Family Activities in Miami: Favorite Things to do with the Kids
Updated February 2018
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Are there really a lot of family activities in Miami? I’m sure you asked yourself when you read the title of this post. The land of sparkle and glamour, bachelorette bashes, famed night-clubs, rowdy beach parties. Shouldn’t Miami be reserved for a girls or couples weekend away? Absolutely. But it can also be a lot of fun with kids.
Family activities in Miami are popping up more and more as, well, more and more family-friendly hotels and resorts are popping up. Places such as the Loews, Ritz and Fountainbleau all cater to families. And let’s face it – just because you’re a parent it doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself. Book a sitter while you’re there if you can, even if for 1 night, and go out and enjoy the nightlife! You can’t go to Miami and not go out. Hang with the kids the next day in the big and beautiful white sand beaches, poolside or at one of the many animal attractions and parks, and you have the best of both worlds.
Family Activities in Miami
Head to the Beach
Of course the number one thing has to be, hit the beach! The beaches in Miami are beautiful and the water has that Caribbean blue we all love. If you’re able to book a hotel room with private access – or nearby a beach entrance – that will make your life much easier with the tykes. We stayed at the Savoy in South Beach, which has its own private beach entrance. Though not one of the big, fancy resorts, it’s located in a mellow area, without the throngs of people on the beach. Miami is big, so wherever you wind up staying, see this guide to help you plan which beach(es) to go to. You can sort by things such as playgrounds, chair rentals, picnic tables, and concession stands.
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Visit Zoo Miami
Lions, tigers and bears, oh my! One of the super-fun things to do when traveling with kids is to check out the local zoo, and Miami is no exception. A wonderful and large zoo, attractions include the Children’s Zoo, camel and giraffe feedings, water play areas, playgrounds, among many more. One of the things I love about this zoo is that it has Safari Cycle rentals, making it easy and fun to navigate around its large space.
Take a Trip to Monkey Jungle
The great thing about Monkey Jungle is its uniqueness. A zoological park where the people are “caged”, and where the monkeys run free, it’s a totally one of a kind experience. Located in Southern Miami on a 30-acre park, it has 300 primates where there kids can enjoy observing monkeys up close. “Experiences” include the Wild Monkey Swimming Pool, Hanging with Orangs, Cameroon Gorilla Forest and the Amazonian Rain Forest. Monkey Jungle has been around since 1935, and is a Miami favorite.
Take a Bike Ride
Biking in Miami is a past-time, and it’s also a must-do for visitors. There are many bike paths but one of our favorites has to be the Miami Beach Boardwalk in South Beach. Here you will see all the beautiful Art Deco buildings and hotels along Ocean Drive on one side, and the scenic ocean and beach on the other. It is also fabulous people-watching. The Boardwalk is how you can really see South Beach and experience it in all its glory. We love it! Just make sure to go early in the day as it gets very crowded and will be too tough to do with the kids. Bike and Roll Miami and Miami Beach Bicycle Center both have rentals. Note: bikes are not allowed north of 21st Street, but there is another parallel path you can connect to.
Tip: for a break, park your bike at Lincoln Road and stroll or grab a bite to eat at Lincoln Road Mall, South Beach’s outdoor and pedestrian-only shopping mecca.
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Explore Jungle Island
Another popular zoological park, Jungle Island has been around forever and used to be called Parrot Jungle. It initially opened as a place to see birds run free, and changed over the years to include many more exotic animals. Known for its entertaining animal shows, my girls loved Jungle Island. I thought it was ok. It’s very expensive! Adult tickets, for example, are $39.95, and with Miami’s high taxes it rung in at about $48. I will not be paying that again, but having said that, the girls did enjoy it, and from where we were staying in South Beach it was very close (it’s located in between Downtown and South Beach).
Discover Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens was one of the highlights of our trip and a great alternative to the everyday beach. An Italian-style villa built in the early 20th century by international businessman James Deering, this National Historic Landmark was not something I expected my girls to enjoy as much as they did. They’re old enough that I knew they would like exploring the estate’s exquisite gardens, but they also very much enjoyed wandering around the house and seeing how things looked and operated from another era. With so much history and beautiful interior and exterior design, I consider this a not-to-be-missed attraction if you can swing it with the kids.
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Watch the Sea Creatures at Miami Seaquarium
Save this one for an overcast day. Located in Biscayne Bay, the Miami Sequarium has all the sea animals the kids will want to see. Shows include dolphins, killer whales and sea lions. They also have penguin and dolphin encounters. A bit run-down and pricey – it’s not popular with everyone- but should the weather not cooperate it’s a good place to go.
My girls adored Miami, actually for a lot of the same reasons adults do. They loved all the action of being in a city on the sea. That magic combination of city-meets-beach-life. The energy of Miami is contagious, and for all ages!
