Miami is a major center, and a leader in finance, commerce, culture, media, entertainment, the arts, and international trade. It is nicknamed the “Capital of Latin America” and is the largest city with a Cuban-American population. Don’t be surprised by the amount of Spanish you will hear in Miami. It’s part of the charm and influences everything from the city’s cuisine, to its music, and fashion. Downtown Miami is home to the largest concentration of international banks in the United States, and many large national and international companies. Miami is a major tourism hub in the American South for international visitors.
When you think about Miami, the first thing that comes to mind is the beach, and, frankly, its beaches are phenomenal. While spending time at the beach is a must-do, back up plans with kids are necessary due to the tropical, rainy Miami weather.
Popular Miami landmarks include South Beach, Little Havana, the Venetian Pool, the Miami Seaquarium, Vizcaya Gardens, Wynwood and the new Frost Science Museum. There are tons of options that will keep little ones entertained for hours, rain or shine.
Make it a point to go to Vizcaya Museums and Gardens . Constructed as James Deering’s winter home in the 1910’s, today Vizcaya is a National Historic Landmark with beautiful grounds. The views are stunning and kids will love running around and seeing iguanas, birds, manatees, and butterflies.
Head over the City of Coral Gables and take a dip in the Venetian Pool!
The 820,000 gallon pool is fed with spring water from an underground aquifer. The pool was opened in 1924 as the “Venetian Casino,” which was part of the grand plan George Merrick had for the City of Coral Gables. Merrick envisioned creating a City with Mediterranean features such as grand entrances, plazas, and Mediterranean style homes. He was able to achieve that. The pool has two waterfalls that provide a scenic backdrop as well as cave-like grottos which offer hours of fun for everyone! The Venetian Pool’s beauty is further accentuated by its loggias, porticos, palm trees and signature bridge. It truly is an unforgettable experience!
Located in exclusive Keys Biscayne, spend the day at the Miami Seaquarium, a 38-acre tropical paradise with spectacular skyline views. Enjoy a world-class marine-life entertainment park where conservation and education go hand in hand. From eight different marine animal shows, amazing daily presentations, and a variety of unique experiences, the Miami Seaquarium is a place of inventiveness, instruction – and enjoyment!
The Seaquarium offers a variety of exclusive interactive and educational experiences, ideal for families seeking exciting things to do with kids! Discover sea turtles, meet new creatures, and learn about conservation efforts.
Learn about African penguins at Penguin Isle, or get to know a dolphin better during a Dolphin Encounter where the dolphin swims to you while you stand in just a few feet of water.
Take the Miami Seaquarium’s VIP Tour where you’ll have the opportunity to get up-close and personal with some exotic animal friends. A personal tour guide takes you on a captivating voyage where you experience an array of activities such as meeting an iguana, feeding a manatee and stingray and a photo opportunity with a sea lion or dolphin.
Check out the playfulness of dolphins as they perform breathtaking leaps and rolls at the Top Deck Dolphin show. Enjoy the hilarious adventures of Salty the Sea Lion and his Reef Rangers at the Golden Dome Sea Lion show. Remember Flipper? The Flipper Dolphin Show demonstrates that while Flipper’s surroundings may have changed, his core commitment to helping out when there is a need has not.
The Miami Seaquarium has been committed to wildlife conservation and the rescue, rehabilitation and release of distressed marine mammals since its inception. Since 1955, it has rescued, rehabilitated and released countless manatees, sea turtles, dolphins and whales. In the past 15 years, more than 80 manatees and more than 200 sea turtles have been rescued and rehabilitated under their care. This is truly a one of a kind experience and helps children of all ages understand the importance of animal conservation.
The newly opened Frost Museum of Science, in Downtown Miami’s Museum Park, is the ideal place to go and get amazing views of Miami while learning about science. The 250,000 square foot facility combines a planetarium, aquarium and science museum on one campus.
Frost Science is dedicated to sharing the power of science, sparking wonder and investigation, and fueling innovation for the future. The museum is divided into four buildings and the architecture is incredible! Inside, you’ll find the Frost Planetarium, Aquarium, and North and West Wings, where guests can learn about the core science behind living systems, the solar system and known universe, the physics of flight, light and lasers, the biology of the human body and mind, and much more. Explore science, technology, engineering and math in a realistic setting with interactive exhibitions and distinctive shows.
