7 Affordable things to do with kids in Miami


More than just a beach city by day and a party city by night, Miami is also a world-class destination for families, with tons to see and do that doesn’t need to hit you too hard in the pocket.

Inside the aquarium at the Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science (Photo: Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science)

From museums, galleries and theatres to festivals, wildlife and outdoor exploration, the Florida coastal city is packed full of family-friendly activities and attractions suitable for adults and kids alike. And while Miami is certainly somewhere that you can blow through a hefty wad of cash quite easily if you’re not careful, with a little bit of planning it’s quite possible to stretch the budget out. Here is our pick of 7 great affordable opportunities for fun and adventure in Miami.

Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Created with the purpose of educating and entertaining in equal measure, this internationally acclaimed museum features a diverse assortment of interactive science-themed exhibitions and displays. Kids are invited to get hands-on and explore their senses as a way of learning about some of the basic principles of science. Among the museum’s most popular areas is the ‘MeLab’, which helps little ones learn about biology and health by using their own bodies to conduct ‘experiments’. The museum is free to enter.

1101 Biscayne Boulevard / Mon-Sun 10am-7pm

Everglades National Park

A boat glides through the Everglades (Photo: Big Dave Tours)

An officially designated World Heritage Site, the subtropical network of wetlands, swamps, lakes, rivers, prairies and grasslands that make up the Everglades are among the jewels in Miami’s crown. About 45 kilometres west of Downtown, the area’s unique landscapes and wildlife can be explored independently or as part of an organised tour, such as that operated by acclaimed local agency Big Dave Tours. Their 5-hour excursion starts with a fascinating walk through the vast wilderness before boarding a hovercraft for more wildlife spotting opportunities during a thrilling airboat ride. Pricing starts at $29 per person and includes pick-up and drop-off in Miami Beach.

Miami Children’s Theatre

At the heart of Miami’s thriving performing arts scene, the Miami Children’s Theatre offers a regular programme of classes, camps and main-stage productions designed to promote and encourage kids to take part in theatre. Performances feature the venue’s in-house theatre troupe who put on original shows based on different picture storybooks and museum exhibits. Pricing for classes and summer camps tends to be a little steep, but the stage shows are relatively affordable at around $20 per ticket.

8853 SW 132nd Street

GroundUP Music Festival

A live stage performance at GroundUp (Photo: Jason Koerner)

The brainchild of artistic director Michael League, 5x grammy winner and bandleader of Snarky Puppy, and Miami arts veteran CEO Paul Lehr, the family-friendly GroundUP Music Festival prides itself on offering revellers a more intimate and accessible festival experience than is typical. As opposed to many festivals, where attendees have to battle to get a glimpse of an artist, at GroundUP you might find yourself on a hammock in a palm grove next to a musician, or dancing on the beach at an impromptu jam session by a renowned band. As well as featuring an array of acts from all genres, there are also artist masterclasses, meet & greets, and dozens of onsite bars and food by local chefs.

Miami Beach / February each year

Bayfront Park

The sandy shoreline at Bayfront Park (Photo: Phillip Pessar via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Spanning 32 acres on the fringes of Biscayne Bay in Downtown Miami, Bayfront Park is one of the city’s most vibrant outdoor spaces where visitors can do as much or as little as they please. While many of the museums and activities in the park are not always budget-friendly, there’s nothing to stop you simply letting the kids loose on the sandy beach, where the gentle waters make for safe swimming. There’s also a free-to-use playground and splash pad where little ones can get wet ‘n’ wild till their heart’s content.

International Mango Festival

Summertime in Miami wouldn’t be the same without the International Mango Festival, which celebrates the globally popular fruit through cooking demonstrations, a display of the world’s largest mango collection, a mango auction, a kids’ culinary challenge, expert speakers discussing the latest research in the mango industry, and plenty more. Away from the mango-themed action, there’s also live music, a beer garden and food trucks to keep revellers well-satiated.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden / July each year

Beaux Arts Festival

A child gets creative at the Beaux Arts Festival (Photo: Beaux Arts Festival)

A free-to-enter juried fine arts show featuring art, crafts and multi-media from hundreds of exhibitors, Beaux Arts Festival is one of the biggest and most eagerly-awaited events on Miami’s busy cultural calendar. Kicking off the new year in style each January, whatever your preferred art form, be it wood, watercolours, photography, oil and acrylics, graphics, glass, ceramics or 3D sculpture, there’ll be something to please your artistic predilections. What’s more, with live music, kids’ art experiences, and free entertainment on offer, it’s a real family occasion too, while food lovers will enjoy the array of top-class culinary fare on offer.

University of Miami / January each year

Hop-on hop-off bus tour

While many of Miami’s main attractions are within walking distance of each other, the reality is that most kids aren’t the biggest fans of traipsing the streets for too long – especially in blazing sunshine. One of the most time-efficient and convenient ways of seeing Miami is by booking hop-on hop-off bus tour tickets, which give you the independence to whizz across the city, boarding buses at designated stops as and when you please, and then jumping back on again when you want to head elsewhere. Tickets are normally valid for a choice of either one or two days.

By Paul Joseph