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Do you feel like you and the kids have done just about everything there is to do in the Naples area? Are you looking for new and exciting experiences? Here are 5 local gems that you may not have heard about or had the opportunity to explore!
Clam Pass Beach Park and Swimming Hole • 410 Seagate Drive, Naples, 239-254-4000
Clam Pass Beach Park is a hidden gem in Naples. Nestled between the Waldorf Astoria Resort and the Seagate neighborhood is a tiny entrance to paradise and family fun. Far from being just a typical entrance to the beach, this little piece of paradise contains 35 acres of mangrove forest, coastal dunes and over 3,000 feet of beach on the Gulf of Mexico. Explorers and beach goers access the beach via the three quarter mile long board walk via tram or an adventure walk. Hop on the open (and free) tram with the kids and you’re in for an exciting and speedy ride through the mangrove forest right down to the beach. If you opt to walk the boardwalk as it winds its way through the forest, you and the kids are in for an adventure! Not only are there three species of mangrove trees, there are all kinds of spiders, animals and birds to examine. If you look closely, you’ll see tiny crab spiders nesting amongst the branches. And, they really do look like crabs! The kids will be so engaged in their exploration, the walk will seem to fly by. Once at the beach, there is a snack bar and kayak rentals for those who’d like to grab a bite or get out onto the water. For a truly old fashioned adventure, take a right turn and walk down the beach to Clam Pass. Located within the pass awaits a Huck Finn adventure with tiny crabs to catch, an entire ecosystem to explore, and a swimming hole with rope swing for the kids to catapult themselves into the water! Note that use of the rope swing is at one’s own risk, but with appropriate planning and parental supervision, the kids can enjoy this little hidden gem over and over. Our family has taken advantage of it numerous times and we love it!
Mike’s Upick Farm • 26049 Morton Ave., Bonita Springs 239-498-4576
You may have tasted Farmer Mike’s fruits and vegetables at the 13th Street Farmer’s Market, but did you know that you can have a true harvesting experience and pick your fresh produce yourself? Located just north of Naples in Bonita Springs, farmer Mike’s Upick is an opportunity to teach kids about agriculture through a hands-on experience in harvesting the fruits and vegetables for the family dinner table. Naples parent, Jon Bates, recently took his daughters to Mike’s Upick and had great things to say about their experience. “We just took the girls to Mike’s Upick farm in Bonita and they loved it”, he said. “It’s a great way to teach kids about where fruits and veggies come from and come home with some yummy healthy treats!” Want to make it a truly educational experience? Visit the Produce Market and Farm exhibit at the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples to learn about Florida agriculture, and then take the kids to Mike’s Upick for a truly unique and tasty experience. Family enjoyment is guaranteed!
Collier County Museum • 3301 Tamiami Trail East, Naples, 239-252-8476)
Did you know that Collier County is the home to some exciting historical gems? The Collier County Museum, located near the Collier County Government Center, takes visitors back in time from the 20th Century to prehistoric times. Right on site, families can visit the Naples Cottage, a home from the Roaring Twenties, when the population in Naples was than 300 people. The 1926 home was saved from demolition and restored to give visitors a look back in time. Also on site is a 1910 logging locomotive, a 1920s swamp buggy, a 1934 ferry, a WWII Sherman tank, an archaeology lab, a Seminole village and war fort, and more! The kids will be so engaged in the exhibits that parents will have to tear them away. A visit to the Collier County Museum allows kids and families to experience history in an engaging, hands-on way. Enjoyment is guaranteed!
Pavilion Cinema • 833 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, 239 -596-0008
If you’re looking for a calm and affordable environment to catch a movie with the kids, the Pavilion Cinema is a great option. An older, privately-owned theatre just down the road from Vanderbilt Beach, this theatre offers a respite from the craziness and crowds often found at larger venues. In addition to a calm, comfortable environment, the cinema offers smiling staff and the most affordable ticket and snack prices in Naples. In other words, you won’t have to give up an arm or a leg to take the kids to a movie. After 6 pm, tickets are affordably priced at $7 for kids and $9 for adults and only $7 for 55 and older. Before 6pm the whole family can see a movie for only $7 per person. Spring break and summer are fast approaching! When you take the kids to any matinee showing on Wednesday at 10:30 am, everyone gets in for only $5 per person. Now that’s a bargain. When you’re done with your movie, stop right next door at the Pavilion Ice Cream Parlor for a sweet treat and to pick up a copy of Neapolitan Family Magazine!
Naples Botanical Gardens and Children’s Garden • 4820 Bayshore Drive, Naples, 239-643-7275
Have you visited the Naples Botanical Garden yet? Nestled in the South Naples Bayshore neighborhood, the gardens transport families and kids to another world. While there, it’s easy to forget that we are in Naples! It’s easy to be transported to Asia, Brazil, the Caribbean, or old plantation Florida and truly feel like you’ve taken an international trip or a step back in time. Want to relax? The hammocks in the Florida garden are a great place to stop and the kids may just use the hammock as a swing when no one is looking! All of the gardens within the Naples Botanical Gardens are family friendly and great for exploring, but the garden not to be missed is the Children’s Garden. In this area, kids can explore a vegetable garden, check out butterflies, go on a scavenger hunt, climb houses and towers designed just for them, run on winding paths, and hop rocks through a stream and waterfall. Bring bathing suits and they can play in fountains designed just for them. The entire family will enjoy visiting the gardens over and over and it’s a good bet that the kids will beg you to go back!