June 2019: We’re hitting our summertime stride, and there continues to be no shortage of fun activities and destinations to get you and the kiddos out of the house. Our list of the best things to do in Miami with kids now includes Monkey Jungle, the 30-acre wildlife park established in 1935 where endangered monkeys roam free in their semi-natural habitats. To cool down, we’ve also added in the Splash 'N Play playground at Pinecrest Gardens, where you and the little ones can frolic after strolling botanical gardens, feeding koi and browsing the farmer’s market. Finally, the arts-inclined family will want to check out the innovative Artechouse in Miami Beach, a large gallery dedicated to showcasing immersive, high-tech digital works.
Finding an activity that holds your child’s interest is easy in Miami, where kid-friendly museums, arts, entertainment and attractions abound. The best things to do in Miami with kids are actually activities the whole family will enjoy—not just the little ones in the bunch. From visits to the best Miami attractions and spending the day getting splashed by some marine life to day trips that put them face to face with wild animals, there’s plenty to keep children entertained. Rather than boring your kids with Miami tours, or trekking to kid-friendly Orlando for a quick escape, treat them to one of these local experiences they’ll never forget.
Best things to do in Miami with kids
This sprawling, high-tech museum connects people of all ages with science through a range of inspiring programming—some of which is even bilingual. Exhibitions such as the “MeLab” lets kids learn about health by using their own bodies to conduct experiments, while the aquarium, which houses all sorts of sea creatures, teaches them about marine life.
Why kids love it: Nearly every exhibition provides some sort of hands-on opportunity—kids can touch, smell and taste their way to a greater understanding of science
Why parents love it: Every other Friday, Frost Science hosts laser light shows set to music from the Beatles, Beyoncé, Pink Floyd and others
Walk a few blocks south from where most of the artsy action is in Wynwood and you’ll find this massive warehouse-turned-indoor-arcade with not just video games, but also laser tag, bumper cars and a 7-D theater.
Why kids love it: Combo game passes allow children to play as much as they want on prepaid games
Why parents love it: Wi-Fi, plus there’s wine, beer and Panther Coffee for sale
Every inch of the Children’s Museum was designed to foster creativity and inspire little ones to play as they explore and engage educational activities. Locals enjoy access to after-school programming as well as Mommy and Me classes.
Why kids love it: The little-people-sized replicas of places such as the grocery store and the bank make kids feel like grown-ups
Why parents love it: Behind the fun exhibits and installations is real educational programming that teaches kids about everyday subjects like health and wellness
Possibly the most beautiful swimming pool in the world, even if it is jammed on hot days. It combines an impossibly idyllic setting (tropical foliage, waterfalls, Italian architectural touches) with freshwater, replenished nightly in summer months from a subterranean aquifer. Everyone wants a piece of the pool. Luckily for Joe Public, it’s open to the masses seven days a week, but it is perhaps best enjoyed when not overrun with toddlers and boom-box blasts (avoid weekends).
Why kids love it: The shallow pool and cool grotto provide hours of entertainment for water-loving kiddos—plus, the on-site café serves ice cream, pizza and french fries
Why parents love it: One of the most pristine public bathing areas, Venetian Pool takes the stress out of planning an outing—it boasts clean showers, lockers, free parking and a place to grab a bite
The animals at this private facility have been rescued from large zoos or donated, including the adorable camel guests can feed carrots and the small capuchin monkeys, Amaya and Ahmed, which love to pose for photos.
Why kids love it: This is the only zoo in Miami that allows children to hold primates, feed camels and interact with other wildlife
Why parents love it: Visits are guided and led by skilled staff member, so children learn as they explore
Parents love the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts for its regular Broadway series of shows, while kids appreciate the facility’s programming that’s specially tailored to them—from one-off performances to puppet shows to musicals.
Why kids love it: Runs of shows such as Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella give kids a reason to love the theater and help foster an interest in the arts
Why parents love it: In the summer, the center hosts Camp Broadway, a weeklong theater camp for children ages 10 to 17
Occupying the southern tip of Key Biscayne, this park’s wide beaches regularly make the national top 10 lists. But this is more than just a place to catch some rays: there’s history, wildlife and plenty of activities too. Covered pavilions are available for picnics, and the Lighthouse Café offers good food.
Why kids love it: Kids will love climbing to the top of the 65-foot-tall Cape Florida Lighthouse, exploring native wildlife and experiencing outdoor activities like kayaking and cycling
Why parents love it: The beach at Bill Baggs is a relaxed alternative to Miami Beach with easy parking, lots of room on the sand for lying out and relatively calm waters for little swimmers
This free outdoor museum boasts more than a dozen murals by the some of the world’s most acclaimed artists. Whether it’s for a photo op or to teach your kids about art, a stop at the Wynwood Walls is essential for families.
