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The Best of Pensacola for Kids of All Ages

For more thrilling photos of Pensacola and the Blue Angels, visit Katie B. on Instagram here or on Facebook here. Photo used with permission.

Pensacola, Florida, is known for its white sand beaches and emerald waters. It also is the home to multiple Naval Air Stations and specific training schools that will land many in the area for weeks or years at a time. Unfortunately, many of the family attractions are geared for school-aged kids, so it took me some time and investigation to find the best places with age-appropriate fun for toddlers and preschoolers. Below, find my Pensacola favorites for ALL ages!

Whether you’re here for days, weeks, or years, here’s a list of all the must-do’s and must-see’s of the Pensacola area with small kids! 

Pensacola

Listening to blue grass at the Palafox Market in the heart of Pensacola.

Palafox Market
Fresh produce, baked goods, art, live music, and more, this market is every Saturday morning in the heart of Pensacola and perfect for a stroll with the stroller!

Blue Wahoo’s Baseball
Right on the waters of Pensacola Bay, a Wahoo’s game is fun for all ages! And if the little ones get antsy, there’s an indoor play area on the lower level.

Check the local ITT offices for discount tickets! 

Imagination Station
Free and sponsored by PBS, this is the perfect indoor play area for babies, toddlers, and even young school-aged kids. It’s in the basement of Wahoo Stadium and open during all home games and multiple mornings throughout the week. 

My little son loves the splashing waters in DeLuna Plaza.

DeLuna Plaza and Splash Pad
This splash pad overlooks Pensacola Bay and is walled-in, so littles can’t run away easily. It’s also a nice walk to nearby restaurants, food trucks, and a sno-cone stand. There’s no shade, so bring your beach umbrella!

M.E.S.S. Hall
Geared for school-aged children, this is a hands-on science experience with a variety of experiments that kids can do themselves. Preschoolers may also enjoy it if they are the type to be able to sit and focus quietly on one activity at a time. 

Sky Zone
With indoor trampolines on nearly every surface, this is a great activity for all ages. Plus there’s a toddler-only time on Tuesday mornings. 

Bounce House Pensacola
Bouncy Castles, slides, games and more! This all indoor (and very clean!) world of inflatables even has a toddler specific area. If you have a lot of kids, the price per head adds up fast, but it’s well worth it! Remember to bring socks for the kids and yourself! 

My little boy loves the inflatables in the toddler area at Bounce House Pensacola!

Pensacola Children’s Museum
This hands-on experience of Pensacola’s history is perfect for ages 10 and younger with play areas, games, and gifts. 

Pensacola Kid’s Place
On the north side of town, this is the perfect (and clean!) indoor play area with slides, tunnels, ball pits and more. Perfect for babies and preschoolers! 

Bayview Park
Bayview has a great playground area, boat launch, walking trails, dog park, and a clean dog beach.

 

NAS Pensacola/Perdido Key

The “Kiddie Hawk” is a fun, imaginative playground inside the Aviation Museum.

Naval Aviation Museum
Airplanes, airplanes, and more airplanes! There’s a fantastic play area for small kids and flight simulators for the bigs. Be sure to check out the theater, Blue Angels 4D experience, and the Cubi Bar Cafe. If you’re around in the spring, summer, or fall, watching the Blue Angels practice is not to be missed! 

*Note: Visitors without a valid military ID must use the NAS Pensacola West Gate off of Blue Angel Parkway. 

Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum
Climb the 177 steps to the best view in town and enjoy the museum and grounds. Note that climbers must be over 44″ and children cannot be carried or worn up the stairs. 

*Note: Visitors without a valid military ID must use the NAS Pensacola West Gate off of Blue Angel Parkway. 

The quiet waters and soft sand at Barrancas Beach on NAS Pensacola are perfect for little ones.

Barrancas Beach
A private beach for military personnel only, Barrancas Beach has picnic and BBQ areas, clean bathrooms and showers, and calm, bay-front waters. It’s also a great place to watch the Blue Angels without the crowds! 

Fort Barrancas
These three historic forts and walking trails are the perfect adventure for all ages! 

*Note: Visitors without a valid military ID must use the NAS Pensacola West Gate off of Blue Angel Parkway. 

Perdido Key Kids Park
A clean and rustic playground, this play area is ideal for all ages with age specific areas and even play Blue Angels!

MWR Pensacola
With movies, events, rentals, and more, check out what The Navy’s Morale, Wellness, and Recreation Department has going on in Pensacola!

NAS Whiting Field/Pace/Milton

My boys LOVE the Blue Angels, and think it’s so fun to “fly” them at Benny Russell Park.

Whiting Park
Nestled on the Blackwater River, there are boat rentals, sand volleyball, basketball, a wading area, and playground. This is the rental depot for Whiting Field’s MWR. 

Blackwater Trail
This nine mile-long trail is flat, paved, and perfect for bikes, strollers, runners, and walkers. It has multiple entry points for short or long treks, and is tree-lined for a scenic outing. 

