Kid Activities

Crestview Library – Lap sit (under 3) Tuesdays/Wednesdays 10:15 am/Story time Mondays 10:15am; Early Release for 3 and up 12-2pm first Thursday during school year

Twin Hills Children’s Park/Walking Park/Duck Pond (Crestview) – On 90E T-Sat 10am-8pm; Sun 2-8pm *Closed Mondays One side is home of the children’s playground and if you go further down there is an indoor gymnasium and on the other side is a walking trail with an exercise area.

Countryview Park (Crestview) —  In the Countryview subdivision at the end of Northview Dr. Has a small covered pavilion, playground, multipurpose court, large field, and restrooms.

Cleo Park (Crestview) – In the Lee Farm subdivision, 2099 Cleo Lane Covered pavilion and playground. No restrooms

Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinic – Usually 2nd and 4th Saturday 10am; upcoming projects are on the board at Lowe’s on the right wall through first doors; register at Lowe’s or at

Shoal River Lanes – 5204 S Ferdon Blvd Mon-Thurs 3-10pm, Fri 3-1am, Sat 11pm-1am, Sun 11-9pm;call for prices, they have specials like Monday $2 games, After School special M-F 3-6pm students bowl a free game for every “A” on their report card, etc; you can sign up for kids to bowl one free game per day from June 1-Aug 31 (shoe rental not included) 682.1310

US Gold Gymnastics – 2118 3rd Ave Crestview 850.306.3298 Fridays: Kid’s Day Out (crawlers-5 yrs) 9:30-11:30am $10 for non-members ($5 for members) a parent must stay; Kid’s Night Out (parents can leave kids 5-12 yrs) 6:30-10pm $20 for non-members ($15 for members)

Skatetopia – 383 Coleman St 850.682.6699 Monday 6-8pm- Hockey for all ages $5, Thurs 7-9pm Old School Skate $5, Fri 6-10 pm Blackout Skate $7, Sat 1-4pm Noon Skate; 7-10 pm Blackout Skate $6 (must wear glowing or flashing device to skate during blackout songs, available for purchase), Sunday 1-5 pm Family Day $4. Skate Rentals $2 for inline; $3 for speed skates

ECWR Zoological Park (formerly Sasquatch Zoo) – 5262 Deer Springs Dr (8 miles east on Hwy 90) Tues-Sun 10-5pm 682.3949 2 and under free; kids 2-10 $5; adults $8

Baker Park – This is a nice park that offers shade, has picnic tables, restrooms. Located up SR4 on the left

Akers Strawberry Farm – Tues-Fri 9-5pm, Sat 10-5pm, Sun 12-5pm call to make sure they are open *Closed Mondays 850.537.2768/ $1.50 lb off of SR4. Seasonal Must try the strawberry shortcake and homemade strawberry yogurt!

Triple J Blueberry Farm – 850.685.1850/537.4259 Baker, FL; contact: Rodney Bolton Take SR4, turn left on Melton Rd. Go 2 miles down Melton; the farm is on the right.  There are several other blueberry farms in the area, but this is just one of the closer ones. Seasonal

Krul Lake –  April 1-Sept 15 7-7pm; Sept 16-March 31 7am-sunset; off of SR 4 (no pets allowed); hiking/swimming/camping; I like parking at Bear Lake (leashed pets allowed) about 2.5 miles east of Munson off of Hwy 4 and hike about 1.3 mile trail to Krul Lake (you cross a suspension bridge and gristmill along the way.

Florida Park (Valparaiso) – (go out East gate, take first right after middle school, and go down and take a left at end of road, park on right side) I like this park, it’s never packed. Has a playground, pavilion, dock, restrooms.

Lincoln Park (Valparaiso) – 1217 N Bayshore Dr; (go out the East gate and once you cross Tom’s Bayou bridge (the first bridge about 1 mile or less out the gate), make that immediate right) swimming area with docks, picnic areas, restrooms, playground

Turkey Creek National Park — (Nville)  340 John Sims Pkwy opens at 6:30 am, closing times are seasonal and posted at facility; pavilions and restrooms open 8am. Note that boardwalk is ¾ mile one way, and you have to walk back to get back to restrooms.

