From a museum featuring shipwreck salvage to one of the oldest marine mammal facilities in the world, Key West is a kid-friendly vacation destination that is sure to create memories for the entire family. Here are some of the top attractions, in no particular order, offered at Florida’s southernmost point. So grab the kids and head to the island city. There’s a bit of something for everyone.
Key West Aquarium
Home to sea stars, sea turtles and everything in between, the Key West Aquarium is a must-see for any age. Located in Mallory Square, the Aquarium is one of the island’s most popular attractions and with good reason. Check out the daily shark feedings, jellyfish exhibit and touch tank for an up close and personal experience of the area’s more prevalent marine life.
Key West Shipwreck Museum
Step back in time and discover the area’s unique maritime heritage at the Key West Shipwreck Museum. Open 365 days a year, the museum explores more than 400 years of shipwreck salvage in the Florida Keys through actors, films and artifacts. Climb the 65-foot lookout tower and join master wrecker Asa Tift as he narrates the story of Key West’s early pioneers.
The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
Located right on Duval Street, the Butterfly Conservatory features 50 to 60 colorful and diverse butterfly species from around the world as well as 20 exotic bird species and a host of tropical vegetation. Make sure you leave enough time to check out The Learning Center where kids can learn all about the anatomy, physiology and all-around wonderment of butterflies.
Conch Tour Train
Ride in style on the world famous Conch Tour Train as you learn about Key West legends like Ernest Hemingway, explore historic Mallory Square and nosh at popular locales like Turtle Kraals and Sloppy Joe’s. Operating since 1958, the Conch Tour Train is one of the most sought-after attractions in Key West and a favorite among parents. Kids 12 and under ride free!
Dry Tortugas National Park
Accessible only by boat or seaplane, Dry Tortugas National Park is a remote island destination located roughly 68 miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. Spend the day exploring Fort Jefferson, a 19th Century fort, and snorkeling the crystal clear water teeming with coral reefs and marine life. The Park also offers limited campsites, kayaking and canoeing, wildlife viewing and recreational fishing.
Hemingway Home and Museum
Explore the home where Nobel Prize winner, Ernest Hemingway, wrote many of his most notable works. Built in 1851, the home is now a museum featuring some of Hemingway’s original furniture as well as artwork and his wife’s chandelier collection. The grounds also host the descendants of Hemingway’s cats and beautiful gardens filled with Angel’s Trumpet, Hibiscus and Gardenias.
Theater of the Sea
Swim with dolphins, meet sea turtles and get within inches of American alligators. Established in 1946, Theater of the Sea is one of the oldest marine mammal facilities in the world, and an exciting place to bring the kids. Located in Islamorada and open all year round, Theater of the Sea offers several animal interaction programs including a glass bottom boat tour, private lagoon-side beach and a myriad of shows and exhibits.
From glass bottom boats and parasailing to kayaking and snorkeling, Key West offers dozens of kid-friendly water activities. Check out the Ultimate Adventure with Fury that includes sailing on a catamaran to the coral reef, snorkeling, jet skiing, parasailing, and playing on the island’s most complete water playground.