Miami is a well-known playground for grownups, but it’s also a vacation location with tons of activities for kids too. While the beach is most everyone’s first stop, the awesome options below are perfect for when everyone’s had enough sand, sunbathing, and salty seaside fun.
Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
Aquarium? Check. Planetarium? Check. Science Museum? You betcha. This three-fer can happily eat up a whole day of exploration, pleasing kids with a wide range of interests. From laser light shows to T-Rex bones, three levels of aquatic habitats to a stellar 250-seat planetarium, an enormous mirror maze, and more, the Frost Museum never fails to fascinate.
Up for an eco-adventure? Check out the newly renovated Jungle Island, located on Watson Island. This zoological theme park extravaganza is chock full of hands-on experiences including animals from around the globe and tropical birds flying free, plus escape rooms, climbing walls, a “Superflight” wind tunnel where you can float high in the air (with the help of a safety instructor), and much more. Until February 9th, check out Luminosa, their incredible nighttime Chinese Lantern Festival that lights up 13 acres of the wildlife theme park’s paths in four separate day-glo colored realms of fantastical animals, underwater creatures, exuberant flora, and iconic Miami scenes.
For more animal adventure, head over to Zoo Miami—AKA The Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens. As the only subtropical zoo in the continental US (and the fifth largest in the country as well!), it’s got all sorts of original offerings (over 3,000 animals and counting) your kids may not have had a chance to see elsewhere. With attractions like “Dinosaurs Live” and a monorail to whisk you around, you and your kids will all be happily tuckered out after a long day of ogling adorable animals, learning, and exploring.
Miami Children’s Museum
You can never go wrong exploring a children’s museum when you’re traveling with kids, and Miami’s is no exception. We personally think the Miami Children’s Museum is best enjoyed by the littlest of tykes, with exhibits that focus on sensory stimulation, exploration of the everyday world, art—and, in every room play, play, and more play.
Located in Coral Gables, the Venetian Pool will have kids carousing to their hearts’ contents. Built back in 1923 out of a coral rock quarry, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, generations of locals and tourists have flocked to this Venetian-inspired spring-water pool fed from an underground aquifer. It sports classical fountains, loggias, porticos, a quaint bridge, and even cave-like grottos to explore, and will keep you cool and refreshed in style all day long.
Is swimming with dolphins a lifelong dream? If not for you, we bet it is for your kids! Dolphin Harbor at the Seaquarium lets you get up close and personal with these friendly, curious creatures for an unforgettable encounter the entire family will reminisce about for years. From manatees to sting rays, penguins to sea turtles to seals, Miami Seaquarium is brimming with ocean wildlife, and also with ways to interact with it all. You can learn about ocean conservation efforts, pet a shark, poke around in a tidal pool, or even host your child’s birthday party at the Seaquarium. And don’t forget the sea lion and dolphin shows!
Sometimes kids just need to go to the park. While you’re in South Beach, Flamingo Park fits the bill just right… there’s a ton to see and do at this city park, including an excellent aquatic center, ballpark, basketball courts, soccer field, a “tot-lot” playground for the littlest kids to interact and learn, and lots of other recreational facilities.
Another amazing public park in Miami is Crandon Park in Key Biscayne. Besides occupying two miles of absolutely spectacular sparkling beach real estate, the park offers kids and their parents the opportunity to enjoy activities from tennis to golf, a marina, nature center, and boat rentals such as kiteboarding, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, and more. The calm waters are perfect for kids to practice swimming and water sports. Or, just rent a beach cabana and enjoy relaxing in the sand while the kids are splashing in the waves.
What was once Parrot Jungle is now a beautiful 20-acre nature experience filled with lush, exuberant Florida foliage. A splash garden, petting zoo, feed-the-fish experience, a swan lake, and a playground round out the offerings for kids who might otherwise say, “Ew, a garden?!” There are also lots of children’s concerts, theatre, and movies to add excitement to the exquisite botanical offerings. Bring a picnic and explore the tropical habitats, attend a farmers’ market, an art market, or orchid show, depending on what’s up during your trip. Be sure to check out their calendar of events and plan accordingly.
Learn all about the Everglades National Park in the most hands-on way imaginable… aboard an airboat whizzing over the waters! Weave your way in amongst the mangroves in the swamp and spy out alligators, turtles, all sorts of birds, and bugs too. Tours are available ranging from quick hour-long semi-private tours to longer private rides, to sunset and nighttime rides as well. Lots of local Miami companies offer these experiences, so you’ve got plenty of options for a great tour. (P.S.: it’s often a good idea to check out Groupon for special deals as well during your stay.)
These are just a few of the many, many activities to explore in Miami with kids. We hope this’ll get you started during your stay!