Entertainment Traveler's Toolbox
While most people think of Miami as a party city, filled with glitz and glam, bars and clubs, it’s actually a great place for a family vacation. If you are considering a family friendly vacation, don’t feel that you have to skip over the Magic City. Miami offers some amazing attractions that kids and adults will both love. We’ve pulled together some recommendations for kids, parents, and the whole family to enjoy together. In addition to the South Beach’s soft, warm sands and stunning clear waters, which will always be the gem that draws crowds, here are some recommendations to help you have a fantastic family vacation and experience some of the magic that is Miami.
Picture Credits: Gecko ParX
If you’re looking for something kid-friendly and slightly less sandy than a beach trip, Gecko ParX is a great option. At Gecko ParX, the entire family can have fun together. The 40,000 square-foot entertainment center includes a main trampoline court, a vast selection of state of the art arcade games, two basketball slam dunk courts, a custom soft play playground for young guests, two trampoline dodge-ball courts, and a multi-attraction pit that features jousting and a slack-line. And if THAT wasn’t enough, the park also has a challenging Ninja course, a parkour course, a sky high ropes course, and a rock wall. Sound like a little too much? Don’t worry there is space to relax as well. The facility also includes a café with a variety of food and beverage options (including beer and wine for parents), free Wi-Fi, and even a lounge with a view of the venue.
Picture Credits: Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center
Get away from the city for a moment and take a trip over the Rickenbacker Causeway to embark on a day of adventure at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center. Located on the island paradise of Key Biscayne, the nature center is just minutes from downtown but a world away. Children will delight in the vibrant natural environment of the 165-acre Bear Cut Preserve, teeming with native plants and animals. Enjoy a fun-filled, educational exploration of their ocean shorelines and sea-grass beds, mangroves, coastal hammock, or fossilized coral reef with their team of professionally-trained naturalists. The expert-lead classes and educational experiences are great for kids of any age.
Picture Credits: Monkey Jungle
Let your little monkeys run wild at Monkey Jungle. This wildlife adventure park is perfect for younger children who want to get up close and personal with nature – particularly fun and engaging monkeys! The immersive park is home to over 300 primates, most running free on a 30 acre preserve. Monkey Jungle is one of the few protected habitats for endangered primates in the United States and the only one that the general public can explore. Choose from a range of experiences depending on what kind of day you are looking for. You can either do simple General Admission or, if you want something a little more exciting, the Rainforest Adventure Tour (we recommend it!). The Rainforest Adventure Tour is a 45 minute guided tour where guests enter a 4 acre rainforest and have the chance to interact with the approximately 100-120 squirrel monkeys that live there. Kids will love playing with the moneys as they come down from the trees and crawl up your legs, arms, and head to grab food from you.
Picture Credits: Gold Coast Railroad Museum
Is your little tyke a train enthusiast? If so, the Gold Coast Railroad Museum is a great option for letting him (or her) explore the history of the railroad through climbing through the 40+ railroad cars on the property. The museum offers multiple exhibitions, a large model train layout display, a train to ride, and Thomas the Tank Engine play tables for the little ones. The Railroad Museum is a great way to enjoy a relaxing day exploring the railroading past. If you visit on a weekend, you also have the opportunity to take a 25-min ride in one of the museum’s operating trains! Kids and adults alike will enjoy the authentic historical experience of riding in a caboose or coach car while learning all about trains and how they operate.
Picture Credits: Locust Projects
Indulge your creative side and check out the Locust Projects, Miami’s longest running alternative nonprofit art space. Both parents and kids will love the immersive and unique installations by local national and international artists. This isn’t your typical art experience. Locust Projects allows artists to experiment, resulting in projects you won’t see in traditional museums – everything from jack-hammered floors to synchronized swimming art performances. Located in the Design District, Miami’s hottest new destination for art, food, fashion and design, the Locust Projects is a unique and Miami-specific experience that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Bring the whole family and get ready to immerse yourself in some of the coolest alternative art in Florida. The Locust Projects is free and open to the public Tuesday-Saturday, 11am – 5pm.
Picture Credits: Books & Books
Ready for a little bit of a slower pace? Books & Books is a wonderful, family-friendly experience for when you are ready for something a little more relaxed. This local, independently run bookstore chain in Miami is known for their vast collection of books on art, architecture, and photography. During the 80s, Books & Books quickly developed a very strong following, triggering a literary movement Miami had never seen before. It grew with the city and now has locations all over. Our personal favorite is the Coral Gables location, housed in an exquisite 1927 building listed in the Coral Gables Register of Historic Places and across the street from the original store. This location hosts over 60 author events a month and has featured speakers including presidents and Nobel prizes winners, athletes and artists, celebrities and poets. Choose any of their lovely bookshops or cafes to sit down and get comfy with a delicious coffee and a great book. With children’s sections with books for any age, Books & Books is great for both kids and adults, offering a slower pace from the rest of the high energy of Miami.
Picture Credits: LoKal Burgers & Beer
There’s nothing better for a homey family meal than some good ole comfort food. The LoKal serves up some of the tastiest home cookin’ in Miami. Kids will love their tasty menu with choices including tasty Cheeseburgers, grilled cheese, and chicken tender options. Parents will love the LoKal’s use of local, ethically sourced ingredients, as well as their wide array of adult-only beverage choices. With a wide ranging beer menu that features both “LoKal” brews and non-local choices, you’ve got plenty of options to quench your thirst. The LoKal is a true family friendly establishment and that means everyone is included – even the four-legged family members! Bring your dog and order them somethining yummy and canine friendly off the doggy menu. The LoKal even serves up a dog-friendly (and nonalcoholic) beer brewed up for man’s best friend just down the road in Tampa.
Picture Credits: News Cafe
The News Cafe is a perfect spot to grab a bite no matter when your hunger strikes – they’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days of the week! The quaint sidewalk cafe is a casual, family-friendly eatery that serves up some delicious options that both kids and parents will love. The News Cafe is particularly known for their breakfast options (served all day!) including tasty benedicts, omelettes, and kid-approved pancakes, waffles, and pastries. If you’re looking for a kid-free evening experience, the News Cafe’s separate bar area is perfect for an evening cocktail. We recommend getting into the beachy mood and enjoying one of their tasty tropical drinks. The Mango Mai Tai and Bahama Mama are hard to beat – and they both come served in a fun, hand-carved coconut to really help you get into vacation mode.
Whether you’re looking for beachy fun, nature-focused adventure, history, or art, Miami has a family-friendly option for you. Let us know some of your favorite options for family fun in the comments below!