In the 20 years before I wrote this article, the population of this village in Palm Beach County had tripled. Palm Springs is a residential community set inland, just next to Lake Worth Beach on the Atlantic.
A local highlight is the municipal complex, which opened in the 2000s, with event space, and fun family amenities like splash pad and miniature golf course.
Palm Springs is a large metropolitan area, and you don’t have to travel far for anything. Minutes away are Palm Beach’s world-class visitor attractions, or Lake Worth Beach’s funky downtown and shorefront.
1. Palm Springs Village Center Complex
Palm Springs’ nerve center is like a little district, containing the town hall, public library, police department and a slew of public facilities.
First off, the Village Center Complex has active recreation amenities for a range of sports, with public baseball, football and soccer programs taking place here.
It’s also a place for families to come to unwind and take picnics. I love the miniature golf course, while kids could easily spend a couple of hours playing at the splash pad.
If there’s an outdoor event happening in the village, it may go down at the performance space at the complex. This has an audio-visual system and covered seating for spectators.
2. Downtown Lake Worth Beach
Historic, trendy, and a little bohemian, there’s a thrilling downtown district to explore, just five minutes east of Palm Springs.
Along the parallel main strips of Lake Avenue and Lucerne Avenue there are close to 50 historic buildings. Many are home to galleries, captivating shops, live entertainment venues, bars, and restaurants aplenty.
Things weren’t always this way, as up to the 1990s downtown had a sleazy reputation, after decades of decline.
I see no sign of that today, with events like the Street Painting Festival in February bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the city.
3. Lake Worth Beach Park
If you’re craving a day at the beach, the closest public access is barely ten minutes away in Lake Worth Beach. This is a delightful place to enjoy the sun, sand and ocean. For one thing, there’s none of the high-rise development that dominates much of the Atlantic shore.
Instead, you’ll find a swath of family-friendly beach, backed by an elegant casino building harking back to the 1920s. There’s a small boardwalk here with shops and restaurants, and just to the south stands the Lake Worth Pier.
You can access this structure for $1, and $3 if you’re here to do some fishing. My favorite time to come is at dawn when everything is bathed in gold. Follow this up with breakfast at Benny’s on the Beach, a local institution.
4. Palm Beach Zoo
In Palm Springs you could hardly be closer to one of Florida’s premier zoos. What makes Palm Beach Zoo so special to me is the naturalistic environment.
Each zone, from Florida Wetlands to Asia, Tropics of the Americas, and The Islands, feels like a tropical adventure. There’s a dense backdrop of ferns, palms and banyan trees, and the enclosures merge with these lush and cool woods.
There are more than 500 animals on show, and you can pay extra for one-off animal experiences. For instance, you can make friends with a capybara, hand-feed a sloth, or get within feet of a Florida panther.
If you’re bringing children here on a hot day, I’d remind you to pack bathing suits and towels to make the most of the massive fountain/splash pad.
5. Mounts Botanical Garden
Somewhere I can’t keep away from, Mounts Botanical Garden is the largest and oldest public garden in Palm Beach County.
These 14 acres were planted in the 1950s, and now have more than 6,000 tropical and subtropical plants from around the world.
What always grabs me is how each sequestered garden can have such a different atmosphere. For example, the Rose & Fragrance Garden, with its many sensory joys, gives way to the contemplative, Asian-influenced Garden of Tranquility
Some two dozen areas like these are connected by trails and marked with informative plaques. So, you’ll not only appreciate the beauty of what you’re seeing but learn a bit about it as well.
6. John Prince Park
Sweeping across 700 acres close by in Lake Worth Beach, John Prince Park is a hassle-free way to enjoy the outdoors without traveling.
Lake Osborne is the park’s centerpiece and provides a variety of recreation activities, including boating and fishing.
For those who’d like to spend a night or two under the stars, there’s a large campground with dozens of individual sites. The park’s many amenities include walking paths, a golf learning center, an exercise trail, a boat ramp, and plenty of shaded seating areas.
My kids had an absolutely blast at the splashpark, which is massive, and part of an accessible Boundless playground.
7. John Prince Golf Learning Center
For keen golfers visiting the Palm Springs area, there are dozens of options within a short drive.
Still, if you’re itching to hit a few balls but don’t want to dedicate four or five hours to a full round, head to the John Prince Golf Learning Center. I’m not sure I’ve seen a better driving range than this one in all my days.
