Cocoa Beach is one of Florida’s most visited travel destinations due to its warm weather, white sandy beaches along the Atlantic Coast, and close proximity to all things planetary. Also referred to as the “Space Coast,” Cocoa Beach is bordered by Cape Canaveral, home to the Kennedy Space Center. It’s a great place to visit with kids, as the attractions are plentiful and there’s so much to do and see. Whether you’ve got a family of surfing fanatics who want to spend as much time as possible on the beach or you’re raising a few junior astronauts who can’t wait to check out the shuttles and rockets, there’s never a dull moment in this bustling beach town with an abundance of activities in close proximity to your Cocoa Beach vacation rental. Here’s a list of the best family-friendly things to do in the area.

1. Go Back in Time at the Dinosaur Store and Museum – Cocoa Beach, Florida

Take your kids on a prehistoric journey with a trip to the Dinosaur Store and Museum. Located in Cocoa Beach, this one-of-a-kind museum features a Hall of Dinosaurs and a floor dedicated to ancient Egyptian culture, complete with authentic artifacts. When you finish your tour, stop by the museum store to check out the fossils and pick up a few souvenirs.

2. Explore the Visitor Complex at Kennedy Space Center – Cape Canaveral, Florida

Journey into the great beyond when you take your family to explore the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Located just a short drive from your vacation rental in the neighboring city of Cape Canaveral, the complex is a great place to spend the day. Visit the Firing Room and relive the launch of Apollo 8, then stop by the Lunar Theater to watch the moon landing in all its glory.

3. Feed the Gators and Golf at Golf-n-Gator – Cape Canaveral, Florida

For a little mini golf with an interesting twist, spend the day at Golf-n-Gator, one of Florida’s most unique attractions. Make your way through the course that winds through the gator swamps, and finish the day by feeding the gators that live on the grounds. If your kids are feeling daring, they may even want to hold a baby gator or snake. Other creatures, you may spot roaming around include tortoises, birds and lizards.

4. Fly High on a Helicopter Tour – Cape Canaveral, Florida

Spend the day enjoying the ultimate adventure with a guided helicopter tour of Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. Cocoa Beach Helicopters and Beachside Helicopters both provide tours that fly high above the beach cities, with amazing views of the ocean, Kennedy Space Center, and much more. Most helicopters seat up to four people, and your little ones can even sit in the front seat for a bird’s-eye view.

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5. Take a Ride on the Indian River Queen – Cocoa, Florida

Take in the sights and sounds of the area the old-fashioned way with a trip down the Indian River Lagoon aboard the Indian River Queen. Catch memorable glimpses of dolphins, manatees, birds and more off the deck of an authentic paddle boat that boasts three stories. Snack on Riverboat hot dogs and cold drinks as the skilled tour guide fills you in on the history of the area, and make sure to snap some photos of all the cool stuff you see along the way.

6. Visit Jungle Adventures Animal Park – Christmas, Florida

Known as Florida’s hidden treasure, Jungle Adventures Animal Park calls itself “A Real Florida Animal Park” and lives up to every word. Pay a visit to this magical place and enjoy a hands-on experience of petting baby alligators and other creatures, and watch in amazement as the tour guides handle alligators up to 15 feet long, also known as the “Last of the Dinosaurs.”

7. Take an Eco-Tour at Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge – Cocoa Beach, Florida

If you’re looking for a fun way for the family to get back to nature, take an eco-tour of Merrit Island’s National Wildlife Refuge. Take a guided tour and view animals such as otters, manatees, bobcats, and deer. An abundance of wild gators roams through these wetlands, as well as over 350 species of birds.

8. Spend Some Time at the Beach – Cocoa Beach, Florida

If a beach visit is high on your family’s to-do list, there’s no shortage of white sand and coastline in the Cocoa Beach area. Shepard Park Beach and Fischer Park Beach are also in close proximity. Pack up a picnic basket and plenty of sunscreens, and head out to one of the many beaches to enjoy some fun in the sun. Whether you feel like people-watching or your kids want to splash around in the water, the beach is fun for everyone. Shepard Park Beach has great views of the space launch at Kennedy Space Center, and Fischer Park Beach has picnic tables, playgrounds, and volleyball courts.

9. Catch Some Waves at the Cocoa Beach Surf Museum – Cocoa Beach, Florida

Surfing’s a pretty big deal in Cocoa Beach. While Ron Jon surf shops can be found throughout the U.S., the flagship facility in Cocoa Beach is special, as it houses the Cocoa Beach Surf Museum. Tour the museum to learn about the surfing history of Cocoa Beach, and don’t forget to check out the old-fashioned surfboards. When you’re finished with the tour, pop into the shop for some beachwear.

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