West Palm Beach Cheap Excursions?
May 21, 2012 7:51 AM   Subscribe

Visiting West Palm Beach, Florida area in a couple of weeks. Searches for cool things to do in the area (including previous AskMeFi answers) always bring up a price tag of around $100 for a family of four (japanese gardens, wildlife preserves etc). Any ideas for inexpensive things to do and see in the area. We've visited in previous years and have enjoyed driving the A1A, hanging out a Delray Beach, browsing at City Place in West Palm Beach. I'm a Dad traveling with three females ages 45, 20, 13 - and I'm sick of shopping. Many thanks.
posted by incandissonance to Travel & Transportation around West Palm Beach, FL (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Have you done an everglades tour in a fan boat? That is always fun.
There are several fan boat operators in Indiantown - west of West Palm Beach.
posted by Flood at 7:57 AM on May 21, 2012

Which wild life preserves?

Lion Country Safari, if you bring your own lunch and have air conditioning, runs around $116 including parking unless you buy tickets in advance online. Additionally, there are also online coupons for $8 through next week - but they renew those now and again.

The Japanese Gardens are nice, with a number of events, but be aware they are closed on mondays.

If you're up in West Palm anyway, the zoo is nice on their friday evening nights when it's cooler; during the day you can go next door to the small science museum and planetarium. Depending on your home membership status, you may have reciprocal admission to either location.

For more inexpensive ideas, there are a number of nature walk areas in the county, such as short nature walks in the Boca area, Green Cay in west Del Ray, Wakodahatchee, and a little water park in Boca; it's more for the younger kids, now that I think about it, I went to a lot of birthday parties for seven year olds there back in the day.

There isn't a Dave and Busters here (its over in Hollywood), but there is a decent game and entertainment venue in Boomers. I'm not sure how overrun it is with the teen scene, but it might be worth a few hours of fun, and there is a movie theatre next door.

This U-pick out west is closed partially for the summer, but has other weekend events.

If you want to picnic by or on the beach, there are a few nice options.
posted by tilde at 8:17 AM on May 21, 2012

The Norton Museum would cost significantly less than $100. If you got the student discount for the 20- and 13-year-olds, you would be at $34 if my math is right. It's worth a visit. And the Morikami (the Japanese gardens) is way less than $100 for four, too. Maybe I'm taking you too literally?

You can go visit Peanut Island, where JFK's bomb shelter was located. Or go kayaking on the Loxahatchee River -- that might run close to $100 but could be worth it, if you're into natural splendor and the like. The W. Palm Greenmarket has just begun summertime operations.
posted by reren at 8:19 AM on May 21, 2012

MacArthur Beach State Park is nice. You can rent a double kayak for $18/hour. But they also have nice nature trails and beach as well as a nature center -- all of which are free.
posted by bluefly at 8:20 AM on May 21, 2012

By the way, it's going to be hot and summer there, so damp and a bit getting used to, possibly, to being at sea level and breathing in all this moisture. When I relocated from the desert to here a couple decades back it took me a while to adjust.

Pack hats and get a sweat-friendly sunscreen, and carry water bottles. You will get dehydrated sooner than you feel dehydrated because of the difference from the dry air of ABQ there in WPB.
posted by tilde at 8:29 AM on May 21, 2012

Nobody has mentioned The Girls? I will, then.
posted by mneekadon at 8:49 AM on May 21, 2012

Take a trip down to the South Inlet Park in Boca Raton and have a picnic. Webcam. It's very pretty and wooded so it's shady. Also they have barbecues, so you could toast up some weenies. You can drive A1A down there, so it's a pretty drive.

There may be a party you can crash at the bigger.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:04 AM on May 21, 2012

Here's the list of natural areas I was looking for ... In case you're not just into beaches, there's some pretty swamp land not quite dried out yet. I've visited a few - again - I stress taking hats and your own water. :)

A number of museums in the area; the previously mentioned Peanut Island, there's also Flagler but that again puts you in the not super cheap range. Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse is on my "to do" list as soon as all available hands are over 48" in height. :) I assume your 13 year-older is of that stature or higher.

Looking at one of the sites I linked earlier, they seem to have a good wrap up of arts districts in the area. Also, how could I forget Sandoway! Love their stuff, good price, near Delray you'd mentioned in the OP.

If you're into transit and riding on trains (I rode Tri-Rail and Metro Rail for commuting but never this far north), apparently there's a historic landmark station that doubles as a Tri-Rail station. You can ride Tri-Rail down to the next county to the Deerfield Beach stop, and visit the South Florida Railway Museum located in the station, if trains are your thing. Be advised that it's only open during limited hours (the museum, not the station, the station is a full Amtrak site). Free admission, though they take donations, and of course the price of a ticket down and back.
posted by tilde at 12:29 PM on May 21, 2012

One of my favorite places to go near West Palm is the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. It's basically a sea turtle hospital, and you get to see turtles that have been injured and rescued by the staff. You can watch volunteers clean the turtles, administer medicine, and they even have an operating room. I'm pretty sure that admission is free, but I think they accept donations.

The Palm Beach Zoo is also a nice way to spend the day. On the smaller side, but we really enjoyed the exhibits and layout.

I'll also second the suggestions for MacArthur Beach State Park (renting kayaks or nature walks), and the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse.
posted by oiseau at 5:34 PM on May 21, 2012

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