Miami, Florida Attractions

Author: Nancy Lippincott

Tags : Baby, City Break, Couples, Florida, Kids, Miami, Multigen, Museums & Culture, North America, Teens, USA

Miami is no longer a haven only for grandparents, but a very family-friendly place, rich in cultural diversity and just plain fun.  Perhaps it's the pervasive influence of the Latin culture with its multi-generational families, maybe it's the warm climate that encourages relaxation, or the fact that most of Miami's family attractions are build around the great outdoors, incorporating, palm trees, water and open sky.  Whatever the reason, it's a fun and affordable place for a long weekend, or even a full week. 

Most of the really good, large, beachfront hotels have smart and well-designed Kids Clubs of one sort or another, a trend we saw start at the Caribbean resorts and move to the States.

For all the fun things to do in and around Miami in south Florida, with any age in every season, check out this comprehensive Miami attractions for kids and family guide. For general information on the Miami area, contact the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (800/933-8448; 305/539-3000).


Great Fun for the Kids

(Toddler to Age 8)

Jungle Island
1111 Parrot Jungle Trail
Miami, Florida 33132
305/400-7000
Home to over 2,000 exotic birds, alligators, a petting zoo, and a children's playground, this nature park is a great choice for little ones. The staff makes low feeding stations available for some "hands-on" action and special photo opportunities. There are also wildlife shows and interactive exhibits scheduled frequently. Beautiful botanical gardens stretching over 12 acres (the gardens are wheelchair accessible) serve as a gorgeous backdrop for a half-day visit.

Miami Seaquarium
4400 Rickenbacker Causeway
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
305/361-5705
Whales and sharks and seals - oh my! Without a doubt, the main attraction here is Lolita, the resident killer whale who performs in a highly orchestrated, highly drenching (if you're sitting near the tank) show twice daily. (Make sure to call ahead for specific times). Also, the aquarium has an impressive sea lion show and shark presentation making it a fun afternoon for everyone.  Many sea movies have been film here and their Swim with Dolphins Program is one of the best, done in a nurturing and educational atmosphere.

Butterfly World
3600 W. Sample Road, in Tradewinds Park
Coconut Creek, Florida 33073
954/977-4400
Butterfly World opened its doors in 1988, making it the first butterfly house in the United States. A mammoth 8,000-square-foot, screened enclosure houses thousands of butterflies in a natural rain forest environment complete with flowers, trees, a waterfall, a cave, and cooling tropical mist. Extensive outdoor gardens surrounding the enclosure round out the grounds. Young kids will no doubt love being in the midst of these beautiful creatures.


Fun for Older Children

(Up to Age 18)

Miami Science Museum
3280 South Miami Avenue
Miami, Florida 33129
305/646-4200 
Currently a Spanish building, low-slung and surrounded by palm trees and bright bougainvillea, this simple one-story affair is quite unlike any museum. With some exhibits indoors, but mostly outdoors, the museum has a full-scale learning center with free-access computers for after school programs, a state-of-the-art Planetarium, and a variety of rotating exhibits.  One of two big attractins is the Wildlife Center, a rehabilitation haven for injured wildlife, specializing in Florida-native raptors.  Most visitors can't help but feel empathy for these amazing creatures. The brand new museum to be known as MiaSci is a modern take on the original adobe roofed, mission-style building and is set to open in 2015. The palm trees and bright bougainvillea will still be there, but the new museum will rise vertically in Bicentennial Park near the water and a new Art Museum.

The Museum Of History Miami
101 W. Flagler Street
Miami, Florida 33130
305/375-1492
Covering 10,000 years of Florida's history, this museum holds a wide range of exhibits and features a collection of 37,000 artifacts primarily from the 20th century, sure to entertain and inform older children and adults for a few hours.  Teens will enjoy checking out colonial-era cannons and guns and the Teen Miami exhibition which runs until June 2013.

Wolfsonian Museum
1001 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
305/531-1001
This renovated Art Deco warehouse at the corner of 10th Street and Washington Avenue houses one of the world's most intriguing design collections (sculpture, posters, household items, really an enormous variety) from the modern era between 1885 and 1945. The permanent collection is a design buff's dream, and there are often temporary shows which may be of interest to your family. Since it's a stroller-friendly place that charges no admission on Fridays from 6pm-9pm, we think it's a worthwhile stop for every age group before dining at one of the hip South Beach cafes.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
10901 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables, Florida 33156
305/667-1651
Named after the world famous plant explorer Dr. David Fairchild, Fairchild Topical Botanic Garden includes 83 acres dedicated to the conservation and research of an unrivaled collection of tropical plants.  With a two-acre rainforest, open-air butterfly garden, bird sanctuary, and ever-rotating selection of art exhibits, Fairchild is sure to offer an educationally and culturally stimulating afternoon of botanical beauty. Don't miss their beautiful collection of glass works by artist Dale Chihuly, whose organic glowing shapes fit it with the lush, tropical landscaping. Open daily from 9:30-4:30, admission includes tram tours, walking tours, and shuttle service.  Generous discounts are available for those who choose an eco-friendly mode of transportation to Fairchild.  Watch this video tour for a first-hand look at what the garden has to offer:


