Think of Miami and it conjures up images of glam – beautiful people, nightclubs, fancy restaurants and bars. You might not immediately think of it being a kid-friendly place!
We’ve recently been researching Miami as a potential destination to visit with our kids, and have been pleasantly surprised at the number of family-oriented places there are to visit.
Here are the top 5 things on our Miami family vacation bucket list:
Spotting sharks at the Frost Museum of Science
We love a good science museum, and our youngest child is obsessed with sharks, so a visit to the Frost Museum of Science is a must-do for us on a trip to Miami.
We could easily spend a day here, checking out the three-level aquarium full of Florida reef fish and sharks, jellyfish and coral collections. Some of the other cool things to see include free-flight bird aviaries, exhibits about the history of flight, the Everglades ecology and a laser show that demonstrates the physics of light.
There’s also a 250 seat planetarium that has a 3D show about space and under the ocean, complete with surround sound.
You can save $2 per ticket off the admission price by booking online at least a day in advance. The museum is open every day of the year, and if you’re car hiring – which is the best way to get around with kids in Miami – there’s convenient onsite parking available.
Visiting the beach
Miami is blessed with some of the best beaches in the USA, and kids will love hitting the sand and surf for a fun day.
South Beach is, of course, one of the most well-known beaches in Miami and a great choice for families. After you’ve enjoyed the beach, head to Lincoln Road, a pedestrian strip that has plenty of family-friendly restaurants like the Shake Shack to satisfy any burger and fries cravings!
Learning at the Miami Children’s Museum
“Play, Learn, Imagine, Create” is the Miami Children’s Museum tagline, and it’s the perfect place to spend time with your kids having fun on your Miami vacation.
Some of the fabulous exhibits include learning about sandblasting in the All About Art section, exploring the two-story “Castle of Dreams” which is a giant sandcastle, understanding what’s involved in owning a pet at “Pet Central” where they can be hands-on veterinarians, and using a crane, bulldozer and wheelbarrows at the construction zone. It sounds a lot like the Kidzania concept in other cities around the world.
See the surrounding nature
You should consider teaching your kids further by taking them on trips to see the nature around them. You can see plenty of nature in the area and all down the east coast if you plan to go on ahead after this trip! You should consider looking at dolphin sightseeing and therefore you can then teach your kids the importance of marine life and how this can really impact their learning and approach to nature. Watching dolphins is a beautiful experience that they will never forget and you can take photos to remember the occasion.
You can also encourage them to learn to swim more and to be in touch with nature. Lots of classes are available also in the area, such as scuba diving, deep sea diving and even snorkelling. It’s definitely a great place to be and so much to offer. You can look at the local nature museums and go spotting all the different types of birds and animals that you may find there. This will help them with their science studies at school and generally feel more in touch with the nature around them.
You should consider hiring a boat if you can and taking them fishing and learning all about the fish and types of sea creatures that they may come across. It’s a good way for them to engage in the importance of protecting the sea from a young age. Afterall, being sustainable is going to be a big part of their future.
Spotting gators at the Everglades
Our kids are slightly obsessed with visiting the Everglades, traveling on an airboat and spotting the gators, so it’s right up there on our list of things to do in Miami! Because of the distances involved, it’s best to have a Miami car rental to drive to the Tropical Everglades Visitor Center.
They have plenty of information about visiting both the Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park, including accommodation, where to eat and what’s on.
It’s a big space with over 1.5 million acres of swamps, prairies and jungle, so you need to do your research prior to visiting as to exactly what you want to see and do.
Exploring Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
For something completely different, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens – an Italian and Spanish Renaissance style villa down on the water – is just the thing.
The house was constructed in 1914 by industrialist James Deering and features European treasures dating back to the 1500’s in its 34 rooms.
Once you’ve seen the opulence of the house be sure to head outside to the 10 acres of stunning gardens. It’s the perfect place for kids to run around and explore the labyrinth-like hedges and burn off some steam.
So there you have it – the five things that would be top of our list when visiting Miami on a family vacation.
Have you visited Miami with kids before? What would you recommend to see and do – tell us in the comments below!