This is # 18 in my series of articles about places to take your kids while you have them for the day. You might be divorced or you might be separated but you still need spend time with your kids in a constructive and fun way. Hopefully, you’ll be able to use this series of articles as a quick “to do” list when you’re exercising parenting time in Naples, Florida…a not so kid-friendly city.
Admittedly Flamingo Island is probably not a full day event for kids but it’s a nice pit stop on the way to or from Ft. Myers.
Flamingo Island’s hours are Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 4 pm.
Flamingo Island is divided into the two aisles that house all their vendors. Red and Blue. Each booth has a number and an associated color based on its aisle.
Give the kids some spending money so they can go through the tchotchkes and buy a present (even for the other parent). There are up to 600 booths of folks selling mostly knick-knacks. As a fair warning, I have been there many times with my kids and each booth is an independent business person with their own policies and attitudes towards kids (as in, I got attitude from a few vendors when my kids touched their wares).
The vendors are all characters so spark up a conversation. No one is making a living selling things here (I believe). This is all a hobby for the vendors (I hope).
For kids, check out “Games and Novelties” in Red 28/30
There’s often a farmer’s market outside the flea market (but still on the grounds) where you can purchase fresh vegetables and, oftentimes, fresh caught sea food.
The real treat of Flamingo Island is the restaurants. There’s a little food court at the front. Nothing is more kid-friendly than restaurants that essentially serve carnival food like fried dough. There’s also an ice cream parlor for the kids. There’s a bar if you want to order a beer while your kids eat ice cream. There’s a Mexican restaurant and I highly recommend the Greek restaurant. You can bring food from one vendor into the eating area of another vendor and it won’t be a problem. After all, it’s a flea market. This is a very casual place.
As I mentioned, Flamingo Island is probably something you want to do between errands. The Home Depot is across the street and Flamingo Island makes for a nice treat after doing home improvement shopping (or just buying $ 10 worth of boxes to make a box fort).
A little down the road is another kid-friendly location, Momentum Brewhouse. Yes, this is a brewery and technically a bar but it is extremely family friendly. There are board games and video games that they encourage you to play with your kids. On the weekends there is a food truck outside. As a brewery, this is not a place where waitresses push drinks on you. You have to get up to order a drink so you’ll be lucky to have more than one.
Flamingo Island is 10 miles away from my Naples, Florida law office. Directions below: