Things To Do With Kids in SWFL (Off the Beach) Part I

Everglades Wonder Gardens

Did you know in Florida that the pools and beach water actually do get too cold to take the kids to sometimes? Also did you know that it rains almost everyday in the afternoon in Bonita Springs during the summer time? I have two small children that NEED to get out of the house sometimes. I have compiled a list of places to see and go when it’s just too cool for the beach or raining outside.

Just south of Bonita Springs off of Livingston Road there is C'MON Children’s Museum which is probably my kid’s favorite place to go rain or shine. The hours for the museum are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm Sunday 11:00 am-4:00 pm Wednesday CLOSED. It is $10 for adults & seniors and $12.00 for kids 1 and older. If you are like us and want to go all the time they are really affordable membership packages starting at $135 for the whole family for a year! The great thing about the museum is there is something for children of all ages and the adults can kind of stand back and watch the kids explore and learn through different exhibits.

Everglades Wonder Gardens is located right in the heart of downtown Bonita Springs. It is a tourist attraction with wildlife, an 80 year old botanical jungle and butterfly gardens. The Wonder Gardens was hit hard during Hurricane Irma and the community came together with lots of volunteers to get it reopened for everyone to enjoy again. The Wonder Gardens is open everyday from 9:00 am- 5:00 pm. Admission is Adults 13-64 =$12 Seniors (65+) = $10 Children 3-12 = $7 Under 3 is free. The also offer a yearly admission which prices vary.

Petting zoo Shell Factory

Next one my list is quite a bit of a drive from Bonita Springs but I think it is worth it. The Shell Factory is located 2787 N Tamiami Trail (US 41) North Fort Myers, FL 33903 and has been around for 80 years! The Shell Factory is a unique place for visitors and locals locals to shop, eat, or just gather with friends. There is both indoor and outdoor attractions for the whole family. There is free entry and parking except to get into the Nature park.

At the Shell Factory there is a huge retail store which includes a Christmas store. The amount of activities is endless there is petting/feeding zoo, bumper and paddle boats, Zip-line, Dinosaur Land, Mini Golf, and the Nature Park. The Nature Park admission is Seniors 55+ $10 Adult $13 Children (4 to 12) $8 Children 3 & under Free, the park features animals from iguanas, alligators, raccoons birds and zebras. According the the Shell Factory there is over 400 animals living there. There is a picnic site or you can enjoy the restaurant on Cap'n Fish n Bones. I will say the Shell Factory is original and could use some updating but it is such a different experience from anything else around town and the kids just love it.

There are some really great parks with playgrounds in the City of Bonita Springs one located off west terry Bonita Community Park; 26740 Pine Ave , one located off Pennsylvania Ave Depot Park; 10375 Pennsylvania Ave., one located off east terry at the dog park Bonita Dog Park East Terry St. at the light of E. Terry & Matheson Ave. There are also some boardwalks and nature trails in Bonita Springs located at Bonita Nature Place 27601 Kent Rd. and River Park Turn East off of US 41 on Rd. between Chase Bank and Bonita Boat Center.

This is Part 1 of my list stay tuned for part 2!


About the Author - Jenna Hatfield is a life-long resident of Bonita Springs, Florida and mother of two boys.