Some of the unique exhibitions featured at Frost Science include:
Frost Planetarium – One of only thirteen 3-D 8K-projection planetariums in the world, the cutting edge250 seat planetarium will take visitors on virtual journeys that both thrill and educate. We watched Dynamic Earth and got a simplistic understanding of the complexities of our planet.
Aquarium – From Gulf Stream sharks to tiny organisms found within coral, the three level Aquarium is a trip through the beautiful water habitats of South Florida while exploring marine biology and more.
Feathers to the Stars – Follow the amazing story of flight—from feathered dinosaurs to the future of space travel. Go to the moon through an interactive game; build and launch air rockets; and come face to face with a 30 ft. dinosaur.
River of Grass – River of Grass is ideal for younger explorers to learn about the Everglades. There’s a hands-on outdoor area, and an indoor virtual Everglades where digital animals interact, communicating a fun storyline of biodiversity, hydrology and environmental science.
After an educational visit to the Frost Science, why not take a sweet break?! Head over to pedestrian friendly Coconut Grove and walk over to Vicky’s House, an 80’s themed Milkshake Bar! Everything in the house is either an original from owner, Matt Kuscher’s childhood home or recreated to fit into his mid-80’s vision. Take your kids back to your tween years and show them how to play Nintendo while downing Milkshakes named after popular 80’s movies and TV shows like Golden Girls or The Breakfast Club.
Everything in the “house” is either an original from owner Matt Kuscher’s childhood home or a nearly identical recreation he commissioned. LoKal’s newest neighbor and sweet offshoot is this ’80s-themed milkshake bar, where you’ll find indulgent pop-culture inspired milkshakes, ice cream floats, ice cream sandwiches from the Wynwood Parlor and a fridge full of beer and wine.
Walk in through the red phone booth inside LoKal (a nod to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) and listen as the milkshake maidens behind the bar welcome you to 1986. Everything in the “house” is either an original from owner Matt Kuscher’s childhood home or a nearly identical recreation he commissioned. You’ll forget what year it is for a moment when you find yourself playing Nintendo and drinking a Golden Girl, a banana milkshake with cream cheese frosting, Golden Grahams cereal, vanilla wafer, toffee bits, a Twinkie and a homemade blondie with a cherry on top.
LoKal’s newest neighbor and sweet offshoot is this ’80s-themed milkshake bar, where you’ll find indulgent pop-culture inspired milkshakes, ice cream floats, ice cream sandwiches from the Wynwood Parlor and a fridge full of beer and wine. Walk in through the red phone booth inside LoKal (a nod to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) and listen as the milkshake maidens behind the bar welcome you to 1986.
Everything in the “house” is either an original from owner Matt Kuscher’s childhood home or a nearly identical recreation he commissioned. You’ll forget what year it is for a moment when you find yourself playing Nintendo and drinking a Golden Girl, a banana milkshake with cream cheese frosting, Golden Grahams cereal, vanilla wafer, toffee bits, a Twinkie and a homemade blondie with a cherry on top.
Where to Stay
Acqualina Resort & Spa is a super kid friendly luxury seaside sanctuary located in Sunny Isles Beach between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. Our room was on the twenty third floor so we had a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean. Because kids will be kids, we had to try out all the pools before even setting foot in the ocean. Forget your swim diapers? No worries, you can get some at the Beach Club Pool kiosk. Yes, they’ve even thought of that. Kids age’s five to twelve can even try the hotel’s Aquamarine day camp that teaches children about the sea through educational activities. An awesome feature for kids to have fun and learn and for mom and dad to relax and get some beach time! I walked into Acqualina and was afraid it might be too stuffy for our little ones but nothing could be further from the truth. From the foosball table by the pools to the gelato bar near the lobby, this resort is a must for any family visiting Miami Beach.
About Guiomar Ochoa
Guiomar Ochoa works in the arts and is a freelance travel writer. She has called both Rome and Paris home but is settled, for now, in her hometown of Washington, D.C. with her husband and two young children. Fluent in Spanish, Italian and French, she is adamant about passing down her love of languages, travel and cultures to her kids.. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
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