Legend has it this city got its name from the workers who toiled to build Henry Flagler’s railroad through the Keys. The work, they said, was a real marathon.The name stuck and today the 16-mile series of islands is one of the most family friendly strips in south Florida.
At The Turtle Hospital, kids (and adults) can go behind the scenes at the world’s first licensed veterinary hospital for sea turtles and feed snacks to Bubble Butt, Rebel and Chance, a few of the hospital’s permanent residents.
Ten miles up the road at the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key, visitors can kiss and shake hands with one of the center’s 27 dolphins, some of which are direct descendants of the aquatic actors in the first “Flipper” movie. Kids can also hug a sea lion, assist with research studies and learn how the center’s trainers use hand signals to communicate with the dolphins. “Most of our dolphins have grown up here,” says Mary Stella, director of media and marketing at the Dolphin Research Center. “They’re used to people being part of their tribe.”Dolphin Research Center; entry $28 for adults, $23 for children. Additional programs cost extra.
Turtle Hospital; entry $18 for adults, $9 for children. Reservations recommended.