Family Travel in Miami, FL
“You will be seeing an unusual accomplishment,” reads the sign at the entrance of Coral Castle south of Miami. And an unusual accomplishment it is. This stone garden and castle, originally known as Rock Gate Park, is a unique place to visit in South Florida. Edward Leedsklanin, a 5-foot, 100-pound man from Latvia, built the castle between 1923 and 1951 in honor of his love, Agnes, who called off their wedding a day before it was to take place, leaving him heartbroken. Take your time to explore the garden’s many pieces, which include rocking chairs shaped like moons, stone beds, a throne and a sundial, and learn more about the man behind this strange masterpiece. Coral Castle is open 7 days a week. Admission is $12 for adults, $7 for children ages 7 to 12 and free for kids under 7.
If you and your kids like theater and you’re visiting Miami between November and May, don’t miss a visit to The PlayGround Theatre. Located in the heart of Miami Shores, this acclaimed theater of children’s productions features plays, such as a take on “Alice in Wonderland” set in Miami and “The Red Thread,” the story of a weaver’s daughter trying to recover the silk masterpiece her two sisters stole from their father. In season, the theater offers morning performances during the week and evening and afternoon performances during the weekend. While children of all ages are welcome, most performances are recommended for children 6 and up.
The Miami Children’s Museum offers endless options to entertain your kids. Children can experience a supermarket, a bank and a cruise ship, learn how a vet clinic works, take a step back in time and learn about Miami’s different cultures, and climb through a two-story sandcastle featuring sands from around the world. Other activities include a rock climbing wall, a marine tank and art and music studios. The museum also hosts a variety of classes for little ones, including Zumba and cooking workshops. On the third Friday of every month, admission to the museum is free between 3 and 9 p.m.
For wildlife lovers, the Miami Zoo is a perfect destination while in town. The 740-acre facility features more than 100 exhibits and 2,000 animals representing about 500 species. There are many ways to enjoy the zoo. You can take an Asian or African Safari tram tour, take the monorail or for a little more family fun, rent a Safari cycle for the family and see the zoo that way. For a unique experience, the zoo also offers zookeeper-for-a-day programs, which allow you to get a feel for what goes on behind-the-scenes at the zoo. A children’s zoo allows kids to get close with and feed small animals. And for a great photo op, go for a camel ride.
For a wildlife encounter closer to Miami Beach, head over to Jungle Island. This lush, tropical park, formerly Parrot Jungle, showcases a variety of birds, fish, mammals, reptiles and tropical plants. Its open spaces are perfect for kids to run around and take in the scenery. Don’t miss the park’s daily shows. Families can watch as park staff interacts with wild cats and exotic birds or take a walking safari tour. During the summer, you can also enjoy the park’s private beach, which has inflatable slides and bouncy houses for the little ones and frozen drinks for the adults to enjoy. The park offers ticket-holders a complimentary shuttle from several Miami Beach and downtown Miami hotels. Check the website for pick-up locations and schedules.