Discover Delray: 6 Spots for Families to Enjoy

Delray Beach recently made itself a name as "The Most Fun Small Town in America". Many of us were not surprised because, in Delray Beach, there is literally something for everyone. Delray offers a myriad of top-rated family attractions, entertainment, and kid-friendly activities. Delray Beach placed third as one of the "Top 10 Most Happiest Seaside Cities in America" and was voted “Best Weekend Destination” in 2015.  From extreme sports, arts, festivals, memorable cultural experiences for families, tempting scenic romantic spots for couples, to the variety of natural beauty to enjoy there is something for every family to enjoy.  The walkability, fantastic wide range of offerings, and proximity to the beach, make downtown Delray an "epic" place to take the kids. 

Here are some of the reasons we choose to visit Delray Beach...and often!

1. Morikami Japanese Museum & Gardens


Morikami can be summed up in one word: "Amazing". Morikami consists of beautiful Japanese inspired gardens, with scenic natural features, 2 museums, and a world-class restaurant. Located on the western side of Delray Beach, it has been the epicenter of Japanese arts and culture since 1977. There are two museums on the grounds: The first building is a model of a Japanese villa; the other recent and larger building has a large exhibition space, an excellent gift shop of Japanese products and a well-regarded Japanese restaurant.

On sunny days, families can walk through the botanical gardens, bonsai garden, and rock gardens.  Kids will enjoy feeding the koi fish at the small waterfall or traversing the manmade brook with picturesque bridges and Japanese lantern.  If the kids tire there are plenty of shady spots to repose and multiple water stations throughout the park to refresh with a chilled drink.

Rainy Day?  No worries. On rainy days, you can take your kids to visit the tea room and indoor exhibitions, theater, and run out to the Japanese model house when there is a break in the rain.  

Fee.

**Highlights for the kids: Yamato-kan where children can make believe they are in Japan; sushi rolls (kids love them); lots of space to explore!**

2. Pineapple Grove & Atlantic Avenue


Pineapple Grove and the Atlantic Avenue strip feature restaurants, cafes, beauty salons, shops, entertainment, small art galleries and great merchandise that can satisfy even the pickiest shoppers. You won’t have any problems finding a delectable place to eat. The kids can grab a burger and a sweet treat and then head to the Old School Square playground to burn off all of that energy.  Enjoy people watching or window gazing while you taken in the main arteries of this quaint seaside town. If you play your cards just right you can enjoy free Friday Night concerts at the Pavilion or take in an art festival along the avenue.  Hidden away behind Johnny Brown's restaurant and just off Atlantic Avenue, the Silverball Museum is a recent addition to the Delray Beach scene. Come in to watch for free or pay by the hour to delight in vintage games and engage in some friendly family competition on the skeeball machines.

Free to stroll.

**Highlights for the kids: Linear playground with large open field, fun old school arcade, sweet shops like Kilwins & FREE CONCERTS**  

3. Sandoway House Nature Center

This 1936 seaside house is an excellent stop for families, with its seashell collection, turtle lake, and even more so its swimming pool shark tank. The areas surrounding Sandoway feature native plants and an outdoor observation area over the ocean. The nature center runs informative programming throughout the season so be sure to check their schedule. The Sandoway House is just the perfect size to explore with small children and the exhibits & novelty will intrigue older children. Be sure to take in the views of the ocean and linger in the butterfly garden.  Make a day of it by including a trip to the beach or a stroll to a nearby eatery.

Small fee plus pay to park.

