Miami is known worldwide for its particularly stunning beaches, its vibrant nightlife, the signature stores, and its unstoppable fun, a playground for adults. Be that as it may, you’ll be surprised by the number of fantastic family activities in Miami, especially for those that enjoy the outdoors. This city offers much more than just sea, beach and palm trees. There are also a lot of fun things to do with kids in Miami.
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- 1 Places to visit in Miami with kids
- 2 Conclusion: Should you visit Miami with kids?
Although most kids love the beach, there are a lot more Miami attractions for kids. Not only in the city itself but there are also some great day trips from Miami. This sought after area of the Florida state has vast wild areas that make up natural ecosystems of great beauty and attraction, even for the little ones So, if you’re wondering what to do in Miami with kids, simply keep reading!
Places to visit in Miami with kids
Just under an hour’s drive from the glittering city, extraordinary national parks invite you, giving you the option of getting away from it all. When you are ready for the sights and sounds of the city, you can be part of everything again in less than an hour. So what are you waiting for? Head to Miami, rent a car and start exploring the natural wonders this magical city has to offer you and your family.
Visiting Zoo Miami (also known as Miami Zoological Park) is probably one of the best things to do in Miami with kids. The Miami Dade Zoo is the only zoo in the United States located in a subtropical climate. Within a space of 100 hectares, the animals are grouped by continents to identify each of the animals with their natural habitat according to place (Africa, the Americas, Australia, and Asia). Some of the exotic animals you can see are panthers, jaguars, giant otters, elephants, anacondas, crocodiles, bears, alpacas, flamingos, eagles, pelicans, snakes, kangaroos, koalas, okapis and more…
Zoo Miami for kids
A children’s zoo allows the little ones to interact with small animals, from Stitch, the blue tongue (lizard) to Maggie, the blue and gold macaw, and take a memorable photo astride a camel. The park also has Zoo-ins on weekends, a fun pajama program that includes a personalized walking tour of the selected zoo exhibits, pizza dinner, accommodation in an air-conditioned building and a special activity in the morning.
Everglades National Park, Florida
One of Miami’s most acclaimed natural jewels is the Everglades National Park. Why should you consider visiting the Everglades with kids? The Florida Everglades is a green paradise of more than 68,000 acres and home to an incomparable ecosystem, with rare and endangered species. There is a lot to do in the Everglades for kids: nice walks and picnics, boating, hiking, Everglades airboat tours, and even visiting a former missile base in the center of the park. You can also travel some of the 156 miles (251 km) by canoe or kayak, and walk the trails and 47 designated camping areas in the natural park. One of the most sought-after things to do in the Everglades with kids is to meet and greet exciting animals. From giant pythons to skunks and baby alligators, kids delight in handling the animals and jump at the chance to snap a few pictures with their favorite critters.
Camping in the Everglades
One of the best things to do in the Everglades with kids, when they’re a bit older, is camping. Camping in Everglades National Park is truly an unforgettable family experience. Visitors traveling along the 99 miles of Wilderness Waterway can paddle all day without seeing another person, and spend the night camping on remote chickees: campgrounds with raised platforms accessible only by water. Of course, you want to make sure your kids can swim before going on such an adventure. Permits and reservations are required, but prior notice of only 24 hours is necessary.
Key Biscayne National Park
Key Biscayne National Park is one of Miami’s best outdoor venues for families. The area is made up of four major ecosystems or natural environments: the southern extension of Biscayne Bay, a narrow row of mangroves along the continental coast, the islands of the northern tip of the Florida Keys and the beginning of the third largest coral reef in the world. So if you want to enjoy nature with your kids, not too far away from the city, this is the place to visit.
Key Biscayne is ideal to take long walks along the water and enjoy the panoramic awe-inspiring views from the Cape lighthouse in the visitor’s center. There are also pretty amazing Key Biscayne activities for kids You can explore the nature by sea kayak, boat or canoe, and amuse your kids with snorkel adventures (make sure to bring your kids’ snorkel gear!). Your family will marvel at the see-through water, and stunning corals reefs.
Water activities at Key Biscayne
The Biscayne National Park is mainly aquatic, 95% of its 70,000 hectares are under water. Full of life and plants of the sea, the park encompasses the turquoise waters of Biscayne Bay, the longest left stretch of the mangrove forest, coral reefs and the 40 keys of North Florida.
At Dante Fascell Visitor Center you can choose to take trips on glass bottom boats, snorkel or rent canoes and kayaks to immerse yourself in the aquatic life of this park. In the shallow waters of less than 10 meters, the coral reefs are home to a wide variety of aquatic life, including tropical fish, sponges, and spiny lobster. Manatees, dolphins and five species of sea turtles live in the waters of Biscayne Bay, as do moray eels, rays, squids, starfish and hundreds of varieties of fish.
Big Cypress National Preserve
While being a bit further outside of the city, Big Cypress is a favorite among families as you actually get to spot wildlife and camp with the kids. This natural preserve protects more than 729,000 acres of vast swamp so you can take a Big Cypress swamp tour with one of the local guides to walk the trails, or go to the visitor center on the Tamiami Trail and learn the story of the region’s original inhabitants.
According to its official site, Big Cypress National Park is recognized as International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) International Dark Sky Place. “Being away from the urban development and the impact from artificial light pollution, visitors can enjoy the splendor of the Milky Way and see a night-sky strewn with thousands of stars with only the naked eye”. The Big Cypress swamp offers 8 campgrounds to choose from, so families who are into camping can enjoy its majestic and energy-charged nights.
Note: The Big Cypress Preserve is located 120 kilometers away from Miami, so a car rental from Miami will save you a lot of time and headaches.
Venetian Pool, Miami
One of the less known historical sites in Miami, and another family favorite is Coral Gables’ Venetian Pool. The pool is formed by an ancient excavation of coral rock and is considered one of the most original and spectacular public pools in Miami. The natural Coral Gables pool does not use chemicals, which provides a pleasant break of chlorine and salt water. The beautiful coral rock keeps the water cool and pleasant even in the summer sun. The Miami Venetian Pool was created in 1923 in an old quarry of coral rock, where stones were extracted to build the mansions of Coral Gables. Swimming in its clear blue waters is one of the greatest things to do in Coral Gables.
The caves and waterfalls of the Venetian Pool, reflect the Mediterranean influence. They were designed by real estate developer George Merrick. The water is pumped from an underground aquifer which makes the water very clear and sometimes cold if you compare it with the water of a normal pool. The area has two historic towers and a beautiful landscape full of palm trees, gardens and a very careful architecture. It is an ideal place to spend the day with family and friends. There are areas to eat (you can bring snacks) and sunbeds for rent.
Conclusion: Should you visit Miami with kids?
While Miami may be known worldwide as an attractive and sophisticated global urban park, one of its biggest and less discovered attractions is its natural charm, Miami’s truly wild side. Miami is no doubt the ideal international destination for families who like to spend their time enjoying the outdoors. Whether discovering its natural preserves, snorkeling or diving in the Biscayne National Park or canoeing through the Everglades, visitors can escape from the theme parks and get an experience in real natural marvels. There are plenty of things to do in Miami for kids!
So wait no more and dare to visit Miami’s truly wild side!
*** This article was contributed by Viajamos.com ***