Updated: Dec 22, 2019
It’s raining, it’s pouring, help, my vacation is boring! When the sun goes behind the Emerald Coast clouds, step out of your hotel or condo and explore some of these oft overlooked treasures. The kids will love them, and mom and dad will, too! Don’t forget to use GoVetted because traffic and parking can be quite challenging around these parts when it rains.
1. NATIONAL NAVAL AVIATION MUSEUM
| Pensacola, Florida
Photo by VisitPensacola.com
The National Naval Aviation Museum is the world’s largest Naval Aviation museum and one of the most-visited museums in the state of Florida. Share the excitement of Naval Aviation’s rich history and see more than 150 beautifully restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Aviation. These historic and one-of-a-kind aircraft are displayed both inside the Museum’s nearly 350,000 square feet of exhibit space and outside on its 37-acre grounds. One thing’s for sure, you can’t beat the price! Free admission and free parking! Note: This museum is located on an active base, so call beforehand to make sure public access is available on your day of visit.
NavalAviationMuseum.org | 1878 S Blue Angel Pkwy - Pensacola, FL 32508 | 800.327.5002
2. CORDOVA MALL
| Pensacola, Florida
Photo by Simon.com
Conveniently located near I-10 and the Pensacola Airport, Cordova Mall is a perfect place to take a stroll, or kick back and while away a rainy day. The largest and most upscale indoor shopping center on the Emerald Coast, it’s anchored by Belk, Dillard’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond and World Market. With more than 120 specialty stores, including H&M, Carter’s/Osh Kosh B’Gosh, LOFT, Chico’s, Jos. A Bank, Sephora, The Buckle, and Old Navy, there’s something for even the most discriminating shopper in your crew. Looking for some tasty treats to go with your day of splurging? Pieology, Panera Bread, Red Robin and Moe’s Southwest Grill are some of the marvelous dining options there. At Cordova Mall your choices are endless – fantastic shopping, delicious food and fun for the whole family! BONUS: The AMC Bayou 15 movie theater is right around the corner at 5149 Bayou Blvd.
Simon.com/Mall/Cordova-Mall | 5100 N 9th Avenue - Pensacola, FL 32508
3. UNCLE BUCK'S FISH BOWL & GRILL
| Destin, Florida
Photo by Pinterest
Ever pull a bowling ball out of a shark’s mouth? Well, now you can! Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill features a truly unique atmosphere and design geared for family fun and dining.12 full lanes of bowling that offer a unique underwater ocean experience. Bring your Little Mermaids and Diver Dans, grab a custom bowling ball bearing the likeness of a lobster, octopus, or camouflage, and smack those pins! “Dock” wooden lanes feature underwater scenery of sea turtles, sharks, stingrays and other saltwater species! Hand-painted murals and fish hanging from the ceiling bring everything together for a deep-sea dive like no other. Several party rooms and packages are available, naturally.
UncleBucksFishBowlAndGrill.com | 4251 Legendary Dr - Destin, FL 32541 | 850.269.6100
4. SILVER SANDS PREMIUM OUTLETS
| Miramar Beach, Florida
Photo by Premium Outlets
After several days with family, we all need an (emotional) outlet! Preferably one with shopping! Silver Sands is home to 110 designer and name-brand outlet stores, including Coach, Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store and Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th. Visitors can find a variety of shops ranging from women’s apparel and accessories to housewares and sporting goods. A premier shopping destination along the Emerald Coast, the outlet mall serves the nearby communities of Destin, South Walton, Panama City and Pensacola. Conveniently located off US Highway 98, one mile west of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, this beautiful outdoor mall features covered sidewalks, lush landscaping and a children’s play area. A variety of enticing dining options abound, from sit down venues including Carrabba’s Italian Grill to fast casual and grab-and-go options such as Panera Bread and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. Be patient with parking because when it rains, Silver Sands roars!
5. SEVILLE QUARTER
| Pensacola, Florida
Photo by Seville Quarter
Cloud 9 Imagery’s proprietor, Nicole Thompson, moved to the area two years ago from Middle Tennessee. With nearly two decades of professional photography experience, she captures heartfelt moments during weddings, special events, family occasions, and more along the Emerald Coast. Her style transforms with each individual, and every image you see is both created and captured to showcase who you are as an individual. Her speciality is creating priceless heirloom portraits that tell your story. Remember your legacy through her work.
