Although we are already a week into 2012, I didn’t want to end the year without sharing our top ten of 2011. This year was an interesting year for us. I started out the year with a broken foot (after just recently healing from breaking the other foot…seriously…I can’t make this stuff up) so we didn’t do too much exploring for the first few months. When the new school year started, Little S entered Pre-K and was gone most of the morning and that cut into our exploring as well. Even though we didn’t get out as often as we wanted to, we still found lots of great things to do in and around town.
There is no scientific data to this post…I just asked my kids and my husband what their favorite activities were throughout the year! Here is our 2011 top ten list of favorite activities in no particular order:
Distinctive Kitchens Kid’s Cooking Classes – This is the only activity that I haven’t written about yet. We were invited to attend (disclosure: our cost was covered) a DK Kid’s cooking class where we made rolled out gingerbread and put together a huge gingerbread house over a two day period. At first glance some of the classes seem a little pricey, but after attending the gingerbread house making class we think that they are worth it. The spring schedule is on the DK calendar where you will find kid’s classes, camps, and preschool mommy and me classes. I am hoping to enroll Big S in the Wintry Breakfast Foods because he loves to eat breakfast foods!
Parks, parks, and more parks – This year, my goal was to visit a new park each week. Well, that didn’t happen but we did visit a lot of new parks around town and found a few new favorites. Our favorite park of the year is Miralla Park. This little neighborhood park is set away from major streets, has a great playground equipment and a large grassy area to run around. Some of the other parks we enjoyed visiting this year were Bryan Park, Beulah Regional Park, Regency Park, and Lions Park.
Frozen Yogurt Shops – Pensacola saw a yogurt shop business boom this year. Frozen yogurt shops opened up all over town and if you read this site regularly it will come as no surprise that we visited every single one (TCBY’s Waffle Cone Wednesday made our 2010 top ten list last year!). TCBY opened up on 9 Mile Road and 32 degrees and Berry Yogurt opened up over by the mall.
Holiday Light Displays – We love to bundle up in blankets and drive around town looking at the lights. This year, my kids were old enough to really love the light displays all over town. We had lots favorites but this one off of Longleaf and Nathan Drive topped them all!
Condor Sailing Adventures – Recently, my children have a new-found love for all things boat. They love to watch the boats, count the boats and sail the boats after our sail with Condor Sailing Adventures (*disclosure: our cost was covered). It was so great to see Pensacola from the water. We got a great view of the Maritime Park construction and enjoyed learning how to sail the boat.
Downtown Trick or Treat – After posting for three years about the Downtown Trick or Treat, we finally made it to the event. We had so much fun! The kids loved collecting candy and I loved wandering in some of the little shops I hadn’t been able to visit yet.
Free Summer Movies - This summer we took advantage of the free summer movies to get out of the heat. Four different theaters participated in a summer movie program and the Silver Screen also had a weekly $1 show. We enjoyed catching up on movies that we missed through the school year and the best part was that it was free! We also took advantage of the Friday Family Flicks downtown. As it gets closer to summertime, check back for the schedules. We update the site as we receive the free summer movie schedule.
Chagall for Children Exhibit – This year, the Pensacola Museum of Art had the Chagall for Children exhibit on loan from the Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago. It was an awesome hands-on experience introducing children to Chagall’s artwork. They don’t currently have a hands-on exhibit for children but I hope that they will continue to welcome them in the future. The museum is free to visit on Tuesdays and they offer children’s art classes and camps.
Festivals of all kinds – This year was the year of the festival for us. We missed a lot of the festivals in 2010 because of my other broken foot (refer to first paragraph…ha!) so we made up for it in 2011. We attended the Gulf Coast Arts Festival, the Seafood Festival, the Festival on the Green, Gallery Night and Mardi Gras and that doesn’t even include half of the festivals Pensacola has to offer. The festivals are great family friendly events because there is usually a children’s arts and crafts area that is free and good for most ages.
Day Trips and Overnighters – Along with exploring Pensacola on the weekends, we also made some day trips and overnighters. We had some great adventures nearby! Our absolute favorite was our visit to LEGOLAND Florida’s opening weekend in Orlando with a visit to Callaway Gardens, Georgia (Did you know you can book a cabin on the grounds?! We didn’t!) and Seaside tying for a close second place.
These were our favorite activities for 2011 but this site wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for all of our great readers. We asked you on our Pensacola with Kids Facebook Page what your favorite activity of 2011 was and this is what you said (listed in no particular order):