The best things to do with kids in Miami

These top Miami museums and family attractions offer kids entertainment and endless fun

Photograph: Miami Science Museum
Close encounters of the submerged kind at the Miami Science Museum

Greater Miami is packed with kid-friendly museums, arts, entertainment and attractions to keep children interested. Chief among them is Jungle Island, which introduces kids to wildlife; the delightful Venetian Pool in Coral Gables, with its waterfalls, grotto and underwater cave; and the interactive Miami Children’s Museum, a favorite destination for kids of all ages. 

Fun Miami museums and attractions

HistoryMiami

It’s young, but south Florida does have a past and a lively one at that. Tracing the history of the region, from early Indians to rafting Cubans, HistoryMiami succeeds in educating while entertaining. The exhibits on the wreckers of Key West and Henry Flagler both merit an extended look, as does the section on photographer Ralph Middleton Munroe.

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Downtown

Miami Children's Museum

Critics' pick

Across the causeway from the Jungle Island, the Miami Children's museum turns as many heads as the parrots, with its futuristic design by the stellar architecture firm Arquitectonica. Inside, it's nothing like the familiar boring old museums at home, but rather a highly interactive kid's playground. The fun includes a colourful mosaic-tiled, two-storey sandcastle, a sea room designed specially for under-fives, the world's most cultural teddy-bear exhibit and a television studio. But what kids seem to like best are the exhibits celebrating the mundane: the bank with teller stations and fake cheques, the supermarket with checkout lanes, and the police motorcycle and fire truck.

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Watson Island

Miami Science Museum

It may not be the most technologically advanced museum, but where else are you greeted by a giant concrete sloth? The permanent exhibits are of mixed quality, while the displays compiled in association with the Smithsonian Institution are educational and occasionally fascinating. The recently opened Energy Playground—which features a range of interactive exhibits, including the Human YoYo and the Giant Lever—are fun for the kids. The adjoining Planetarium is a bit old-school (it opened in 1966), but benefits from the free observatory viewings on the first Friday of each month (8.30–10pm), a favorite of south Florida teens for decades.

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Coconut Grove

Miccosukee Indian Village

A bridge between old and new lifestyles, the Village presents Miccosukee arts and crafts (patchwork sewing, doll making, basket weaving), a museum of Indian heritage, airboat tours, alligator wrestling and an ultra-modern casino.

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West Flagler

Pelican Harbor Seabird Rescue Station

Not strictly an attraction but a working halfway house for seabirds rescued after being injured by fish hooks or nets. Staff are available to show visitors around 9am-noon and 2-5pm daily, while feeding takes place at 4.15pm.

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Free

Theater, arts and entertainment for kids

Jungle Island

Critics' pick

In 2001, this long-running attraction moved from its suburban South Miami location to Watson Island, giving families much easier access to the same popular parrot and wildlife shows and petting zoo. Bring loads of change to buy seeds so that the kids can feed the parrots—but remind them that these birds do indeed bite.

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Miami Beach

Actors' Playhouse

A prime location on Miracle Mile makes this a great destination for theatergoers, who can enjoy a meal and shopping before the show. This non-profit theater presents a full season of staged productions for adults, a children’s theater series, educational programing, acting classes and a wide array of community services.

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Coral Gables

BankUnited Center

Sesame Street Live - featuring Muppets singing and dancing against amazing backdrops - is held at this venue, as are stage versions of other American television shows, such as Clifford the Big Red Dog and Dragon Tales.

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Coral Gables

Miami Children's Theater

Performances here are produced, acted and choreographed by children. The audience is also underage, but watch out for the occasional PG rating. The theater has additional locations in Coral Gables and Miami Beach.

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South Miami

MTCplayground

It may be housed in an art deco building and stage children’s classics such as The Steadfast Tin Soldier and Alice in Wonderland, but Miami Theater Center’s kids’ program isn’t just pure nostalgia. It also presents contemporary productions and runs day camps and workshops.

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North Miami

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