130 E Government St - Pensacola, FL 32502 | 850.434.6211 | SevilleQuarter.com
6. ESCAPE ROOMS
| Various Locations, Florida
Photo by Escape The Room
An escape room is a perfect family-friendly, rainy day outing. You and your team are “locked” in a large room decorated in a specific theme. Each venue creates its own rooms based on imaginative and pop culture referenced back stories. Haunted house, ticking time bomb, and murder mystery are just some of the options available. Once you select your room, you’re placed inside with little or no instructions, and the mission is to, guess what, escape. Prison break, art thievery, and the like, give you and your friends ample opportunity to test your breakout skills. Make sure to call ahead of time and reserve a room, because on rainy days, these venues fill up fast.
Google "Escape Rooms Near Me" or "Escape Rooms Destin (or other city)"
7. FORT SK8 FAMILY FUN CENTER
| Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Photo by Get Occasion App
Eat, skate, play and bounce in one place! At Fort SK8 Family Fun Center, the entire family is guaranteed hours of fun. Let the good times roll while enjoying their 11,000 sq. ft roller skating floor, or let the little ones bounce off their energy in their Jump Zone. Got Hoop Fever? They got you covered! Or head to the arcade for state-of-the-art immersive video games. Whether you’re looking for a fun outing, good eats, or just want to try something new, Fort SK8 Family Fun Center has something for everyone to enjoy!
202 Racetrack Rd NW - Fort Walton Beach, FL 32457 | 850.863.1223 | FortSk8.com
8. EMERALD COAST SCIENCE CENTER
| Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Photo by EScience.org
VAcation meets EDUcation in this fun-filled facility that includes two classroom spaces and 4 exhibit rooms, along with 2 acres of property. A robotics exhibit was installed in 2015, and 2017 saw the arrival of an exhibit featuring our local Emerald Coast ecosystems. Their Makerspace and DREAMS Lab are designed to foster critical thinking skills and grow a love for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Be sure to check out SMALLab, an embodied learning platform that will have every learner up, moving, and collaborating in an interactive environment. Their Mini Makers and Experimenters Lab are geared toward preschool-aged children, with plenty of hands-on exhibits to encourage play and discover. They continue expanding their exhibits and programming, so be sure to stop by to see all the exciting things you can do on a rainy day!
31 Memorial Pkwy SW - Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 | EScience.org
9. AIR FORCE ARMAMENT MUSEUM
| Eglin Air Force Base, Florida
Photo by Wikipedia
Wow! This is the only museum in the world dedicated to the collection, preservation and exhibition of artifacts and memorabilia associated with Air Force Armament and its platforms of delivery. Over 29 different aircraft have found a home here, including many aircraft from the WWII era to the present. Also, several hundred pieces of armament, including a gun collection, bombs, bomblets, and missiles, including the Sparrow, Sidewinder, cluster bombs, Bunker Buster and the MOAB can be seen. A 32-minute film on the history of Eglin Air Force Base and its role in the development of armament is shown continuously throughout the day. So much to see, but don’t worry, if you don’t catch everything in one visit, just come back tomorrow because admission is free!
100 Museum Dr - Eglin Air Force Base, FL 32542 | 850.882.4062 | AFArmamentMuseum.com
10. GULFARIUM MARINE ADVENTURE PARK
| Okaloosa Island, Florida
Photo by Gulfarium.com
Since its inception in 1955, Gulfarium has entertained millions of locals and visitors alike. This was the first aquarium of its time to feature viewing windows stretching from the sea floor to the water’s surface. While common now, this innovation was… ahem, groundbreaking, and throughout the years, additional pools and exhibits have been added to welcome sea lions, seals, otters, alligators, and exotic birds. Other firsts include:
• The first marine park to perform underwater shows using SCUBA gear, rather than the traditional full-helmet dive gear of the era.
• The first to record a dolphin jumping to a height of 21 feet.
• The first to successfully raise a stranded baby bottlenose dolphin.
• The first to develop a synthetic milk formula for bottlenose dolphins, which is still used today.
The Gulfarium’s extensive history of shows and demonstrations feature close-up animal encounters, providing kids and adults with a new dimension of discovering sea life.
1010 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE - Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 | 850.243.9046 | Gulfarium.com
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