5 Non-Park Places in Boca to Take Your Kids (or Grandkids) this Summer
Whether you’re a parent looking for something to break up the monotony of summer or a grandparent with little ones visiting, there are plenty of options for keeping the kids busy this summer. Parks and beach activities abound, but here are a few more ideas for what to do in Boca Raton this summer.
Gumbo Limbo Nature Center
South Florida is a wonderful place to learn about sea life, and the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center provides a structured setting to explore and find out about all kinds of creatures native to Florida. The protected area is “a beacon for environmental education, research, and conservation,” but it’s also a great place to entertain some youngsters for a morning or afternoon.
June is the perfect time to visit the Ashley Trail and Butterfly Garden for a peaceful walk through nature. Or you can walk down the Boardwalk Trail, which leads to Red Reef West Park where you can picnic.
Unfortunately, the Florida Atlantic University Research Gallery is currently closed for renovations, but you can still enjoy the Nature Center, which has multiple exhibits and a gift shop. The Outdoor Marine Aquariums include man-made and natural features and allow you to see representative populations of native wildlife. And stop by the turtle rehabilitation center to learn about the Center’s important conservation work.
There are multiple programs and events throughout the summer, including Sea Turtle Camps. For a truly special experience, get your tickets to the Turtle Walk & Hatchling Release Program.
Children’s Science Explorium
For kids who love science, this small, indoor area inside Sugar Sand Park will feel a bit like heaven. The hands-on exhibits encourage children 3–12 to explore their environment and perform their own experiments.
Adults will likely want to join in the fun as the exhibits are designed to spark curiosity about how the world works. The venue is not large, so you should probably expect to explore everything in under two hours, but that’s a great deal for free admission.
If your little one has sensory processing issues, be sure to visit on the first Saturday of each month for “Sensory-Friendly Saturdays,” when they can explore the museum with modified light and sound.
There are also special programs, camps, and events throughout the summer, so check out the schedule to see what your young scientist might be interested in.
Boca Raton Children’s Museum
Another excellent option for some indoor fun, the Boca Raton Children’s Museum is great for developing young children’s imaginations. Their mission: “to broaden children’s awareness of the world around them and teach them how to problem solve through creative and scientific exploration.” They accomplish that goal by providing lots of opportunities for exploratory play.
You’ll find an inspiration station, sensory art station, imagination playground, and other activities to keep the little ones engaged. Children can explore the bank, post office, and grocery store areas, or they can enjoy a special storytime performance.
There are also classes and special events available, and the space can be rented for private events. They are open year-round, but closed on Sunday and Monday.
Monkey Joe’s Boca Raton
If you need a break from the heat and don’t mind some noise, Monkey Joe’s can keep kids 12 and under entertained for an hour or three.
The venue is filled with bounce houses, video games, and other activities. There is a special area for toddlers with age appropriate toys and games, so they can have fun without being crushed by the older kids.
Walk-in options are available, as well as rentals for birthday parties or other special events. The video games are extra and can be a bit pricey. If you need to switch up your plans on a rainy day, Monkey Joe’s can be a nice option. Just don’t forget to bring socks.
Sugar Sand Park
Ok, so maybe this last one is cheating a bit. The truth is “park” hardly encapsulates what you’ll find at Sugar Sand. The 132-acre activity center is more like an amusement park, but it’s free and bustling year-round with opportunities for fun.
The Community Center offers a variety of worthwhile cultural arts programs and events. You’ll find art exhibits, classes, programs, and even a summer camp.
In addition to nature trails, children (especially those under 12) will love playing on the newly renovated Science Playground. While it includes the standard swings and slides, there are the added treats of a climbing structure and splash pad with an impressive dolphin mister. There’s also a carousel, which provides timeless fun. And rides are just $1.
For more organized fun, the park has a field house (gymnasium), fields for baseball and softball, and an in-line hockey rink. The gym and rink offer open play times, and the fields and batting cages can be rented for private events.
If you need a rest, be sure to check out the programming schedule for Willow Theatre. They feature a terrific children’s summer series that includes “Rockin’ Red Riding Hood,” “Waking Sleeping Beauty,” and “Gary Goodman’s Family Comedy Magic Show.”
You can easily spend an entire day at the park, especially if you take time to explore the Science Emporium (mentioned above), which is also a part of the park.
As a Boca Raton resident or visitor, you shouldn’t have trouble finding something to do throughout the week or on the weekend. If you need a little extra inspiration for keeping the kids busy, though, these venues offer a solid starting point.
Marc Jablon, The Jablon Team
New Harbor Realty