Miami‘s reputation for being a 24-hour party spot may be true, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of family-friendly activities for younger residents and visitors. The Magic City is chock full of green spaces and public parks, from Florida City to North Miami Beach.
But when you’ve exhausted your weekly trips to the local playground and library, there are still plenty of other attractions to hit up that will keep little hands busy and little minds learning.
ZooMiami has often been touted as one of the best zoos in the country thanks to their multiple, open-air exhibits, not to mention the immense size of the park and their wide variety of animals. Animals, interactive exhibits, animal shows, and splash pads all make it a hit with the under 12 set.
Kids who prefer being seaside will love spending a day at Bill Baggs State Park. This family-oriented beach features a light house children will enjoy learning about and exploring, plus bike rentals and treats for sale.
This list keeps in mind the importance of COVID-19 precautions, so we’ve gone ahead and features many outdoor spaces which may be safest for young children, as well as a few reputable indoor spots we know they’ll love.
Home to the Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet, and New World Symphony, the Arsht Center is the premiere venue for culture and class in South Florida. Typically hosting over 300 events per year, there’s always something new going on at this brilliant downtown hub for the arts. Catch touring Broadway musicals, local theatre productions, memorable ballets and other dance performances, concerts, Gospel Sundays, and more. Aside from entertaining, the Arsht is committed to giving back to the community by way of diverse and inclusive educational programming, summer camps, and more for kiddos interested in pursuing dance, music, art, and theatre.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The Arsht Center frequently hosts a variety of children’s shows and activity days that will make your kiddos fans of the theater in no time.
Priscilla’s expert tip: Check out their summer theatre camps for the budding performer in your household.
Train lovers and history buffs are in for a treat when they visit the Gold Coast Railroad Museum. Tucked away inside the same lot that leads to ZooMiami, this museum houses over 40 historical railroad cars, including streamlined passenger cars, old freight cars, and steam and diesel locomotives. The museum is also home to the Ferdinand Magellan, the U.S. No. 1 Presidential Car. It is the county’s first National Historic Landmark. Built in 1928, the Ferdinand Magellan was used by President Franklin D. Roosevelt himself. GCRM admits visitors free of charge on the first Saturday of every month and is also the venue of many children’s events, most notable of which are the Polar Express event in December and the Day out With Thomas every Spring.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Youngsters will love learning about and riding in some of their favorite trains at this hidden gem.
Priscilla’s expert tip: Check their website for more info on upcoming events (like the annual Thomas the Tank Engine visit) and free days!
Lush and meticulously maintained, this garden showcases a wide range of tropical plants. Within its 83 acres, palms and cycads flourish, and a 16,000-square-foot conservatory shelters rare specimens. The Fairchild also offers a butterfly garden, an arboretum and a rainforest, and it also houses a world-renowned research facility. Leisurely strolls through the grounds are sure to provoke plenty of “oohs and aahs,” and you may gain inspiration for your own little patch of paradise back home. There are also often art installations by world-renowned artists like Dale Chihuly, plus moonlight tours and movie nights. A small museum, gift shop and cafe take care of practical needs. Free tram tours run on the hour.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Outdoor attractions are all the rage these days, and with over 80 acres of lush garden to explore, Fairchild is one of the best.
Priscilla’s expert tip: If you have youngsters who love dinosaurs, check out the current Jurassic Garden exhibit open through July 18th.
This is the most all-encompassing alligator experience you can have in Miami, and it will surely be the experience you go back home and tell all your friends about. Whip around through the tall saw grass of the Everglades in an airboat or swamp buggy, where you can observe the alligators in their natural habitat while maintaining a presumably safe distance. Back on shore, you can catch an alligator wrestling show, pet the baby alligators (don’t worry, precautions are taken so you don’t get your fingers bitten off), and come face to face with other wildlife. At the end, pick some gifts up in their shop or dine on some gator tail in the cafe.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: While kids may enjoy a bike ride or bird-watching in the Everglades, they will absolutely love airboat rides and close encounters with gators even more.
Priscilla’s expert tip: Make sure to bring or obtain ear plugs or other ear protection while there for the airboat rides!
The Museum of Science has always been a top attraction for kids growing up in Miami, but in recent years, its undergone a full makeover that has left today’s families beyond pleased. The new Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science now has not only numerous hands-on exhibits, but also boasts the 250-seat Frost Planetarium as well as the incredibly impressive three-story aquarium complete with an oculus lens through which kids can look up at tuna, sharks, and more. Additionally, the newer museum features the Knight Learning Center (a space for STEM-related educational programs), various camps and overnight experiences, and more.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Since moving downtown, the revamped Museum of Science has become a true favorite among Miami-area families thanks to its interactive exhibits and a stellar aquarium.
