Naples Zoo At Caribbean Gardens
1590 Goodlette-Frank Rd, Naples
The Naples Zoo is one of the citys most beloved attractions and bucket list things to do in southwest Florida. You’ll find exotic animals surrounded by the mature trees and exotic plants of a historic tropical garden founded in 1919. As the botanical collection was planted fifty years before the animals were introduced, the exhibits carefully maximize the space around decades old trees.
Because of this special need to conserve space, you will be very close to the animals — often just three or four steps away!
Admission to the Naples Zoo is reasonable, the animals are accessible, and children simply love taking the boat cruise to see the primates roaming freely on an island. If youre unsure about visiting Naples Florida with kids, one visit to the Zoo will show you just how much fun it is.
The Naples Zoo is one of the best attractions for families and kids
Get To Know The Area On A Sightseeing Boat Tour
A perfect way to get to know the Naples area is by hopping aboard a boat for a sightseeing tour. Florida landmarks youll pass include Keewaydin Island and the Gordon River Greenway. Your children will likely see dolphins in the water as you sail along too.
The Naples Train Museum is found next to the Naples Depot Museum. It features model trains and exhibits on trains and railways. Theres also a mini outdoor train that your kids can ride around on.
Watch A Bizarrely Thrilling Swamp Buggy Race
Alright, we know what youre thinking: What on earth is a swamp buggy race!? Youre about to find out.
As an exciting and high-action sporting event , at the Swamp Buggy Races, drivers gear up and zoom around the muddy track in their decked-out motor vehicles, all for your viewing pleasure.
In the same way that the demolition derby has become a sight to behold, so has this bizarre pastime.
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Try Shelling On Ten Thousand Islands
Shelling is a popular Southwest Florida activity whereby you search for beautiful and unique shells on the seashore. You can enjoy this relaxed thing to do by going on a Ten Thousand Islands shelling tour.
To get to Ten Thousand Islands, located near Everglades National Park, youll have to hop aboard a boat. Once there, your children can search for seashells and can keep the ones they deem the best!
One of the kids activities in Naples, FL, thats sure to please the whole family is getting ice cream at Gelato & Co. Many call this gelateria the best ice cream spot in the city.
Kid-friendly flavors to choose from include Nutella, cookies and cream, and peanut butter. Coffee, pistachio, and rum chocolate, among others, are available for adults.
Explore The Beautiful Overlook Park
Residents refer to Overlook Park as Naples Plaza, which gives a fantastic view of Naples Bay.
The long pathways stretch from Corso Di Napoli to Corso Di Oro.
The spacious green space has park benches and a picnic area where you can enjoy yourself with friends and family while sightseeing.
In January 1965, the City Council approved the construction of Overlook Park, which finished that April.
Enjoy the beautiful palm trees and turf with a great bay view.
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Things To Do In Naples Florida With Kids
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We are so lucky to be able to visit Southwest Florida each winter. The weather is almost always perfect, and there is so much for the kids to do! Over the last seven years, we have stayed in both South Fort Meyers and North Naples so we have sampled a variety of activities in these areas. Here are a few of our favorite things to do in Naples, Florida with kids.
Naples Pier And Naples Municipal Beach
Naples Pier is a great location for the entire family, because of the multitude of opportunities available for people of all ages and interests. For example, one of the parents can take the kids fishing off the pier while other family members can sunbathe somewhere nearby on Naples Municipal Beach. Maybe the whole family wants to fish off the pier, or use the pier to look for dolphins and pelicans.With Naples Piers location along Naples Municipal Beach, the whole family can spend the entire day either fishing, dolphin and bird watching, go swimming, collect shells, sun bathe, or enjoy water sports like jet skiing, parasailing, paddle boarding and/or kayaking. For more information, please visit http://www.naplespier.com/ or http://www.naplesgov.com/index.aspx?nid=340
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Rent A Boat For The Day
Looking for a quiet day out on the water with your family but dont want others to join in? We get and youre not being anti-social! The cool thing about a vacation in Naples and southwest Florida is the amount of coastline, and marinas that service it all. Renting a boat in Naples or Marco Island is an easy thing to do.
You dont have to be a licensed boat Captain or even have any experience boating . There are different kinds of boats you can rent for a full- or half-day, from pontoon boats that glide gently along to center console boats perfect for a day of fishing. If the quiet family picnic on the water is your speed, a pontoon boat is the perfect boat rental.
While renting a boat in Naples may be easy enough, it may not be the cheapest thing to do. Half-day rentals can run from $250-$400 depending on the boat. But think of the memories youll make.
Paradise found on the backwaters of Big Hickory Island
Check Out The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Learn about Floridas ecosystem at Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.