Whether you’re in need of professional instruction or just want to hit a bucket of balls, the center features 60 grass hitting stations. You can take aim at multiple target greens, guarded by bunkers.
There’s also more than 16,000 square feet of putting and chipping greens, including three regulation practice holes.
8. Lake Lytal Park
On Palm Springs’ northern boundary there’s another sprawling Palm Beach County public park. The centerpiece at Lake Lytal Park is an aquatic center, with a 50-meter pool, three slide flumes, and an interactive play park for kids.
The surrounding park is both attractive and full of recreation amenities. There’s a large stand of palms and pines on the south side for walks and picnics.
Elsewhere you’ll find baseball fields, softball fields, pickleball courts, basketball courts, tennis courts, racquetball courts, and three playgrounds for the wee ones.
9. Cox Science Center and Aquarium
When I wrote this article, this major attraction next to Palm Beach Zoo was in the middle of a renovation due to be completed later in the 2020s.
The Cox Science Center and Aquarium has a history reaching back to 1961, and in 2021 raised almost $50 million for a sizable expansion.
Even though work was ongoing when I visited, there was plenty to do. Kids will love the many interactive science exhibits on the Fisher Family Science Trail, as well as the aquariums, displaying the dazzling marine life off the Atlantic coast.
One that completely blew me away was the Journey Through the Brain, visualizing the latest research about the human in startling detail.
There’s also an 18-hole mini golf course with a conservation theme, as well as an observatory, and Palm Beach County’s only public planetarium.
10. Adventure Mini Golf
Wherever I go, one of the best things about visiting the shore is playing a game of putt putt. You can do this a few minutes away at Adventure Mini Golf.
Ideal for families, this is a classic mom and pop attraction, with two 18-hole courses. These are set on an artificial hill, among tropical plants, ponds, streams, fountains and waterfalls.
On my round, the holes had just been given new turf and the wooden walkways had been spruced up. If you want to avoid the summer heat you can start a game here at sunset, as this place stays open until 10:00 pm.
11. Lake Worth Playhouse
At the historic Oakley Theatre (1924) in Lake Worth Beach, this venue offers year-round programming that includes movies, musicals, dramas, children’s shows, and even opera and ballet.
I was around in time for the playhouse’s 71st season, and caught a perfectly pitched performance of West Side Story. Other productions in the season were Rent, Oklahoma!, Ragtime, and Clue.
The playhouse’s Stonzek Theatre shows indie and foreign films daily. Though it features contemporary sound and projection systems, it’s got lots more charm and character than corporate multiplexes.
12. DEFY Palm Springs
Parents with kids who have energy to burn need look no further than this indoor trampoline park. DEFY Palm Springs is part of a national chain, although each location is a little different.
At Palm Springs there’s a lot for active children and teenagers to get up to. In fact I counted more than a dozen attractions when I brought my kids here.
As usual, there’s a large open jump space, lined with trampolines. To go with that there’s a ninja course, battle beams, a basketball court for dunks, a wall trampoline, a zip line, a trapeze area with aerial silks, and a parkour course, to name just a few.
13. Fun Depot
I can guarantee that families visiting the Palm Springs area won’t run out of inspiration for things to do. Fun Depot is a classic family entertainment center, with a range of attractions that kids are sure to love.
The big one here is an outdoor karting track, half a mile long and full of technical twists and turns. Inside there’s a 4,000-square-foot laser tag arena, staging ten-minute games in an intense blacklight environment.
Then you’ve got an arcade with a blend of brand new games and old-school titles that parents will remember from their youths. Look out for specials like Family Fun Night on Tuesday and Thursday.
14. Ragtops Automobile Museum
Five minutes away in Palm Beach, this dealership specializes in restored classic American cars. The stock is constantly changing, and until an automobile is sold, it serves as a museum exhibit.
At a ‘selling museum’ like this one, no two visits will be the same. The showroom is decorated with Art Deco light fittings, vintage posters, paintings, neon signs, historic model cars, and more.
I spent almost an hour admiring a selection of pristine vehicles from yesteryear. Some that really stood out to me were the 1939 Pontiac Silver Streak Deluxe Six, the 1941 Plymouth Convertible, 1937 Chrysler Imperial, and the 1935 Ford Rumbleseat Convertible Cabriolet.