Fun for the Whole Family

Miami MetroZoo
12400 S.W. 152 Street
1 Zoo Boulevard
Miami, Florida 33177
305/251-0400
Rated by experts as one of the best zoos in the world, this is a place where you don't feel bad for the animals. It is totally cage-less and the preservation of natural habitats, the imaginative use of coral rock, grassy areas and shady plains creates a positive environment. Gaily colored and wrapped packages filled with fruits, food and clothing are even placed in the fields for the chimps to open on Christmas morning. Far beyond the 500 species of lions, tigers, bears, reptiles and birds, don't miss the exotic creatures in The Amazon and Beyond. Throughout the zoo, regularly scheduled Keeper Talks enlighten visitors with educational programs that are fun and lively. The popular Zoodler Academy and Little Wonder Walks include storytelling, crafts, and a meeting with some live animals. To get the most out of your visit, we suggest you take the (air-conditioned!) monorail for a good overview, attend one of the classes or shows, then see some of the scheduled keeper talks and animal feedings. Also offered are tram tours that take guests behind the scenes to see such things as the zoo hospital. Set to open in 2014, the Florida: Mission Everglades is a brand new exhibit that will highlight native Florida ecosystems and educate the public about conservation and preservation of the state's wildlife habitats. The best time to visit is morning or late afternoon.

Art Deco District
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
The Art Deco District of Miami is a world-renowned area that covers about one square-mile of the heart of South Beach. A whole neighborhood comprised of wild and colorful 1920s and '30s architecture, the area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. No visit to Miami would be complete without a guided walking tour of the Art Deco District and its celebrity residents. A good place to start is the Miami Design Preservation League Art Deco Welcome Center at 1001 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach where maps, guided tours and souvenirs are available.

South Beach
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
A 15-block area at the southern tip of Miami Beach, this 'tropicool' stretch along the Atlantic Oceanfront has a style all its own. As one of the hippest, trendiest spots on the East Coast, South Beach is a great area for people-watching. You may spot a model being photographed on the sand, a rock star out for a stroll, or an enormous cruise ship leaving the Port of Miami. This busy stretch of gold sand (and the wild roller rink in MacArthur Park) may not be the best spot for a relaxing afternoon, but it's sure worth a visit to check out "the scene."

Lincoln Road Mall
Between Alton Road and Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
This fun outdoor mall is a long pedestrian zone packed with high end boutiques like skin care guru Kiehl's, clothing shops like Anthropologie, Quiksilver, and Banana Republic, a movie theatre, and lots of street musicians and mimes. The scene is always fun, as many shops are tucked into restored, two-story Deco landmarks and the walkway itself has fountains and public art on display. Don't miss the sunset and late-night people and pet watching, when Lincoln Road's many outdoor cafes and cafe creatures really come to life. Metered parking is available in municipal lots both north and south of the mall.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
3251 S. Miami Avenue
Miami, Florida 33129
305/250-9133
Built in 1916 by the Chicago industrialist James Deering, this 34-room Italian Renaissance-style villa is loaded with period furniture, textiles, sculptures, and paintings from the 15th century on. Highlights inside the house include a rug that Christopher Columbus walked on and a restored historic village. Outside the house, 10 acres of manicured gardens and ornate fountains overlooking Biscayne Bay are really quite impressive and fun to stroll.

Venetian Pool
2701 de Soto Boulevard
Coral Gables, Florida 33134
305/460-5306
The only pool on the National Register of Historic Places, this 820,000-gallon pool was formed from a rock quarry in 1923. With two waterfalls, coral caves, grottos and stone bridges, the Venetian Pool, which is fed with cool spring water, sees nearly 100,000 visitors every year. Open seven days a week during the summer season (limited days during off season), the pool also offers courses in children's swimming, adult swimming, and water safety. Coolers are not permitted on the premises, but the Venetian Poolside Cafe has a variety of family-friendly menu options. It is fun for the whole family; the only catch is that for safety reasons, children under the age of 3 are not granted entrance.

Bayside Marketplace
401 Biscayne Blvd., R106
Miami, Florida 33132
305/577-3344
This marketplace consists of 16 beautiful waterfront acres along Biscayne Bay, with many shops, restaurants and a large marina. Street performers and musicians frequent the area, and the harbor view makes for a great shopping/eating atmosphere characteristic to many popular waterfront markets. Allow a few extra hours to join a coastal cruise past the lovely villas of many film and music celebrities whose estates line the Intracoastal Waterway -- a real treat.

Everglades National Park
40001 State Road 9336
Homestead, Florida 33034
305/242-7700
An ideal daytrip from the Miami area, Everglades National Park is home to the largest remaining sub-tropical wilderness in the continental United States. Found within the winding fresh and saltwater streams and everglade prairies are crocodiles, alligators, armadillos, and a number of endangered bird species. Get the most out of your visit by joining up with a ranger-led hike or discussion.

Savings During Miami Attractions Month

If you're visiting Miami during the month of October you're in luck!  The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau hosts Miami Attractions Month, offering printable coupons for discounted admission to many of these attractions.

Comments

Miami-Florida is the nice destinations to visit. Thanks for shaing this nice and very useful post describing top attraction point in Miami-Florida.

Submitted by David Ng on

Thank you very much for your post! I love it very much! I will bring my family to Florida soon!

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on

The Venetian Pool in Coral Gables is another winner in the Miami area. This 820,000 gallon pool created out of a limestone quarry is fed with cool spring water daily, and features two waterfalls, coral caves and grottos. It dates back to 1924, and Esther Williams and Johnny Weismuller once swam here. It's truly a one-of-a-kind swimming pool experience -- if you can tear yourself away from the beach.

Laura Sutherland
FTF's Blogger

Submitted by Lex87 on

The info here is great, the only thing I need to do is pick which of these florida vacations packages

todobigo's picture
Submitted by todobigo on

Miami is a great city with kids, and there are lots of good values there now, which will last till maybe mid to late March. Then prices will go up for the spring break and easter traffic, then drop again from mid May to early Sept.

Hope you enjoy your trip!