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A boy feeds the giraffes at Zoo Miami.
A boy feeds the giraffes at Zoo Miami.
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The 21 best things to do in Miami with kids

Your family-friendly guide to the Magic City

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A boy feeds the giraffes at Zoo Miami.
| Shutterstock

Miami might have an international reputation for thriving bars and late-night pool parties, but it's also packed full of family-friendly activities for kids of all ages. Sure, you could spend a week exploring all of the city's sandy white beaches, but the Magic City offers so much more.

Take some pointers from the locals and see Miami as they do: full of great museums, vibrant culture, and amazing outdoor activities.

The weather in Florida also means that while the rest of the United States is hunkered down for cold temperatures and snow, Miami is the perfect family getaway. From exploring one of the region's top-notch parks to picnicking next to a waterfront Italian-style villa, the city offers plenty to pique the interest of both adults and children.

And don't despair if the weather turns hot or you're bombarded by a quick rainstorm; Miami also offers a handful of indoor activities that are sure to impress. Behold, the 21 best destinations in Miami for families and kids.

Traveling to other cities with your kiddos? Don’t miss Curbed’s maps of the best family activities in Washington, D.C., Boston, Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, New Orleans, Austin, and New York City.

Note: The list is ordered from north to south.

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Sawgrass Recreation Park

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If seeing the Everglades is on your must-do list for Miami, head to Sawgrass Recreation Park. General admission includes a 30-minute airboat tour through the everglades as well as access to 3 exhibit areas where you'll see turtles, iguanas, and a 1,000-pound alligator.

Kids can even take photos holding a baby alligator, and you can also book separate night tours on the airboats.

A post shared by Kate Lee (@katelee_n_nathan) on

Oleta River State Park

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Rent bikes at the Blue Moon Outdoor Center and explore the 15 miles of mountain bike trails in this oasis of wetlands and mangroves.

The same outdoor center also rents canoes and kayaks that are perfect for exploring the calm waters and 1,200 feet of sandy beaches.

A post shared by Erika Nelly (@erika__nelly) on

Institute of Contemporary Art

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The newly opened Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami offers a "Family Day” on the third Sunday of every month. Be there for interactive activities and performances for all ages.

A post shared by ICA Miami (@icamiami) on

The Wynwood Walls

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Aspiring artists will love this collection of huge, brightly-colored murals located in Miami's former warehouse district.

Pro tip: visit the murals during the day in order to avoid the rowdy crowds and don't forget to give your child a camera to document their favorite art.

A post shared by Giorgia Bovone (@giorgia_bo) on

FunDimension

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Now open in Wynwood is FunDimension, a 15,000-square-foot playland packed with arcade games, laser tag, bumper cars, a bungee dome, and more. The kid haven opened in December and even has children's fitness classes and day camps.

FunDimension/Facebook

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

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Adults love this performing arts theater for its high-quality Broadway acts, but kids six and over can also experience musicals, puppet shows, and family-friendly programming.

Check the rotating schedule for specific acts, and don't miss the weeklong theater camp in the summer for kids aged 10 to 17.

Adrienne Arsht Center/Facebook

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

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Explore the intriguing world of science with hands-on experiments at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. This isn’t a place to sit back and watch; kids can touch, smell, and play with exhibits on health and bodies, engineering and physics, and ecosystems like the Everglades. Bonus: There’s also a 250-seat planetarium and a three-level aquarium.

A post shared by Frost Science (@frostscience) on

Jungle Island

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Located between downtown Miami and South Beach, Jungle Island is an 18-acre zoological park filled with lush vegetation and exotic animals.

Don't miss the Liger (a Lion-Tiger hybrid), the playground, and the private beach with a small water park in the Biscayne Bay.

A post shared by Esteban Ramirez (@ebrapro) on

Miami Children's Museum

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Whether it's raining or just too hot, head inside to enjoy the air conditioning of the Miami Children's Museum. You'll find hands-on exhibitions including a play cruise ship, supermarket, and even a kids-sized television studio.

A post shared by Juliette V (@jvulpetti) on

Flamingo Park

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The city of Miami has invested a lot of money into this 34-acre South Beach park, and it shows: the aquatic center has an 8-lane lap pool and a zero-depth entry water play area.

You'll also find shaded playgrounds for all ages, a dog bark for fido, basketball and tennis courts, and even a climbing wall. The perfect spot to play outdoors in Miami Beach.

A post shared by Laura Rafeca (@laurarafeca) on

Bayfront Park

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Located in downtown Miami, parents flock to this park for its sunning beach, large sea creature-themed playground, and views of Biscayne Bay and the Port of Miami. A good choice for a picnic when your kids need to run around.

A post shared by Laura (@talais25) on

History Miami

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This museum offers an array of exhibitions on South Florida's history, with Family Fun Days (think crafts, music, and storytelling) on the second Saturday of each month.

