What a picturesque day it turned out to be! A splendid, crisp morning, cold but invigorating with the warmth of the sun kissing our cheeks.
As we embarked on our kayak adventure, delicate tendrils of steam gracefully danced above the river’s surface, mirroring the sparkling sun’s early rays. The kayak oars, our silent companions, effortlessly caressed the water’s edge. Amidst the serene swamplands of northern Florida, a tranquil ambiance enveloped us, seeking nothing in return.
Only later did the realization dawn upon us: we had unwittingly ventured into alligator territory. Quite the heart-stopping moment, I must say!
Where Is Tallahassee?
Tallahassee, widely known as a university city (because of Florida State University amongst others), is the state capital of Florida, located in north Florida. And full of Florida history.
Where to Stay in Tallahassee?
During our exploration of Tallahassee, we stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton Tallahassee Downtown in a King Suite. It proved to be a remarkably comfortable base in downtown Tallahassee for our adventures in the city.
The kids had a double sofa bed, while I enjoyed a cozy king-sized bed in a separate room. The mini kitchenette came in handy for storing our road trip snacks and preparing the occasional breakfast or snack.
The floor-to-ceiling windows offered a splendid view of the main street, especially enchanting at sunset. Moreover, I appreciated the thoughtful provision of numerous power outlets near the bed and desk for the convenience of device-dependent travelers like me.
Is Tallahassee family-friendly?
Tallahassee pleasantly surprised us with its abundance of family-friendly activities. And we’re not talking hikes along St. Mark, but real fun things.
19 things to do with kids in Tallahassee
1. Indulge in Sweet Delights at Lofty Pursuit
1355 Market Street A11 | Website
If I were to sum up this place in a single sentence, it would be this: a playground of childhood fantasies meticulously crafted with intellect and precision. It exudes pure, unadulterated fun.
Imagine a fusion of a candy store, a classic ice cream parlor, and a toy emporium, all sprinkled with whimsy and wonder. Who could resist such a magical concoction?
Children will revel in playing with toys, board games, or simply watching candy being handcrafted before their eyes.
The owner, Greg Cohen, has spared no effort in recreating century-old candy-making techniques with a modern twist. You could easily lose track of time in this enchanting haven. And if you can’t make it to Tallahassee, their delectable treats can come to your doorstep via their online store.
2. iHeartRadio Family Fun Day at Cascades Park
Cascades Park | Website
If you happen to be in town at the right time you’ll want to attend the iHeartRadio Family Fun Day event at Cascades Park. Featuring live music, games, food trucks, and family-friendly activities, keep an eye on the local event calendar for dates.
3. Soar Among the Trees at Tree-to-Tree Adventure
3945 Museum Drive | Website
Part of the deceptively named Tallahassee Museum, this venue is anything but a dull, dusty museum. It’s a thrilling opposite, more theme park.
Nestled within 52 acres of Florida’s breathtaking cypress swamps is a high ropes and zip line adventure boasting three diverse courses. One of the best things to do in Tallahassee.
My 5-year-old tackled the easiest course, while, after a comprehensive safety briefing, my 7-year-old joined me on the Canopy Crossing at the middle level. The more challenging Soaring Cypress looked enticing, but time slipped through our fingers.
These elevated obstacles put my strength, balance, and coordination to the test, and I emerged victorious. On-site, a wooden playground keeps the littlest ones entertained if they’re too young for the ropes course.
4. Discover Wildlife at Tallahassee Museum
3945 Museum Drive | Website
After a thrilling treetop escapade at Tallahassee Museum, it’s time to explore the surrounding grounds, which are nothing short of splendid. Majestic cypress trees emerge from the swamps, lending an almost otherworldly aura to the place.
Stroll along the boardwalk through the nature trails to encounter both caged and wild animals. Our personal favorites were the adorable panther cubs, playfully chasing one another – pure cuteness overload!
Interestingly, you’ll also come across a collection of vibrant dinosaurs ingeniously crafted from recycled car parts.
5. Tallahassee Automobile Museum
6800 Mahan Drive | Website
Explore the recently renovated Tallahassee Automobile Museum, which houses an impressive collection of antique cars, rare vehicles, and even a Batmobile.
6. Junior Museum of Tallahassee
3945 Museum Drive | Website
Discover hands-on science and interactive exhibits at the Junior Museum of Tallahassee, a great place for kids to engage in educational fun. Super fun for little ones.
Love museums? Then check out Knott House Museum or the Florida Historic Capitol Museum as well.
7. Glide Down the Wakulla River
465 Wakulla Park Drive | Website
Perhaps not the most January-friendly activity, but it was incredibly serene and peaceful, a decision we did not regret.
For just $60, you can rent a tandem kayak for four hours and paddle up the Wakulla River. Here, you may spot manatees, otters, turtles, various bird species, and if luck favors you (or perhaps, doesn’t), even alligators.
We set off on a chilly morning but soon warmed up from the paddling. There wasn’t another soul in sight, and all we heard was the rhythmic splash of oars and occasional bird songs. The return journey, aided by the gentle current, proved significantly easier.
Tip: Don’t forget to bring a water bottle and stay closer to the riverbank while paddling upstream – it’s less strenuous due to the milder current there.
8. Embark on a Jungle Cruise at Wakulla Spring
465 Wakulla Park Drive | Website
Wakulla Spring offers the perfect opportunity to observe wild manatees. These gentle giants swim upstream to frolic in the warm waters of one of the world’s largest freshwater springs, where 2,000-4,000 gallons of water gush out every second at a constant 69°F (20°C).
A diving tower extending into the spring provides a bird’s-eye view of these good-natured manatees congregating in the deeper waters, even their adorable offspring.
