It may not boast as many marquee attractions as Orlando, but Fort Myers is still a major destination for family vacations, and with good reason. Between its beaches, parks, islands, and nature preserves, there are countless things to do with kids in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and other nearby towns, and that’s not even mentioning the top-notch sports and gaming centers that dot the area. Read on to learn about some of the top things to do with kids in Fort Myers.
The appealing climate in Fort Myers makes it imperative to get outdoors as often as possible, and its location near both water and nature preserves means there’s no shortage of things to do outdoors here. Here are some ideas you have to check out:
View more than 350 animals, see a seashell replica of All Saints Church, feed fish from a paddleboat, and take your pup out to play at the Doggy Heaven dog park. You can even sneak in a round of mini golf while you’re at it.
Don’t call Octagon a zoo—it’s more like a rescue center for exotic animals, especially ones with a history in show business. None of the residents, from Booboo the black bear to Aphrodite the liger, were captured in the wild, and many have medical conditions that require special attention.
You could while away whole days just collecting shells and lounging on the shore on this Estero Island beach. But if you’re looking for more action, try renting a kayak at Salty Sam’s Waterfront Adventures or going stand-up paddleboarding or Flyboarding at FMB Flyboard. You can also fish off the pier without a license.
Stroll through gardens, walk paved and unpaved nature paths, rent bikes and boats, or hop a ride on a 1/8th-scale miniature railroad. Pro tip: bring lunch and eat at one of the covered picnic areas.
The biggest attraction at Lakes Regional Park is far from the largest: a 1/8th-scale railroad operated by the Railroad Museum of South Florida. Kids and parents climb aboard for a 15-minute ride along the 1-mile route, winds past scale villages, over bridges, and through a 100-ft. tunnel as the train follows a 7.5-inch gauge track.
Halloween decorations deck the village in October, and in December, tens of thousands of lights create a cheerful display of holiday pride, especially in the “Dancing Lights” section where they flash in time with music. After riding, head into the museum itself to see model trains, an authentic steam locomotive bell you can ring, and an interactive locomotive simulator.
Fort Myers is home to a number of notable sports and gaming centers where kids and adults can compete against each other for family bragging rights. Grab your putter, bat, or bowling ball—it’s time to hit these fun zones and get your game on.
28 lanes of bowling, a 2-level laser tag arena, an aerial ropes course, and an arcade with more than 40 games make this center stand out.
Come for the mini golf, including the absurdly long 18th hole, but stay for the mission-based laser tag games with objectives such as repelling a hoard of aliens.
Former Red Sox left fielder Mike Greenwell founded this park, so of course batting cages are a top draw. But don’t overlook the Tilt-a-Whirl, teacups, go karts, and arcade.
Gargoyles, armored knights, and rope bridges fill this medieval-themed mini golf course, located right across from Lakes Park.
Birthday parties are a specialty at this alley, since each one also includes access to the trampoline and bounce slide area. Try out weekend glow bowling if the kids are old enough to stay up late.
They call JetBlue Park “Fenway South,” and not just because the Red Sox play their Grapefruit League games there every spring. For one thing, the park features the exact same dimensions as the original Fenway—310 feet to left, 420 to center, and a short 302-foot pole in right—and for another, it’s got its own Green Monster and manual scoreboard. The biggest difference? To date they’ve never called a game due to snow.
When the Sox aren’t in town, the park hosts baseball events such as high school championship tournaments and Gulf Coast League games, not to mention concerts, festivals, circuses, and fundraisers.
People travel from all over the world to enjoy Central and South Florida’s many family-friendly attractions. Here are a few that Fort Myers residents can reach in a single morning drive.
The animal exhibits at Billie Swamp Safari are impressive enough—you can see alligator pits, a Florida panther, a snake show, and a presentation of uncaged creatures at Fort Critter, all without leaving the grounds. But the real action is out in the Everglades. That’s where guides take visitors who sign up for either the airboat ride or the swamp buggy eco-tour, both of which promise up close looks at birds, gators, and other Florida wildlife in their natural environment. Here’s what customers had to say about the experience.
“We had a fantastic time on the airboat ride, at the critter show, and just walking the beautiful grounds and visiting the multiple habitats.” - Jesyca V.
“Incredible value. The place is amazing, [and the] airboat ride was fantastic. Don't miss the grizzly bear! He is beautiful and loves to frolic in his waterhole and play with his toys. The animals are well cared for and [it’s] one of the best places to go with a family. Ten stars all the way!” - Debbie M.
“Off season is the way to go. We arrived at 10 a.m., [and] barely anyone [was there] (compared to 1 p.m. when the parking lot was full). So much better. All seems very well maintained. We brought a picnic that we enjoyed in the shade on one of the many picnic tables.” - Sophie