Why kids love it: There’s lots of green space to run around
Why parents love it: Adjacent Wynwood Kitchen & Bar provides the perfect snack break, with a full bar and various small plates to tide you over until your next meal
This huge park down south has marina for boaters, green space for picnicking, bike trails for cyclists of all skill levels and a small beach for sunbathing.
Why kids love it: The shallow atoll provides a fun, safe place to splash around
Why parents love it: It seems like a trip to Miami Beach without a trek over the causeway, and there’s plenty of parking
No kid will ever want to visit another hotel pool after a day at Tidal Cove, JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa’s splashy new water park. The sprawling attraction features a lazy river, 4,000-square foot kids’ pool, a splash pad for the little ones, two eateries and plenty of lifeguards on duty so that parents can’t also enjoy themselves.
Why kids love it: Adventurous tykes get seven waterslides and a Flow Rider to safely test their surfing and boogie-boarding skills.
Why adults love it: The bar at the breezy Surf House restaurant rivals the best cocktail spots in South Beach. Get yourself a fancy margarita and kick back while you watch the kids slide all afternoon.
Spread over five acres, this privately owned and funded rescue facility is home to more than 120 species, 15 of which you’re welcome to pet, hold and take selfies with. (Sloths are very photogenic.) Bring change for the food vending machines if you want to feed the lemurs or bottle-feed the adorable pot-bellied pigs.
Why kids love it: Free, hands-on presentations give children the opportunity hold baby alligators, snakes and all sorts of other creatures
Why parents love it: Unlike the vast Zoo Miami, this quaint animal sanctuary can be explored within a couple of hours
If your kid is dreaming of life on the Great White Way, the Miami Children’s Theater will introduce them to life in show business. Performances here are produced, acted and choreographed by children. The audience is also underage, but watch out for the occasional PG rating.
Why kids love it: Budding actors can relate to the pint-size talents on stage
Why parents love it: If fostering a love of acting is important to you, this place has you covered
Florida’s largest urban park offers water sports and land-based activities. Kayak through mangroves, camp overnight or spend the day hanging out at one of the many pavilions on the premises.
Why kids love it: Bicycle trails offer a fun and safe way for beginners to learn to ride
Why parents love it: Full moon kayak tours are a big hit with parents and older children
Aside from being home to one of the best (and safest) beaches in the county, Crandon Park boasts a nature center with programs that explore the seagrass and the fossilized mangrove reef. Keep an eye out for the resident iguanas and unusual reptiles.
Why kids love it: The waterfront park features a small amusement area with a restored vintage carousel and an outdoor roller rink
Why parents love it: Rather than lugging wheels for everyone, parents can rent family-sized bikes built for two pedallers and two strapped-in seats up front for the little ones
No kid will turn down a visit to Zoo Miami. The animals here are a draw—lions, zebras, giraffes and elephants, to name a few—and so are the splash zones and activity areas. Bring an extra change of clothes for the kiddos and spend the rest of the day peddling around on a Safari Cycle, a covered bicycle large enough for a family of four.
Why kids love it: Besides visiting with the animals, water-loving children enjoy the opportunity to splash around at the zoo’s waterplay areas—they’ll keep cool at the Fiesta Fountain and have a blast getting soaked as they stand underneath overflowing buckets of water
Why parents love it: No need to pack snacks when you visit: Zoo Miami has multiple cafes, vending machines and restaurants positioned strategically throughout the grounds
Rather than letting your kids run through the sprinklers and watching them leave a muddy trail through the living room, take them to the Miami Seaquarium the next time they feel the urge to splash around. The city’s premier facility for marine life has designated splash zones at just about every one of the popular marine shows.
Why kids love it: Little ones can watch dolphins do tricks at the top deck dolphin show, check out sea lions show their incredible athletic abilities and even feed manatees
Why parents love it: Free parking, shaded areas and a cool, beach breeze make this place a no-brainer for hot summer days
Bear Grylls has some fierce competition in Everglades Alligator Farms’ employees, who bravely wrestle giant creatures for your entertainment. There’s also an alligator feeding show and a snake show, after which kids can hold the giant reptile atop their shoulders (photo ops welcome). The facility also offers airboat rides for a different type of adrenaline rush.
Why kids love it: It’s completely safe, still, watching men wrestle alligators seems dangerous and exciting
Why parents love it: Safety is the real draw for parents, looking to expose their kids to wild animals
It’s everything you desire in an arts and crafts room—except you don’t have to spend days picking glitter out of the carpet. Drop-in with your creative little ones, pay by the hour (prices range from $14 to $36) and kids can float from station to station with different crafty options.
Why kids love it: Painting, molding sand, creating their own invention—oh, the possibilities here.
Why parents love it: Because these kids sure as hell won’t be making slime in your living room.
Though small, the park features your typical aquatic activities for kids: a lazy river, a series of slides and fun waterspouts. Added bonuses for parents are the colorful sculptures and decorative touches designed by local artist Romero Britto.
