The sweltering summer season is upon us, meaning children will soon be out of school and free to explore South Florida for a few months before heading back to their desks in the fall. Kids are often looking for fun, exciting activities and places to enjoy over the summer, and Boca Raton is full of options.
1. Red Reef Park, 1400 N. Ocean Blvd., 561/393-7974, mybocaparks.org/Red-Reef-Park
Red Reef Park is a scenic 67-acre oceanfront park known for its unique snorkeling experiences. In addition to swimming opportunities in areas monitored by lifeguards, coral reefs exist in shallow water at the south end of the park and make for a great beginners’ snorkeling experience for children. The park also features picnic areas and nature trails and is a popular surf-fishing destination.
Hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m., seven days per week
2. Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, 1801 N. Ocean Blvd., 561/544-8605, gumbolimbo.org
Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, located within the 67 acres of Red Reef Park, is home to several exhibits, trails and aquariums and focuses on protecting coastal and marine ecosystems. The center educates people on the importance of preservation and conservation in fun, interactive ways. Children are offered the opportunity to experience exotic animal life up close and personal in four outdoor marine aquariums, turtle and tortoise exhibits, a sea turtle rehabilitation facility, a butterfly nursery and more.
For a more hands-on experience, Gumbo Limbo offers a half-day, weeklong “Environmental Camp” where children and teenagers are able to immerse themselves in nature and the outdoors. Additionally, the park offers “Sea Turtle Camp” in August, a half-day camp focusing on teaching young children the importance of sea turtle and marine life conservation. Friends of Gumbo Limbo Family Membership or higher is required for registration. For more information, visit gumbolimbo.org/seaturtlecamp
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Sunday
3. Sugar Sand Park, 300 S. Military Trail, 561/347-3900, sugarsandpark.org
Sitting on 132 acres in Boca Raton is Sugar Sand Park, home to the Science Playground, a carousel, the Children’s Science Explorium, the Willow Theatre and the Field House, which includes an indoor gymnasium. The Science Playground at Sugar Sand Park is currently closed for renovations and is expected to re-open in Fall 2016. It will feature a new, fully accessible playground for children of all ages and abilities. The park is also offering different options for summer camp. For more information on the park and about how to register for these opportunities, visitsugarsandpark.org/summer-camps-boca-raton.
Hours: 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-sunset Sunday
4. Coconut Cove Waterpark, 20130 Regional Park Drive, 561/629-8840, pbcgov.com/parks/aquatics/waterparks
Looking for a way to cool down with the kids this summer? Check out Coconut Cove Waterpark, located within Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park. The park includes an 897-foot river ride, a lily pad walk, two four-story water slides, a children’s water playground, a recreational pool, locker rentals, a full-service concession stand, locker rooms and shower facilities.
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
5. Boca Raton Children’s Museum, 498 Crawford Blvd., 561/368-6875, cmboca.org
For a more educational experience, the Boca Raton Children’s Museum offers a variety of activity centers and exhibits that promote the development of critical thinking skills in children. The museum offers a variety of exhibits that immerse children into real-world thinking, including the grocery store, science and engineering center, bank, post office and more.
Hours: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday to Saturday
Megan Kearney is a senior at the University of Florida studying journalism and business administration, who is interning at Boca Magazine this summer. When she’s not thinking about puppies and ice cream, she’s probably writing, editing and meeting new people. You can reach Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org.