Here, youll experience Corkscrews famous boardwalk a 2.25-mile walk through pine woods, prairies, around a marsh, and finally, into the largest old growth Bald Cypress forest in North America.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is home to hundreds of alligators, otters, white-tailed deer, red-bellied turtles, and birds.
Advanced online reservations are required, and there is no entrance after 1 pm.
General admission ranges from $14-$17.
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Build Sandcastles And Hunt For Shells On Naples Beaches
Naples, FL, has a ton of beaches that are great for kids activities and family-friendly fun. These beaches are known for their soft, white sands and beautiful Gulf of Mexico waters. Some of the area’s best include Lowdermilk Beach Park, Naples Municipal Beach and Pier, Tigertail Beach on Marco Island, and Clam Pass Beach Park. All of these beaches have various facilities nearby that make them great for families.
Get Wild At The Naples Zoo
Tiger at the Naples Zoo | Photo by mbarrison
Feed a giraffe, ride a camel, and take in multiple animal shows at the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens.
Kids can even watch as alligators are fed in Alligator Bay and take a short boat cruise to see monkeys and apes before learning the ins-and-outs in a day in the life of a zookeeper. Take a break at Cub Kingdom or Cub Corral, two shaded animal-themed play areas at the Naples Zoo.
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Places To Eat In Naples With Kids
Youll find a number of delicious places to eat in Naples that are perfect for kids and families. Here are a few of our favorites:
Gumbo Limbo: Choose from a variety of casual seafood options and tropical drinks at the Ritz-Carltons own Gumbo Limbo. Stay for sunset and ring the bell when the sun dips below the horizon.
Bonefish Grill: Go to Bonefish Grill on Sundays for delicious brunch options like Surf + Turf Eggs Benedict and Crème Brulee French Toast. Moms and dads will love the Passionfruit Mimosas.
Trulucks: Go into downtown Naples and make a stop at Trulucks for the popular half-price menu between 4:30-6:30 pm. Look for Oysters Rockefeller, Baja Ceviche, and Sweet Potato Fries.
Be sure to walk around downtown Naples before or after dinner and top off your meal with a stop at Kilwins for an ice cream cone.
Take A Cruise On The Dolphin Explorer In Naples With Kids
Dolphin Near Marco Island | Photo by Elin B
Just down the road, on Marco Island, a three-hour boat ride on the Dolphin Explorer is an absolute must.
Help the survey team catalog dolphins as part of the 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project and take the Dolphin Challenge to earn a patch upon completing an activity booklet.
Kids will also love getting off the boat to collect shells and splash around at the beach.
Looking to see manatees? Book a manatee sightseeing eco-tour in Naples via TripAdvisor. As a Trip Advisor affiliate Trekaroo receives a small commission to help fund our small business and you get the lowest rates guaranteed.
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Boats Boards & Fun On The Water
While there are many attractions on land, the greatest thrill may be just off the coast. Beautiful emerald waters make for a playground of watersports, from jet skiing and paddleboarding to boating and leisurely kayaking. Rent a boat and put on your captains hat aboard a vessel from Port of Naples Marina, or opt for a two-seater jet ski from Naples Jet Ski Rental for splash-worthy fun with the family. Stop off at Keewaydin Island accessible only by boat for some shore time. If youd rather not steer the ship, sit back and relax aboard a sailing catamaran with Sweet Liberty or Off the Hook Adventures.
Get face-to-face with majestic dolphins on a three-hour eco-tour aboard The Dolphin Explorer to not only learn more about these beautiful creatures, but also help spot and count the ones you see. Even better? An ongoing study of the areas dolphins has photo-identified many of them, meaning you may even learn the names of the ones you see and photograph.
Youll all have a swashbuckling good time aboard the Black Pearl playing high-stakes, seeking hidden treasure and firing water cannons in an epic battle. All in good fun, of course. The Pirates of Marco Island Cruise will transform the kids into little buccaneers as they don pirate costumes for their quest to defeat Pirate Pete. Seriously Best. Day. Ever.
Brooks Gourmet Burgers & Dogs
Your children will go crazy over the creations at Brooks like the GIANT 1/2 pound hot dog, the Donut Burger which includes american cheese and bacon between two warm glazed donuts, homemade macaroni and cheese, and sweet potato waffle fries. Both of their locations have a kid friendly decor and environment for noise.Plus their all-natural, brilliantly cooked , deliciously crafted burgers are nationally recognized and locally famous.
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Visit The Ruins Of Pompeii
When Mount Vesuvius erupted, poisonous gases and rocks were unleashed, burying the thriving city of Pompeii. The volcanic debris trapped the towns unfortunate residents in ash that eventually hardened archaeologists later filled the voids left by their decomposed bodies with plaster. Today, at the vast archeological park at the site of the ancient town, the result is a moving series of body casts that show the horror-stricken poses of these ancient citizens last moments. You can also tour excavated sites that offer a glimpse into what was once a thriving and sophisticated Roman city.
