If you’ve been following along you know that our time in Key Largo wasn’t a 100% vacation. We couldn’t check out of life and work for over 5 weeks. Peter and I need a paycheck and as far as the kids go they needed to complete their summer packets for school and we didn’t want them to lose some of the skills they have worked so hard for in their extracurricular activities.
Fortunately, the house we rented had Key Largo community park and Jacob’s Aquatic center near it. I would not say this is any kind of tourist attraction but if you are in the area for an extended amount of time with little ones or if you happen to have booked your vacation on dates where the weather has been bad for boating, it’s definitely something to check out to let the little ones burn some energy!
I’ll start with Jacob’s Aquatic Center since this would definitely be my first suggestion if you are in Key Largo with kids on vacation and it is too choppy to go boating. Honestly, if you are in Key Largo with kids and don’t have a boat or don’t want to go boating and are looking for something different to do, I would also suggest it! Note how I keep saying this is definitely an option for those WITH KIDS. I mentioned on social media that I have a love hate relationship with this place being so close to the house we rent.
Jacob’s aquatic center is a community pool. It has a pool with diving board for those who want to do serious swimming, a public pool for playing, and my kid’s favorite- a splash pad/small water park. We usually go to the little water park since I’m really there for the kids and not very interested in going in the public pools. I LOVE that we have this close to our house because the kids LOVE coming here! I guess the only other times I’ve been to water parks have been the big water parks at Disney or Universal Orlando or maybe Rapids once so I think it’s super cool that there is this little water park next to a community park and walking distance from a residential area.
It has a pirate ship in the middle, slides, and different things throwing water down. It’s also got a very shallow pool around it where the kid’s can splash around a play.
Often times when we were working remotely and the kids were just in the house entertaining themselves. Although this did involve some TV and some iPad time they were pretty good about entertaining themselves in the house we stayed in. I think a change of scenery helps! They would sometimes play on the porch and make bubbles. Natalia spent hours coming up with dance choreographies. The house had video games Peter enjoys. Sometimes they would play hide and seek. Nonetheless, it’s nice to know there is another option if we would like to get them out of the house for some time.
Now- you may be wondering why the Love/hate relationship with this place being so close. Well, if it was up to the kids we would come here every day. In fact, one of the times we went to the park to practice baseball and tumbling Jacob’s Aquatic Center was still open, they could hear all the action and it was distracting. Issue with them wanting to come all the time is not only that we needed to work remotely and it’s not like they can go alone, and when we weren’t working we were on the water (which the kids enjoy too though!) but it’s $25 every time you come in. We usually went weekdays but on weekends it’s $30. There is a membership you can purchase, however, the minimum amount of time for the membership is 3 months. We were there just over 5 weeks and would have had to have gone weekly for this to make sense.
My other gripe with it is that they do not allow any outside food or drink. They do sell concessions. I never purchased any of it but it looked like overpriced mediocre food. I think it also would be nice to be able to bring a cooler with drinks and some of your own food. When I’ve been there we usually leave because we are hungry and would rather eat what we have at home. I also find that it is hard to find a lounge chair in the shade around the little water park. What is annoying is that most of the lounge chairs will be occupied with people’s belongings rather than with people. I was foruntate that a woman saw me looking for a seat in the shade while my kid’s played and she took her family’s belongings off one of the chairs so I could use it. I am not sure why the center allows this.
At the end of the day though, the day we checked out of our rental property all these random memories of our time in Key Largo starting popping into my mind. Jacob’s Aquatic Center was one of them. Our time in Key Largo and this summer in general went by so , so fast and it makes me realize that my kids are growing really fast! I love that they are still little enough to enjoy this and still little enough to get overly excited to visit the little pirate ship water park. They won’t be this little forever and I know if we continue to come to Key Largo, one day I’ll wish they were still begging to go play!
Adjacent to Jacob’s Aquatic Center is Key Largo Community Park. It’s not a huge park but there are actually quite a number of things to do here!
We came so Peter could practice baseball and Natalia could practice tumbling, specifically backbend walkovers because I did not want her to lose the skill. Although we came prepared for anything, we were happy to find that there are batting cages within the park! We knew there would be a baseball field since that’s easy to spot. This made it easy for Peter to practice some hitting as well as fielding since the fields were empty when we would come in the early evening for the most part.
There was plenty of grass for Natalia to practice her backbend walk overs, cartwheels, and round offs. She also did some stretches. She even ran a few laps! I guess the runner in her mom is rubbing off on her!
In addition to all the baseball amenities we were searching for the park has everything else you would hope to find in a park such as basketball courts, tennis courts, and a playground of course!
Something it had that surprised me is an area for skateboarders! To be honest, i’d never seen this. It’s not our thing but I thought it was really cool that it was there! There was also an area for working out as well as a walk/running path. I actually ran to the park one day from our house and ran through the path which was nice!
One of the things I love about the keys is how friendly people are! Every time we go out to the sandbars there is always someone new to talk to. Key Largo Community Park did not even disappoint in this aspect! While we were at the playground we met a gentleman who worked at John Pennecamp State Park and knew all kinds of Keys history. For example, he was telling us the keys are all over dead reefs. He was also telling us a bit of history from the 1935 hurricane that hit the keys. Interestingly enough, the previous year I had read a historical fiction on it. If you have not read Chanel Cleeton’s The Last Train to Key West it’s a really interesting read! It turned out our new friend had also read it and says it’s actually pretty accurate. He had a rescue dog named Piper which is what drew us to them in the first place. The kids of course enjoyed petting her!
This probably isn’t a place you would visit if you are only vacationing in Key Largo for a week, but if you are in Key Largo for a an extended amount of time like we were or are just looking for a place where you can be active, I definitely recommend it!
On the day we checked out all these random memories from our time in Key Largo kept coming to mind and for some reason our evenings at the park were vivid and something I know I will miss! It was just simple and something we did as a family. The days we went to the park were usually the days where we worked and were more structured. As weird as it may sound, It’s kind of nice to bring real life and responsibilities into a different setting. Since we were on an island state of mind, everything isn’t as stressful as it seems back home. There also wasn’t all this traffic to sit in to get the kids to be active. A community park may not be the most exciting place to visit in Key Largo but I know these beautiful memories will stay with me!
Thanks for visiting!