No longer is Florida’s Daytona Beach reserved for spring breakers alone. This under-appreciated destination offers plenty of family-friendly fun for parents and kids of all ages, from toddlers to teens.
One of the largest museums in central Florida is the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach. It’s truly a superb museum and offers a little bit of everything for everyone. Set on a 90-acre nature preserve, it has more than 30,000 objects, including one of the finest American art collections in the Southeast and one of the most significant collections of Cuban paintings found in the country. There’s the Prehistory of Florida Gallery, with a giant ground sloth skeleton; a family museum with restored railroad cars and antique automobiles, plus a huge collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia; and a state-of-the-art planetarium.
Daytona’s Marine Science Center is a hands-on museum that allows children to learn about the environment around them, most specifically the environment and biosphere found right there in Daytona and Volusia County. There’s an aquatic touch pool with stingrays and hermit crabs, as well as a toddler program three times per month with activities specially designed for visitors under age 5, making this a perfect visit for those with smaller children. It’s also budget-friendly, at only $5 per adult and $2 per child.
Try some vintage-style boardwalk treats at Zeno’s Boardwalk Sweet Shop, around since 1948. Try the “World’s Most Famous Taffy,” created by fourth-generation taffy makers. If you love it, you can even sign up for the taffy of the month club and have the sweet treat shipped straight to your home. Other sweets you’re sure to love include brittles, fudge and popcorn, as well as seafoam, a unique confection with an initial crunch that gives way to melt in your mouth.
Another longstanding confectioner is Angell and Phelps Chocolate Factory, founded in 1925. Stop in for a free factory tour and then browse the expansive shop to get your chocolate fix.
There are fun festivals and special events occurring all spring in Daytona Beach. Visit Ponce Inlet Lighthouse on National Lighthouse Day, April 6, to celebrate Florida’s tallest lighthouse with kid-friendly activities. During Easter weekend, don’t miss the Eggstravaganza Easter Celebration in downtown Daytona Beach for games, candy and more. A Celtic Festival takes place April 13–14. There’s even a Pokemon Championship April 19–21.
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