wednesdays and some holidays and admission costs $12 for children over the age of 1 (babies under 1 are free) and $10 for adults. For more information visit the museum’s website.
5. Meet the Animals at Naples Zoo
The Naples Zoo is another attraction we have been to during several visits. With the opportunity to be up close and personal with the animals or even feed a giraffe or ride a camel, it is a great way to spend one of your Ft. Myers vacation days. Just be careful when checking out the lions. If you see one backing up slowly to the fence, back away as fast as you can because you’re about to get peed on! You can thank my sister for that first hand information 😉 .
One of our family’s favorite attractions is monkey island! Guests can take a boat ride around the island to see the monkeys up close (included in your admission).
Visit the Naples Zoo website for hours and ticket prices.
6. Explore Sanibel Island
Not far from Fort Myers, Sanibel Island is a great option for a day trip. The beaches are quieter than Fort Myers Beach and the island is full of fun little restaurants and shops. Our family will often park on the causeway just before arriving at the island and let the kids swim in the water. On the causeway there are restrooms and grills nearby and free parking although you will have to pay a $6 toll to cross the bridge to the island.
7. Try one of the 100 flavors at Pelican’s Snoballs
I’m partial to this one because my family owns this location, but even if they didn’t, my kids would want to make a stop every time! Take your picture in a giant Adirondack chair, play a few yard games, and try one of their 100 flavors of New Orleans style shaved ice. It will change your life! My personal favorite is a stuffed coffee with caramel and whipped cream.
Stop on your way home from the beach and tell them I sent you!
And for a super affordable round of mini golf (just $5 a round!) you can visit their Lehigh Acres location just east of Fort Myers.
Pelicans Snoballs Fort Myers Beach: 17260 San Carlos Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL
Pelicans Snoballs Lehigh Acres: 601 Williams Ave, Lehigh Acres, FL 33972
8. Explore the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve
With over 3500 acres of preserved wetlands, the Six Mile Cypress Slough (pronounced “sloo”) Preserve is a great place to spot Florida wildlife in its natural habitat. In our experience it’s definitely a more enjoyable experience on a day that isn’t scorching. And if you go with a keen eye you may be able to spot otters, alligators, turtles, wading birds, and more!
Boardwalks are open from dawn to dusk each day. Sign up for a guided walk or explore all on your own! Parking is $1 per hour or $5 per stay. Visit the Six Mile Cypress Slough website for more information.
9. See an Everblades Ice Hockey Game
Ice hockey in Florida? Seems a little out of place, right? But the Florida Everblades are a professional hockey team affiliated with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. You can catch a game during the season which runs every year from October to April, with the Kelly Cup playoffs happening soon after. The Florida Everblades play in Hertz Arena in Estero, just 20 miles south of downtown Fort Myers.
And there’s more than just hockey at Hertz Arena! Each hockey game features fun promotions and events, like painting the ice after a game, or bounce houses and face-painting artists at Saturday games.
10. Visit the IMAG History & Science Center
With over 60 interactive exhibits, children can have a hands on educational experience (you don’t even have to tell them they’re learning anything). Admission is $15 for adults and $12 for students over the age of 2. Visit the IMAG website for hours and more information.
**IMAG is part of the Association of Science and Technology Centers which means if you already have a membership at one of their science centers or museums you may be able to get in for free! See their website for a full list of included locations and admittance policies.
11. Get an Orange Flavored Soft Serve Cone at Sun Harvest Citrus
Sun Harvest is a family owned and operated citrus packing house and retail store located at Six Mile Cyprus and Metro Parkway. It’s a great place to stop for a Florida souvenir, a soft serve orange and vanilla twist cone, and a sample of fresh squeezed Florida orange juice. They even have their own US Post Office on site for shipping citrus home!
12. Take a Pirate Cruise at Salty Sam’s Marina
Our family had the best time on the 90 pirate cruise that sets sail from Salty Sam’s Marina in Fort Myers Beach. You can read all about it here. There is an adults only pirate cruise that sails at night, but the all ages cruise has several times available during the day and promises to be entertaining for kids and adults alike.
For more information and to book your cruise visit the Salty Sam’s website.
13. Go to a Minor League Baseball Game
For an affordable night of family fun, grab some tickets to a Fort Myers Mighty Mussels minor league baseball game. Home games are played at the CenturyLink Sports Complex at Hammond Stadium and tickets are only $10-$12 per person. Check our their website for current promotions like 2-for-1 hot dogs, soda and bear on Tuesdays, $1 Hot Dogs on Wednesdays, $5 College Student night on Thursdays, and Fireworks on Fridays!
Have you ever been to Fort Myers? What are some of your favorite things to do in the area? Leave your thoughts or ideas in the comments!
More Family Travel Ideas and Tips
Want more?? Check out my Disney page for ways to make your vacation more affordable and enjoyable or my Travel page for tips on traveling with your kids or my Destinations page for other places we’ve traveled with our kids!