Miami with the kids
LEA ANN FESSENDEN
Miami is a popular destination for kids of all ages with its beautiful beaches, bevy of art and cultural events, many attractions and plenty of restaurants. On a recent visit with a friend and her children we found plenty of things to keep us all entertained throughout our stay.
One of the most popular stops on our tour of Miami was Butterfly World in Coconut Creek. Open 7 days a week, I highly recommend the guided tour which provides the opportunity to see over 10,000 butterflies on any given day. It is so magical to walk through this beautiful haven of colorful butterflies, the kids were in awe! Since its opening in 1988, the butterfly park has expanded to include the country's largest free-flight hummingbird aviary and also serves as a research center. Wear bright colors and you might even have a butterfly land right on your shoulder.
If the weather is bad, take the kids to the Miami Children's Museum where they are encouraged to learn, play and grow at their great interactive exhibits like a giant sandcastle, a 6 ft. piggy bank, a 900 gallon ocean odyssey and many more. We had a great time watching the children dress up as their firemen and police heroes! The museum is open 7 days a week, 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Zoo Miami is a must on your list of kid's activities in Miami. Known as the only zoo in the U.S. within a subtropical climate, this 740 acre park is home to crocodiles, monkeys, otters, koala bears, zebras, lions, giraffes, kangaroos and hundreds of exciting animals, birds and reptiles to see. There is a great wildlife show every day at 12 noon, 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., camel rides, carousels and great informational meetings with the zookeepers will keep the kids enthralled.
My favorite stop on our whirlwind tour of Miami was swimming at the Coral Gables Venetian Pool. A note of caution, this incredible Shangri-la does not allow kids under 3 years old and children must be at least 38 inches tall. This fresh, spring- fed pool is a historical treasure which was originally built in 1923. Vintage celebrities such as Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan) and Esther Williams have swum through these beautiful fountains, waterfalls, Spanish porticos and coral caves fed by artesian wells. This is a beautiful place to spend the day!
The teens and tweens will really enjoy the Everglades Alligator Farm where they can take fast and furious airboat rides while watching for gators, snakes, caimans, turtles, birds and crocodiles. We even had photos made holding a baby gator and the kids participated in feeding the alligators. Near Everglades National Park in Homestead, this real working alligator farm is home to about 2,000 gators and is a very interesting day for all ages.
This list barely scratches the surface of all the great things to do in Miami with children. For a town typically known for adult fun, you will have no problem entertaining the younger set!