Having fun with kids can be expensive. Very, very expensive. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are 40+ free things to do in Pensacola with kids listed below. So get out there and have a blast.
AVIATION DISCOVERY PARK
Not your typical park or playground, Aviation Discovery Park is located next to the Pensacola International Airport and has a mini control tower where you can watch the planes take off and land and listen to the real control tower talk to the pilots. Located at 4200 Jerry L. Maygarden Rd, between Pensacola Aviation Center and the commercial hangar facilities and accessible from either Spanish Trail Rd. or Summit Blvd.
ARCADIA MILL ARCHEOLOGICAL SITE
Located at 709 Mill Pond Lane, Milton, FL 32583. It is an archeological site that allow visitors to experience this unique wetland ecosystem. The site is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am – 4pm. Guided tours are given Tuesday – Saturday from 10 am – 3:15 pm by calling (850) 626.3084 ext. 102. to schedule a tour. Visitors can also do a self guided tour from sunrise to sunset daily.
BANDS ON THE BEACH
Bring your lawn chair and listen to live music from regional artists every Tuesday night at 7pm from April through October at the Gulfside Pavilion at Casino Beach during Bands On The Beach.
BABY SEA TURTLE SHOWER
This family friendly event at Landshark Landing in August educates and celebrates Sea Turtles. The afternoon will be filled with games, activities, entertainment, a meet and greet with Meg the Mermaid and more. 2019 Date TBA
BARNES AND NOBLE
Barnes and Noble offers themed storytimes on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11am plus addition storytime and special kid events throughout the month. Check the calendar for more information.
BAY BLUFFS PARK
Located at 3400 Scenic Hwy., Bay Bluffs offers boardwalks and nature trails down the cliffs to the water with vistas and close up views of the bluffs.
BLACKWATER HERITAGE STATE TRAILS
Nine miles of paved trail great for biking, running, walking, skating and more that runs through the town of Milton. Open 8am-sundown daily, the Milton trailhead is located at State Road 87 and US Hwy 90. There is a visitors center one mile from the trailhead that offers parking, restrooms, picnic tables, BBQ grills and a playground.
BLUE ANGELS HOMECOMING AIR SHOW
The last Blue Angel air show of the year is at home in Pensacola at the National Naval Aviation Museum on NAS Pensacola, in early November .See website for times and details. You can also watch the show from Ft. Pickens and we were able to view some of the show from Big Lagoon State Park.
BLUE ANGELS PRACTICE
When the Blue Angels are in town from March – November Pensacola gets its own mini air show on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 11:30 am. And on select Wednesdays visitors can get meet the pilots and get pictures and autographs at the National Naval Aviation Museum. My kids love sitting in the backyard watching the Blues fly overhead, it’s one reason we love our house. Can’t watch them from your house, you can watch them from the Naval Aviation Museum, the Pensacola Lighthouse and Ft. Pickens. I’ve also heard you can see them from Big Lagoon St. Park and I’ve seen them while driving down Navy Blvd.
BLUES ON THE BAY
Outdoor concert series on Saturday nights throughout the summer when the Blue Wahoos aren’t playing at home. The concerts start at 6pm at Community Maritime Park Hunter Amphitheater. Bring your chairs, blankets and coolers but please leave pets and glass containers at home.
Named for the casino that put Pensacola Beach on the map, this public beach is located on Santa Rosa Island on Ft. Picken’s Rd across from the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk. A portion of the beach to the right of the pier is an alcohol free zone making this a great place for families.
COMMUNITY MARITIME PARK
Located behind Blue Wahoo Stadium, this multi-use waterfront park includes an inclusive playground with unique play structures, shade trees and a covered picnic area.
ED BALL NATURE TRAIL AT UWF
Located on the UWF campus, the Ed Ball Nature Trail at UWF offers a 1/2 milk boardwalk through Thompson’s Bayou and a 20 mile bike trail for novice to experienced mountain bikers. The trails are open daily from dawn to midnight
Part of Pensacola Winterfest this 6 block parade features costumed kids, tumbling snowflakes, an alligator second line brass band, and of course Santa himself. The parade ends at the Escambia County Courthouse with the Downtown Pensacola tree lighting ceremony and SNOW! The fun happens the day after Thanksgiving. Costume judging starts at 4pm, the parade starts at 4:45 with lights and snow at 5pm.
