A diverse city with endless opportunities, Key West offers a unique vacation experience for families. From sampling local cuisine and watching the sunset celebration in Mallory Square to snorkeling the reef and touring old town aboard a trolley, it’s a getaway unlike any other.
Attractions & Tours
There’s always something to do and so much to see in Key West and kids of every age can find adventure and excitement that’s just their pace. In, on or off the water, there’s a multitude of attractions that the whole family can enjoy.
Key West Aquarium
Moms, Dads and kids are equally delighted with a visit to the Key West Aquarium, Key West’s first attraction. Open since 1934, the aquarium offers a unique up-close look at the marine species that inhabit the waters surrounding the keys. Shark and turtle feedings are among the most popular happenings daily, as well as their new touch tank. Guests can actually touch several different types of sea animals and discover fascinating facts about the underwater world. Friendly and professional guides are on hand to showcase fish such as moray eels, grouper, parrotfish, sharks, a variety of tropical fish and much more.
The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
Take the kids to an indoor wonderland of gorgeous plants, waterfalls and butterflies at every turn! The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is a glass-enclosed, climate controlled habitat that hosts 50 to 60 different species of butterflies. Adults and children can witness the grace and splendor of these magnificent creatures in their natural environment and learn about their life cycle, breeding patterns, migration behaviors. They can even see live caterpillars developing and feeding on host plants in the Learning Center.
Ernest Hemingway House and Museum
See if the kids can spot a six-toed cat as your tour the home of Nobel Prize Winner Ernest Hemingway. It was in this Key West mansion that Hemingway wrote “A Farewell to Arms” and several other works. During his years on the island, Hemingway became friendly with the locals, enjoyed frequenting the pubs, fishing with legendary conchs like Sloppy Joe Russell, among others, and gathering material and inspiration for many of his later works. Today, the Hemingway House is a living tribute to the author, who’s presence can still be felt as you view the home and gardens, seeing many personal items including antiques, collectibles and of course the descendants of his beloved six-toed cat.
Key West Shipwreck Museum
Hit the high seas and climb with your kids to the top of a 65-foot lookout tower! The Key West Shipwreck Museum is an adventure through time to the era of the Key West wreckers. The museum is dedicated to the history of those who rushed down to the ocean floor in search of the valuable of lost ships that crashed before making it to the Key West Harbor. Moms, Dads and children are thrilled with the tales of these times told by live actors and presented in films. The museum includes authentic artifacts from one of the salvage missions and a variety of collectibles as well, as detailed accounts of the industry of wrecking that made Key West the wealthiest city in the USA at that time.
The Audubon House
James John Audubon visited Key West and the Dry Tortugas during the 1830’s and it was during his time here that he drew 18 new birds for his “Birds of America” collection. The Audubon House and Museum is an eternal celebration of Audubon’s work and guests of all ages can enjoy this elegant and tranquil setting. Expert guides offer insight into the work of Audubon, the story behind his drawing of a white-crowned pigeon in the tree of the front yard of the house and many intriguing historical facts about the home. In the museum, visitors can see 28 first-edition works by Audubon as well as an array of time-period antiques, lush tropical gardens and exotic flowers and foliage.
The Conch Tour Train
Grab the kids and hop on board the world famous Conch Tour Train for 90 minutes of history and entertainment as your travel through Old Town Key West. The Conch Tour Train is one of Key West’s most popular attractions, guests of all ages are thrilled with the sights and amused by witty tour guides who reveal interesting and humorous facts about the past, the characters and the variety of sites that make Key West so unique.
Fury’s Glassbottom Boat
Kids love to explore the sea and there’s no better way to see it all than onboard Fury’s Glassbottom Boat. A luxurious, award-winning catamaran that is eco-safe and known for its comfort, Fury’s Glassbottom Boat offers a window to the underwater world without ever getting wet. In a relaxing two-hour sail, the kids will witness magnificent sea creatures darting past as they watch in wonder in the specially designed viewing areas. Here, everyone can see the beauty of the reef and hundreds of species of fish and marine life including brain coral and Elkhorn. The Glassbottom Boat is air-conditioned and offers restrooms and a snack bar.
Fury’s Ultimate Adventure
For bigger kids and those with an appetite for adventure, Fury’s got just the thing. Six hours of action out at sea. Fury’s Ultimate Adventure includes parasailing, snorkeling the reef, kayaking and jet skiing. The adventure begins as guests board Fury’s magnificent 65 ‘ sailing catamaran and head 7 miles out to North America’s only living coral reef. The day continues with a ride to Fury’s floating island where adults and kids can go parasailing, jet skiing, kayaking and even climb a floating rock wall. If they choose, parents can kick back and soak in the sun as kids make the most of their adventure. Breakfast and lunch are included as are complimentary beverages throughout the trip.
Old Town Trolley Tours of Key West
Calling all junior conductors! Climb on board the orange and green trolley for fun and sightseeing that’s right up your alley. Kids of all ages love to ride on the Old Town Trolley Tour of Key West. Our friendly conductors are amusing and entertaining as they recount fascinating stories of pirates, Indians, shipwrecks and a host of historical facts about the Southernmost City. Each child receives a Junior Conductor hat and has a chance to play trivia games to win prizes throughout the tour.
Yankee Freedom III – Dry Tortugas National Park
For the family that loves the outdoors, the Yankee Freedom III offers an exhilarating experience to the Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson. The Yankee Freedom III is the most luxurious and comfortable way to travel the 70 miles across the sea to the pristine islands of the Dry Tortugas. The entire family will cruise in comfort as friendly crew members tell pirate tales and share their knowledge of the Tortugas, the wildlife and the marine life that inhabit the area. Cushioned seats, freshwater showers, an air conditioned cabin and refreshments make the adventure that much more comfortable. Upon arrival, you can choose to explore the historic Fort Jefferson, sunbathe, snorkel, swim, kayak, view the amazing array of exotic birds and more. Day trips and longer term camping excursions are available.
Historic Mallory Square offers a multitude of activities and sites that everyone from young to old will enjoy. There’s a great selection of restaurants, art galleries, shopping and of course, the world famous sunset celebration. Each night, visitors and locals alike gather in Mallory Square to watch as the sun makes its magnificent departure into the sea. Street performers, artists, magicians, tight-rope walkers, comedians, arts and crafts displays, delicious local cuisine and drinks make this nightly event one of the most popular things to do in Key West.
Key West Nature Preserve
A wonderful way to appreciate the natural beauty of Key West, the Key West Nature Preserve is located on Atlantic Boulevard. Wooden walkways and lovely trails lead through mangrove forests to a small beach. Children and adults enjoy this relaxing, carefree stroll amongst butterflies and beautiful tropical foliage.
Kids need to jump, romp, climb and just horse-around? Stop in at this popular playground as you head back to your hotel from a day at the beach or sightseeing. It’s located just across the street from the well-known Higgs Beach.
White Street Pier
Situated at the southern end of White Street, this 100-yard pier extends over the Atlantic Ocean and is an ideal way to spot schools of fish and various birds. For kids who’d like to try their hand at fishing, the very end of the pier is known as a great spot to catch snappers and grunts.