This month, while on summer vacation, Gulf Coast tikes have plenty of opportunities to soak up the sun and fun. An arts and crafts summer camp in Fort Myers draws out the your child’s inner artist; a festive fireworks display in Cape Coral illuminates the night; and an explorers-in-training workshop at Naples Zoo invites your littles to get an up-close look at wildlife.
Everglades City Independence Day Celebration at McLeod Park
Celebrate “100 Years of History” at this free, all-day family event where everyone is encouraged to dress up. Patriotically outfitted littles can enter the best-dressed competition, and the whole family can be a part of the parade with a decked-out golf cart, car or buggie. At 9 p.m., watch the sky light up with fireworks over McLeod Park.
Red White & BOOM, Cape Coral
This free event in downtown Cape is one of the biggest, most popular Independence Day celebrations for families in Southwest Florida. Children under 12 are encouraged to be a part of the Kids’ Fun Run, where prize ribbons and T-shirts are awarded to all racers. Stick around with your littles for the nighttime fireworks. show.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Community School of Naples
The Naples Players hosts the timeless musical based on a mix of the classic Victor Hugo novel and the Disney film featuring a score by Alan Menken. The production team includes Joshua B. Reid, a Broadway sound designer who was nominated for a Tony Award this year.
Jul. 7 – Aug. 12
Disney’s The Little Mermaid at Broadway Palm Theatre, Fort Myers
This splash hit follows the mermaid princess Ariel as she longs for the wonders of the human world and falls in love with a dashing human prince. Don’t miss the chance to sing along to songs like “Under the Sea” and “Part of Your World”.
Kids Floral Design Workshop at Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers
Your children ages 6 and up join floral designer Anita Singh, of Flowers by Anita, to learn about flower care and design. All materials and flowers are provided by Edison & Ford, and your kiddo gets to take their arrangement home.
Parents’ Night Out Out of This World at Four Freedoms Park, Cape Coral
Register your 4- to 8-year-old youngsters by July 7th to reserve one of 30 spots for this three-hour daycare-style event. City of Cape Coral preschool teachers, who are all CPR and First Aid-certified, watch over the littles, during the outer space-themed event, complete with a movie, games, arts and crafts, and a pizza dinner.
The 24th Annual Big Backpack Event at Fort Myers Skatium
Back-to-school shopping is made easier by the Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida, which aims to give away at least 2,000 backpacks for local students ages 5 to 12 at this annual drive-thru event. A DJ entertains attendees while local police officers and firefighters interact with the kids in the car line. Backpacks are filled with necessities like colored pencils, spiral notebooks and glue sticks. Each car also gets food bags with dry and canned goods.
Every Wednesday and Saturday through Jul. 29
Safari Squad, Sounds of Summertime at Naples Zoo
Designed for tots 1 to 4 years old and their guardian, the Safari Squad has zoo experts teach about wildlife through animal encounters, story times and interactive play stations every Wednesday and Saturday this month. Each session includes nature-themed activities that stoke your explorer’s creativity and empathy for the natural world.
Weekly through Aug. 4
Summer Art Camp at AR Workshop, Fort Myers
Campers ages 7 to 14 spend their time crafting during these four- or five-day sessions. In July, young artists learn about color theory while tie-dyeing canvas pillows and T-shirts or celebrate Christmas in July while designing seasonal decor and making gifts. The arts and crafts studio is offering a $20 discount to GULFSHORE LIFE readers with the code “GULFLIFE20” valid until July 31st.
Every Thurs. through Ju. 27
Little Explorers at The Conservancy, Naples
Your scientist-in-training dives into the life and anatomy of a new animal. This month, the focus shifts from chameleons to ladybugs to moon jellies. Kiddos create things like a camouflage craft and a ladybug clock to match the stories or take a trip to the discovery center to meet sea critters.
Avow Kids First Friday Movie Nights: The Parent Trap at Avow Ispiri Community Center, Naples
Avow hosts movies that focus on grief to encourage conversations for kids in a safe space to process emotions. After munching on pizza, families sit down with cards and reflection questions pertaining to important themes to consider while watching, then there’s after the film. This month, it’s The Parent Trap, in which a set of twins separated at birth serendipitously meet for the first time at a summer camp and concoct a plan to get their parents back together. Kids explore the ideas of how to cope with life’s changes and complex family dynamics.
Hands-on Family History Day, Collier Museum at Government Center, Naples
Learn about the 100-year history of Collier County with your kids while creating traditional folk crafts, playing old-timey games, discovering historically accurate tools and toys, and taking your picture in the old-fashioned photo station.
Family Fun Night at Bell Tower Shops, Fort Myers
The Children’s Advocacy Center of SWFL hosts this monthly family night, with games like inflatable archery, food like cotton candy and face painting. This month, Adam’s Animal Encounters, a Bokeelia-based nonprofit animal rescue, introduces guests to local wildlife with animal interactions.