A lot of people think of bed and breakfasts as only for grown-ups.
It’s true…grown ups definitely appreciate the customized, personal service; the constant access to concierge services (our staff are concierges as much as they are innkeepers); the romantic rooms and the luxury of being pampered for a change!
We do cater to the grown ups of the world…but we’re a pretty good stay for the little ones, too (it’s easier for us than most bed and breakfasts because our private entrances offer everyone a little bit more noise protection and privacy than a usual bnb).
Kid Friendly Things to Do in Saint Augustine
1. The pirate ship (I know you and Brian discussed this). It was very kid-friendly, with the singing and the face painting. The youngest newphew was just two when we went, and was a little intimidated at first, but soon warmed up and had a great time. The oldest nephew was ready to drop out of kindergarten and join the crew! (Mostly to spend more time with the “pretty pirate”–but the whole crew was great with kids). It’s not cheap, but both my nephews mentioned it when I saw them for Christmas…and they came down in July!
2. The trolley rides. Both my nephews love trains–they felt like the trolleys were just kid-sized trains (and they didn’t care where they stopped, or what the tour guide was talking about as we drove around, so my brother and sister-in-law liked it as well).
3. Slightly older kids (10 and up) would like Ripley’s Believe it or Not. I suggest it for slightly older kids because the “oddities” can be cool when you’re 10, but scary when you’re 5 (there are a lot of human deformities, both genetic and self-inflicted). As a matter of fact, some of the oddities are a little scary for me–and I’m in my 40′s!!
4. The alligator farm. This is very kid-friendly (if you’ve already been, forgive me for going into too much detail, but I really love this place!) I love the fact that the “fences” around the streams and gator lounging areas are all plexiglass, so that the smallest kid can get right up to it and see with no problem. The staff feeds the gators, and do a little show twice a day…it’s a very palatable way to learn about the animals. Plus, for very little kids (my nephews were the perfect age), there was a great playground inside the farm. Again, the fence behind that had plexiglass inserts, so we could enjoy the beautiful birds and some of the animals there, while the kids loved climbing around on the jungle gym.
5. Zip line. Teenagers would love the zip line course that now goes over the alligator farm. It’s pretty physical–but perfect for older kids looking for a thrill and bragging rights when they get home!
6. Pirate Museum. This again is for slightly older kids (probably 8 and up). There are a lot of animatronics that could be scary for younger kids (Blackbeard’s head is hanging from one corner, and when you walk in front of it, it starts telling you how he was killed).
7. Lunch at the Alcazar. This is the old hotel that’s now the Lightner Museum. I know lunch isn’t always kid-friendly, but this cafe is located in the old hotel’s pool (now dry, of course). It’s cool to say you’re eating “in the deep end”, and it’s fun to see the old pictures and talk about what it was like when it was a pool. Plus, the restaurant makes great pizzas! As a side trip, there is a gorgeous courtyard in the center of the museum (no ticket required) with a TON of koi. There is a little dispenser with fish food for a quarter, and the kids love to throw it in the water and see the fish frenzy!!
8. The beach. For young kids, there is a beach with a little mini water park (no rides, but lots of fountains to splash around in!)
9. Renting bikes or mini cars. The kids can’t drive the mini cars, but they love being a passenger in them! And some bed and breakfasts offer free bikes (we have a bunch that we let people borrow).
10. Eco tours. This is for teens: this company (it’s just called Eco Tours) takes small groups (usually no more than 6) out on an eco-tour of the bay. You can go out in a catamaran, or a rigid-bottom inflatable (it’s what the Navy Seals use…I was hanging on for dear life!!). The captains are young, and they tailor the trip to your interests…when Mike and I went, we followed the dolphins and then the captain dropped a microphone underwater and we could hear the clicking (and other noises–he could actually tell us which fish were making which noises). But a lot of kids are interested in “green” activities, and this is a great one.