FIESTA CHILDREN’S TREASURE HUNT
Saturday, May 11th in at Bayview Park on East Hill children and families can enjoy a day of fun activities including a treasure hunt that lets children explore and learn about Pensacola’s history.
FOOTPRINTS IN THE SANTA ECO TRAIL
Learn the secrets of Pensacola’s white sand beaches, the journey of the sea turtles, how to identify shells, local plant and animal life on this trail through Pensacola Beach via educations signs posted across the beach.
FOURTH OF JULY FIREWORKS ON PENSACOLA BEACH
Enjoy fireworks over the Santa Rosa Sound behind the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk at 8:30pm.
FOURTH OF JULY IN PENSACOLA
Day long family friendly festival on Fourth of July in Seville Square. The festival hosts a FREE children’s area with inflatables, pony rides, face painting, and more. There are also food vendors, craft vendors, live entertainment and a hot dog eating contest. The day ends with fireworks over Pensacola Bay at 9pm
Once a month Downtown Pensacola shuts down the streets and comes alive. Enjoy music, art and cuisine at this perfect change to explore Pensacola’s downtown and art scene on the third Friday of each month from 5-9pm.
GULF ISLANDS NATIONAL SEASHORE SANTA ROSA AREA
One of the most popular areas along Gulf Islands Seashore located on Hwy 399 between Pensacola and Navarre. Open 24 hours a day however the parking lots are closed from sunset to sunrise. There is no entrance fee for this area of the seashore except for the Opal Beach facilities.
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR DAY PARADE
Annual Parade in Downtown Pensacola that celebrates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The parade starts on the corner of Spring and Garden Streets at 11 am on Martin Luther King, Jr Day.
NATIONAL NAVAL AVIATION MUSEUM
Step back and time and learn all about Naval Aviation through the years. Located on the Pensacola Naval Air Station. The museum has a indoor playground, an IMAX theater, simulators and hands on exhibits that explore aviation history. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also on select Tuesdays and Wednesdays from March – November you can watch the Blue Angels practice and on Wednesdays get their autographs at the museum.
MARDI GRAS PARADES
Celebrate Mardi Gras in Pensacola with two parades in Downtown Pensacola and one on Pensacola Beach along with other events happening during Carnival Season!
NAVAL LIVE OAKS
Part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, located off Hwy 98 in Gulf Breeze. The park has hiking trails, a picnic area and swimming in the Santa Rosa Sound and is opened daily from 8am to Sunset. There is are also exhibits in the Headquarters Building that visitors can view Monday-Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm.
Just east of Pensacola, this 12 mile stretch of beach has public access points where you can swim, picnic and even take a bike ride down a scenic bike path.
NAVARRE CHILDREN’S PARK
Located on Navarre Pkwy right before you get to the bridge that takes you to Navarre Beach and opened from 7am-10pm daily the park has a great play area with swings that face the water, a nature trail with turtles and more. My kids love flying their kites here!
PANHANDLE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Located at the base of the Navarre Beach Bridge the Butterfly House is open seasonally from May to August with a special event in October. Visit over 300 species of butterflies including some native to Florida. You will also see all of the stages of the butterfly life cycle. The house is open Thursday – Saturday from 10am-3pm. Please allow 30 minutes to see the house. Admission is free however a $5 donation per person is suggested.
PENSACOLA BEACH AIR SHOW
The annual air show takes place on Pensacola Beach the week of 4th of July. The Blue Angels, alone with other civilian and military aircraft perform stunts over the Gulf Of Mexico. 2019 Dates TBA.
PENSACOLA BEACH BOARDWALK
Features open air bars, restaurants and shopping on Santa Rosa Island. As well as a shallow water beach area perfect for kids along the Santa Rosa Sound.
PENSACOLA BEACH TROLLEY
Explore Santa Rosa Island by trolley. The trolley runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day from runs 7 days a week from 5pm – 1am.
