Family-Favorite Things to Do in Naples, Florida with Kids
Wondering what to do in Naples with kids? Luckily, there’s no shortage of activities, from a newly reopened interactive train museum to a giraffe-feeding session at the local zoo.
A swanky city perched on the Gulf of Mexico, Naples may be best known for its activities catering to more mature tastes, like high-end shopping on 5th Avenue South; culture in the form of historic gardens, museums, and art galleries; sophisticated dining; and golfing galore. But while undoubtedly a haven for adults seeking relaxation and refinement, there are also scores of top-notch things to do with kids here. Not to mention, when it comes to where to stay during your family vacation, Edgewater Beach Hotel makes for an ultimate basecamp thanks to plenty of extra space (it’s an all-suite hotel, after all) and on-site ways to play all day.
WHAT TO DO IN NAPLES WITH KIDS
From building sandcastles on the sun-drenched beaches to exploring the wonders of nature in the nearby preserves, Naples has everything you need for minding little ones. Delve into interactive museums, embark on wildlife encounters, and dig into charming waterfront dining with menus designed just for them.
Naples Train Museum
After a year-long closure, this kid-friendly hidden gem on 10th Street officially reopened in October of 2023. Located in the original Naples Train Depot (built circa 1920), the museum not only tells you the story of how trains transformed Naples from a sleepy village into today’s glittering Gulf Coast retreat, but it features interactive elements that keep kids entertained for hours. That includes an outdoor pint-size railroad replica – featuring both steam and diesel locomotives – that children can ride in cars along the perimeter of the property. Inside, a massive, interactive multi-level model train layout features nine trains chugging along, with buttons that kids can press to bring miniature scenes to life, like sawing logs and loading blocks of ice.
The Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples
This 38,000-square-foot museum – better known for its acronym C’MON – is a children’s brain-building powerhouse centering around 12 hands-on galleries. Favorite exhibits include The Everglades, where children can climb in, around, and through the twisted arms of an ancient mangrove; The Beach, featuring a pint-size replica of the Naples Pier where fish are “caught” with magnetic bait; and the Adopt-a-Pet Vet Clinic home to props such as stethoscopes, doctors’ coats, and even an x-ray machine.
Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
Lemurs. Fossas. Indochinese tigers. You’re not in the jungle of Southeast Asia. You’re on 43 acres in the heart of Naples at the non-profit, AZA-accredited Naples Zoo (AZA stands for Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which is an organization dedicated to setting high standards for animal care, education, and preservation). While you’ll find everything from mammals to birds to reptiles, a favorite section of the zoo to visit is the giraffes. Not just because these long-necked beauties are something to behold, but because – between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. – you get the opportunity to hand-feed them pieces of romaine lettuce. It’s a favorite up-close encounter your kids will never forget.
Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream
This is one treat they’ll be willing to wait for. That’s because the biggest selling point of getting an ice cream at this Vanderbilt Beach location is watching it get made. First, you choose your ice cream base (cream, vegan, or sugar-free), then your flavors (brownie batter, cheesecake, salted caramel, and 20-plus more options), and then your mix-ins (gummy bears, sprinkles, pecans, etc.). Then comes the fun part: watching it get shot with a blast of Liquid Nitrogen, which rolls like fog across the counter. What emerges is a premium creamy treat wrapped up in a delicious science experiment.
Naples Botanical Garden
There’s a lot to see at this 170-acre paradise, from the cultivated gardens reflecting flora from Brazil, Asia, and the Caribbean to the 60,000 square feet of water features filled with waterlilies, lotus, and papyrus. But there’s one location where kids usually spend most of their time: the Vicky C. and David Byron Smith Children’s Garden. Here, thanks to the provided game of Bingo tasking kids with identifying certain plant life, going off the beaten path is encouraged. It’s also home to a tree house that they’re welcome to monkey around on, as well as a butterfly enclosure.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY FUN AT EDGEWATER BEACH HOTEL
Just because Edgewater Beach Hotel is lauded as a luxury property touting an upscale vibe and accommodations, don’t misinterpret that to read as “not suitable for children.” In fact, families are often surprised to discover all the amenities that naturally cater to kids. Here are a few they describe as their favorite.
Get Your Hotel Bearings with a Scavenger Hunt
What better way to get the kids excited about how they’ll be spending their following days than with a custom scavenger hunt? Edgewater Beach Hotel keeps the activity behind the front desk for a fun and challenging way to familiarize yourself with the resort’s facilities and amenities. Once kids solve all the clues and riddles, they return to the front desk to claim a prize.
Order an In-Room Movie
The latest kid-friendly favorites – Encanto, Paw Patrol, Matilda The Musical – are at your fingertips on your TV in your spacious suite. So while mom and dad enjoy a nightcap – perhaps a glass of red with chocolate-covered strawberries on the private balcony? – your kids can snuggle up in their pajamas for some on-screen entertainment.
Pick a Board Game, Any Board Game
Looking to while an evening away over a little friendly family competition? The business center comes stocked with a collection of classic board games, like Scattegories, Monopoly, and many more. There’s also a mega-chess set, a giant Connect Four, and cornhole located near the pool.
Sundries Shop for the Things You Forgot
Left the super-high SPF sunscreen or water wings at home? A gift shop off the lobby carries these family essentials and more, from pool floats to children’s shirts and onesies.