USA – Families love Miami as a port of call

The simplicity of a cruise vacation is very appealing to family travelers. Miami’s family attractions, many of which are family-owned, are more intimate and quirkier, and similarly easy to navigate.

The Miami Children’s Museum, one of the 10 largest children’s museums in the United States, features hands-on exhibits, including a miniature supermarket, television news studio, a cruise ship, and a giant sandcastle slide. Parents of stargazers and budding naturalists will also want to schedule a trip to the Patricia & Philip Frost Museum of Science Miami knowns as the Frost Science located at the 21-acre Maurice A. Ferré Park, formerly known as Museum Park. Traveling and permanent exhibits are largely geared toward children exploring subject matter from dinosaurs to the properties of physics. Those traveling with artsy teens will want to stop by the adjacent Perez Art Museum, which features an impressive collection of international art of the 20th and 21st-centuries. Both museums are state-of-the-art and offer beautiful views of Biscayne Bay.

Over in Key Biscayne awaits Miami Seaquarium, a popular attraction which was the filming location of the 1960s hit TV show Flipper. Don’t miss swimming with the dolphins, where you play with your marine friend and swim with him across the lagoon. No certifications are needed for the Sea Trek Reef Encounter, where you will get to see a variety of unique aquatic animals.

Families also enjoying spending time with the rest of the animal kingdom at Miami’s acclaimed Zoo Miami. One of the world’s great zoos and the only one in the continental United States located in a subtropical climate, Zoo Miami houses more than 2,000 animals in environments that mimic their natural habitats. Guests can explore the park via a VIP Experience (reservations required), a two-hour educational golf cart tour with your own personal tour guide and a meal voucher.

Recent additions include Florida: Mission Everglades featuring amazing flora and fauna and animals such as panthers, wading birds, bald eagles, alligators, and crocodiles, and the Conservation Action Center, offering an immersive and interactive experience for all ages.

Nearby Monkey Jungle, owned and operated by the DuMond family for three generations, is a rare place where the people are in cages and the primates run wild. This iconic Miami attraction boasts the behind-the-scenes Amazonian Rainforest Adventure Tour, which lets families walk over a large natural sinkhole and into a living laboratory, where they can hand-feed monkeys.

Another homegrown family-owned attraction, Everglades Alligator Farm invites you to enjoy an exhilarating airboat tour into the surrounding Everglades and a stroll around the farm to see the alligators, crocodiles, caimans, and wildlife that reside there, as well as a great display of local and exotic snakes. You can also satisfy your need for speed on an airboat ride at Miccosukee Indian Village, where you and your tribe can also see craft demonstrations, a museum, and alligator wrestling.

If you love planes, trains, and automobiles, several Miami points of interest offer unique opportunities to explore all three. At the Gold Coast Railroad Museum you and the family can enjoy interactive wooden model train sets and historic railroad equipment. The auto-themed Dezerland Park Miami offers fun attractions from car simulators to bumper cars and more.

If you want to get some exercise while enjoying the beautiful architecture of the Art Deco District visit the Art Deco Welcome Center at 1001 Ocean Drive and buy tickets for a variety of guided and self-guided walking tours. The tours feature fascinating facts about the district’s storied past and present, from glamorous hotels, historic sites, and pop culture to current hot spots and local favorites. Those who prefer to bike around the beach can access CitiBike ®, a solar-powered bike sharing/rental system that has more than 1,000 bikes and 100 stations around South Beach and other parts of Greater Miami. Another terrific way to explore Miami on wheels is via the family-friendly guided Cycle Party Wynwood Tour, which takes you through the colorful and quirky neighborhood, known for its vibrant murals and art scene.

Sports fans will have plenty of opportunities to catch the action with the hometown team, the Miami Heat, hitting the basketball court at Kaseya Center, a sports and entertainment venue set along Biscayne Bay. Baseball enthusiasts will not want to miss the Miami Marlins playing ball at the neomodern loanDepot Park, which is just two miles from Downtown Miami, while football fans can catch the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in the city of Miami Gardens just north of Miami. Those who prefer to watch fast cars, head to Homestead-Miami Speedway, home to high-profile auto racing.