Located 15 miles south of Naples, Pompeii can be easily reached from downtown Naples by the local train, called the Circumvesuviana.
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Explore The Stunning Everglades National Park
While it might not get the same tourist attention as the likes of Miami or Disneyland, Everglades National Park is one of Floridas best-kept secrets.
If youre someone who wants to get up-close and personal with the wildlife be that birds, manatees, or alligators this is the place to do it.
Hot tip: dont explore alone. Choose a guided tour, eliminate all the hassle, and let the experts show you the parks most incredible sights.
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Indulge In Neapolitan Pastries
You cant visit Naples without sampling its pizza or its delectable pastries. Youll find a pasticceria on just about every street in the Centro Storico, and it will be hard to resist stopping into every one. Make a pit stop by Scaturchio for sfogliatella, a shell-shaped pastry filled with sweet ricotta cheese, or try the babà, small yeast cakes saturated in rum.
Closest Airport To Naples
The most direct way to get to Naples is the Naples Municipal Airport which is located 5 miles from Downtown Naples.
APF has restricted public access, however, and only services chartered domestic flights via Naples Jet Center, Naples Air, and Gulf Coast Airways.
The Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Meyers, Florida, on the other hand, is the best and most popular option for commercial flights when looking to visit Naples.
RSW is located 45 minutes south of Naples, so youll either need a rental car, shuttle, or rideshare service to get you to your final destination.
Additional planning tip: Naples is about two hours by car from the international airports in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, FL.
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Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center
300 Tower Road Naples, FL
When it comes to nature activities for kids, you cant beat the wealth of things to do in Marco Island and Naples, gateways to the Florida Everglades. At the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, theres a lot going on in the two-story exhibition hall and a visit here lets them learn all about the Everglades habitat and see the local critters that are native to Rookery Bay.
Outside, kids can follow the Observation Bridge and participate in kids classes and special projects. Indoors, there are giant jellyfish floating around the Moon Jelly tank and swimming around the glass water columns and a 180-gallon display tank with interesting creatures.
The Estuary Encounter is pretty unique and features over a dozen species of marine animals like lightning whelks and pygmy sea cucumbers.
Discovering nature is one of the best Naples kids activities
Golf Like A Pro On One Of Many Naples Fairways
If golf is your sport, you will be pleased to know that the list of world-class courses in Naples is as exhaustive as anywhere in the state.
Arrowhead Golf Club has 18 holes flanked by pristine lakes Valencia Golf and Country Club often hosts professional and amateur tournaments, and Forest Glen Golf and Country Club prides itself as a destination for the more experienced golfers.
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Take In The Naples Arts Scene
The arts are truly alive in Naples with world-class cultural attractions, two performing arts theaters and countless galleries. Artis-Naples is the premier venue in town for fine arts exhibitions, live performances, and community arts education. You may hear it referred to as The Phil, a testament to the community’s active and ongoing support for the arts which began with the Naples Philharmonic.
ThreatreZone is a small, intimate theater experience and Naples’ Professional Equity theatre company which produces top quality musicals and plays with a live orchestra.
Shop For Holiday Gifts Year
Naples has a tradition of presepi dating back 1000 years. Every year on the 8th of December, families prepare a presepe with statues of the Holy Family and the animals and townspeople of Bethlehem as a celebration of the Christmas season. And all year long, the narrow alleyway of Via San Gregorio teems with traditional presepe artisans. Here, youll find all the nativity figurines you need to create your own display
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Free Museums Of Naples Florida
Who knew there were free museums in Naples? Check out these local free museums and let your kids learn and explore the history of Naples. There is also a great military museum thats free too.
Collier County Museum
Visit the Collier County Museum to learn the history of Southwest Florida over the last million years. Let kids start with large displays of prehistoric animals to the life of Calusa Indians and Spanish Explores and ending with the building of the town of Naples.
Outside, the museum has 5 acres of Native Florida gardens with 2 historic cottages, archaeology lab, a recreated Seminole War Fort, a restored World War II tank, and much more.
Give yourself an hour or two to explore the museum and grounds of this free complex.
Address: 3331 Tamiami Trail East, Naples / in the County Government Complex
Naples Depot Museum
Does your child like Trains? Check out this great Train and History museum located in Naples first passenger train Station.
The Naples Depot Museum takes you through the history of the railroad boom days and the technology used to move forward to modern times.
Let the kids explore the old train equipment, see a Seminole Indian Dugout Canoe, an antique swamp buggy, restored railroad cars, and much more.
Located next door is the Naples Train Museum, a paid museum with model train cars which is also pretty fun for training loving kids if you wanted to pay an entrance fee.
Address: 1051 5th Avenue South, Naples FL
Immokalee Pioneer Museum at Roberts Ranch