Get the kiddos out and about with these editor-favorite, family events across the region. From opportunities to decorate Valentine’s Day cards in Naples to the epic Edison Festival of Light parade in Fort Myers to the bounty of farm animals and carnival rides at the Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair, these outings are sure to get your children engaged.
Make-And-Take Family Workshop at Artis—Naples
Unleash your child’s inner artist at this Baker Museum event, where kids create artist trading cards or miniature works on baseball card-sized canvases. Little Picassos draw inspiration from the Baker’s Baseball Heroes exhibit for this workshop, which is free to attend with paid museum admission.
Be My Valentine at Collier Museum at Government Center, Naples
It doesn’t get any sweeter than this. Make a memorable Valentine’s Day card with your little ones at Collier Museum at Government Center. Families can create vintage-inspired love notes full of images of yesteryear while enjoying heart-themed activities and listening to a heartwarming story.
Edison Festival of Light, Fort Myers
Light it up at Southwest Florida’s largest- and longest-running festival. Enjoy the STEMtastic Day of Discovery at Caloosa Sound Convention Center, an exciting atmosphere for children to experience science, technology, engineering, math and the arts with indoor and outdoor interactive areas, as well as musical, acrobatic and theatrical performances on the community stage. On Feb. 12, young athletes run their hearts out at the 2023 Junior Fun Run on First Street, which includes age-appropriate distances for elementary school-aged kids. Later that day, watch the state’s largest youth parade as it moves along the Downtown Riverfront District, and catch the procession of performers dazzling the crowd.
Feb. 17-18, and Feb. 24- 25
Disney’s 101 Dalmatians Kids at Fort Myers Theatre
Cheer on young performers from Fort Myers Theatre as they strut their stuff in this stage adaptation of the classic story. Revisit beloved pet owners Roger and Anita—and their many, many pups—and watch out for the evil Cruella de Vil.
Edison Festival 2023 Grand Parade, downtown Fort Myers
As the Edison Festival comes to a close, witness this two-hour extravaganza. Watch as marching bands, floats and local officials promenade along downtown to celebrate the life and achievements of famed local winter resident Thomas Edison. In true Edison fashion, the nighttime parade—which begins at 7 p.m. at Fort Myers High School and lasts until 10 p.m.—is fully illuminated.
Rainbow Ostriches at Painting With a Twist, Port Charlotte
Keep life colorful with this painting class, themed “Rainbow Ostriches,” where kids jazz up the quirky countenance of an ostrich. The class is for kids 5 years old and up; children over 7 do not require a caretaker.
Feb. 23 – March 5
Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair, North Fort Myers
Take a spin on the Ferris wheel and chomp down on funnel cake at the Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair. Little ones get a close-up look at local livestock as farmers and ranchers show off their hard work in a family-oriented environment. Children under 4 get in free.
Alice in Wonderland Naples, Naples
Follow Alice down the rabbit hole and enter a world of adventure, intrigue and impossible twists and turns at this immersive event. The streets of Naples turn into a giant, escape room-style setting that forces your team of two-to-six players to solve clues to uncover a dark conspiracy at the heart of Wonderland. Grab your team—with at least one adult on deck—and embark on your fantastical journey. The secret starting location is revealed two weeks before the event.
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Avow Kids Shy Wolf Day Camp at Shy Wolf Sanctuary, Naples
Parents drop kids off at bereavement center Avow Kids’ Aunt Janet House in Naples, where they’re shuttled to Shy Wolf Sanctuary—a refuge for cougars, wolves, wolfdogs and other animals—for an up-close encounter with the wildlife. An Avow Kids therapist guides kids ages 5-17 as young ones hear the stories of the animals, all of whom have survived and learned to trust and love again.
Family Hike at CREW Marsh Trails, Immokalee
Lace-up your sneakers and head to CREW Marsh Trails in Immokalee to explore much of the 5.5 miles of marked loop trails with an experienced guide. The two-hour adventure (from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.) takes families through the wide-path trails, full of pine savannas and oak hammocks, and along the edge of a 5,000-acre sawgrass marsh, where kids are bound to encounter their favorite nature friend: bugs!
The Artsy Evening at Naples Art Institute
Every third Thursday through May, Naples Art Institute invites kids to get messy and inspired through different mediums and techniques that tie to the current exhibit. Kids walk around the gallery before moving on to try their hands with watercolor creations, paper art or pastel paintings. Cost is $35 and includes all supplies.
Exceptional Nights at Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples
Created for children with physical and/or neurological disabilities, autism and other sensory integration disorders, Exceptional Nights brings a thoughtful touch to an exciting museum experience. Space is limited to avoid heavy crowds, general lighting is softened, the noise level is decreased, and cool-down spaces are available as kiddos explore the museum’s exhibits, such as the Inventioneer’s Lab, where budding engineers can design and build objects. Free for museum members, $5 for non-members.