The theme song of the popular Disney Channel children‚Äôs television show ‚ÄúPhineas and Ferb‚ÄĚ describes kids‚Äô ultimate summer dilemma in its opening lines: ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs 104 days of summer vacation, and school comes along just to end it. So the annual problem for our generation is finding a good way to spend it.‚ÄĚ
You can solve that dilemma in the Upper and Middle Keys, an area jam-packed with activities sure to make summer days unforgettable for kids and families.
For example ‚Ä¶
Make friends with herons, owls, pelicans and egrets at the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center. The Florida Keys Wild Bird Center is a bird rehabilitation facility located in Tavernier at mile marker 93.6. An Upper Keys landmark, it‚Äôs home to more than 100 ill, injured or orphaned wild birds ‚ÄĒ all housed in a natural setting on more than five acres of land. The main attraction is the daily pelican feeding, set for about 3:30 p.m., that typically draws hundreds of wild pelicans hungry for fish.
The Florida Keys Wild Bird Center is open every day during daylight hours. There‚Äôs no admission fee, but donations are requested.
Swim with stingrays, dolphins or sea lions at Theater of the Sea. A lush 17-acre tropical oasis located in Islamorada at mile marker 84.5, Theater of the Sea is filled with scores of fish and marine life, native birds, colorful and engaging parrots, sea turtles, crocodiles and exotic plants. General admission includes live performances by dolphins, sea lions and parrots, a guided tour of marine-life exhibits and a glass-bottom boat tour of their natural saltwater lagoon.
Theater of the Sea also hosts special swim programs with dolphins, stingrays and sea lions for kids as young as 5 ‚ÄĒ and dolphin wade programs for kids as young as 3. The park opens daily at 9:30 a.m.
Discover shells, fish tanks and history at Crane Point Hammock in Marathon. Crane Point Hammock is a 63-acre environmental and archaeological preserve that offers a wide range of intriguing activities for kids and families.
The historically curious can visit Adderley House, a simple home built in 1906 by a Bahamian immigrant who was a sponge fisherman, boatman and charcoal maker. Adventure seekers can get up close and personal with the museum‚Äôs touch tank that features sea urchins and starfish, or explore a large lagoon inhabited by nurse sharks and tropical fish. Nature lovers can hike along one of the nature trails or visit the Marathon Wild Bird Center, a haven for feathered friends in need.
Located at mile marker 50.5, Crane Point Hammock is open Monday though Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
For kids (and kids at heart), a world of excitement awaits during ‚Äúsummer vacation‚ÄĚ in the Middle and Upper Keys. To discover more ‚Äúkeys‚ÄĚ to enjoying the island chain, just click here.