But older kids will also like the off-site historical tours, including art walks of Miami neighborhoods, cruises of North Biscayne Bay, or even a "moon cruise" on the Miami River.

Courtesy of History Miami

Little Havana

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Older kids can experience a taste of Miami's Latin scene in Little Havana. Head to Calle Ocho (8th street) between 17th and 12th Avenues to check out the art galleries and many restaurants, and don't miss the Calle Ocho Festival held every March and the Carnaval Miami held February through March.

Pro tip: artsy kiddos will love the vibrant mural painted outside of the Cafeteria Guardabarrenco and you can treat the whole family with exotic ice cream flavors at Azucar Ice Cream Company.

Shutterstock

Venetian Pool

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Sure, this pool built in 1923 is a bit out of Miami towards Coral Gables, but the drive is worth it. The whole family will love swimming in a spring-fed coral rock quarry complete with waterfalls and cave-like grottos.

Pro tip: it's best to visit in hot weather as the water can be cold.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

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A waterfront Italian Renaissance-style villa on 10 acres might not be your first thought for a kid-friendly activity, but the beautiful gardens and over-the-top, fairy-tale architecture can captivate kids of all ages.

Take a quick tour of the interior of the house and then head to the gardens; there's even a labyrinth and maze that's perfect for burning off energy. Pro tip: the Vizcaya Museum isn't the easiest to manage with a stroller, so keep that in mind.

A post shared by Jennifer (@essentialoilmommy) on

Crandon Park

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Parents love Candon Park for its gorgeous 2-mile beach, lifeguards, and picnic areas. But kids keep coming back for the vintage carousel, paved roller rink, and a seahorse fountain.

Throw in the pretty arboretum and gardens and you've got one of the best spots in Miami for kids of all ages.

A post shared by #osquarephotos (@osquarephotos) on

Biscayne Nature Center

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Located in Crandon Park, the Biscayne Nature Center has a range of family adventures on things like coastal ecology, tidal pools, and catching sea urchins. Many of the activities occur daily, but they do require reservations.

Matheson Hammock Park

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If you're looking for a kid-friendly beach, check out this Coral Gables park. It sits along a man-made atoll that pulls in water from the Biscayne Bay, so the sand and lack of waves are good for toddlers.

There's also a snack bar, restaurant, restrooms, picnic pavilions, and a marina with a sailing school.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

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Come for a tour of the light house—the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County—and stay for the state park's quiet sandy beaches, park, and two on-site restaurants.

Zoo Miami

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As the largest tropical zoo in the continental United States, the Zoo Miami boasts 2,000 animals, camel rides, and a giraffe feeding station.

The cage-free zoo uses moats to separate animals from visitors, so kids can see what animals would look like in a more natural environment.

Zoo Miami/Facebook

Monkey Jungle

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In a unique twist, Monkey Jungle makes the humans wander through a 5-acre wildlife park in cages and lets the monkeys roam free.

There are a few stations where visitors can feed the monkeys, and the more expensive Rainforest Adventure Tour takes visitors into the forest for close encounters with a troop of squirrel monkeys.

A post shared by Crystal Anh (@contrarianmom) on

Sawgrass Recreation Park

If seeing the Everglades is on your must-do list for Miami, head to Sawgrass Recreation Park. General admission includes a 30-minute airboat tour through the everglades as well as access to 3 exhibit areas where you'll see turtles, iguanas, and a 1,000-pound alligator.

Kids can even take photos holding a baby alligator, and you can also book separate night tours on the airboats.

A post shared by Kate Lee (@katelee_n_nathan) on

Oleta River State Park

Rent bikes at the Blue Moon Outdoor Center and explore the 15 miles of mountain bike trails in this oasis of wetlands and mangroves.

The same outdoor center also rents canoes and kayaks that are perfect for exploring the calm waters and 1,200 feet of sandy beaches.

A post shared by Erika Nelly (@erika__nelly) on

Institute of Contemporary Art

The newly opened Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami offers a "Family Day” on the third Sunday of every month. Be there for interactive activities and performances for all ages.

A post shared by ICA Miami (@icamiami) on

The Wynwood Walls

Aspiring artists will love this collection of huge, brightly-colored murals located in Miami's former warehouse district.

Pro tip: visit the murals during the day in order to avoid the rowdy crowds and don't forget to give your child a camera to document their favorite art.

A post shared by Giorgia Bovone (@giorgia_bo) on

FunDimension

FunDimension/Facebook

Now open in Wynwood is FunDimension, a 15,000-square-foot playland packed with arcade games, laser tag, bumper cars, a bungee dome, and more. The kid haven opened in December and even has children's fitness classes and day camps.

FunDimension/Facebook

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

Adrienne Arsht Center/Facebook

Adults love this performing arts theater for its high-quality Broadway acts, but kids six and over can also experience musicals, puppet shows, and family-friendly programming.

Check the rotating schedule for specific acts, and don't miss the weeklong theater camp in the summer for kids aged 10 to 17.

