Children never want the summer to end. They always want that last hurrah before the daily drudgery of school begins, so give them their wish by taking them to one of these five destinations. There are water parks guaranteed to soak them to the core, adventures that involve lions, tigers and bears and even a plane trip to explore a 19th century island. All of these adventures are relatively inexpensive with some offering deals that will allow you to visit multiple locations for one flat rate. Read on to see which activity suits your child’s fancy and your wallet.

Rapids Water Park
2489 Port W. Blvd.
Riviera Beach, FL 33407
(561) 848-6272
www.rapidswaterpark.com

Take a quick jaunt north to Riviera Beach and experience South Florida’s best wet attraction, Rapids Water Park. It’s the perfect amusement park for any child trying to squeeze the last ounce of fun out of summer before school starts. Ride the Big Thunder and travel through a funnel on a float or hang 10 on the FlowRider surfing simulator. If you’re looking to save money or you live close by, arrive at 4 p.m. and save $20 off the price of admission. It’s definitely well worth the trip.

(Source: miamiseaquarium.com)

Miami Seaquarium
4400 Rickenbacker Causeway
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
(305) 361-5705
www.miamiseaquarium.com

As summer approaches its end, now is the best time to take advantage of the Summer Savings Pass. For $46, children 3-12 can gain admittance to Lion Country Safari, Zoo Miami, The Museum of Discovery and Science and The Miami Seaquarium. The Miami Seaquarium is a great deal because it’s an educational odyssey disguised as wet and wild fun. Children can see marine shows and swim with the dolphins (for an additional fee), all the while learning about South Florida’s marine life and the ecological system that preserves it. Talk about an educational adventure!

(Source: Zoo Miami)

Zoo Miami
12400 S.W. 152nd St.
Miami, FL 33177
(305) 241-0400
www.zoomiami.com

As mentioned previously, Zoo Miami is also apart of the Summer Savings Pass. Not only can your child explore the animals of Africa, the Amazon and Asia, he or she can also cool down on a hot day at the water play areas. These cool spots are outfitted with spouting fountains that your kids can splash around in until it’s time to see the next exhibit, and meanwhile you can sit in the comfort of a shaded seat. Then on another day, your family can visit Lion Country Safari or go see the Sesame Street exhibit at the Museum of Discovery and Science, which is on display for a limited time. By the time you are done with the Summer Savings Pass, your child will have gotten his or her fill of summer and be ready to hit the books.

Related: A Guide To Zoo Miami

Dry Tortugas National Park
Key West, FL
(305) 242-7700
www.nps.com

70 miles off the coast of Key West lies a park so secluded that you have to take a ferry or a seaplane to reach it. Dry Tortugas National Park is home to the 19th century Fort Jefferson, which was built to protect the U.S. gateway to the gulf of Mexico. Here your children can get a history lesson from the 100-mile park and go snorkeling to see some amazing marine life. The entrance fee is relatively cheap at just $5 for seven days but the seaplane or ferry will cost you a pretty penny. You could take your own boat, but honestly, how many children can say they’ve been in a seaplane when they have to write their “what I did this summer” report?

Crandon Park
6747 Crandon Blvd.
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
(305) 361-5421
www.miamidade.com

Normally, kids want take the wildest and craziest adventure for summer fun, but sometimes a nice place to wind down works just as well. Crandon Park is located in Key Biscayne and it tends to be less crowded than the more popular South Florida beaches. Here children can swim safely, ride their bikes, skateboard and even play tennis if they so choose and their parents don’t have to worry about losing them in a crowd of bystanders. The entrance fee is $7 per car and after your child is done exploring the two-mile beach, he or she can take a butterfly walk and explore the nature preserve. Again, it’s educational and informational fun for an unbelievably inexpensive price.

Related: Top National Parks Near South Florida

Niema Hulin was born in Newark, NJ but raised in Lexington, South Carolina for the bulk of her formative years. In 2002, she moved to Miami after graduating from the University of Florida. Since then, Niema has worked in film, television and commercials as a Production Assistant and Production Coordinator. Some of her films have included Bad Boys II and I Am Number IV. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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