Why kids love it: There's nothing like zooming down a waterslide or floating down the lazy river on a hot summer day
Why parents love it: Kids get their fill of water activities while exhausted adults get to stay close to home and avoid trekking to Miami Beach
Following an extensive renovation, there's lots more to experience at this classic Miami attraction including the Super Flight outdoor skydiving simulator and a Nerf Battle Zone, an enclosed foam-dart battleground.
Why kids love it: The petting zoo!
Why parents love it: Plenty of animals are still at the park like the orangutans, birds, lemurs, alligators, giant tortoises and exotic birds, which you'll hear the minute you walk into the lush grounds.
Here kids learn every aspect of the Miccosukee tribe’s fascinating history and culture, browsing authentic crafts and patchwork, sampling the tribe’s cuisine and visiting the Indian Museum, which is packed with artifacts and exhibits.
Why kids love it: History lesson aside, this place offers airboat rides take visitors through the Everglades to see typical hammock-style Indian camps
Why parents love it: Just 30 minutes south of Downtown, the educational facility exposes kids to Native American history in a fun, engaging way
If your child shows interest in horticulture and local wildlife, take them to Fruit & Spice Park in Homestead, where they’ll find all sorts of exotic plants and trees that produce more than 500 varieties fruits, vegetables, herbs and nuts. The park’s 150-plus types of mangos are the favorite of the bunch.
Why kids love it: Kids can try the park’s bounty of produce during one of many fruit-centric events that take place annually—like the popular Asian Cultural Festival in March
Why parents love it: The 37-acre facility offers guided tours, which are included in the price of admission and are available daily
This digital art gallery is a decidedly 21st century experience. All the art here is digital and a lot of it is interactive too.
Why kids love it: It’s perfect if you find yourself wanting to go up and touch everything at the typical modern art gallery (all of us, yes, but especially kids). Here, you can (mostly) do just that. Installations move along with you. You can manipulate the work with your fingers. And there are surprises waiting to be discovered with a wave of your hand throughout the two-story space.
Why parents love it: Who doesn’t love a good excuse to ogle literal rooms filled with high-tech gadgets (dads, lookin’ at you)? Plus, its SoBe location means you can find plenty of cool spots to fuel up to or from your way there.
South Florida is short on hills so this 7,500-square-foot hybrid skate park and pump track at Haulover Beach Park is a great spot to burn off energy and practice catching some air. Helmets are required.
Why kids love it: The track is challenging but also accessible for all ages.
Why parents love it: Safe riding and skateboarding in a no-car zone means less worry for parents. Plus, it’s right next to the super popular dog beach.
Explore 40,000-square-feet of activities with an epic main attraction: a trampoline court with interlocking trampolines. Plus, find a big arcade, two basketball slam dunk courts, a toddler-friendly playground, two trampoline dodgeball courts and plenty more.
Why kids love it: After all that jumping they can scarf down pizza, wings, desserts and more at the cafe.
Why parents love it: Adults can have some fun too with beer, wine and massage chairs.
Another great indoor crafts place, this Miami Shores pottery painting spot has a bunch of unique pieces and non-toxic paint. Let the kids craft the perfect Mother’s Day bowl that you can use for, uh, something.
Why kids love it: Clay, paint, creativity—this place is great for little budding artists.
Why parents love it: It's a quiet and serene spot (no screaming and paint throwing here) to bond with your kids.
Monkey Jungle’s tagline is “Where the humans are caged and the monkeys run wild.” This 30-acre wildlife park established in 1935 for the exhibition and study of endangered monkeys currently houses around 300 primates running loose in their semi-natural habitats.
Why kids love it: Have you ever been to a zoo where the humans are the ones in cages? Yeah, it’s a pretty nuts concept that we’re pretty sure your kids will go bananas over.
Why parents love it: Adults who can appreciate a more existential experience will enjoy the Cameroon Gorilla Forest experience, where you get an up-close glimpse into the gorilla lifestyle and the dynamic, uncannily human interactions between these amazing apes and their keepers.
A hub for theater kids of all sizes, this charming theater in Miami Shores regularly hosts kid-friendly performances, a drama camp and workshops for local schools and organizations.
Why kids love it: Shows are geared to kids of all ages, so you little Hamilton super fan can get started early.
Why parents love it: The staff is awesome and will turn your kid into a little star.
Parrot Jungle Island, which occupied this site for more than 60 years, flew the coop in 2001 to a $50-million complex on Watson Island. Although the owners took their thousand-plus alligators and crocodiles, flamingos, peacocks and parrots, they left the thousands of plants and flowers that now form the basis of this municipal park.
Why kids love it: After you've strolled flower-lined trails, stopped off at the petting zoo, fed the koi and admired the wildlife on Swan Lake, your kids will appreciate the reward of cooling off at Pinecrest Gardens’ Splash 'N Play area.
Why parents love it: Approximately one thousand times less overwhelming (and expensive) than a full-blown waterpark, this splash pad boasts plenty of sprays and misters and will only set you back $5 (included with the price of park admission).