Adrienne Arsht Center/Facebook

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Explore the intriguing world of science with hands-on experiments at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. This isn’t a place to sit back and watch; kids can touch, smell, and play with exhibits on health and bodies, engineering and physics, and ecosystems like the Everglades. Bonus: There’s also a 250-seat planetarium and a three-level aquarium.

A post shared by Frost Science (@frostscience) on

Jungle Island

Located between downtown Miami and South Beach, Jungle Island is an 18-acre zoological park filled with lush vegetation and exotic animals.

Don't miss the Liger (a Lion-Tiger hybrid), the playground, and the private beach with a small water park in the Biscayne Bay.

A post shared by Esteban Ramirez (@ebrapro) on

Miami Children's Museum

Whether it's raining or just too hot, head inside to enjoy the air conditioning of the Miami Children's Museum. You'll find hands-on exhibitions including a play cruise ship, supermarket, and even a kids-sized television studio.

A post shared by Juliette V (@jvulpetti) on

Flamingo Park

The city of Miami has invested a lot of money into this 34-acre South Beach park, and it shows: the aquatic center has an 8-lane lap pool and a zero-depth entry water play area.

You'll also find shaded playgrounds for all ages, a dog bark for fido, basketball and tennis courts, and even a climbing wall. The perfect spot to play outdoors in Miami Beach.

A post shared by Laura Rafeca (@laurarafeca) on

Bayfront Park

Located in downtown Miami, parents flock to this park for its sunning beach, large sea creature-themed playground, and views of Biscayne Bay and the Port of Miami. A good choice for a picnic when your kids need to run around.

A post shared by Laura (@talais25) on

History Miami

Courtesy of History Miami

This museum offers an array of exhibitions on South Florida's history, with Family Fun Days (think crafts, music, and storytelling) on the second Saturday of each month.

But older kids will also like the off-site historical tours, including art walks of Miami neighborhoods, cruises of North Biscayne Bay, or even a "moon cruise" on the Miami River.

Courtesy of History Miami

Little Havana

Shutterstock

Older kids can experience a taste of Miami's Latin scene in Little Havana. Head to Calle Ocho (8th street) between 17th and 12th Avenues to check out the art galleries and many restaurants, and don't miss the Calle Ocho Festival held every March and the Carnaval Miami held February through March.

Pro tip: artsy kiddos will love the vibrant mural painted outside of the Cafeteria Guardabarrenco and you can treat the whole family with exotic ice cream flavors at Azucar Ice Cream Company.

Shutterstock

Venetian Pool

Sure, this pool built in 1923 is a bit out of Miami towards Coral Gables, but the drive is worth it. The whole family will love swimming in a spring-fed coral rock quarry complete with waterfalls and cave-like grottos.

Pro tip: it's best to visit in hot weather as the water can be cold.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

A waterfront Italian Renaissance-style villa on 10 acres might not be your first thought for a kid-friendly activity, but the beautiful gardens and over-the-top, fairy-tale architecture can captivate kids of all ages.

Take a quick tour of the interior of the house and then head to the gardens; there's even a labyrinth and maze that's perfect for burning off energy. Pro tip: the Vizcaya Museum isn't the easiest to manage with a stroller, so keep that in mind.

A post shared by Jennifer (@essentialoilmommy) on

Crandon Park

Parents love Candon Park for its gorgeous 2-mile beach, lifeguards, and picnic areas. But kids keep coming back for the vintage carousel, paved roller rink, and a seahorse fountain.

Throw in the pretty arboretum and gardens and you've got one of the best spots in Miami for kids of all ages.

A post shared by #osquarephotos (@osquarephotos) on

Biscayne Nature Center

Located in Crandon Park, the Biscayne Nature Center has a range of family adventures on things like coastal ecology, tidal pools, and catching sea urchins. Many of the activities occur daily, but they do require reservations.

Matheson Hammock Park

If you're looking for a kid-friendly beach, check out this Coral Gables park. It sits along a man-made atoll that pulls in water from the Biscayne Bay, so the sand and lack of waves are good for toddlers.

There's also a snack bar, restaurant, restrooms, picnic pavilions, and a marina with a sailing school.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Come for a tour of the light house—the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County—and stay for the state park's quiet sandy beaches, park, and two on-site restaurants.

Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami/Facebook

As the largest tropical zoo in the continental United States, the Zoo Miami boasts 2,000 animals, camel rides, and a giraffe feeding station.

The cage-free zoo uses moats to separate animals from visitors, so kids can see what animals would look like in a more natural environment.

Zoo Miami/Facebook

Monkey Jungle

In a unique twist, Monkey Jungle makes the humans wander through a 5-acre wildlife park in cages and lets the monkeys roam free.

There are a few stations where visitors can feed the monkeys, and the more expensive Rainforest Adventure Tour takes visitors into the forest for close encounters with a troop of squirrel monkeys.

A post shared by Crystal Anh (@contrarianmom) on