Key West for Families (Part 1)
We were not sure about this place at first. It started out with a lengthy presentation by an employee about shipwrecks and how they were treated by the locals when discovered. He was a bit hard to understand, but we listened because it was cool in the museum and we were extremely hot.
After the presentation, we were able to walk around and that's when it all got better.
You were able to browse the museum, try to pick up a silver bar, rip off a map to keep (the boys loved this), and climb up a tower to see the view. There were also diving masks to take pictures in that fascinated the kids.
If you can get a combo ticket with the Aquarium or use a coupon, it is worth it. Full price is not great if you are not into buried treasure and sunken ships.
Their air conditioning rocks though, so that was worth the price.
Key West Aquarium
Now, you don't think to visit an aquarium when you are on vacation. You figure that they are all the same and that you can do this at home.
I would do this one. We did more at this one in the hour tour than we have done at the one back home in years.
There are tours you can time with your visit. The leader starts off talking about some "touchable" animals in a pool (way cool) and how to handle them and what they are. The kids loved this.
Then she gave us a presentation on stingrays and fed them. Next was the nurse shark tank. she picked out a few people in the audience to feed them. One of my boys was picked and it made his week. They she picked up a nurse shark and walked around the whole tour and let everyone touch it. They don't do that back home!!!
Then it went outside to the other shark waters. There she fed a few more sharks. Amazing!
There was a pool where you could touch the stingrays on your own.
It was a small aquarium, but again, if you can get a combo ticket with something else or a coupon off of the website, it is worth it with your kids.
It is muggy in there (they try with the fans, but there is not a lot of air), so bring water bottles and dress appropriately.
When we started this tour, I was a little leery. I was not sure the kids would like it, but the educator in me was adamant that we do something educational on this trip. Hemingway was such a great writer, that I thought I would inspire the kids with this tour.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised. The tour guide we had was so upbeat and enthusiastic about the house and its history, that you could not help but enjoy yourself.
The tour took us through the house and Hemingway's history, his wives, his books, the movies, his fishing and travels, and, of course, the cats.
The cats were the highlight, but the kids came out of it thinking that maybe we should read some of his books together. Wow. Never thought that would happen.
It was a bit pricey to get in, but if you have a group or can get a coupon, it is worth the trip!
This is just such a cool place to take a photo op. This is supposed to be the southernmost point on the continental U.S. (Hawaii is further south).
If you go early in the morning, then you have a better chance of getting a photo. Sometimes there are long lines and there are not a lot of places to park close by, but it is fun to visit.
We then began with the jokes after visiting - southernmost garbage can, southernmost potty, southernmost sock (seriously there was one on the ground), etc.... It was worth a laugh!
There is even a website - http://southernmostpointusa.com/. Hilarious!
White Street Pier
This was something to behold. This is a 1000 foot pier that extends out of White Street on Key West. THe locals affectionately call it the Unfinished High Way to Cuba. My kids latched on to this like the plague. They loved it!
We walked it on a quiet Sunday morning. It was amazing. You walk it to the end and it leads to a concrete platform where you can take incredible pictures of the sunrise or boats or a future Christmas card.
The kids ran around, people jogged, bikers rode, and people fished. We spotted cool fish off the shore and saw what the kids thought were pirate ships (you never know!).
There is an AIDS memorial at the start and a white, sandy beach that houses some fun things to play on.
There is also a fort close by that sustained damage, not from a war, but from target practice by colonial troops after the war. The kids LOVED that!
And, there is an Indian cemetery there to browse as well.
I don't know about you, but I used to love this TV show back when I was young. It grossed me out sometimes, but it was always worth watching.
When I found out there was a Ripley's museum on Key West, I knew we were going there. It did not disappoint.
Again, if you can combine the ticket with another museum or get a coupon, it will make it more affordable (we went with a large group and on Father's Day, so dads were free and we were able to get $2 off each ticket- wahoo!!!).
There are some freaky things, but nothing overtly scary. Although, if you are looking for a potty, be careful!!
There are plenty of things to look at and touch for the kids, and they loved measuring themselves against the tallest man statue in there!
There is a fun spinning tunnel that the kids did more than once as well as a flashing light area where they can see their imprint on the wall (we spent a good 30 minutes there!).