Whether making sandcastles on the white powdery beaches or taking in the local sites, families will find many kid activities in Pensacola. This sunny Gulf Coast destination offers plenty of things kids will enjoy, from outdoor adventures like hiking and camping at Big Lagoon State Park to incredible dolphin-watching cruises and more. For a glimpse into the past, a visit to Historic Pensacola or the Wentworth Museum is in order. Other notable Pensacola kid activities include exploring the Naval Aviation Museum and catching a ball game at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
1. Spend some time at the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk
Stroll the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk and be sure to snap a family photo in front of the iconic landmark The Shell right in front of the amphitheater. This waterfront destination on the shores of the Santa Rosa Sound is one of the top spots for Pensacola kid activities with many restaurants, shops, and entertainment options. Those who want to spend some time on the sand or snorkel can stake out their spot on Quietwater Beach. Plus, getting around is easy with the free trolley service.
2. Discover artifacts and airplanes at the National Naval Aviation Museum
Home to more than 4,000 artifacts and over 150 restored aircraft, the National Naval Aviation Museum is a must-experience attraction as far as Pensacola kids' activities go. Located at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, this collection showcases military aviation history with hands-on activities including flight simulators and films such as the "Magic of Flight" at the Giant Screen Theater. Visitors of all ages are sure to marvel at the planes at Hangar Bay One and the Skyhawks at the Blue Angels Gallery.
3. Bask in the great outdoors at Big Lagoon State Park
Outdoor adventure awaits at Big Lagoon State Park. As a gateway for birding and sea kayaking, this picturesque destination boasts quite a few family things to do in Pensacola, FL. Active types can hike, swim, paddle, or boat, or unwind by going camping for the night. Fishing enthusiasts cast out lines to catch redfish, bluefish, and flounder, while geocaching is perfect for finding natural treasures. Picnic pavilions, a canoe/kayak launch, biking trails, and a small beach round out the amenities.
4. Take a family field trip to the Pensacola Children’s Museum
Spread out over 2 floors are enriching exhibits and hands-on activities highlighting 450 years of local history at the Pensacola Children’s Museum. Ideal for children ages 9 and older, this cultural organization captures the imagination with experiences from the Panton Trading Post to the Native American Village and Kiddie Corral that showcase different industries and ways of life. There’s even time to play dress-up or sit down with a book in the reading nook.
5. Catch a Pensacola Blue Wahoos baseball game
Sports fans like to watch the excitement unfold as the Pensacola Blue Wahoos play at their stadium in Community Maritime Park. Watching the local minor league baseball team ranks up there when it comes to Pensacola kid activities. Along with stunning views of Pensacola Bay, spectators enjoy snacks, cold drinks, and picking up Wahoos souvenirs to remember their experience with the family.
6. Play in the sand at Laguna’s Beach Bar + Grill
Don’t let the name fool you. Laguna’s Beach Bar + Grill is more than just a restaurant. It is a one-stop destination for family things to do in Pensacola with go-karts, mini-golf, and a splash pad at its on-site park, as well as zip lining and a ropes course. For guests who prefer thrilling water activities, personal watercraft, pontoon boats, and more are available for rent.
7. Go for a swim at Johnson Beach
When it comes to a vacation in Pensacola with the kids, a visit to Johnson Beach should be part of the travel itinerary. Set in the Perdido Key area of Gulf Islands National Seashore, this destination is ideal for swimming as well as hiking along the Discovery Nature Trail boardwalk that features diverse topography including salt marshes, dunes, and pine trees. Outdoor showers and picnic pavilions are nice conveniences.
8. Relive yesteryear in Historic Pensacola
Set blocks from Pensacola Bay, Historic Pensacola brings over 450 years of history to life. Home to 27 properties in the Pensacola National Register Historic District, this fascinating destination near the earliest European settlement in North America founded in 1559 piques people’s curiosity with 11 interpreted facilities to explore. Among the places to discover are the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Museum, Seville Square, the Julee Panton Cottage, the 1805 Lavalle House, and the Devilliers Cultural Heritage Museum, among others.
9. Go out on the water on a Premier Dolphin Cruise
Experience the thrill of seeing majestic animals up close by going on a Premier Dolphin Cruise. The thrilling 2-hour tour is a delightful experience when traveling to Pensacola with kids. A knowledgeable captain takes passengers out to enjoy open views and prime dolphin watching with food and beverages onboard. You never know what these friendly finned mammals will be up to, so be ready for surprises.
10. Enjoy a show at Pensacola Saenger Theatre
If you're searching for kid activities in Pensacola, enjoying performing arts makes a great addition to any travel plans. Join the many generations of culture lovers who have taken in a performance at the Pensacola Saenger Theatre. Set on Palafox Street in downtown Pensacola, the “Grand Dame” continues to shine since opening in 1925 with a calendar of events including concerts, Broadway musicals, kid-friendly productions, and music from the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra.
11. Explore the vibrant works at the Pensacola Museum of Art
The Pensacola Museum of Art is a kid-friendly attraction that inspires creativity and imagination. This family-friendly destination in downtown Pensacola has a mission of promoting art appreciation and does so with modern and contemporary works spanning from the 19th century to today. Exhibits change regularly and have included shows such as "A Dead Reckoning: Navigating Contemporary Ceramics." The museum also hosts enriching programming such as 4-day-long summer camps with themes such as contemporary sculpture and getting back to nature.
12. Check out the rides at Sam’s Fun City
As the only amusement and water park in town, Sam’s Fun City stands out when it comes to family things to do in Pensacola, FL. Here, visitors will find 20 thrilling rides and other exciting experiences including go-karts, bumper boats, and laser tag. There’s also the Crossroads Arcade with all the latest games. The fun attraction also happens to be the Gulf Coast home of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and you’ll see these famous characters from time to time. As for food, there are kid favorites such as pizza and chicken tenders at Bullwinkle’s Family Food and Fun.
13. Take in the view from the Pensacola Lighthouse
Situated at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, the Pensacola Lighthouse and Maritime Museum boasts a panoramic view from atop the historic structure that was built in 1859. Parents who want to include learning on their list of kid activities in Pensacola will appreciate the engaging exhibits in the former lighthouse keeper’s quarters that highlight the city’s role in maritime history. One thing to remember is to wear comfortable shoes to climb the 166 steps to the top of the lighthouse.
14. See beautiful birds at Uncle Sandy’s Macaw Bird Park
As far as Pensacola, FL, kid activities go, Uncle Sandy’s Macaw Bird Park is an off-the-beaten-path attraction. What began as one man’s love for tropical birds and a private aviary has since grown into a parrot rescue and sanctuary open to the public for shows, interactions, and tours that children and parents are unlikely to forget long after their visit. The largest open flight aviary in the Florida Panhandle is a must to experience and offers opportunities to learn about and handle exotic birds.
15. Enjoy water activities and more at Blackwater River State Park
Located a little over 30 minutes from Pensacola in Milton, Florida, Blackwater River State Park entices outdoor lovers with its pristine surroundings ideal for spending some time on the water whether tubing, kayaking, or canoeing. Boasting over 600 acres of ecological wonders, this family-friendly destination also offers ample opportunity for swimming and strolling the beautiful nature trails. Other activities on-site include biking, birding, fishing, and geocaching. There are also places to picnic and a campground for travelers who want to stay a little longer and a ranger station where you can find a list of bird species.