Tuck into Breakfast at Ryan’s Island Cafe (8am – 9:15am)
Pack your trusty tote bag with some snack bars and bottled water for today’s schedule. (No food is permitted at the museums, but snack bars will be fine.) Then head to Ryan’s Island Cafe for today’s breakfast intake. Ryan’s is technically “newer” to the beach, but is actually one of the better breakfast spots around and has garnered glowing online reviews.
This locally owned café is a must-visit on your trip. Everything is excellent on the menu, honestly. The Morning Monster or Belt Breaker breakfast has dad’s name written all over it, while the little ones will love the Boss Stacked pancakes. And mom might be more inclined towards the Croissant Sandwich and Healthy Choice Parfait.
After breakfast, you will have a 40-minute drive to downtown St. Petersburg. Be sure everyone uses the restroom prior to hopping in the car. *Very important*
Marvel at the Dali Museum (10am – 12:30pm)
Local Tip: Park at the museum for just $10. It is the cheapest parking you will find in downtown, and you can leave your car here all day! You’ll be able to walk to all the other exciting experiences from here.
Although not a “children’s museum” technically speaking, you’ll find that the impressive Dali Museum is really kid-friendly. The awe-inspiring building, which kind of looks like two totally different structures have collided, captures the fascination of all ages and there are plenty of activities aimed at kids. There is both an adult and kid-version of the audio tour (which happens to be narrated by Dali’s mustache!), along with a fun scavenger hunt.
The Avant-garden is the perfect setting for kids to run around and explore, especially the labyrinth and the fascinating melting bench with its melting clock (which looks like its straight out of Alice in Wonderland!) And the kids will love making a wish at the Wish Tree. As it’s overlooking the marina, moms and dads usually enjoy a break here, too.
If you happen to go on a Saturday you can join in on some coloring action in the DillyDally with Dali arts and crafts room. (Currently, this event is available virtually through Zoom.)
Walk to St. Pete Pier (1pm)
Leave your car parked at the museum and walk over to St. Pete Pier. (It is only a 0.7-mile walk.) On your way to the pier, stop by the large fountain for a few minutes, check out the awesome boats gently bopping in the water and admire the private airplanes taking off from Albert Whitted Airport.
Lunch at Doc Ford’s (1:15pm- 2:15pm)
Head to Doc Ford’s for lunch. This place is top-rated, and it’s not hard to see why. Their food is always fresh and delicious, and it’s typically buzzing with live music and a great waterfront vibe. Be sure to ask for a table out back on the water, so you can continue to watch the awesome boats and planes during lunch. As a bonus, kids have space to run freely until lunch is served.
Try the succulent oysters if you’re feeling fancy, or the meaty crab cakes. (They also offer some awesome cocktails. Come on, you’ve earned it by this point!) On the kids’ menu you’ll find reliable choices like fish or chicken fingers, hot dogs and pizza.
Walk around the pier (2:15 – 2:45)
After lunch, walk out to the tip of the pier to enjoy more views. Or head up to the Teak rooftop restaurant for panoramic vistas of the surroundings.
Visit the Chihuly Collection (3:15pm – 5pm)
After visiting the pier, you will be heading to the Chihuly Collection. The museum is a nice 30 minute (1.5 miles) walk from the pier, taking you through all the happenings of downtown St. Pete, with tons of shops and people-watching on offer.
Now we know what you are thinking. Kids in a GLASS museum full a breakable stuff doesn’t necessarily seem like the best idea, but you’ll be surprised at how kid-friendly it is! The museum has been kid-proofed and offers a wonderful world of astounding shapes and colors which lets the imagination run free, and spellbinds even the most unruly kiddo.
Pick up a Kid’s Activity Guide at the ticket counter, which will keep your kids delighted and occupied in equal measure throughout your visit. We recommend starting out in the Theater, where you get to see how artists breathe life into glass – quite literally. The little ones will enjoy hunting for sea creatures in the Sealife room, and marveling at the out-of-this-world Macchia Forest. The Glasshouse and Garden also makes for a nice walkthrough, mixing huge glass creations with real plants and flowers.
Any budding artists or creative geniuses in the family? Stop by the bookstore on your way out and pick up a doodle book. After you finish up at the Chihuly you may be exhausted. If so, hop on the free trolley, which stops right in front of the museum, and take it to the Bank of America high-rise building.
Still have some pep in your step? Walk back from the Dali Museum while checking out some of the best wall murals in the country. See map to check them out!
Have dinner at restaurant of your choice (6pm – 7:15pm)
St. Pete is a real foodie paradise with tons of awesome restaurants. You will find something to tickle every palate here, even the most discerning one. We’ve narrowed it down to two excellent restaurants to help you decide, capping off your amazing day in St. Pete. And though we have to admit these restaurants are more of a reward for parents, they all have kid-friendly options.
Red Mesa – Here you’ll find the best of the best Mexican and Latin American fare. Think plump, juicy meats, yummy enchiladas for the whole family and freshly made churros that melt in your mouth. (All of which mom and dad can wash down with lovingly handcrafted cocktails. Go on, treat yourself!)
The Mill Downtown St. Pete – This joint was voted Best New Restaurant in Florida by Florida Trend Magazine and for good reason. Their menu is bursting with delectable dishes making it really hard to choose. Try the Yellowfin Tuna Poke, the Lobster Pot Pie, the Swedish Meatballs and the refreshing Watermelon Bruschetta. Top it all off with the Wild Turkey Irish Cream Panna Cotta Brownie. Yum.