PENSACOLA BEACH CHRISTMAS BOAT PARADE AND FIREWORKS
Lighted boat parade with Santa from Sabine Marina to the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk. View the parade from Little Sabine at 6:30pm and from Quietwater Beach at 7:30pm. Stay after the parade to enjoy Fireworks with Santa at 8pm in the Santa Rosa Sound behind the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk. 2019 Date TBA
PENSACOLA CHRISTMAS PARADE
Annual Christmas Parade in Downtown Pensacola. The parade starts at Spring and Garden Streets at 5:15 pm and includes local bands, dance schools, organizations, the Blue Angels and Santa himself. 2019 Date TBA
PENSACOLA CICLOVIA (OPEN STREETS)
Ciclovia happens March 23rd in Downtown Pensacola streets close to vehicle traffic so that everyone can bike, walk, skate, skateboard, run, or just play in the streets.
PERDIDO KIDS PARK
Located off Gulf Beach Hwy, Perdido Kids Park has one of the most unique play structures of all the local parks. Pretend your a princess or prince in the castle play structure, or a Blue Angel pilot in the Blue Angel flyers or climb the rock wall. There is something for kids of all ages and they will never want to leave. There is a also a nature trail at the park. The park is open from 7am – sunset.
PERDIDO RIVER WALK
Adjacent to the Perdido landfill is a 2/3 mile nature trail along the Perdido River through oak pine uplands and bottomland hardwoods.
PLAZA DE. LUNA SPLASH PAD
Located at the south end of Palafox at the end of the Palafox Pier the splash pad is open from March – October from 11am-5pm The pier also has wifi, concessions, a restroom and fishing.
Located on the sound side of Pensacola Beach is a great area for families of small children to enjoy the beach due to the shallow calm waters of the Santa Rosa Sound.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY LIBRARY
Various storytimes throughout the week at different library locations in Milton, Jay, Gulf Breeze and Navarre. Check the library calendar for more information.
SPLASH PAD AT NAVARRE CHILDREN’S PARK
Located in the Navarre Children’s Park at 8513 Navarre Pkwy the splash pad is open on Tuesday – Sunday from 9am-5pm from May through September.
STARGAZING ON PENSACOLA BEACH
Take in the beauty of Pensacola beach at night and look at the stars, the moon and planets. Volunteers will set up telescopes on select Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer at the Gulfside Pavilion or Ft. Picken Battery Park.
Preschool storytime at Ever’Man Cooperative Grocery and Cafe located at 315 West Garden Street. Children listen to stories, sing songs, try healthy snacks, make a craft and sometimes play in the garden. From 10am-NOON on Tuesdays, space is limited so call (850) 438-0402 to reserve your spot.
SURFING SANTA PARADE
Annual Christmas Parade on Santa Rosa Island. The parade starts at 2pm at Avenida 10 down Via De Luna toward Casino Beach and ends at the Gulfside Pavilion. Don’t miss Santa riding atop a Pensacola Beach Firetruck. 2019 Date TBA.
WEST FLORIDA PUBLIC LIBRARY
Various storytimes throughout the week at different library locations around Pensacola. Check the library calendar for more information.
WEST FLORIDA RAILROAD MUSEUM
Learn the history of the railroad in West Florida at the West Florida Railroad Museum. The museum is located at 5003 Henry St., Milton and is opened Friday and Saturday from 10am – 3pm or by appt.
WSRE IMAGINATION STATION
Free hands on learning venue with a strong focus on early literacy and use of digital media using educational resources from WSRE and PBS Kids, featuring your child’s favorite PBS Kids characters. Located at Blue Wahoos Stadium, Imagination Station is open Monday – Saturday from 9am – NOON.
YELLOW MARSH RIVER PRESERVE STATE PARK
Located at Dickerson City Rd and Garcon Point Road the hiking area can be accessed from the parking lot area located on Dickerson City Rd. There are no recreational facilities here and the park is open from 8am to sundown daily.
What’s your favorite free thing to do in Pensacola with kids?