55 Fun Things To Do around Miami with Kids Before They Grow Up

Get up-close with crocodiles at Zoo Miami. Photo by Ron Magill for Zoo Miami
Get up-close with crocodiles at Zoo Miami. Photo by Ron Magill for Zoo Miami
10/23/22 - By Elaine Paoloni Quilici

Whether you're raising your kids in Florida or just bringing them here for a great family vacation, Miami (and the rest of Southern Florida) has plenty of kid-pleasing things to do. Snowbirds might not realize it, but there there is so much more to do in Miami with kids than just the beach. Miami Dade families enjoy outdoor activities all year round, from boating and pools to splash pads and parks—but there are also top-notch museums, animal encounters, great sports teams, and farms. And don't forget about Miami's proximity to the Everglades.

Read on for our favorite things to do around Miami, Florida with kids, including top-recommended family-friendly Miami restaurants and kid-friendly Miami hotels (for fledgling snowbirds).


Things To Do in Miami with Kids (Besides the Beach)

1. Zoo Miami — South Miami Heights

Zoo Miami, the only subtropical zoo in the continental United States, offers a variety of species not often seen in other American zoos. It occupies nearly 750 acres and is home to more than 3,000 animals, including elephants, rhinos, hippos, gorillas, vipers, crocs, and so much more. Ride the monorail to the exhibits, hit the splash pad on hot days, or take a twirl on the carousel to round out your day.

RELATED: Riding Florida's Brighline Train between West Palm Beach and Miami

Check out the aquarium at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Photo courtesy of the museum

2. Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science — Downtown

This 250,000-square-foot museum is composed of four buildings. In the North and West wings, kids can check out exhibitions such as Da Vinci—Inventions, which presents life-sized machines imagined by Leonardo da Vinci, and then do some designing of their own in an engineering lab. The STEM campus also includes a planetarium and an aquarium.

3. Seaquarium — Virginia Key

Aquatic-animal lovers will appreciate swimming with seals and dolphins, interacting with penguins, and investigating touch pools at the Miami Seaquarium. There are also flamingos, sea turtles, sea lions, manatees, and even a killer whale. The Sea Trek Reef Encounter lets visitors walk along a 300,000-gallon tropical reef in a special underwater helmet. Out of water, there’s a pirate playground for kids to explore.

4. Flamingo Park — Miami Beach

There’s plenty to keep the family active at this more than 30-acre park. The kids' splash area is a big draw, with a zero-entry pool, a water mushroom, and an aquatic play structure with tire swings, slides, and lots of fountains. Landlubbers can check out a separate dry playground and climbing wall.

5. Lincoln Road Mall — Miami Beach

Stroll down this popular pedestrian street and pop into shops, including Havaianas for a new pair of flip-flops and Books & Books to pick up some reading material or activity books for your return flight. Stop by on a Sunday to find fresh fruit and other treats at the farmers market.

RELATED: 9 Best Florida Beach Vacations for Families

Walk along the famed Ocean Drive to soak up Miami culture. Photo courtesy of Mommy Poppins

6. Ocean Drive — South Beach

Walk along this famed Art Deco strip of hotels and eateries to soak up Miami culture. Kids will enjoy the colorful buildings and neon signs on one side and Lummus Park on the other. The park has a playground and a muscle beach to fascinate. Just beyond the park the ocean beckons.

7. Miami Children’s Museum — Watson Island

The Miami Children's Museum has all the exciting elements of a typical kids' museum but with fun local touches, including a cruise-ship exhibit, marine tanks demonstrating South Florida wildlife, and plenty of outdoor options. Walk through an interactive piggy bank to learn about money, apply the elements of art in a maker space, put your body to the test with virtual sports in the health and wellness center, and more.

8. Butterfly World — Coconut Creek

Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek is home to the world's largest butterfly park, with more than 20,000 winged beauties fluttering around the screened pavilions, filled with tropical plants, waterfalls, and the strains of relaxing music. A visit here is a treat for all ages.

RELATED: Panama City Beach with Kids: Fun Things to Do in this Gulf Coast Town

9. Jungle Island — Watson Island

Note: Jungle Island is currently closed for renovations, but will be returning soon. Until then it is only open for encounters, VIP tours, and tree top trekking.
Enjoy tropical surroundings while getting up close with animals such as sloths, parrots, lemurs, kangaroos, and orangutans. There is a petting zoo, a playground, and live shows for the whole family. Additional attractions include a 600-foot zip line, a SuperFlight experience that lets you hover in midair outdoors via a wind tunnel, and a jungle-cabin escape room.

10. Trail Rides in Tradewinds Park — Coconut Creek

Whether it's a whole-family trail ride along shaded paths or a trot around the ring on the back of a toddler-friendly pony, getting in the saddle at Tradewinds Park is an experience a kid never forgets.

11. Miccosukee Indian Village — Everglades

Just west of the city, this Native American village is fun for all ages. Take a guided tour, watch demonstrations, and peruse exhibits that teach about the tribe’s history and culture. But the real draw is the alligator show, where a tribesman fearlessly wrestles a seven- to nine-foot alligator. Airboat rides are also offered.

12. Lee and Tina Hills PlayGround at Bayfront Park — Downtown

This downtown ocean-themed playground features a boat play structure, bouncers, slides, and more. The cornerstone, however, is a wave wall with large embedded sea-creature figures. There’s also a flying trapeze school nearby for ages 6 and up.

13. Wynwood Arts District

Visit Wynwood Walls, an outdoor art gallery featuring large, often colorful murals. Then head to nearby Morelia Gourmet Paletas for a handcrafted Mexican ice pop.

14. FunDimension — Wynwood

Spend that rainy or too-hot day at this 15,000-square-foot family entertainment center, which touts a three-story indoor playground, a 7-D theater, bungee jumping, laser tag, and illuminated spinning bumper cars. Kids might also enjoy the fact that the video for Imagine Dragons’ “Zero” was shot here.

15. Coconut Grove 

Visit the Spanish-style outdoor shopping center CocoWalk to grab a bite to eat or a movie and ice cream. Afterward, head to Peacock Park where kids can tackle two play structures and enjoy waterfront views peppered with plenty of boats. They might also like to hop aboard the trolley that runs through the neighborhood.

16. Zoological Wildlife Foundation — Miami

This private zoo is pricey, but it may be worth it for young animal lovers—it's the only zoo in the U.S. Kids can hold primates, feed camels, and interact with other wildlife. All tours are guided by zoo staff, so families can learn while they explore.

17. Sporting events

Depending on the season, sports fans can buy tickets to watch a number of professional teams play, including the Miami Dolphins (football), Miami Heat (basketball), Miami Marlins (baseball), and Florida Panthers (hockey). The University of Miami also has many exciting sporting events to watch.

RELATED: Kid-Friendly South Florida Restaurants Open for Thanksgiving Dinner

18. Santa’s Enchanted Forest — Tropical Park

If you’re in Miami for the holidays, don’t miss this seasonal theme park that features more than 100 rides, shows, attractions, Santa visits, and holiday lights.

19. Miami Children’s Theater — Miami

Take in a show at one of the top children’s theaters in the country. Miami Children's Theater graduates have moved on to professional careers in movies, TV, and Broadway, so catch them before they're famous!

20. Everglades Alligator Airboat Ride — The Everglades

Take advantage of Miami's proximity to Everglades National Park with a semi-private or private airboat ride through the preserve's sawgrass mangroves. The airboat skims over just six inches of water, propelled by an airplane engine. Spend at least an hour touring the wetlands while spotting alligators, birds, and turtles along the way. Some tour operators offer wildlife shows as well as airboat rides and tours.

21. The Poppet Project — El Portal

For indoor fun, bring the kids to The Poppet Project for drop-in arts, crafts, and science. Projects are constantly rotated, so every day is something different.

22. The Little Farm - Goulds

From egg hunts to pumpkin patches and plenty of petting zoos in between, the Little Farm is open all year with family farm fun to suit every season. 

23. Artechouse — Miami Beach

Artechouse is the first-of-its-kind innovative art gallery, showcasing the intersection of art, science, and technology. Exhibits are immersive and technology-driven. Artechouse also boasts a free XR (extended-reality) app that guests can use to add on to their experience when visiting the exhibits.

24. Vizcaya Museum & Gardens — Biscayne Bay

Tour the beautiful European-inspired Vizcaya estate and gardens, a National Historic Landmark, to learn more about Miami’s whimsical history. The main estate house showcases collections dating back to the early 20th century from around the world. Outside, stroll through the 10-acre ornate gardens with waterfront views.

25. Museum of Discovery and Science — Fort Lauderdale

The MODS keeps kids entertained for hours with more than 300 interactive exhibits on two floors plus traveling exhibits and an IMAX theater. Special events include monthly Sensory-Friendly Sundays.

26. The Berry Farms — Miami

This South Florida farm hosts several fun events throughout the year, including a Strawberry Festival and an Easter event in the spring, a corn maze and harvest festival in the fall, a Christmas event in the winter, and sunflowers available year-round.

27. Gold Coast Railroad Museum — South Miami Heights

This historical railroad museum boasts over 40 railcars, train rides on the weekends, and a model train display. Bonus: Free admission and train rides are offered on the first Saturday of each month, except March. The museum is also located just steps away from Zoo Miami, so it’s totally doable to visit both attractions in one day!

28. Homestead-Miami Speedway — Homestead

Get tickets to a race or book a track tour at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Nascar’s top series all race at this 1.5-mile oval speedway. Other events include Fast Lane Fridays and Give Back at the Track, where guests can pay to drive their own car around the racing oval.

29. Dezerland Park — North Miami

Dezerland Park Miami is Florida’s largest indoor attraction, making it a great option when the weather is not cooperating. This entertainment center features a trampoline park, go-karts, an arcade, VR, glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, a ropes course, rock climbing, simulators, bumper cars, and roller skating.

30. HistoryMiami Museum — Downtown

Learn about Miami’s unique history and culture through exhibits, education, art, and more at HistoryMiami. Enjoy free family-fun days on the second Saturday of each month.

31. Flamingo Gardens — Davie

One of Florida's oldest botanical gardens, this non-profit wildlife sanctuary is home not just to oodles of flamingos but also peacocks, alligators, otters, panthers, and more. Educational presentations and acres of gardens make it a full day's outing.

Take to the waters of Miami on a speedboat. Photo courtesy of Thriller Miami Speedboat Adventures

Things To Do in Miami: Beach and Water Fun

32. Thriller Miami Speedboat Adventures — Downtown

Zip through the waters off Miami on a 55-foot catamaran, reaching speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Depending on your tour, you’ll pass sights such as South Beach, Fisher Island, Cape Florida Lighthouse, and Stiltsville—a group of wooden houses built on stilts in the middle of Biscayne Bay. Public tours are 45 to 75 minutes long and permit children ages 3 and up onboard.

33. South Pointe Park — South Pointe

Head south of South Beach to check out this park’s shaded playground and splash pad. Kids might also enjoy watching the cruise ships pass by as they leave port.

34. Key Biscayne

Crandon Park is a scenic two-mile beach featuring calm water for kids, cabana rentals, a beach playground, a family amusement center with a carousel and roller rink, and a nature center. Head farther south to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park for more beach time, hiking, bike rentals, and a lighthouse tour. Kids 42 inches and up can climb the 112 steps to the top of the historic Cape Florida Lighthouse for panoramic views.

35. Matheson Hammock Park — Coral Gables

This toddler-friendly beach just south of downtown has no waves. It's actually a man-made atoll pool, so kids can splash and wade in the water to their heart’s content on this circular sandy beach. There are also nature trails to explore and a snack bar and restaurant housed in a building made of coral.

36. Venetian Pool — Coral Gables

This isn’t your average public pool; it’s the only swimming pool included in the National Register of Historic Places. It also gets drained and refreshed daily from artesian wells. Families with kids ages 3 and up can relax amid the beauty of the Mediterranean architecture (kids under 3 are not allowed). Swim under a bridge, sidle up to a waterfall, and explore a water cave.

37. Cool off in a Splash Pad

Miami offers several splash pads, spraygrounds, and water playt areas where kids can cool off for free on a hot day.

38. North Beach Oceanside Park — North Miami Beach

Families describe this park as a “hidden gem” in Miami. The beach is as far north as you can get without leaving Miami. Amenities include a playground, walking trails, a dog park, and picnic pavilions. Lifeguards are also on duty.

39. Paradise Cove Water Park — Pembroke Pines

Located at C.B. Smith Park, Paradise Cove offers fun for all ages. Attractions include four 50-foot waterslides, a water playground for all ages, a smaller water playground for little ones, and a lazy river. In addition to the water park, C.B. Smith Park offers miniature golf, campgrounds, a playground, and much more.

40. Grapeland Water Park — Miami

Open seasonally during the summer, Grapeland Water Park boasts the Shipwreck Island water-play area for little ones, the Pirate’s Plunge water playground perfect for older kids, the Captain’s Lagoon recreation pool, and a Buccaneer River ride. Concessions are available on-site.

Water activities abound at Oleta River State Park. Photo courtesy of Florida State Parks

41. Oleta River State Park — North Miami Beach

Just 30 minutes from downtown Miami you’ll find over 1,000 acres of natural Florida oasis at this state park. Visitors can enjoy bayfront beaches, fishing piers, bike trails, kayaking, snorkeling, and other activities.

42. Virginia Key Manatee Photo Safari — Miami

November through March are the best months for wild manatee spotting in Florida. If you are visiting during these months, consider booking a kayak tour at Virginia Key to see these gentle giants. You may even spot a dolphin or two!

RELATED: The Best Places to See Manatees Near Orlando

The iconic Fontainebleau is a favorite among families. Photo courtesy of the hotel

Best Miami Hotels for Families

43. Fontainebleau — Miami Beach

The iconic Fontainebleau has been a family favorite for years. This luxury hotel features eight pools, many of them shallow for little ones. Kids will love the interactive children’s water playground and the FB Kids Club, which hosts all sorts of fun activities for ages 4-12.

44. Loews Miami Beach

This oceanfront hotel is located in the heart of Miami’s Art Deco district. It boasts more than 700 guest rooms, including 69 suites perfect for families. Kids can enjoy their own private beachfront complete with lifeguards or splash in the zero-entry pool. The SOBE Kids Club is available for ages 4-12, and a teen lounge is also on-site with video games and an arcade.

45. Ritz-Carlton — South Beach

A landmark South Beach oceanfront hotel, the Ritz-Carlton offers family amenities such as kids clubs, toy libraries, and suites for larger families.

46. JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa – Aventura

Located between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, this resort is ideal for families who want a little distance from the hustle and bustle of downtown Miami. It features the on-site Tidal Cove Waterpark with seven water slides, a large kids' pool with a water playground, the FlowRider surf ride, and a lazy river. Guests can also stroll the resort’s 300-acre tropical gardens, complete with a bird sanctuary, sparkling fountains, and a 100-year-old banyan tree.

47. The Acqualina Resort & Spa – Sunny Isles Beach

The Acqualina is a top-of-the-line beachside resort with luxury amenities such as world-class dining, spa treatments, and oceanfront pools. Kids will love the on-site AcquaMarine program featuring marine-inspired children's activities, as well as beachside basketball, giant chess, cornhole, soccer, and more activities for the whole family.

Kid-Pleasing Miami Restaurants

48. Barton G. — Miami Beach

Though the food may be a bit exotic and pricey for dinner with kids, don’t miss the over-the-top desserts offered at Barton G. Try Marie Antoinette’s Head, featuring a cotton-candy pompadour, and Carnival Fun Cakes—funnel cakes paired with a mini shooting gallery on the plate.

49. Sugar Factory — South Beach

Treat your sweet tooth to a trip to the Sugar Factory. Try the legendary King Kong Sundae, a frozen hot chocolate, or one of the many “Insane Milkshakes.”

50. Little Havana

Immerse the family in Cuban culture with a stroll down Calle Ocho (8th Street) between 17th and 12th avenues. Stop for lunch at Versailles, then head to Azucar Ice Cream Company for an unusual-flavored scoop or two, such as sweet plantain or coconut flan.

51. Ms. Cheezious — Mimo District

Ms. Cheezious has become a favorite among locals and tourists alike, offering multiple variations of the ultimate comfort food—grilled cheese! Bonus: There is a large backyard patio where kids can expel some energy while waiting for their meal.

52. Flanigan’s Seafood Bar & Grill — Multiple Locations

With eight locations in Miami-Dade County (and more than 20 across South Florida), there’s sure to be a Flanigan’s convenient to wherever you choose to stay. The atmosphere is laid-back—perfect for families—and a fun kids' menu is offered.

53. The Doral Yard — Doral

The Doral Yard is a mini food hall offering a variety of culinary options, outdoor dining, and an open green space with live music performances on select evenings.

54. Ironside Pizza — Upper East Side

Enjoy authentic Italian dining at Ironside Pizza, offering both indoor and outdoor dining. The restaurant is adjacent to a colorful courtyard that kids will love to explore.

55. Knaus Berry Farm — Homestead

Visit this family-owned farm for delicious baked goods—the cinnamon rolls are a must. U-pick strawberries and tomatoes are also available when in season. (Open November through April)

Places featured in this article:

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Lee & Tina Hills PlayGround at Bayfront Park

North Beach Oceanside Park

JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa

Acqualina Resort & Residences on the Beach