Navarre Park is located on U.S. Highway 98 along the Santa Rosa Sound adjacent to the Butterfly House. Features such as a playground with a tot lot, duck pond, boardwalk, fishing pier and a splash pad to cool off on hot summer days make this a favorite with children. Pack a picnic and plan on spending the evening with weekly concerts from May to September.
Panhandle Butterfly House
Wander through this educational and interactive exhibit and learn about the butterfly life cycle and view the butterfly nursery. Free of charge and open to the public Thursday-Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. 8581 Navarre Parkway (Hwy 98 at the foot of the Navarre Beach Bridge) www.panhandlebutterflyhouse.org
Big Kahuna’s Water Adventure Park
Located in the heart of Destin on U.S. Highway 98, Big Kahuna’s Water Park offers more than 40 water attractions and an adventure park. Guests can even enjoy mini-golf and a super-speed raceway.
Sam’s Fun and Surf City
Sam’s Fun and Surf City offers year-around entertainment for the entire family. Located south of Interstate 10 on Highway 29, Sam’s Fun City offers four large tube slides, including the largest slide on the Gulf Coast, “The Shark Attack,” two body slides and six child slides, more than 750 feet of lazy river and three activity pools. Sam’s is usually the first water park to open for the season. Fun City is open seven days a week.
Sam’s also has late night swimming and fireworks extravaganzas every Friday night. Other attractions include beach volleyball, an arcade, laser tag, go carts and a restaurant. Fun City has free parking and annual passes are available. Groups and birthday parties are welcome at Sam’s Fun City. For more information, visit www.samsfuncity.com or call 850-505-0800.
The Gulf Breeze Zoo
Located at 5701 Gulf Breeze Parkway, the zoo is home to more than 600 animals and is surrounded by botanical gardens. Catch a ride on the Safari Line train through 30 acres of free-roaming animals in their natural habitat.For more information, visit www.gbzoo.com
Just like the busy marine life activity that takes place under the sea, the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station is teeming with a myriad of programs aimed to promote the appreciation, conservation, and understanding of the marine eco system of coastal Florida.
Programs like Saturdays-by-the Sea, fishing and sea safari camps, sleepovers, kayaking trips and other hands-on activities allow visitors the chance to really get to know the nearby waters. To accompany the long list of programs available to local residents and visitors, the center sponsors events throughout the year such as Autism OdysSea, Sea Spooktacular and Merry Fishmas. The center is also open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors will learn about marine debris, the water cycle, sharks and the deep sea. Visitors can also enjoy touch tanks, aquariums, create shark necklaces and more. The center is free to visit, though donations are welcomed.
In addition, funding has recently been approved for an underwater live feed web camera for the Gulf side reefs. The camera will be one of only eight in the world and will allow for a virtual scuba diving experience, viewable online and from the science station.
The center also serves as a classroom for local high school students enrolled in marine biology and oceanography as part of a dual enrollment program with Pensacola State College. An addition to the station, dubbed the Outreach Octobus, allows teaching programs to reach the long list of those who otherwise would not be able to visit.
The Navarre Beach Marine Science Station was created in 2009 after Charlene Mauro’s marine science students held a town hall meeting and presented their idea of converting the empty ranger station into an environmental center to the county commissioners and the school board. Today, the science station hosts more than 4,000 students and community members each year, teaching them about the local marine environments.
For more information about the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station, visit www.navarresciencestation.org.
West Florida Railroad Museum/Milton Train Depot
The Restored Train Depot and Museum houses a wide variety of memorabilia from the L&N, Frisco and other railroads. Children will enjoy the opportunity to explore several train car displays, outbuildings and the G scale garden railroad. There is also an active set of train tracks nearby so if you time it right, you can watch the train roll by up close! Open Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 5003 Henry Street, Milton
Heritage Park and Cultural Center
Heritage Park & Cultural Center includes the Indian Temple Mound Museum, Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum, Garnier Post Office Museum, Fort Walton Temple Mound and the Civil War Exhibit building. The museum houses interpretative exhibits depicting 12,000 years of Native American occupation, as well as the finest collection of Fort Walton Period ceramics in the Southeastern United States. Fee charged. Summer Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. 139 Miracle Strip Parkway S.E., Fort Walton Beach Phone: 850-833-9595