A Ceramic Studio & Hobby Shop – 256 Chicago Ave, Valparaiso (2.5 miles east of East Gate, across from Kid’s Discovery) 850.758.1446; ready made plates, mugs, banks, vases, etc. that kids can paint, then they glaze and fire; Tues-Thurs 10-8pm, Fri-Sat 9-9pm *Closed Sunday and Monday

Valparaiso Community Library –  Lap sit Wednesday 9:45am; Preschool Story Time M/F 10am; Early release movie first Thursday 1:30pm

Niceville Library – Baby Bookworm 2nd and 4th Th 9:30 Prewalkers/10:30 Walkers/Story time (3-5 yrs) W/Fri 10:30am; Afterschool Program (6 and up) 2nd Tues 4:15-5:30pm (Registration required)

Niceville Children’s Park/Spray Park (next to library) – Summer Park Hours (May 1-Sept 30) W-Sat 9-1pm, 3-7pm; Sun 3-7pm/Spray Park Hours W-Sat 10-12pm, 4-6pm; Sunday 4-6pm (only open on wkends in Sept) *Closed on Monday and Tuesdays

Niceville Skate Park – 200 Campbell Dr. 32578 Th-Sun 1-8pm; Helmets required ($2 helmet rental); recommended for 6 years and up. Main area for in-line skates, skateboards, bikes; ramps, stairs, etc.

Uptown Station – 99 Eglin Pkwy, Ft Walton Beach The kids love playing in the park, looking at the small animals at the Pet Supermarket, playing the instruments at Playground Music (under my supervision), and sometimes we dine (Buffalo Wild Wings has kids eat for .99 on Mondays) and have ice cream at Baskin Robbins.

Bounce Party Playzone – Indoor bounce house (wear socks); Santa Rosa Mall, FWB 850.865.3191; admission is $6 for 30 minutes, $10 for an hour, $15 for all day; military discount and large family discounts; crawlers are FREE to play in Preschool Playzone.

Goofy Golf – 401 Eglin Pkwy NE, Fort Walton Beach 850.862.4922 currently M-F 3-8pm, Sat-Sun 10-8:30pm weather permitting; Adults $3, kids under 12 $1.50 (limit of 5 per group) 2 courses with 18 holes

Emerald Coast Science Center — 31 SW Memorial Parkway, Ft Walton Beach 664.1261 (FL residents: adults $8/kids $6) 2 for 1 admission on 4th Sunday of each month; military 10% discount; Mon-Sat 9-6pm, Sun 12-4pm *last admission 1 hr prior to closing

Gulfarium – 1010 Miracle Strip Pkwy Ft Walton Beach 850.243.9046 open daily 9-5pm; last admission at 4:30pm 2 and under free, kids 3-12 $13.95, adults $21.95, military discount

Beaches – I don’t think I have to remind you of the beautiful beaches only 30 minutes south of here that are usually free (unless you are going through a state park or the military beach). The kids love shell searching and burying each other in the white sand.  Every summer we set a date to rent a pontoon to go to Crab Island (pictured above). The kids love the Boardwalk, but I enjoy the more secluded areas.

Panhandle Butterfly House – at foot of Navarre Bridge 8581 Navarre Pkwy (98) (Thurs-Sat. 10-3)  M-W group tours (Theresa Friday 623.3868) Seasonal (usually opens beginning of May) right next to Navarre Park/Splash pad area (splash pad hours May 1-Sept 15 Tues-Sun 9-5pm)

Windmaster Horse Farm – I-10E, exit 70, lett on 285, right on 90E, 2m then left on Hwy 1087, 6m on right (5756) Great place to see and pet horses and have a picnic. If you go with a large group sometimes they will do a hayride; 850.834.3060 contact Melissa or Steve Forberg

Ponce de Leon Spring – I-10, exit 96, 81N, 90E, right on County Road 181A (45 min drive) $4 per car (limit of 8 per vehicle), $2 for pedestrians, bicyclist, etc.; open 8am to sunset year round; spring is 68 degrees year round 836.4281

Vortex Springs – 1517 Vortex Spring Ln 32455 850.836.4979 (in Ponce de Leon, exit 96 off I-10) M-Th 8-5pm, Fri-Sun 7-7pm Open year round except Thanksgiving and Christmas. The water is the same water is 68 degrees year round (that’s super cold!) They have diving boards, slides, a zip line, and rope swing. They have paddle boards, paddle boats, canoes, etc for rent. No pets allowed into main gate (only in camping area) Admission is $6 per person or a season pass is $185 plus tax for a family of 5.

Seacrest Wolf Preserve – Wolf encounter tours on Saturdays, be there by 12 pm; Adults $25, Youth 6-11 $15. Small Animal Adventure Adults $8, Youth $5 *No one under the age of 6 permitted on wolf encounters 3449 Bonnett Pond Rd., Chipley, FL, 32428 850.773.2897 camping available

FL Caverns – 3345 Caverns Rd, Marianna, FL 32446 (1 hr 15 min drive). $5 per car/$4 single occupant car/$2 pedestrians/bicyclist. Blue Hole Spring swimming area; Cave tours (45 minutes, some paths are very narrow) Th-M 9-4pm; free for 2 and younger, 3-12 yrs $5, 13+ $8. 482.1228 *Cave Tours and Gift Shop closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays; camping available

My mind on pause…