It may be best known for being a hedonist’s paradise, but Miami is also a hugely popular destination with families seeking more sedate and wholesome pursuits than all-night clubbing. With its idyllic beaches, year-round sunshine and multiple educational attractions specifically designed to entertain and engage little ones, the Floridian city is a haven for families with children of all ages and predilections.
In fact, there are so many kid-friendly things to see and do in Miami and its surroundings, parents putting together an itinerary for their trip can find the task a little daunting. To give you a kick start, we’ve harnessed the full might of TravelMag’s reseach powers and come up with 20 of the best family-friendly activities, landmarks and places of interest in and around Miami.
Explore a fun-packed children’s museum
Perfect for fostering creativity in kids, Miami Children’s Museum is packed to the rafters with fun-filled educational activities, exhibits and learning materials related to themes as diverse as arts, culture, community, health and wellness. Most visitors here inevitably gravitate towards the children-sized replicas of places such as grocery stores and banks, where kids can role play and imagine life as an adult.
LOCATION 980 MacArthur Causeway HOURS Mon-Sun 10am–6pm
Discover a working alligator farm
Located close to the entrance of Everglades National Park, Everglades Alligator Farm provides visitors with the unique opportunity of observing more than 2,000 alligators in their natural habitat. A fully operational farm dedicated to hatching and raising alligators in an ethical way, the venue offers airboat tours through the Everglades, an alligator show, an alligator feeding demonstration, and plenty more.
LOCATION 40351 Southwest 192nd Avenue, Homestead HOURS Thus-Mon 9am-5.30pm Closed Tues-Weds
Take to the skies and see Florida from new heights
The national parks, beaches, cityscapes, and wildlife of South Florida are magical enough from ground level, but there’s also the opportunity to enjoy them from an alternative vantage point – the sky. Miami Seaplane Tours have been hosting exhilarating aerial adventures since 1995 that invite passengers to admire such diverse scenery as the Miami skyline, picture-postcard sunsets, and the pristine waters of Biscayne Bay aboard a high-tech fleet of seaplanes. A variety of tours are available, ranging from 20 minutes to 2 hours, with each taking in different areas and landmarks in the region, allowing you to pick the one that best suits your tastes and needs
Attend a magical holiday light show
Each year Pinecrest Gardens, south of downtown Miami, transforms into a winter wonderland dotted by thousands of twinkling lights that go up, through and around the whimsical botanical landscape. And for this year organisers of the Nights of Lights Festival are adding more sparkling lights and surprises. Tuck into yummy treats, savour a signature Gardens cocktail, and enjoy story time with Mrs. Claus – and stay tuned for Santa’s special appearances, too. On select evenings, admission includes a holiday performance. Tickets are $5 in advance, and kids 2 and younger go free. Due to current social distancing guidelines, daily capacity will be limited.
LOCATION Pinecrest Gardens, 11000 SW 57th Avenue, Pinecrest DATES 27 November 2020 – 3 January 2021
Check out a tropical sanctuary
Spread across 60-acres of tropical landscape, Flamingo Gardens & Wildlife Sanctuary features a remarkable collection of trees, plants, orchids, and over 3,000 different rare and endangered native animal species. The not-for-profit botanical garden hosts daily wildlife encounter shows, and visitors can join a narrated 30-minute tram tour through the garden and its three different ecosystems. There are also frequent rolling exhibitions themed around specific aspects of the natural world. Tickets can be booked through GetYourGuide.com.
LOCATION 3750 South Flamingo Road, Davie HOURS Mon-Sun 9.30am-5pm
Catch a children’s theatre show
If your children have any nascent thespian pretensions then a trip to the Miami Children’s Theater is certain to inspire and entertain. Widely considered one of the most prestigious young person’s theatres anywhere in America, performances here are produced, acted and choreographed entirely by kids, who are able to serve as role models and sources of inspiration for the wide-eyed children watching in the audience.
LOCATION 11155 Southwest 112th Avenue
Spend the day at a zoo
A day out at the zoo is a perennial favourite with kids. Zoo Miami is different to other zoos in that it is cageless, with elephants, koalas, monkeys, and rhinoceroses all free to roam in habitats separated by moats. Among the venue’s highlights is ‘Amazon and Beyond’, featuring a rainforest, jaguars, anacondas, bats, venomous snakes, and rare frogs, and a 48,000-gallon aquarium. For those keen to avoid the queues, Skip the Line tickets can be booked through Viator.com, with the option to upgrade your ticket to include an all-day monorail pass and entry to a animal feeding session.
LOCATION 12400 Southwest 152nd Street HOURS Mon-Sun 10am-5pm
Hit the waters on a speedboat tour
Your kids are unlikely to remember Miami Vice, but that won’t stop them having the time of their lives during an adrenaline-pumping speedboat ride that is sure to evoke the iconic TV show among many adult passengers of a certain vintage. Run by Thriller Miami Speedboat Adventures, their off-shore trips see you skim across the Atlantic waters at breakneck speed as you admire some of the area’s most famous sites and attractions, including the Art Deco district of South Beach, Flagler Monument Island, the Venetian Islands, and Miami’s spectacular skyline. Tours last around 45 minutes.
