School’s out for summer and many kids are home. Even if they’re heading to camp (or classes at State of Kid) there’s still a lot of family time to fill. Luckily, Miami has increasingly become a kid-friendly town with a wide range of spots to keep the little ones entertained. Here are a few of our favorite activities: Some are tried and true (think: Zoo Miami). Others are pop-ups just for summer. There’s a dose of culture (Van Gogh, anyone?), delicious fruit shakes and two dinosaur encounters. Don’t miss out!
Jurassic Garden at Fairchild Tropical Gardens
Treat your petit paleontologist to Fairchild Tropical Garden’s latest exhibit, which features 20 life-sized dinosaurs displayed throughout the lush grounds. This prehistoric adventure feels authentic, right down to the era-appropriate foliage of cycads, ferns and conifers. Throughout June and July, Fairchild Tropical Garden is also offering hands-on, dino-friendly activities to complement the exhibit including assembling your own 3D dinosaur, macrame with sea fossils, paleo cooking, bromeliad gardening and a painting class. Jurassic Garden runs through July 18 and is suitable for all ages.
Culture-obsessed kids will want to explore the newest art installation in Miami, Every Wall is a Door. It’s the inaugural offering from Superblue, an immersive space in Allapattah (across the street from the Rubell Museum) that blurs the line between artwork and viewer with its experiential approach, including a mirror maze. This is art you are a part of, which is appealing to children who are generally told not to touch anything at more traditional museums and galleries. In fact, they’ll be on cloud 9 in the “cloud room,” a living sculpture of soap bubbles that cling to everything before bursting (additional tickets are required for this experience).
Everglades Airboat Tour
Not just for tourists! Kids love experiencing the Everglades on an airboat. Yes, it’s noisy, swampy and alligator-infested, but what budding explorer doesn’t enjoy that? There are several tour operators lined up way out west on Tamiami Trail (about a 40-minute drive from Miami) and most also feature alligator shows and exhibits. If you’re feeling really adventurous, some of the restaurants even serve alligator bites, tail and sausage! We’ve done Everglades Safari Park, which was well organized, clean and fun. Although most tour operators accept babies, it’s really ideal for children three and up.
Robert Is Here
While most farm stands close for the summer, Robert Is Here serves their famous fresh fruit milkshakes all year long (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day). This landmark fruit stand opened in 1959 and has become one of Miami’s most beloved spots—especially if you’re driving down to the Keys. There’s also an animal encounter, where kids can interact with goats, tropical birds, turtles and an emu. Plus, they sell local fruit and produce (enjoy ripe mangoes all summer), as well as homemade BBQ sauce, pickles, marinades, dressings, jams and chutneys.
Miami Children’s Museum
After being closed for more than a year, the Miami Children’s Museum has finally reopened. A longtime staple for Miami kids—and moms wanting to escape the heat for an afternoon—this educational space is a fun mix of exhibits that allow tiny tots to shop for groceries at a pretend Publix, drive a fire engine, go fishing, learn about money at the bank and build in the construction zone. There’s even a replica floor keyboard from the movie Big to stomp on and make music.
Beyond Van Gogh
The other immersive art experience in town, Beyond Van Gogh, invites families to stroll through some of Vincent Van Gogh’s most important works, like his Sunflowers series, Starry Night and Café Terrace at Night. These moving projections are matched to music to heighten the senses. While younger art fans won’t get the references to Van Gogh’s tortured past (thankfully), they will marvel at the swirling flowers, psychedelic colors and twinkling stars. The exhibition is so popular that the show’s producers are extending its run another month to August 14.
Heralded as one of the best zoos in the country, Zoo Miami encompasses 750 acres, 3,000 animals, themed playgrounds and splashpads. Feeding the giraffes, camels and parrots are one of the special features of Zoo Miami, and these close encounters with the animals inspire kids of all ages. If you’re not a Zoo member, make sure to buy your ticket online because reservations are going fast (especially on the weekends). You can also rent one of their Safari Cycles in advance online, which accommodates two adults and two kids.
Pterosaurs at Frost Science Museum
Flying reptiles, oh my! At Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs, dino devotees will learn more about pterosaurs, the first vertebrates with backbones to fly under their own power. Although they weren’t dinosaurs or birds, pterosaurs are still fascinating, and this interactive exhibit offers a rare peek into the Mesozoic period with life-sized models. While you’re at the Frost Science Museum, don’t miss the planetarium, three-story aquarium and educational MeLab.
One of Miami’s best kept secrets, the Venetian Pool is key to staying cool this summer. That’s because this freshwater pool (the country’s largest) refills itself every day from an underground aquifer (with icy-cold water). There are two waterfalls, grottos and lounge chairs. The 820,000-gallon pool was created in 1923 from a coral rock quarry, and its magnificent Mediterranean design is charming and historic. Note that it’s definitely more suitable for kids ages five and up because the water is very deep.