Manatees often likened to grey, tuskless walruses, are utterly endearing. We watched in awe as the youngest member of the herd curiously nuzzled the colorful buoys and stayed close to its mother. As mammals, they surface every 3 to 5 minutes to breathe, affording you ample opportunities for observation with a little patience.
For a closer encounter with nature, embark on the serene jungle cruise. It departs approximately every hour from 9 am to 5 pm and meanders down the river with a knowledgeable guide pointing out manatees, turtles, black vultures, herons, and plenty of alligators.
An economic activity that guarantees an ample supply of gator sightings, though it did give me a shiver since it was the very river we kayaked on earlier that morning.
Fun Fact: Wakulla Springs State Park is one of the locations where the sci-fi classic “Creature From the Black Lagoon” was filmed.
9. St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
1255 Lighthouse Road | Website
Take a day trip to St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, where kids can enjoy birdwatching, wildlife spotting, and exploring nature trails. It’s an excellent opportunity for them to connect with the outdoors.
Another fun thing for the kids might be a quick visit to St Marks Lighthouse.
10. Lake Ella
North Monroe Street & Lake Ella Drive | Website
A visit to Lake Ella makes a full-filled day. It’s a picturesque park with walking paths, paddleboat rentals, and frequent events like Food Truck Thursday and live music performances.
11. Satisfy Your Palate
Tallahassee is a treasure trove of culinary delights. Leaving without sampling some of our favorite dining recommendations would be a culinary crime.
12. Food Truck Park
1208 Capital Cir SE | Website
Enjoy a meal at the Flamingle Food Truck Park, where you can savor a variety of cuisines from different food trucks while the kids play in the designated play area.
13. Explore Mission San Luis
2100 West Tennessee Street | Website
For those seeking a cultural experience intertwined with a sense of exploration, Mission San Luis is an absolute must-visit. Here, you’ll be transported back to the 1600s.
Historical records recount that the Mission once harmoniously housed Apalachee Indians and Spanish newcomers. More than 1,400 residents called it home before a British invasion in 1704 reduced it to ashes.
Now designated a National Historic Landmark, Mission San Luis has been meticulously reconstructed and stands as Florida’s sole Spanish mission. It encompasses various structures, including a circular Apalachee council house, a Spanish residence, a blacksmith’s shop, a church, a chapel, a friary kitchen, and more.
Period-clad interpreters breathe life into history, vividly depicting how people of that era lived – a captivating journey through time that’s worth your time.
Tip: Don’t skip the brief introduction video at the visitor center; it offers valuable insights into the significance of this captivating site.
14. Stroll Through the Enchanting Goodwood Museum & Gardens
1600 Miccosukee Road | Website
Here’s another attraction that defies the seemingly mundane “museum” label. Goodwood unveils the rich history of an 1840s Floridian plantation property, originally spanning 2,400 acres and once housing up to 240 slaves. Following the American Civil War, it changed hands multiple times before being transformed into a living museum in the 1970s.
We embarked on an engaging guided tour of the house, led by a costumed guide (Mrs. Hood, the last owner of the property), and explored the stunning gardens. Remarkably, previous generations of Goodwood’s owners left behind their furniture, furnishings, and even clothing (over 800 garments remain in the house!).
Everything you see is authentic, sourced from living relatives, or discovered on the property. A genuinely unique historic gem!
15. Alchemy Climbing
2810 Sharer Rd | Website
Kids got too many beans? Let them climb to new heights at the Tallahassee Rock Gym, an indoor climbing facility suitable for all ages and skill levels.
16. Tour the Impressive Mag Lab
1800 E. Paul Dirac Drive | Website
The Mag Lab had my son geeking out completely. To be honest, I wasn’t initially convinced it would be my idea of a perfect afternoon, but science enthusiasts and analytical minds will find sheer delight here.
We embarked on a guided tour through the only lab of its kind in the United States, witnessing the world’s most potent magnets. The applications these magnets find in research are nothing short of astonishing, ranging from material development to energy to medical breakthroughs.
Even someone like me, who barely passed high school science, couldn’t help but be impressed.
17. Urban Air Adventure Park
1644 Governors Square Boulevard | Website
Visit the Urban Air Adventure Park, a trampoline park offering a range of activities like trampolining, climbing walls, obstacle courses, and more for active kids. Doesn’t beat our time at Bounce Below, but a fun afternoon for little ones.
18. Enjoy A Family Friendly Tallahassee Hotel
All kids enjoy a swimming pool, and a bed to watch cartoons. So when planning your Tallahassee family getaway choose family-friendly Tallahassee accommodation.
We stayed at the Sheraton Four Points. Check pricing here.
19. Soar High Above Tallahassee in a Helicopter
3240 Capital Circle SW | Website
Last but certainly not least – want the most breathtaking view of Tallahassee? Take to the skies in a helicopter.
Owner Thomas boasts over 29 years of flying experience, and the entire journey, from the guest lounge to soaring high, was smooth and effortless.
We opted for the 15-minute Downtown tour, which allowed us to see the Mag Lab, FSU football stadium, Don Veller Seminole Golf Course, Capitol building, and more.
My children, Mia and Caius, cherished every minute of it and were abuzz with excitement long after disembarking from the helicopter. If you’re seeking something fun and unconventional, nothing quite compares to viewing a city from a bird’s-eye perspective.
Explore With Erin Wrap-Up
While Tallahassee wears the title of Florida’s political capital, it’s far more than that. It’s a haven for families seeking unforgettable experiences and fun things to do.
Our trip was nothing short of delightful, and every moment spent in Tallahassee left us with cherished memories. Florida is really the Sunshine State.
Remember to check the latest information and hours of operation for these attractions, as they may vary.
These new experiences will add excitement and fun to your family vacation to Tallahassee.
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