A travel journal
to Fort Walton Beach by Kids-in-Tow
Quote: This is a family-oriented area in the middle of it all. It offers many activities besides the beach. Accommodation is plentiful. For our family, there were too many distractions that our children were too young to participate in, but it would be ideal for late elementary on up.
Indian Temple Mound and Museum is downtown and away from the beach. Parking could be a problem here.
Just about anything normally connected with a beach town is available here.
We happened to hit it just right on a Monday Kid’s Night. The boys enjoyed the pirate making balloon animals and the clown doing face painting.
This is definitely a kid-friendly place. The waitress made no complaint when the boys spilled their milk or popped their balloons. Requesting a new table because ours was too unbalanced was also not a problem. The wait-staff had no problem wearing funny balloon hats to amuse the kids.
The food was also excellent. While some items on the menu were pricey, you got a lot of food for your money. The sandwiches and baskets were a full meal. I had the Anglers Elizabeth (Mahi Mahi topped with shrimp, crabmeat and pine nuts, covered with lemon-butter sauce), and it was wonderful.
After dinner, we took the boys for a run on the pier.
Be sure to find time to eat here in combination with your visit to the Gulfarium.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2001
Anglers Beachside Grill
1030 Miracle Strip Parkway
Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32548
Attraction | "Gulfarium"
The Gulfarium is older than that "other" theme park chain, but it doesn’t have the beer bucks behind it. The dolphin and sea lion shows were nice, but not near as expansive or glitzy.
The individual shows were shorter, which was an advantage for our young children. They were also able to get close to the animals. A highlight of the 5-year-olds day was getting his picture taken with a sea lion flipper in his lap.
There are 4 shows of 20-25 minutes each, run back to back with the cycle repeating. You can cover all the exhibits, shows and gift shops in about 3 hours. The shows are a dolphin show, a sea lion show, a dolphin-and-sea lion show and a "Living Seas" show (which is an aquarium of Gulf species with a scuba diver). All the shows except the aquarium show are outside with shade, so dress for the heat.
There were some touch tanks available for limited periods of time to give the animals a rest. The alligator pond was kind of boring for our boys as the ‘gators didn’t move.
This was one of our combo trips: Anglers Beachside Grill is conveniently next door and the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier is also worth a stop.
Visit the Gulfarium on the web. Maybe you will be interested in their program where kids get to swim with dolphins.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 29, 2001
Gulfarium Marine Park Adventure
1010 Miracle Strip Parkway SE
Ft. Walton Beach, Florida
Our young family does not yet have the patience for fishing, but this pier was a great learning experience.
The kids had just come from the Gulfarium and needed the run to the end of the pier where most of the fishing folks were. The day we were there they were catching, hard-tail, pinfish, king mackerel and the occasional remora. The fishers politely showed the boys their catches. They told us this was a particularly poor day, that usually the types of fish caught were better.
Looking down into the water off the pier we saw a humongous sea turtle and dolphins working together to feed. The fisher-folk didn’t seem to grudge the competition, at least not while we were there.
I think the boys would have stayed out another half-hour, but it started to rain. This gave us the perfect opportunity to herd them back to the cars.
Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier
1030 Miracle STRP Pkwy Se
Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32548
La Crosse, Wisconsin