Priscilla’s expert tip: Check out their website to learn more about summer camps, homeschooling events, science-themed birthday parties, and more fun opportunities for young visitors.
Previously the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, HistoryMiami is the place to learn all about exactly that.
As a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate, the facility has grown in size in recent years and has become a top destination for locals and visitors alike hoping to learn more about the Magic City. Explore the Tropics of Dreams exihibition to find out more about Miami’s earliest inhabitants and how the city has changed over the past 10,000 years. Discover rare and interesting artifacts of South Florida’s past in History and Ourselves. Visit often to see what else is new at the museum, and book a local tour of the city while you’re at it, from an eco-history bus tour, to a walking tour of Calle Ocho.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: It’s the very best place to learn more about local culture and history, complete with interactive exhibitions that keep kids of all ages engaged.
Priscilla’s expert tip: Mmake sure to sign up for their newsletter for weekly Hands on History activities before and after your visit! Also, admission is currently free for a limited time.
The Miami Children’s Museum is a non-profit, educational institution that is always hit with kids. Your little ones will love exploring all the interactive, interdisciplinary, multicultural exhibits, all of which are built with children’s safety in mind. Allow them to explore their inner Frida Kahlo in the Art Studio, help build a city by using cranes and bulldozers in the Construction Zone, gaze at the tropical fish and coral in the saltwater tank at the Ocean Odyssey exhibit, and discover the sounds of the World Music Studio. Take them outside to play in the Peace Park, check out the Art in Public Spaces exhibit, and learn to tell time with the museum’s sun dial. So much to do, you’ll want to visit again and again!
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: This museum is fully dedicated to providing safe, educational, fun activities for all kids of all abilities.
Priscilla’s expert tip: Visit the website for information on special event days (like Sensory Saturdays) and educational classes for young children. Also make sure to purchase tickets ahead of time as part of their COVID-19 precautions.
Pinto’s Farm is a Redland-area attraction that’s become extremely popular with local families over the years. That’s probably because the farm always does it up right when it comes to holidays. In April, kiddos of all ages love to come here and hunt for easter eggs during their Easter at the Farm event. Come Fall, the farm is transformed into an epic pumpkin patch, complete with spooky decor and pumpkin-related crafts. And during the Winterland at the Farm event all December long, the farm undergoes yet another transformation, including photos and hot chocolate with Nix the Snowman, Sprinkle the Gingerbread Cookie, and of course, Santa! But even when there aren’t particular days to celebrate, a trip to Pinto’s is always fun thanks to their petting zoo, pony rides, paddle boats, and hay rides.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Never a dull moment at Pinto’s, from paddle boats and pony rides to petting zoo encounters and festive celebrations year round!
Priscilla’s expert tip: Check their website for the latest goings on. They change every season (from Halloween to Christmas to Easter and more)
One of Miami’s most relaxing beaches, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park Beach is a scenic, sunny bit of paradise. Located at the far east end of Key Biscayne, this beach is the perfect place for a family picnic, a day of biking by the shore, or a calm afternoon by the sea. There are bikes and quad bikes for rent at their concession stand and plenty of trails to ride on. Fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and snorkeling are all possible at Bill Baggs. If you get hungry, there are two restaurants on site. The historic lighthouse was built in 1825 and is the oldest standing structure in the county. Guided tours of both the light house and the lighthouse keeper’s cottage are available.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The one thing everyone must do when they come to Miami is hit the beach, and this one is as family-friendly as it gets.
Priscilla’s expert tip: Bring some cash for renting bikes and grabbing a bite to make it a full day at Bill Baggs.
ZooMiami is the largest zoo in Florida and mesmerizes visitors with remarkable, open air exhibits and exotic creatures from around the world. Favorite animals among zoo-goers include clouded leopards, Komodo dragons, ring-tailed lemurs and tree kangaroos. They get ample competition from standard wildlife like giraffes, lions, meerkats, koalas, gorillas and colorful birds. When the heat starts to take its toll, Dr. Wilde’s World provides a rainforest-themed, air-conditioned refuge for hands-on fun, or you can always just hop on the monorail and get a bird’s eye view of the whole park. A petting zoo and wildlife shows also keep kids engaged, plus a fun splash zone and even swan and duck boat rides.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Animals, splash pads, interactive exhibits and live shows make the Zoo a childhood favorite. Plus it’s accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums!
Priscilla’s expert tip: Check schedules prior to arrival for animal shows and feeding times. Some of the coolest experiences you’ll have at the zoo revolve around these two things. Also, masks are still required through at least July 2nd so come prepared!