There are so many fun things to see and do on and off the beach in Miami, that it’s always a popular, kid-friendly destination. With the fabulous architectural buildings facing the Atlantic Ocean, Intra-Coastal Waterway and Biscayne Bay, and with causeways that cross low-lying islands, some with views of giant cruise ships, it’s pretty just to drive from here to there. Don’t want to drive? Stay in South Beach and forget the cars, the local bus costs 25 cents. Or, choose oceanfront Bal Harbor, where the mall across the street from Collins Avenue has more shops and restaurants than you need. Of course, high season rates dominate for the December and February school vacations, but if you can get your posse together for a trip between the holidays, you’ll find lower, shoulder-season air and hotels rates. Here are just a few activities to consider when you go.
Flamingo Park, South Beach
South Beach may be the most happening place for beach, shopping, restaurants and nightlife, but the Art Deco architecture in the Old Miami Beach Historic District reflects a beautiful bygone era. The aquatic center at Flamingo Park, a 34-acre South Beach park, has an eight-lane lap pool, a zero-depth entry water play area, tennis courts and a dog park.
Discover the Cubano sandwich (sweet ham, roast pork and Swiss cheese smeared with mustard on toasted Cuban bread) at Versailles on Calle Ocho. The artsy, mural-decorated Cafeteria Guardabarrenco, the Azucar Ice Cream Company and the entire neighborhood between 12th and 17th avenues celebrates Carnaval Miami (February through March) and the Calle Ocho Festival (March).
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Kid of all ages delight at the views and the beauty of this vast, 10-acre waterfront estate with its fabulous Italian Renaissance-style villa, a labyrinth, a maze and fabulous gardens. Famed celebrities bought estates nearby and the museum is near Coconut Grove, with its marina, shops and restaurants.
The iconic murals on the Wynwood buildings will captivate and inspire your artistic progeny. Head to FunDimension, a 15,000-square-foot play space for arcades, virtual reality games, laser tag, bumper cars and trampolines!
With 2,000 animals, cage-free Zoo Miami is the largest tropical zoo in the continental United States. Kids delight with camel rides and a giraffe feeding station.
Who can ever forget their first swim with a dolphin? Not me. Ooh and ahh at the dolphins at the Miami Seaquarium Dolphin Harbor and gawk at the marine mammals, including Floridian manatees. There are sea turtles, penguins and more. Along with the enjoyment, it’s a lesson about wildlife rescue and sustainability.
Waterfront Boat Tours
Spend a lazy day on the waterfront during a scenic cruise aboard a yacht, or speed across the water on a jet ski or motor boat. View the Miami skyline, the Port of Miami, Fisher Island, Miami Beach, Palm Island — it’s all gorgeous. Some boat tours leave from Bayside, in downtown Miami, where there’s a marketplace, shops and restaurants.
The sister properties of the Park Royal Golden Cancun and the Grand Park Royal Luxury Resort, also in Cancun, offer families a vacation full of beach fun in a style personalized for your tribe’s vibe. Both properties, located two miles apart, open to the crystal-blue ocean, are framed by the fine white sand for which Cancun is famous, and are family-friendly, but that’s where their resemblance ends.
There’s not much spookier than getting lost in a maze cut through tall stalks of corn — especially in the dark. The first corn maze is attributed to a farm in Annville, Pennsylvania. Since then, mazes have become huge autumn attractions. Many of today’s larger mazes are cut with the help of Global Positioning Satellite technology, allowing maze makers to create intricate shapes that add to navigational challenges.
The National Museum of American Jewish History showcases a special exhibition based on a book of the same name: “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”
While urban wine country might sound like an oxymoron, it’s actually a reality at the stunning City Vineyard in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood. The water-side venue is the perfect host for your next event — whatever that may be, from 20 to 200 guests and from cocktail party to plated dinner.
It’s the time of year that the creak of a door sounds sharper in the silence, that the footsteps in the hall seem foreign and the voices talking in the next room sound unfamiliar. This is the season we fear and celebrate the dead and they seem to know it. Here are the places that do both right: