When you think about Miami and South Florida in general, the first thing that comes to mind is the beach, but there are so much more fun things to do there with your kids. I know because I have two kids, and I constantly need to come up with new activities.
I do think the beach in itself is a wonderful plan, but the tropical weather in Miami will sometimes boycott your plans. The summer tends to be the rainiest season, and thunderstorms in the afternoon are the norm. That’s why many of the coolest places for kids are indoors; not only do you have A/C to keep you cool despite the sweltering heat and humidity, but you also don’t need to worry about the rain.
Popular Miami landmarks include South Beach, Little Havana, the Venetian Pool, the Biltmore Hotel, the Miami Seaquarium, Vizcaya Gardens, Jungle Island, Lincoln Road, and Casa Casuarina (the Versace mansion), but there is so much more to do. There are great museums and indoor playgrounds that will keep little ones entertained for hours, rain or shine.
Don’t be surprised by the amount of Spanish you will hear in Miami. It’s part of the charm and influences food, beverages, music, and fashion. El Palacio de los Jugos (with several locations) is a Miami must-do for anybody who loves fresh juices, especially made from tropical fruits.
Scroll down for plenty of ideas with insider tips to have tons of fun with kids in Miami and South Florida.
A Miami tradition, the Miami Seaquarium has brought kids and families face to face with Lolita the killer whale and Flipper since 1955. The Sea Lion show under the Golden Dome is also a classic, and the facilities could use some updating but still provide fun for little ones. Since it gets really hot and muggy in the summer months, don’t forget the sunscreen and to drink lots of water. If you or your children have swimming with dolphins on their bucket list, you can also book one of several packages to make your dream come true. Just keep in mind it’s expensive.
LION COUNTRY SAFARI
If your kids are animal lovers, they’ll really enjoy the Lion Country Safari. It is Florida’s only drive-through safari and has over 900 animals. After the safari in your own car (which means air conditioning!) you park your car and can feed giraffes, let the kids play in the water sprayground, or take advantage of the rides.
JAXSON’S ICE CREAM PARLOR
Kids and grown ups love this old-fashioned ice cream parlor in Dania Beach, just a little further north from Miami. They make their own ice cream, serve traditional American fare (such as hamburgers and hot dogs), and the sundaes are out of this world. If you are with a large group, go for the punch bowl, which the menu says is for a dozen people, but it really is for more.
WYNWOOD WALLS AND THE ART GALLERIES
Miami’s midtown area boasts dozens of art galleries, but for kids, the coolest place to visit is the area called Wynwood Walls. Not only can they stare at larger-than-life murals and street art, but they can also run around and blow off steam. Just be careful of your surroundings at night, since the area used to be a very edgy neighborhood. Wynwood Walls and the Pop Up Shop are located at NW Second Avenue between Joey’s Italian Cafe on 25th Street, and the art-filled Wynwood Kitchen & Bar on 26th Street, and are open to the public free of charge.
Jungle Island used to be known as the Parrot Jungle and was famous for its birds, but it later expanded to include different kinds of animals, from tigers to lemurs and orangutans. It has a petting area that young kids love, a great playground, and of course, parrots that you can feed.
MIAMI CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
Right across from Jungle Island, you can find the Miami Children’s Museum, which is full of fun for little ones. Many interactive exhibits teach kids about different professions (from firefighter to musician), hands-on activities encourage creativity, and the museum also has a playground so kids can run freely. They can even design their own bills and learn how pets should be taken care of at a pretend vet clinic. If you’re visiting with a baby, kids under 1 are free. There’s a sandwich shop on premises if you or your kids get hungry.
For hours of active fun, try Planet Air. This 6,000 sq ft indoor trampoline park also has a 30+ point rope course (and a 8 point one for young children), a zip line, rock climbing, and bungee trampolines. It’s a drive if you’re staying in Miami, but it’s worth it.
COOL DE SAC
If you are traveling with preschoolers and need a break, this indoor playground offers fun play stations for little ones, while parents can enjoy the full service restaurant.
FAIRCHILD TROPICAL GARDEN
Enjoy and learn about tropical plants in this gorgeous botanical garden, where you will find a rainforest, a fun butterfly garden, and an edible garden. Not only will your kids have tons of fun exploring nature, but you’ll have the most beautiful backdrop for your pictures. They also have a homeschool program with guided programs especially designed for children between the ages of 5-12.
If you’re short on time, don’t feel like driving, and your kids don’t mind sitting in a bus, the Big Bus Tour might be the perfect answer to see Miami’s landmarks. You can take a tour of the beach area or explore further with the City Loop route, which takes you to see the Freedom Tower, the famous Biltmore hotel, the historic Vizcaya Museum, and more. You can hop on and off at several locations, which makes it very convenient. Just make sure to wear sunscreen (and sunglasses) if you will ride on the top floor, which has an open top. The Miami sun is brutal!