Benny Russell Park
Large and rustic, this playground has multiple areas for different age groups and is beautifully shaded in the mornings. It also is catty-corner to Spencer Outlying Field (which has a great sidewalk for running or walking), so watch for helicopters flying overhead! 

The train garden at the Railroad Museum is a fun area with large model trains and a life-size train for kids to ride!

West Florida Railroad Museum
Free and open on weekends, you can tour train cars, an authentic model railway of historic Milton, and even ride on a mini-train through the railroad garden. There is little shade and no air conditioning, so you’ll appreciate visiting on a cooler day! 

Mamma Lattes
Ever want to sip a cup of coffee with your kids? Look no further than this super family-friendly cafe with a great menu! 

Arcadia Mill
With a visitor’s center, nature trails, and picnic areas, exploring this free historical site is fun for all ages! 

Bands on the Blackwater (seasonal)
On Friday nights, pull up your boat or bring your lawn chairs for great music and family fun!

MWR Whiting Field
With movies, events, rentals, and more, check out what The Navy’s Morale, Wellness, and Recreation Department has going on in Milton!

Pensacola Beach

The calm waters of Quietwater Beach are perfect for small kids.

Quietwater Beach
Close to parking and bayfront, calm waters make this the perfect spot to splash and play for small kids. 

Flounders Chowder House
Eating out with kids can be hard, but when there’s a large playground right next to your table (and amazing food), it becomes fun and enjoyable! 

Peg Leg Pete’s
With indoor and outdoor dining, this restaurant has an oyster bar, great food, and a playground for the kiddos.

The Gulfarium CARE Center hosted a ‘release party’ for rehabilitated sea turtles on Langdon Beach at Fort Pickens.

Fort Pickens 
Situated at the westernmost edge of Santa Rosa Island, Fort Pickens is a historic landmark that is perfect to walk around on a cooler day or even drive through on a summer day. Active Duty receive free admission into the park, and there are occasionally rehabilitated animal releases that should not be missed! 

Bands on the Beach (seasonal) 
Every Tuesday (May-October), enjoy the sunset on the Gulf with great music. Bring lawn chairs, a picnic dinner, and beach toys for the kids to build sand castles. 

Gulf Breeze

The giraffes at the Gulf Breeze Zoo love to get as close as they can when you have their food in your hand!

Gulf Breeze Zoo
Stroll the boardwalk to look out over 30 acres of roaming herds or take a safari train! This zoo is unique in that you can feed many of the animals, which is sure to please all ages! And do yourself a favor: spend the extra few bucks on the train ride. It’s worth it! 

Shoreline Park
With a boat launch, sports complex, swimming, nature trails, dog park, playground and more, this is the perfect outdoor area in Gulf Breeze. 

Eglin AFB/Fort Walton Beach

The dolphin show at the Gulfarium is awe-inspiring and fun to get a close-up view of the animals over the Gulf of Mexico.

Emerald Coast Science Center
Robotics, engineering, electricity, critters, and more, this is a great place to learn and play!

Bounce Party PlayZone
Inside the Santa Rosa Mall, it boasts 6 large inflatables, arcade games, parties and more! 

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
With dolphin and sea lion shows, animal encounters, exhibits, conservation, and more, your kids will fall in love with the amazing creatures featured. Plus, the walkways are covered, so there’s great shade or cover from the rain! 

Destin 

Beach-front dinning, great food, and play areas make LuLu’s perfect for all ages!

LuLu’s
Sister to singer Jimmy Buffett, LuLu’s restaurant has a family friendly vibe with waterfront dinning with games and where kids can play in the sand next to your table. There’s also a giant slide and giant carousel swing for older kids. 

HarborWalk Village
Akin to Disney Springs in Orlando, there’s waterfront shopping, rentals, excursions, weekly fireworks and Fat Tuesday Parades, live entertainment, games, and it’s home to famous restaurants like Margaritaville and Harry T’s Lighthouse. 

Staying for a while in Destin? Check out the Destin 30a Moms Blog for more fun!

Mobile, Alabama

The ball pit at the Exploreum is one of the most unique and fun play places I’ve seen. I wanted to jump in and play too!

Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center
As one of Alabama’s top attractions, it has hands-on science for tiny ones and older kids. Plus it has an enclosed play area on the lower level with a themed ball pit, perfect for preschoolers (and moms who are really just kids-at-heart)!

Plus, this is a Blue Star Museum, so free military admission all summer! 

USS Alabama
Not only can you tour the WWII battleship, but there are many static displays of aircraft, tanks, artillery, and a memorial park. 

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
You can get close-up views of over 500 exotic animals and stay for seasonal shows and keeper talks. Voted one of the best small zoos, you’ll love the admission price and your kids will love the animals! 

 What are your favorite family spots along the Florida Panhandle?

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