The Pier is perfect for its waterfront locale and ample desert menu. (Courtesy The Pier)

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Where the Wild Things Dine

These restaurants check all the boxes: dedicated kids’ menus, entertainment, great food for grown-ups, outdoor seating and other nods that appeal to little ones.

Lake Park Diner, Naples

This diner has a cool garden vibe and a menu of old-school favorites modernized with creativity and recipes for good health. The shakes by themselves are enough motivation to get the family there. (Try the Cereal Super Shake with Froot Loops, topped with a glazed donut, or the Nutella Super Shake, which comes with a slice of chocolate cake.) Kids can order smaller portions of specialties like the organic rotisserie chicken off the children’s menu, or choose off the regular menu, which includes infused flavors at the lemonade bar and healthy side dishes. You can enjoy it all alfresco, or in the recently added interior space.

400 Rabbits, Sanibel Island

We vote the kids’ menu at this new Mexican-inspired spot the most chuckle-worthy, with made-to-order meals like “I Don’t Care” (hot dog), “Whatever!!!” (chicken tenders) and “I’m Bored” (quesadilla). All come with a choco-taco dessert, a color-me menu with crayons and a transfer tattoo of the rabbit logo.

While Lake Park Diner lures the kids with its over-the-top shakes (Brian Tietz)

The Pier, Punta Gorda

The Pier at Fishermen’s Village takes its name from the wooden dock that edges its stretch of outdoor seating and ends at a small sand beach. Tiki lamps set the mood and hint at the Pacific lean to the sushi and other Asian dishes on the menu. The kids’ menu appeals to adventurous palates with sushi rolls, a chicken poke bowl and tempura-style fish sticks—in addition to classic kids’ fare, of course.

Quinn’s on the Beach, Marco Island

Expect warm Gulf breezes at this JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort restaurant, where dinner comes with a fire-dancing performance at sunset. Other times, live musicians contribute to the air of festivity. Besides the Kids’ Classics, with items such as burgers and chicken tenders, dinner brings such palate-expanding selections as mahi-mahi tacos, grilled baby churrasco and grouper filet with rice and pigeon peas. Gluten-free offerings are also available. 

Barbatella, Naples

Barbatella’s divided layout works perfectly for both a date night and family time. Families are happiest in the paved courtyard, throwing coins in the fountain and sneaking into the pizza kitchen to see if they can convince Italian-born chef Luigi to let them make their own pie. (Which he may oblige if it’s not too busy.) Then, it’s onto some homemade chocolate brownie gelato. Crayons and coloring pages on the back of the menu keep the kiddos busy while they wait for their meals.

Oceanfront views pair with tasty seafood dishes, like the blackened mahi-mahi tacos, at Quinn’s on the Beach. (Courtesy JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort)