Family Attractions in Miami

Miami isn’t known for catering to families, in fact it’s quite the opposite with its tops optional beaches, all night partying, club hopping culture and celebrity sprinkled streets. But there is another side to Miami and there are more than enough activities for family fun.

Jungle Island

Jungle Island began in 1936 as a pet project (literally) of Franz Scherr where he let birds fly free. He spent his own time, money and labor building a nature trail through coral rock, leaving much of the natural environment as it was. He only had a few birds so he ordered 25 Macaws and charged visitors a quarter to view the birds and the environment. Today Jungle Island is home to 1,100 tropical birds, 2,000 varieties of plants and flowers and a really incredible trained bird show.

Monkey Jungle

Monkey Jungle is similar to Jungle Island but the focus isn’t on birds, it’s on monkeys, in fact Franz Scherr consulted with Joseph DuMond to get tips before opening Jungle Island. Joseph DuMond was an animal behaviorist who released six monkeys into the wilds of Florida in 1933. Those monkeys thrived and grew and now there is a large group of them at Monkey Jungle. In fact there are nearly 400 primates that run free on the 30 acre preserve and this is one of the only protected habitats for endangered primates in the United States that the public can explore.

Everglades Alligator Farm

The Everglades Alligator Farm is actually a working farm which came about in 1985 when the State of Florid allowed commercial farming of alligators to protect the species from extinction. Currently there are about 2,000 alligators on the farm and visitors can see them at all stages of growth and life. There are also a large variety of other local animals and a large number of snakes. Make sure to time your visit so you can catch the alligator and snake shows.

Miami Seaquarium

The Miami Seaquarium is so much more than your typical aquarium experience because you can get up close and personal with the critters and see them perform some incredible feats. This 38 acre aquarium is a world class marine life entertainment park with eight different shows and daily presentations. Make your visit even more memorable by signing up to partake in a dolphin experience.

Miami Metrozoo

Miami does love its animals and the Miami Metrozoo is another testament to this fact. Back in 1948 the zoo got its start as a road show got stranded near Miami and three monkeys, one goat, and two black bears were bought and brought to Crandon Park Zoo. The collection grew and Crandon Park Zoo The Crandon Zoo was wiped out by a hurricane and enthusiasm to build a new zoo was established as was the Miami Metrozoo. Today the zoo stretches over 740 acres with more than 2,000 animals and 40 endangered species. There are also more than 1000 species of trees, plants and palms.

Everglades Safari Park

Everglades Safari Park is the way to view the everglades, from an airboat. The fleet of airboats feature a number of sizes so you can arrange for a private tour or join a group. No matter what type of trip you decide to take you get an experienced tour guide who not only knows information about the local flora and fauna, but knows the habits of the animals in the everglades and will give you the best opportunity to see these critters in the wild. In addition to the airboat rides the Safari Park features a Nature and Wildlife show and you can get a hands on experience with one of the alligators.

Grapeland Water Park/Black Beard’s Beach

Miami was late to the water park scene but with Grapeland Water Park or Black Beard’s Beach it’s finally joined the fray. The park is designed for kids of all ages with specific areas for children under five and a resort area for adults. In addition to the exciting water park attractions there is also a baseball complex, a community center, an art room and a computer room. The prices can’t be beat as its only $10 for non-residents over age 14 and there is definitely a day’s worth of fun and thrills for the family.

Historical Museum of Southern Florida

The Historical Museum of Southern Florida gives visitors and locals a deeper understanding of the history of south Florida and the Caribbean. Since 1979 this museum has been enlightening the public. There are both permanent exhibits, which cover more than 12,000 years of history, and temporary exhibits. There is also a research facility on the grounds and classrooms for educational programs. It’s a great place to learn more about the region’s past and its possible future.

Miami Children’s Museum

The Miami Children’s Museum gives younger children a hands on way to explore the world around them and to learn by actively participating in the exhibits. In addition to the exhibits at the museum there are also a number of programs that you and your children can get involved in to spark creative little minds and provide more fun learning experiences.

Miami Science Museum

The Miami Science Museum is a wonderful way for a family to spend a day in Miami. The museum houses the noted Space-Transit Planetarium, the Weintraub Observatory and a wildlife center. The museum began in 1949 but rapidly grew and expanded to include different exhibits and displays as well as establishing some outreach programs for the community.

Wings Over Miami Museum

The Wings Over Miami Museum was designed as attribute to veterans and aviators who were instrumental in civilian and military aviation. The collection includes both display planes and information inside the hangar and then additional craft that reside outside the hangar. There is also a Pacific Room with three different exhibits. Because the museum is housed on the Kendall-Tamiami Airport you’ll not only get to examine aviation’s past but see it in its present day operations.
Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: Flickr/sapienssolutions

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