“We have a 12-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy. Can you recommend activities for them? We have done the candy history tour in West Palm Beach, which was fun, Secret Woods park, Butterfly World and Lion Country Safari. We’ve also gone rollerskating and ice skating. We’re considering a Brightline ride, but then what do you do when you get off?” — Elise Herman, Pembroke Pines
Kudos to you, Elise, for your creativity and energy. Your kiddos are in a tough-to-please age group and it sounds like you love to spend time with them in engaging activities.
You’ve already visited several attractions beloved by both locals and tourists. You’ve done the behind-the scenes tasting tour at the Bulk Candy Store in West Palm Beach and walked the trails at Secret Woods Nature Center in Fort Lauderdale, excellent sites for keeping the kids occupied and bonding as a family.
For additional ideas, I consulted with Jennifer Jhon, the Sun Sentinel’s former South Florida Parenting editor and the mom of kids with similar ages to yours, about still-to-be-done adventures that will captivate their age group. Below, see what she recommended.
- The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami (frostscience.org) and the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale (mods.org): Both have constantly changing exhibits about the human body, marine life, dinosaurs and the cosmos that are designed to appeal not only to tweens but adults, too.
- Rapids Water Park in West Palm Beach (rapidswaterpark.com): The kids are guaranteed to get wet on the many thrill rides and slides in this colorful park. Prices vary depending on day of the week and time of day.
- The beach: Bring your pails and shovels and beach chairs and lunch. The beach provides free entertainment, although you’ll most likely have to pay for parking. I recently wrote about four local beaches and everything they have to offer. Check out my story at sunsentinel.com (”A day at the beach: How to save money on parking, food & rentals on our South Florida shores”).
- In The Game at Sawgrass Mills (in Sunrise) and Off The Wall (multiple locations): Both indoor fun centers have arcade and virtual reality games. In The Game (sunrise.inthegame.net) also offers a theater, while Off The Wall (otwusa.com) has athletic features such as indoor trampoline courts, dodgeball and jousting.
A Brightline ride could also be an entertaining experience for them. The high-speed train goes from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale to Miami and back.
Brightline has a service called Brightline+ that offers a Tesla ride anywhere within 5 miles of your final station. So you could get off in Miami and go to the Frost Museum (about 0.9 miles from the station; see above), or somewhere like Jungle Island, formerly known as Parrot Island (2.2 miles from the station), which has an assortment of animals including kangaroos, turtles, lemurs and flamingos. You could also take Brightline to the beach through a free hourly shuttle at their stations. See all the possibilities at gobrightline.com/mobility.
What did I leave out? Let me know if you have additional tween-age activities to recommend; I’m at [email protected]