Although Miami is known for the glitz and glamour of South Beach, the area is more than a playground for celebrities. There are also a number of wonderful family things to do in Miami for those visiting the city with children.
The northern end of Miami’s famous beach is a popular destination for families. Set against a backdrop of colorful Art Deco facades, the temperate blue water is wonderful for swimming, and the wide expanse of open beach is great for sunbathing and building sandcastles. You can also walk, bike or rollerblade along the oceanfront boardwalk.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is a short drive away. The recreational area is rated as one of the top beaches in America. An offshore sandbar limits the size of waves, which makes the beach an ideal place for younger children to swim. Other popular activities include sunbathing, picnicking and exploring the nature trails. Families can also enjoy a guided tour of the historic 1825 lighthouse and keeper’s cottage. The lighthouse is the oldest freestanding structure in Miami-Dade County. There is a small park entrance fee.
Children can connect with nature at Zoo Miami, Jungle Island, Seaquarium and Monkey Jungle as well as the Museum of Science and the Children’s Museum. Established in 1948, Zoo Miami is home to more than 2,000 animals from Asia, Africa, Australia and the Amazon. The facility hosts wildlife shows in the amphitheater as well as kid-friendly activities and amenities, such as opportunities to feed animals, ride camels and cool off in the water play area.
Jungle Island is a zoological park that offers a fun, educational and interactive experience. Animal exhibits include penguins, flamingos and a liger, the offspring of a lion and a tiger. In addition to exciting live animal shows, children can interact with several domestic and exotic animals in the petting zoo. The dazzling animal shows at Seaquarium starring orcas, dolphins and other marine animals will thrill children of all ages. There are also exhibits that feature seals, sea lions, turtles and the Florida Manatee.
Monkey Jungle is designed so that visitors walk through an enclosure while the primates are allowed to run free. The innovative layout enables children to view the animals swinging in the trees and interacting in a setting similar to their native habitats.
The Museum of Science and the Children’s Museum are both filled with interactive displays and exhibits that let children have fun while they learn and explore the world around them. Each museum offers free admission one day each month.
Miami is home to casual dining restaurants and eateries that serve a variety of cuisines, such as ethnic food and an eclectic fusion of different styles. While there are many upscale restaurants with kid-friendly menus, there are also many national, family-oriented restaurant chains with high chairs and booster seats.
WHERE TO STAY
When traveling to Miami, consider a hotel situated on Ocean Drive, like the boutique Bentley Hotel in South Beach. Stay just a brief walk from the beach, restaurants and numerous family things to do in Miami while enjoying comfortable amenities and sweeping views of the water.