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6 Things to Do Before Your Cruise Out of Miami

When you plan for a family cruise sailing out of Miami you get the bonus of a world class city to explore.  If you can afford to add a day or two to your itinerary, there are plenty of unique attractions and activities that your family will love!

 Before embarking on the cruise, consider a visit to these 6 must do activities with the kids. 

#6 Bayside Marketplace & the Metromover

Situated along Biscayne Bay, Bayfront Park saunters along the palm lined waterfront over to the Bayside Marketplace.  This open air market has delectable food choices, shopping and sometimes live entertainers.  The architecture is designed to give that tropical Caribbean feel.  If you head a little north of the Marketplace you will encounter the Science Barge, Perez Art Museum of Miami with its hanging hammock porch (free to access & has beautiful views), and the future Miami's Frost Science Museum.

 While you are in the area with the kids be sure to take them for a FREE joy ride on the Metromover system. This electric trolley system offers free rides, and connects major destinations all from elevated tracks. Kids will love zipping past the tall buildings so close that at times it feels like you could reach out and touch one.  One Metrtomover line actually goes through the Knight Center building!  They will LOVE the curving and rolling elevated track inside open space cars with huge windows.  Their faces will be pressed against the glass and you will have several adorable photos to take home.

We would be remiss to not mention one of the best ways to see large areas of Miami for FREE.  The city of Miami operates 10 trolley routes that traverse the city and many of its attractions.  Download their app to have access to the routes and schedule.  These rides are not narrated so if you are looking for that check out #5 as an option, Big Bus Tours.  You can pick up one of the routes at Bayfront Park or Bayside Marketplace.  Trolleys have air conditioning and wooden bench seats for their guests.  On a hot or rainy day this can be a fun, free way to spend the day with the kids and see Miami.  Here is the link to their website and schedule.  For other great South Florida Trolley routes see our Trolley Article!

#5 Big Bus Tours

If you are in a hurry and you don’t want to go through the hassle of driving, you can choose Big Bus Tours to explore the city. You can enjoy commentary on the buses in 12 different languages describing the landmarks as you are taken on a tour of the city. You can choose from four routes with over 30 stops: Beaches, City or Uptown. If the weather is great, be sure to enjoy a wonderful view from the open top seats--just remember a hat, sungalsses and sunblock. The main stop for the Big Bus tours is at Bayside (above) and is only a short Uber or Lyft ride from the port of Miami.  Learn more about some of the stops on their tours:  South Pointe Park in South Beach, Venetian Pool, The Barnacle, Miami Children's Museum, History Miami, Wynwood Walls and the Perez Art Museum.

#4 Jet Boat Miami

 

Want to make a lasting impression of Miami on the kids?  See the gorgeous "Magic City" from the water on an exhilarating ride with Jet Boat Miami tours.  The jet boat takes tour groups on a high speed ride through the waters of Miami, where you get to see interesting views including the shoreline and the island of San Marco. Peep into the backyards of the Rich & Famous of Miami. Passengers on the boat should expect to get splashed. It's considered an added bonus of the jet boat tour! This is a great option if you are looking to treat your older children to a high octane adventure. The tours are managed by experienced professionals and everyone, ranging from the people booking your trip to the boat captain, will offer friendly hospitality. 
 

#3  Jungle Island

Another wonderful destination would be Jungle Island, where folks fond of feathered and furry creatures alike will be over the moon with excitement. You can explore the park starting with Flamingo Lake and the Parrot Bowl. You could then take the kids to the Lion's Den, the Serpentarium or the Everglades exhibit. If that’s not enough, you can look forward to rthe relative serenity of the Garden Outpost or the Pavilions. Kids will love the chance to get up close with all sorts of animals ranging from baboons and capuchins, to kangaroos, lemurs, and parrots. Don't miss the rare white lion and tiger. Children can engage with the animals at the petting zoo or get up close and personal during an Animal Interaction!  You can make a full day of exploring Jungle Island or do half a day and then head indoors to the Miami Children's Museum (below) when the weather gets hot!  These attractions are closest to the port of Miami making them the easiest to access.

#2 Miami Children's Museum

The Miami Children’s Museum is full of interesting exhibits and events. Interactive permanent exhibits and activities include a Port of Miami exhibit with motorized tug boats, cruise ship, and freighters; a fishing boat with rods; a grocery store and Police/Fire "Safety Zone" exhibit. The museum often hosts engaging traveling exhibits like Sid the Science Kid, Wizard of Oz, Curious George and more.  The museum is a wonderful indoor space for the children to explore and learn.  Stop by the Art room for programming or to let the kids open up their creative minds.  The Castle Of Dreams is the centerpiece of the museum that is both beautiful to look at and contains a fun slide for the kids.  Be sure to visit the new Baptist Children’s Hospital Health & Wellness Center that was just opened containing fitness and sports activities for the kids.  This museum is best suited for kids about 8 and under.  

#1 Venetian Pool, Fairchild Gardens & Vizcaya

Coral Gables is known for its elaborate planning, tree lined streets and historical buildings. We have included some stellar attractions located in and near the city of Coral Gables.  First up is the architecturally stunning Venetian Pool, a spring fed pool dating back to the 1920s, which is located down the road from the famous Biltmore Hotel.  The pool is counted among the largest swimming pools in the state and is known for its impeccable standards of cleanliness. Part of the historic Venetian Casino, the original resort had an elaborate setup which was far ahead of its times. The poolside is known for its diverse ecosystem. You find exotic plants and trees at one part, and Greek style slated roofs and paved areas at another part. The pool also has an elaborate drainage system to ensure water recycling and fast draining, since the pool bottom is cleaned every evening. A tip for parents – the pool does not allow children younger than three years of age and you need to carry their ID to prove they are older than three.

he Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden would be another highlight of your tour of Coral Gables. In addition to conserving tropical plants, the estate also engages children and adults in walking tours and events to build more awareness about the need to look after the ecosystem. It involves exhibits including conservatories, rare plant specimens, and the serene Moos Sunken Garden.  If you travel a little over 4 miles away, north of Coconut Grove, you can visit Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. This attraction, truly, is the gem of Miami.  This iconic home is the perfect place to let the children explore the grounds with mazes and grottos or take in the oppulence of a bygone era on a tour inside the home.  Just about every teenage 15 or 16 year old girl from Miami has had her photo taken here and every woman dreams of getting married here.  Enjoy this picturesque spot on your exploration of Coral Gables and take home some gorgeous family photos.  These locations were chosen as our #1 because they are both historic and quintessentially Miami.  If you only have a short time available to get a feel for the heart of Miami, then these are stops key.  

 

Whether this is your family's 1st trip to Miami or you have visited before, we know that these six options will help you and your family enjoy your time spent in Miami. For families traveling with kids these attractions and tours promise fun, adventure, educational value and quality time with your family. 

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