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. From visits to the best Miami attractions to spending the day getting splashed by some marine life, there’s plenty to keep them entertained. Rather than boring your kids with Miami tours, treat them to a local experience they’ll never forget.
Best things to do in Miami with kids
If your kids love to pretend to be grown-ups then the Miami Children’s Museum is for them. Not that the name is a contradiction, rather it’s that the museum knows exactly the way to a kid’s heart. They’ve created exhibits with little-people-sized replicas of places such as the grocery store and the bank for children to visit just like their parents do. There’s also a fitness exhibit that teaches kids about health and wellness, plus a series of educational programming that’s available as part of an extended after-school program.
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. Runs of shows such as Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella, give kids a reason to love the theater and help foster in interest in the arts. In the summer, the center hosts Camp Broadway, a weeklong theater camp for children ages 10 to 17.
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 opps welcome). The facility also offers airboat rides for a different type of adrenaline rush.
Birds aren’t for everyone, but charming parrots that sing, dance and ride bicycles are bound to win you over. The trainers at Jungle Island don’t just care for the birds they’re entrusted with, but also make sure to teach them all sorts of tricks to wow the crowds. More remarkable than the birds’ antics is how well behaved they are. Kids will love feeding the numerous parrots just hanging out around the park. Find a feeder, drop in a coin and turn for a handful’s-worth of feed and watch the giant parrots (from macaws to cockatoos) eat right from the palms of their hands. In the summertime, kids are welcome to enjoy Jungle Island’s water park, a course of inflatable slides set up on the bay.
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. The theater has additional locations in Coral Gables and Miami Beach.
No kid will turn down a visit to Zoo Miami. Sure, the animals here are a draw—lions, zebras, giraffes and elephants, to name a few. But water-loving children will also 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. 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.
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 a designated splash zones at just about every one of the popular marine shows. Watch dolphins jump high above the water at the top deck dolphin show, catch Flipper in his new Caribbean-themed show, watch sea lions show their incredible athletic abilities and don’t miss the star of the whole place, Lolita the killer whale, reveal just how intelligent and graceful she truly is.
Expose kids to Native American history in a fun, engaging way at the Miccosukee Indian Village, just 30-minutes south of downtown Miami. Here they’ll 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. Daily airboat rides take visitors through the Everglades to see typical hammock-style Indian camps.
Getting to Miami Beach in the dead of summer takes patience and planning, which is why parents these days turn to Grapeland Water Park as their local respite from the heat. Though small, the park features your typical aquatic activities for kids: a lazy river, a series of slides and fun water spouts. Added bonuses for parents are the colorful sculptures and decorative touches designed by local artist Romero Britto.
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. You can sample the fruit in dishes at The Mango Café (located inside in the park) or whole, during one of the many fruit-centric events that take place annually—like the popular Asian Cultural Festival in March, now in its 26th year. The best way to see the 37-acre facility is on a guided tour, which is included in the price of admission and is available daily.