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View Full Version : Free or inexpensive attractions in Key West?


clover4
June 20th, 2010, 10:29 AM
Looking at the options for things to do in Key West it appears that the trolley/museum/attraction fees can add up quickly. Any advice on the free or really inexpensive things there are to do there?

kaj1436
June 20th, 2010, 12:09 PM
I know the Eco Discovery Center has free admission ... I have never been there but have heard that it is interesting and good for kids. Not sure it you have any? All you would need is transportation there...I think it is near Fort Zachery Taylor...which is also nice and not that expensive to get in.
Have fun!
We will be there in November and plan on visiting both places with our children.

clover4
June 20th, 2010, 02:20 PM
Thanks for the input kaj. I'll check it out.
We are going with our kids DD14 and DS 11

yogimax
June 21st, 2010, 03:00 PM
If you like history or six toed cats, check out the Truman House and Hemingway House

clover4
June 21st, 2010, 04:22 PM
If you like history or six toed cats, check out the Truman House and Hemingway House

These do look interesting but again, the costs add up - it's $12 for Hemingway and $15 for Truman. For four people thats $48+$60=$108. We could afford that, I suppose, but then what to do the rest of the day... much more than $100 is overdoing it for us. So still looking for other cool, free things to do. Thanks.

Gangway Style
June 21st, 2010, 05:53 PM
The Eco-Discovery Center is free and I have been there. It is very interesting and has a lovely movie about the waters and marine life of the Keys. It also has interesting and well done displays of near shore scenes and underwater scenes. It also has a simulator of a deep sea diving vessel. There is also a nice book shop with books about the Keys history and wildlife and plant life. It is closed on Mondays, however.

While in that area, for the price of one car's admiitance, you can go to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. Touring the Civil War era fort is free. The park has a peaceful beach and many pine trees and native trees in a shady setting with picnic tables and BBQ facilities. It also has a snack bar. The view from the park is amazing. Many types of boats go by. THis is my favorite spot in Key West to watch the sunset. One admittance is good for the entire day.

You can walk along the Historic Schooner Wharf area and see the atll ships docke dthere. It is a scenic walk and free. Good photo ops there. There are pretty good restaurants there too.

Go to the famous Southernmost Point marker. Take pictures there. It is free.

Go to the Zero Mile Marker, the start of US Highway 1. This is another spot for photos.

The museum in the former Customs House building near the docks has interesting staues in the front outside, the side and the back. They all make good photo ops, but the ones in front are a couple stories high. Amazing.

MissRabbit
June 21st, 2010, 07:06 PM
what about the Aquarium? it's 12/adults and 5/kids (age 4-12)

I've never been there but planning on in Nov. It appears you can walk there super easy.

Anyone who's been have any feedback on that?

Name Of The Game
June 21st, 2010, 07:45 PM
I wanted to go there too but recently read people saying it's not worth it.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1213970

MissRabbit
June 21st, 2010, 08:03 PM
I wanted to go there too but recently read people saying it's not worth it.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1213970


hmmm that does definately sounds like it's worth passing over. *crosses it off the list*

thanks :)P

peter_krynicki
June 22nd, 2010, 01:00 PM
You can walk down Whitehead to Petronia where the Bahama Village is located and browse around there. It's not very big but it is free. And if you walk away from Duval Street on Petronia, you can at least see a nice store, Besame Mucho, Blue Heaven, the Creperie (no credit cards) Columbian Grace, and Mams BBQ. It's a sceneic street.

And if you can make it over to Higgs Beach, there is the West Martello Tower and botanical garden...
http://www.keywestgardenclub.com/
I think it's free or there is just a donation. And also on Higgs is the White Street pier.

Pjk

glyn
June 22nd, 2010, 09:38 PM
ARe these places in walking distance?
Thank you for posting.
The Eco-Discovery Center is free and I have been there. It is very interesting and has a lovely movie about the waters and marine life of the Keys. It also has interesting and well done displays of near shore scenes and underwater scenes. It also has a simulator of a deep sea diving vessel. There is also a nice book shop with books about the Keys history and wildlife and plant life. It is closed on Mondays, however.

While in that area, for the price of one car's admiitance, you can go to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. Touring the Civil War era fort is free. The park has a peaceful beach and many pine trees and native trees in a shady setting with picnic tables and BBQ facilities. It also has a snack bar. The view from the park is amazing. Many types of boats go by. THis is my favorite spot in Key West to watch the sunset. One admittance is good for the entire day.

You can walk along the Historic Schooner Wharf area and see the atll ships docke dthere. It is a scenic walk and free. Good photo ops there. There are pretty good restaurants there too.

Go to the famous Southernmost Point marker. Take pictures there. It is free.

Go to the Zero Mile Marker, the start of US Highway 1. This is another spot for photos.

The museum in the former Customs House building near the docks has interesting staues in the front outside, the side and the back. They all make good photo ops, but the ones in front are a couple stories high. Amazing.

clover4
June 23rd, 2010, 12:02 AM
The Trolley Tour website has a really nice map on its site. Try this link
http://www.trolleytours.com/key-west/images/key-west-florida-map.pdf

The Eco Discovery looks perfect for us! Thanks so much for the tip.

