This year, opt for a spring getaway laced with elements of educational exploration! That’s right — Daytona Beach is not only a favorite family destination for its sunshine and outdoor adventures, but also for its enriching opportunities to learn. If you’re looking for a way to relax and reconnect with your family while still engaging young minds, look no further. Here, it’s easy to get a taste of culture, expand horizons or learn something new without ever ending the fun. Ahead, read about five favorite educational experiences available in the Daytona Beach area.
1) Interact with Exhibits at Charles and Linda Williams Children’s Museum at MOAS
Explore a dazzling array of exhibits and enjoy hands-on learning at the Museum of Arts & Sciences (MOAS). Located in the lush, 90-acre Tuscawilla Preserve, MOAS is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate and is nationally accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The kids likely won’t care about those accreditations — but they will LOVE the interactive fun that awaits at the Charles and Linda Williams Children’s Museum inside MOAS!
In this engaging environment, children can safely experience the principles behind engines by assembling and racing a race car. Learning how to take vital stats — an activity that’s just what the doctor ordered — is also among the activities on tap. And, music is even more fun when you get to play a harp with laser beams!
2) See Sea Creatures at the Marine Science Center
Watch video: Go on an educational journey at the Marine Science Center.
For even more hands-on fun, head to Ponce Inlet for the Marine Science Center. A favorite among area visitors of all ages, the Marine Science Center is an especially smart destination choice for those with young children. Go on an educational journey through marine life, explore various sea-creature exhibits, touch a stingray, see sea turtles up close in the rehabilitation hospital, and meet the creatures of the artificial reef system. It’s a wonderful way to learn how to appreciate the wide, wonderful waters surrounding Daytona Beach, as well as how we can play a role in keeping them safe.
3) Explore Ecosystems at Environmental Discovery Center and Lyonia Preserve
Get a glimpse into the area's diverse ecosystems on a self-guided exploration of the Environmental Discovery Center. Experience up close encounters with nature, see the inside of a honeybee colony and bring a canoe or kayak to paddle 75 acres of navigable waters. The 360-acre restored ecosystem surrounding Lyonia Preserve and Environmental Center is also fun to explore. It features a network of hiking trails, an amphitheater, ecology exhibits, saltwater and freshwater aquariums, as well as native and non-native reptile and mammal "animal ambassadors."
4) Step into History at Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park
If you’re looking for more outdoor family fun beyond the beach, make the short drive from downtown Daytona Beach to Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park.
The park offers a unique mix of historic plantation ruins and beautiful marshes — ideal for families who want to roam out in nature and stretch their legs. The proximity makes for the perfect excursion — you can go there in the morning and be back at the beach by mid-afternoon.
The plantation home and mills date back to 1820, and the remains of what the Seminole Indians burned down in 1836 are now featured in a walkable museum that all ages can enjoy. Peruse artifacts, historic writings and easy-to-follow interpretive exhibits that give a glimpse into what life in the area was like centuries ago.
5) Learn About African American Heritage
Daytona Beach offers a wide variety of sites and celebrations that allow all to share in the area’s rich African American heritage. African Americans were among some of the first settlers in the Daytona Beach area, thanks in part to the colony of freedmen that took shape here.
In later years, significant influences like famed baseball player Jackie Robinson and civil rights activist Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune left their legacies in Daytona Beach. In fact, the Jackie Robinson Ballpark and Statue as well as Mary McLeod Bethune’s home and gravesite are excellent places to learn more about the role Daytona Beach played in history.
Watch video: Influential African American leaders such as Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Jackie Robinson and many others have left their legacies for you to discover in Daytona Beach.
There are a number of culturally significant spots to explore in Daytona Beach — view the full roundup of African American heritage spots here.
These highlights are just a handful of the many historic and cultural gems found in the Daytona Beach area. From ancient Native American burial grounds to the birthplace of NASCAR, there are endless ways to keep exploration and learning fun here!
Find the perfect place to stay in Daytona Beach — from oceanfront hotels to family-friendly campgrounds and condos, there’s something suited to your needs. Don’t wait — book your family’s spring getaway now!