**Highlights for the kids: SHARKS IN A POOL and the nearby beach**

4. Wakhodahatchee Wetlands or Green Cay Nature Center & Wetlands

Wakhodahatchee is the perfect place to have your camera handy because you are almost guaranteed to get excellent shots of the animals that appear almost to be literally posing for the photos. The man-made marsh is actually a filtration system for water from a nearby treatment plant. It was created to be a haven for native wildlife and they have taken to their manmade home like a duck to water.  Wakodahatchee is considered to be bird watching hotspot, and you'll find it easy to see birds, fearlessly feeding right next to the boardwalk. In addition to the ibis, stork, spoonbills, heron, gallinule and other wetland birds, you usually can spot iguana, turtles, marsh rabbits and alligators.  Kids are always delighted to spot one of the alligators...from a safe distance of course.  The boardwalk makes a loop and is very walkable with plenty of shaded pavilions to rest.  Bring snacks and water.  Be sure to remember that the restroom is out by the parking lot.  Best times to visit are early morning (before it gets too hot) and right at sunset when the birds begin to roost.   

Located at the western edge of Delray Beach along Hagen Ranch Road, Green Cay (pronounced Cay or Key) is a popular spot for walkers, photographers and nature lovers.  The Nature Center offers informative films about the area wildlife as well as live animal exhibits made to look like natural habitats.  The baby alligator tank and the turtles in the large central tank always grab attention but don't miss the smaller frog display on the side or the water reclamation displays about the wetlands.  Restrooms are only at the front so be sure to make a pit stop before heading out on the boardwalks.  We recommend taking smaller children on 1 loop of the trail and not trying to undertake the entire system.  Older kids and teens can probably handle a longer hike.  There are plenty of shaded pavilions to stop and enjoy refreshments along the way.   **Highlights for the kids: see through tanks with turtles, frogs and baby gators...running the nature trail...and seeing wildlife up close on the boardwalks**
 

5. The Beach that is Delray Beach

With all these spectacular goodies, it is almost tempting to forget the "beach" part in Delray Beach.  Delray is great because its famed “downtown”  comes with a beach attached! Locals and visitors alike love to soak up the sun on one of the Top Ten beaches in Florida by day, and enjoy the electrifying nightlife found on Delray’s Atlantic Avenue during the night. 

The beach is a 2-Mile long traditional public beach, a destination that drives in roughly one million visitors annually. In 2013 Delray Beach was awarded the “Best Renewed Beach” prize and was declared as a Blue Wave Beach for it’s hygienic and well-managed environment. The City of Delray Beach has contracted a seaside cleaning service company and a cabana lease company to ensure year-round enjoyments for all citizens and visitors.

There are several spots along the beach to choose from for your beach outing.  North beach has metered parallel parking and is much quieter than the rest of the beach generally.  The middle of the main beach has restaurants (great for a snack or shady break from the beach) and public restrooms and showers.  At the southern end you can park at Anchor Park which offers barbecue grills, beach parking, shaded playground, vending machines, showers and public restrooms.  It is possible to hold a family volleyball tournament right here on the beach since there are volleyball nets at the southern end as well. The Atlantic Rescue Division Headquarters is also located at the south end of the beach.

Free except for parking.

**Highlights for the kids: sand play, wave hopping and all around day at the beach fun!**

6. Putt N Around Delray


Located along US 1 in Delray Beach this Delray attraction is listed as one of the top things to do on Trip Advisor.  Try one of the 2 courses, Everglades or Ocean, which are just challenging enough to keep the kids entertained.  Enjoy a beverage or snack delivered to the course while you play.  The grounds are beautifully landscaped with Florida flora that will make you feel like you've entered an oasis.  Its conveniently located just north of the main downtown area and can be reached via the Downtowner or private vehicle.  Putt N Around Delray is easily made a part of your time in Delray as an addition to the beach or other nearby sights.  Allow a couple of hours.

**Highlights for the kids: mini-golf, food and family quality time together.

Delray is a perfect destination for families all year round.  Come see what all the buzz is about. Delray Beach is easily added to any South Florida itinerary since it is situated at the southern end of Palm Beach county.  It is accessible from 2 international airports and within short drives to surrounding towns of Boca Raton and Boynton Beach which also offer children's museums, beaches, malls and more.  With its beautiful parks, beaches, shops, restaurants and attractions, Delray Beach has ample choices to fit any family budget and plenty to do to make family time special.

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