Eileen G
June 27th, 2010, 11:10 PM
Here is a link to directions on how to get to the Discovery center and Fort Zackary Taylor Park.
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=703319&highlight=eileen

Here is the link for the eco discovery center.
http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/eco_discovery.html

Gaynors
June 30th, 2010, 04:06 PM
Thank you for the link on how to get to the state park. I was wondering if we would have any problem walking there, it looks like it should be easy. We are really looking forward to our visit in November.

Does anyone know if there are any convenience stores on the way? It would nice to pick up a few beverages on the way for the time at the beach.

Clayswife
July 3rd, 2010, 08:32 PM
Smather's Beach is a fairly nice beach and could be an inexpensive way to spend an afternoon - Plus it would be a relaxing family activity for everyone to enjoy ... Maybe follow it up with a visit to the Key Lime Pie Company for chocolate covered "key lime pie on a stick" (a must-do in Key West :D) ...

Jackie

Clayswife
July 3rd, 2010, 08:35 PM
Gaynors - You'll find Convenience/Drug stores everywhere ... You'll have no problems finding a place to pick up beverages ... :)

Jackie

Eileen G
July 4th, 2010, 10:05 AM
Smather's beach is a beautiful beach but it's not really in walking distance. You can rent bicycles or take a taxi there. Once we took the bus but it doesn't run often and is not on time. The beach at Fort Zacery Taylor is about a half hour walk if you cut through the street by the Little White House in the Truman Complex. You can also walk up Duval or Whitehead to Southard and go that way. There is a CVS at Duval and Front street right by Mallory Square. While walking up Duval stop in at the Crown Plazza La Concha and take the front elevator up to the roof top bar for some fantastic views.The bar is usually only open at sunset but you can still go up there for the views.

Name Of The Game
July 4th, 2010, 04:07 PM
Unfortunately we arrive in Key West on Monday and the Discovery center is closed.

Cruisin 4 Ever
July 8th, 2010, 09:04 PM
Ket West is AWESOME. I've been there with Carnival several times. If you go with Carnival, they dock on a naval base and you can only get in and out on a trolley. It's a great little ride and it's free. Most of the other cruiselines dock right downtown.
The Zachary Taylor beach is great and is 2.50 per person. If you're going with Carnival, the free trolley stops there and picks up there as well.
We often just walk around the town and look in all the shops. We usually stop to get a frozen Key Lime Pie on a stick while we are walking around.
Our favourite thing to do there is parasailing, but although it's very inexpnsive compared to booking through the cruisline, it's still about 35.00 per person. It's through Fury tours, right at the end of the dock where the cruises comein (except Carnival).
Have fun!

glyn
July 9th, 2010, 09:55 PM
Ket West is AWESOME. I've been there with Carnival several times. If you go with Carnival, they dock on a naval base and you can only get in and out on a trolley. It's a great little ride and it's free. Most of the other cruiselines dock right downtown.
The Zachary Taylor beach is great and is 2.50 per person. If you're going with Carnival, the free trolley stops there and picks up there as well.
We often just walk around the town and look in all the shops. We usually stop to get a frozen Key Lime Pie on a stick while we are walking around.
Our favourite thing to do there is parasailing, but although it's very inexpnsive compared to booking through the cruisline, it's still about 35.00 per person. It's through Fury tours, right at the end of the dock where the cruises comein (except Carnival).
Have fun!
Does it just go to that one spot? I have read about Old Town Trolley and City Trolley (they charge)? Is it free for all Carnival guests?
Thanks in advance.

bhopal21
July 10th, 2010, 09:37 AM
Does it just go to that one spot? I have read about Old Town Trolley and City Trolley (they charge)? Is it free for all Carnival guests?
Thanks in advance.

The train or trolley only removes you from military property, a few hundred yards, since you are not allowed to walk across the installation.

If you take the Conch Tour Train or the trolley tour you must pay like anyone else.

Mike:)

Cruisin 4 Ever
July 10th, 2010, 06:08 PM
Does it just go to that one spot? I have read about Old Town Trolley and City Trolley (they charge)? Is it free for all Carnival guests?
Thanks in advance.
It goes for the dock in the naval dockyard to the downtown area - around Mallory Square. The driver will give a little history as he drives along, it's a nice little tour. I believe you can get off at any spot along the way since I saw a couple people ask the driver to let them off before we got to the square where we were let off, and they did stop in front of Zachary Taylor beach as well. It's about a 10 minute ride. It is free for all guests of Carnival because that is the only way in or out. You can not get to the ship without getting on the trolley.

bhopal21
July 10th, 2010, 06:35 PM
I was not aware that they would let passengers get off before reaching Front St where their ticket kiosk is located, nice to know.

And Carnival also docks at pier B (The Westin Hotel) as Freedom is there on Mondays.

Mike:)