Sanibel Island Activities for Kids

Although the beaches are the main attraction in Sanibel Island, Florida, there are plenty of fun things for the kids to do when they want to brush the sand off. Sanibel Island activities for kids range from educational fun and interacting with marine life to boat rides and cruising the island on two wheels – or four, if your little ones need training wheels!

Sanibel Island Sea School

Your children will love playing with the fish (you'll love the educational value) at the Sanibel Island Sea School, where they’ll be immersed in hands-on learning about the ocean world. There is no classroom program, but the school takes the kids out to the water to explore all sorts of sea life with friendly and enthusiastic instructors.

sanibel island sandcastle kids

The programs for kids range from ages 5-13, and children over the age of 13 can check out the adult programs. Half-day and full day programs are available, and the school will even provide lunch for a small extra fee. Choose from a variety of options, including learning about sharks, dolphins, algae, crabs and even the history of pirates in the area. There are two locations: one in the town of Sanibel and another at the South Seas Island Resort in Captiva.

Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum

Kids love searching for shells on the beach, and the variety of sea critters around Sanibel Island makes for great shelling. After a good shell hunt, you can foster that love with a visit to the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, where they can learn everything imaginable about them. Kids can explore hands-on in the touch tank and play shell-matching games. They'll have the opportunity to examine countless shell specimens, as well as “sailor’s valentines” (beautiful art made of shells) and fossilized shells. The friendly and very knowledgeable staff members are happy to answer questions and check out your kids’ beach finds to tell them what type of treasures they have discovered.

Billy’s Bicycle Shop and Segway Tours

You an take a cruise around the island with a bike rental from Billy’s. They have great programs for kids, offering a free helmet rental with every bike and stocking bikes of all sizes for the kids, including training wheels, if you need them. For the littlest kids, they also rent bike trailers.

As the island has miles of paved bike trails, taking a bike tour is one of the best Sanibel Island activities for kids, is a great way to explore and gets everyone some exercise in the fresh air. Ask at Billy’s for a helpful bike map of the Island. If you don’t feel up to pedaling, Billy's rents Segways, as well. In fact, guided Segway tours of the island are offered, but they are best for teens, since the minimum age is 14 and the minimum weight 100 lbs.

Sanibel Community Playground

With new playground equipment suited for a range of ages, the Sanibel Community Playground is a great place for the kids to burn off some energy in a safe, confined area while mom and dad can relax a bit. The playground is covered with huge canvas sun shades, providing parents and kids alike with protection and respite from the heat of the sun. The playground is known for clean restrooms, so it can also serve as a great pitstop on your bike tour of the Island or a picnic location for a peaceful day.

Sanibel Thriller Boat Ride

Older kids will love the fast pace of this boat tour, but if you sit at the back of the boat, prepare to get wet! As you skim across the water, you'll experience the unforgettable sight of dozens of dolphins racing along in the wake of the boat, jumping in the air as they go.

There are no restrooms on board, so you may want to make sure the kids visit one before you get on. Also, bring a jacket, since it can get cool out on the water. Seats towards the middle of the boat offer a good view of the dolphins, with less danger of getting wet. The tour guides are friendly and knowledgeable and create a fun experience you will remember long after you’ve docked and dried off. This is one of the Sanibel Island activities for kids that they'll want to do again and again!


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