It may seem like a no-brainer to entertain kids in Miami. Got kids, got beaches, got fun, right?
For the most part, that’s true. Water does have a way of soothing the wee, wild beasts. But, the sun down here in the subtropics is strong, even on the shortest and coldest of winter days; the rays’ reflections off sand and waves increase the chances of burns as well. In reality, beach time can sometimes be limited.
When that’s the case, get out of the good weather and “into” bad weather at the Miami Science Museum & Planetarium where, among other exhibits, kids can digitally control the climate of a four-foot globe. Another exhibit, a 3,000-gallon interactive “touch tank” Sea lab, is an experiment for the new and improved MiaSci in downtown, set to open in 2015 as the Frost Science Museum & Planetarium.
Seeing the future: Sea Lab — Photo courtesy of Miami Science Museum
Another great indoor place to play–read: air-conditioning and entertainment–is the Miami Children’s Museum. Located on the MacArthur Causeway that leads to and from South Beach, the Museum hosts fourteen permanent, interactive and bilingual exhibits that truly represent Miami: a cruise ship, Everglades Park and a world music studio. Kids run wild down the hallway of imagination — Photo courtesy of GoMiamiCard Blog
Most kids don’t know where to run to first, but the miniature supermarket and Mt. MiChiMu, a rock climbing wall, are two energy-busting parental favorites.
If you want to make a day out of an excursion with barely moving the needle on the gas tank, head from Miami Children’s Museum directly across the MacArthur Causeway to Jungle Island, a zoological theme park that specializes in exotic birds, big cats and reptiles. Indeed, formerly called Parrot Jungle, the park is known for its three incredible daily shows: Winged Wonders (in the Parrot Bowl), Wild Encounters (in Jungle Theater) and Dr. Wasabi’s Wild Adventures (in the Serpentarium). Watch out for your fingers! — Photo courtesy of Keith Allison
Jungle Island may be one of the few places where travelers not only get the opportunity to view members of the feline family like ligers–a cub from a lion mother and tiger father–but also get the chance to pose for a picture with it. The trained staff here is wonderful, and there are so many creatures to see and stroke that the word “beach” may never escape your child’s lips.
At least, that is, until you’re back on the Causeway, surrounded by water, water everywhere. But this is the time, when you can draw a parallel line between the tips of the palm trees and the setting sun, that even the most sunburned body will find a swim to be the most relaxing idea.