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Whether you’re on vacation or planning an educational trip (why not both?) you’ll love the sights and attractions in Florida. I’ve gathered our favorite, most family friendly, and educational field trips around the state.
Homeschooling in Florida? One of the reasons we chose to homeschool is for the flexibility to seek out educational experiences. Florida is a great state for homeschooling! There are large groups of homeschoolers popping up in cities all over the state. More links about Florida homeschooling are at the bottom of this post.
The Florida Aquarium
There is so much to discover at The Florida Aquarium. Be sure to save the whole day to explore everything the Florida Aquarium has to offer. This aquarium boasts a variety of exhibits from an indoor Wetlands Trail and Bays and Beaches of Florida to a huge coral reef tank where you get a scuba diver’s view of life sixty feet under the water.
There’s more to this aquarium than just sea creatures. Check out Lemurs and hissing cockroaches in the Madagascar exhibit! Stay for lunch in the cafe, and if you’re visiting in the summertime, remember to bring bathing suits for the kids so they can play around the splash pad and playground.
Here we are checking out the Great White Shark in the “Big Tank,” a room with a curved tank that takes up the whole wall! The staff and educators at the aquarium were very knowledgeable and helpful. Be sure to check out the show schedule, and don’t miss feeding the stingrays!
Koreshan State Historic Site
Conveniently located between Fort Myers and Naples, Koreshan State Historic Site is not to be missed! The park offers campsites, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and easy trails perfect for children or recreational hikers. Call ahead for activities offered in the park such as guided tours, yoga, and weekly farmer’s market.
Visit the settlement to take a look into the lives of the unusual pioneers known as the Koreshans. Tour 11 structures designed and built by the Koreshan Unity Settlement over 100 years ago. Highlights include the Machine Shop and Art Hall where you will get a glimpse into the lives and beliefs of this interesting group.
This beautiful park where the Koreshans settled in the 1800s is also home to a variety of Florida wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled to see gopher tortoises wandering the grounds, along with lizards, butterflies, and birds all around the property. You might even spot an alligator!
Kennedy Space Center
Both the young and the young-at-heart will enjoy a day of fun and learning at Kennedy Space Center. I really mean a whole day – or make it two! The Space Center is huge! You will explore the history of space exploration, current missions, and find out where NASA is going next! See rockets in the rocket garden, catch an IMAX movie, and relax on a bus tour of the launch and construction sites. Kennedy Space Center is a destination in itself.
If your travel plans are flexible, be sure to check the events calendar. You might be able to meet an astronaut or catch a launch! If you’re a homeschooler or educator, view activity books and other educational resources available on the website before your go.
While Plant City is likely not your final destination, Dinosaur World is centrally located and well worth the short drive from either Tampa or Orlando. Parking is free and coolers are encouraged. Adding a stop at Dinosaur World to your trip won’t break the bank! The park has a large picnic area and two dino-themed playgrounds (one for big kids and one for littles) as well as a large gift shop to keep you busy. If you are traveling with a furry family member, Dinosaur World is dog-friendly.
Take a walk under the naturally shaded canopy and view hundreds of life sized, colorful dinosaurs throughout the park. Other activities include: Fossil Dig where you will sift through sand and discover your very own fossils to take home; Bone Yard where children use shovels and brushes to uncover a 27-foot dinosaur skeleton; Gem Excavation where you can mine for treasures; and a small museum where you can view actual dinosaur and mammoth fossils.
We’ve made the trip to Dinosaur World twice, now, and it’s a place I recommend to everyone with a child interested in Dinosaurs. If there is someone young in your life with a dinosaur obsession, check out our Dinosaur Unit Plans with resources for Pre-K and Kindergarten.
If you’re vacationing in Miami, you won’t want to miss the incredible and huge Miami Zoo. Attractions include wildlife shows, walk the Asian Riverlife trail, encounter a rhinoceros, feed a giraffe, and explore wildlife throughout the park’s beautiful gardens.
The Miami Zoo offers a full day of fun for kids: water play, play area, and a full children’s zoo with camel feeding, a meerkat exhibit, barnyard, and animal presentations throughout the day will keep kids interested all day long.
Naples Botanical Gardens
Tour the beautiful and exotic garden paths through Naples Botanical Garden. There is plenty to discover for budding environmentalists and gardeners with a diverse collection of plants and flowers in several gardens spread across the property. Walk through an orchard, Asian, Brazilian, and Caribbean gardens, a water garden, and explore the beautiful native plants of Florida.
Be sure to bring a suits for the kids to play on the splash pad in the Children’s Garden. Kids will love the butterfly house, watering plants with an old fashioned pump by the Cracker House, and climbing the tree house. Check out the calendar, as the Naples Botanical Gardens have weekly activities, dog days, and big events for the whole family to enjoy.
We’ve been so inspired by the parks and gardens in and around Florida. If you have a budding, young gardener check out our Introduction to Plants, Seeds, and Gardening for lesson plan and unit resources.
Epcot was our favorite park to explore before kids. This year we have been studying cultures and people around the world, and I am so excited to bring my son to Epcot so he can experience a little piece of each of the 11 countries represented.
Immerse yourself in the cultures of the world at World Showcase in Epcot. Disney goes to great lengths to provide an authentic experience from countries around the world. See architecture, sample food, and talk to cast members from foreign countries. But the learning and fun doesn’t stop at The World Showcase. Learn where our energy comes from in Future Land at Ellen’s Energy Adventure featuring Bill Nye, visit a huge aquarium at The Seas with Nemo, and don’t forget to hit Mission: SPACE where you become the astronaut!
There is so much to do and see in historic St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city! You’ll want to explore the Castillo de San Marcos 17th century military fort and National Monument. View the calendar to catch a weapons demonstration, reenactment, commemoration, or one of the many other events scheduled throughout the year.
If you’re touring the area, check out the Palatka-to-St. Augustine State Trail for hiking or biking with the family and Fort Mose Historic State Park to learn more about local history and wildlife. You won’t want to miss the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum and Lightner Museum for more history, art, and architecture.
Koreshan and Fort Mose are gorgeous state parks. When you visit, don’t miss the Florida State Parks. With 173 parks, beaches, and trails you will never be bored! Our state parks are full of educational opportunities. Be sure to check out the Junior Ranger Program for kids ages 6 and up.
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