**Sidenote: I booked my babysitter through the Babysitter Boutique (through our hotel), and while expensive it was worth every last penny. My sitter was professional, reliable and fun. I liked her so much that I wanted to acknowledge the service here.
Other Florida posts you may enjoy reading include:
Universal Studios: Everything You Need to Know to Plan Your Trip
Complete Family Guide to Sanibel and Captiva
A Guide to Dining and Shopping in Naples, Florida
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary: A Wildlife Gem in Naples, Florida
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Linking up with CITY TRIPPING and FARAWAY FILES
I was wondering that exactly thing – but you always have some tricks up your sleeve!
Ha – where the I go, the kids go. We have no one to look after them during our travels so that’s how it goes. It was so much fun.
Sounds like so much fun.you always find the fun things to do Corey. It was great to see you catch up with Randall and the boys
We had a week in Miami a few years ago – we all loved it including our son who was a few years younger. He keeps asking to go back….
Oh that’s great..the energy in Miami is like no other place. We love it. Hope you make it back!
There’s so many awesome things to do with kids in Miami! Would you recommend a time of the year that is best to visit? And high fives for the babysitter! We hired a babysitter in Paris a couple of times and she never even met our son (who slept the whole time). Easy gig!
That’s so funny! As for visiting Miami, I think the best time to go is probably October – December, before Christmas. Between Christmas and end of April Florida in general gets more crowded and expensive due to all the breaks – Christmas break, February winter break, and then Spring break really varies in this country, starting in March and going until end of April. After April it’s pretty hot. But having said that anytime excect for June – September (hot, rainy season) is still a great time to go. Hope you make it!
I love how beautiful the colour of the ocean is. I’d be happy to spend a couple hours there!
It’s so far South and therefore has some of that Caribbean blue – I love it!
So much to do beyond the beach! Thanks for sharing with #citytripping and thanks for the great pin!
Your photos are beautiful! I love the water in Miami. It’s so much warmer than here on the West Coast! My kids loved Miami, and there are so many great things to do with kids there! #citytripping
Thank Hilary! I love the water in Miami too, though every winter here in NYC I wonder when I’m going to move out to Cali :)).
I can relate! I love New York, but Cali weather can’t be beat! 😘
I love Miami – always such fun and that light and the beach huts always make me smile. My daughter had her first trip there when she was about 18 months on a quick stop before a cruise, she dozed happily through most of a food tour of Calls Ocho and tried to eat South Beach. When she’s a bit older I’d love to go back and do more of the things on your list (plus some more Art Deco for me) Thanks for linking up with #citytripping
I’m glad you brought up Calle Ocho. While I didn’t visit it with my girls, I may have to add it to the list because it’s such a distinctive part of Miami life.
I loved it there, so much to learn in just a few blocks (and very good ice cream…)
Yes..always key :).
I have been to Miami a few times without children, but as my inlaws live in Florida, it is a distinct probability with children, so this is going to be a huge help! Thank you! 🙂 #citytripping
Oh good, I hope it is!
Would love to ‘do’ Miami when the kids are older. Looks really relaxed.
It’s such a great place to go with the fam because you have family-friendly hotels, but all the jazz of being in a happening place like Miami. Best of both worlds.
I haven’t really thought about Miami being so family friendly lately, I’m glad I read your post! Good to know about the babysitting service as well 🙂
Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams
Miami is so much fun, and there are so many hotels that cater to families now. Getting the sitter for a night was key – thanks for reading!
I just re-visited this post again through #FarawayFiles, and want to comment on the animal experiences. Monkey Jungle sounds like an interesting experience. And I would also love to check out the zoo!
Not too keen on seeing those ocean animals performing tricks at the Seaquarium though. Also, I was wondering what type of animal shows do they also offer at the Jungle Island?
There are 3 different different shows (at least when we were there) – tigers, penguins and parrots. But they mix other animals in – for example at the penguin show there was a huge porcupine they brought out which all the kids loved. I think what made the shows super fun for kids was the music in addition to the animals. They played all the pop songs which kids gravitate toward. Thanks for popping by again, Ali..will hop on over to yours :).
I had no idea the sea was that colour in Miami. Just beautiful! My kids would love to see all the zoos and animal shows there and I’d definitely take them to the Vizcaya Museum. Perfect post for #FarawayFiles
Thanks Clare – the water is so beautiful in Miami..it’s so far south and close to the keys that it has that caribbean blue. Have a great weekend. x
Yes! Absolutely my thinking Corey – we all make compromises in life so it’s best to start learning that early. If parents want to go to Miami and live it up then they should do it and the kids can come along too. Not that it looks like a chore there – lots to do for the little ones so they sleep soundly while you sip on your cocktail… ahhh! #farawayfiles
Nothing better than a sleeping child during cocktail hour! x
I have never been to Miami either! And you are exactly right that I don’t think of it as a family destination – but I am decidedly wrong! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin
You will love it when you go some day!