Get up close and personal with marine life
Another Miami attraction that’s tailor made for kids needing respite from the scorching sun, Seaquarium combines the educational benefits of an aquarium with the unbridled fun of a splash park. As well as offering the chance to watch dolphins and sea lions showcasing their acrobatic skills at close quarters, the park also has designated splash zones where your little’uns can run wild. Just remember to bring spare clothes.
Learn about a Native American tribe
Florida is a melting pot of cultures and among its lesser known demographic groups is the federally recognised American tribe of Miccosukee Indians. Located within Everglades National Park is Miccosukee Indian Village, an open-air living history museum packed full of artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of the tribe, its history and its enduring traditions. Visitors can browse crafts and patchworks, sample authentic tribal cuisine, and more.
LOCATION Everglades National Park
Take to the streets to enjoy a weird and wonderful parade
Miami’s cultural calendar is packed full of fun-filled festivals and events and among the most popular – and distinctly quirky – is the King Mango Strut Parade. The event provides a platform for the irreverent, creative and wacky to showcase their subversive side in pretty much any way they please. While the distinctly satirical elements of the parade are likely to go over the heads of younger attendees, they’ll still enjoy the marching bands and juggling shows, not to mention the curious costumes and kaleidoscope of colour on display.
LOCATION Coconut Grove DATES 27 December 2021
Let the kids loose at a water park
Situated within the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa is an all singing, all dancing hotel water park. Called Tidal Cove, the park features a lazy river, 4,000-square foot kids’ pool, and a splash pad, and is open (for a fee) to non-hotel guests. There’s also two on-site restaurants, a cocktail bar, and trained lifeguards on duty at all times, allowing parents to kick back and relax while their little ones have the time of their lives.
LOCATION 19999 West Country Club Drive, Aventura HOURS Mon-Thurs 9am-6pm Fri-Sun 9am-7pm
Immerse your little ones in science
Designed to educate and entertain in equal measure, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is a vast museum featuring a diverse assortment of interactive exhibitions. Kids are invited to get hands-on and explore their senses as a way of grasping basic scientific principles. Among the museum’s most popular areas is the “MeLab” which lets kids learn about health by using their own bodies to conduct experiments
LOCATION 1101 Biscayne Boulevard HOURS Mon-Sun 9.30am-6pm
Get creative at an arts and crafts room
If your kids are into arts and crafts, then The Poppet Project is sure to satisfy their penchant for creativity. You pay by the hour and gain access to varying work stations, each offering a different crafty theme – from painting to molding sand and everything in between. Kids can take away their creations as a memento and give it pride of place at home.
LOCATION 8650 Biscayne Boulevard #29, El Portal HOURS Mon-Thurs 1pm-6pm Fri-Sat 10am-6pm Sun 10am-5pm
Cool off in an elegant bathing venue
Built in 1923 from a coral rock quarry and inspired by elegant Mediterranean architecture, the Venetian Pool offers what is perhaps Miami’s most unique bathing experience. Fed from spring water from an underground aquifer, the historic pool is flanked by palm trees, coral rock formations, waterfalls and enticing caves, making it not only merely somewhere to cool off but also a scenic spot ripe for exploration.
Watch monkeys in their semi-natural habitat
Opened in 1933 for the exhibition and study of endangered monkeys, Monkey Jungle is a truly unique wildlife park that’s home to some 400 primates, including orangutans, gibbons and howlers. However, unlike in conventional zoos, the monkeys are free to run loose while human visitors observe them though transparent tunnel cages that wind through the 30-acre park.
LOCATION 14805 Southwest 216th Street
Visit a historic lighthouse
Situated within the historic Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, and overlooking a white sandy beach, Cape Florida Lighhouse boasts the honour of being Miami’s oldest standing structure. The striking beacon on the landscape dates all the way back to 1825 and today features a small museum packed full of information about the history of the lighthouse and its surroundings. Visitors can also ascend the 109 steps to its summit, where they’ll be rewarded with stunning views across the park.
LOCATION 1200 South Crandon Boulevard, Key Biscayne HOURS Mon-Sun 8am-6pm
Let your kids’ artsy side loose at an arts festival
Arts festivals can sometimes be a bit more geared towards grown-ups than kids, but that can’t be said of the Coral Gables Festival of the Arts. As well as presenting works by more than 200 local artists of fine art and crafts, the event also features a dedicated Kids Fest – a ‘festival within a festival’ – complete with children’s art displays and workshops, along with other kid-friendly entertainment and food. Older children may also enjoy the cooking demonstrations, along with the live music and dance groups.
LOCATION Coral Gables
Santa’s Enchanted Forest
Said to be the world’s biggest holiday theme park, Santa’s Enchanted Forest is packed to the rafters with Wintery-themed rides, acrobat & magic shows, games and attractions. There’s also South Florida’s tallest Christmas tree light show, dazzling lights and festive music to help truly get you in the spirit of the season. Traditional winter food and drink will help you stave off the chills.
LOCATION 7900 Southwest 40th Street HOURS Mon-Sun 5pm-12am
See how we grow food at a fruit park
If you’re keen to spark your children’s interest in horticulture and teach them how food is grown and harvested, then the Fruit & Spice Park provides a great opportunity to do just that. The 37-acre park is home to an incredible array of exotic plants and trees that produce more than 500 varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs and nuts. The venue also plays host to regular foodie-themed events, so be sure to check the schedule in case one coincides with your visit.
LOCATION 24801 Southwest 187th Avenue, Homestead HOURS Mon-Sun 9am-5pm