Toddler-Friendly Activities In and Around Pensacola

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If someone were to ask me the best way to describe myself, I’d say, “open my cupboard and look at my plates.” Though my husband and I have been married for over seven years, we STILL use the hand-me-down thin, lightweight, white plates with green ivy along the edges.

You know, the ones your mom probably had in 1997?

However, if you were to ask me what type of parent I am, I’d say, “look at my planner or open my notes section on my phone.”

Do you know how when you open your (iPhone) notes, the notes at the top are the ones you use the most? My top note is typically my “List of Toddler Destinations.” Being a stay-at-home mom, I have found great joy in putting intention into weekly activities and time together with my two-year-old daughter. Before each week, I plan out places to rotate taking my daughter to, which keeps us both on our toes!

If your kids’ Christmas toys have already lost their luster, check out some of my favorite activities to freshen up any routine, stay-at-home mom or not!

Rainy Day (or cold day!) Ideas:

Zoobee’z Indoor Petting Zoo

I’m sure you’ve been to a petting zoo, but have you ever been to an indoor petting zoo with goats, llamas, sheep, turtles…oh, and a KANGAROO?! We took our daughter at 15 months old, but I think anyone would enjoy this experience, even her 369,3105-month-old parents (yes, I googled that, and yes, I wish I hadn’t). 

Cordova Mall

Sometimes when It’s raining, I’ll take my daughter to the mall and make a half-day of it. We’ll start by throwing coins in the fountain and wander to the Disney Junior Play Zone (best for babies and toddlers). Before we leave, we’ll ride the mini carousel (best for toddlers) near Dillards, and then grab lunch at Chick-Fil-A or a snack at Auntie Annes.

Sweet Cone Alabama

Every kids’ dream is ice cream, indoor swings, and a “sprinkle pool,” amiright?! 

Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center

This quick stop is a cute and entertaining history lesson for all ages.

UWF Pool

Missing the beach or your inground pool?! The University of West Florida has Family Recreational Swim hours!

Children’s Museum

“Drive” an old boat or “shop” at Publix! This two-story museum has plenty to offer for kids of all ages!

Free Activities

Feed the Ducks

West Florida Hospital has some of the friendliest (or hungriest?) ducks I’ve ever fed! Remember to bring bird food, as ducks can’t digest bread! Offer a scoop,, and they’re sure to eat right out of your hand!

The Library

Check out the West Florida Public Libraries. Most locations offer child storytime, and of course, a library card!

Parks

Our family explored two new parks each week over the holidays! Make an adventure out of it and bring a picnic! Our favorite newly found park has been Lavallet park!

Mommy and Me classes at Ever’man Cooperative

My daughter prays each night for “moosik and yogurt cwass” (music and yoga class). These classes are not only free but are great for bonding and socializing with other toddlers and moms!

Splash Pads

Come on, summer!

Dinosaurs in the Woods – Elberta, Alabama

Search for dinosaurs, giant spiders, or knights in the woods!

Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida

This Sanctuary is free, but donations are kindly encouraged!

West Florida Railroad Museum

(A)board trains, learn a piece of local history, and ride a mini railway (3 years old and up). This museum is free, but donations are kindly encouraged!

Hidden Gems

Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge

A great educational moment for kids! The “Mascots” were a personal favorite!

Uncle Sandy’s Macaw Bird Park

See and learn about rescue Macaws!

The Fun Plex – Gulf Breeze

Parent/tot gymnastics are offered most Fridays from 9-10am!

Alligator Alley

A fun place to take visiting family members! Worth the drive, especially in the summer when the Gators are most active!

Happy Exploring!

Guest Contributor: Shannon Carter

Shannon was born and raised in Upstate New York for the first 13 years of her life. She then relocated to Austin, Texas with her family, where she resided until 2013. Shannon then moved to Pensacola to end the chapter of long-distance dating with her then-boyfriend, now husband, Zac. Following her passion to help kids, she fell into Social Work where she fulfilled her purpose until her new purpose was born in 2019. She now stays home with her two-year-old daughter and works part-time as the Office Manager for her husband’s landscaping company. Though born in the 90’s you won’t find this Millennial on social media. Shannon considers herself to be a “serial planner,” intentional parenting enthusiast, and a below-average chef. When she’s not meal planning, you can find her listening to The Bobby Bones Show, crafting, working out, or watching her guilty pleasure…Reality TV.

 

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