Offering a wide-variety of family –friendly attractions, Southeast Florida is a perfect spot for family getaway. Here you can relax while enjoying Florida’s beautiful tropical climate and exotic wildlife.
When it comes to beach fun, undoubtedly, Miami ranks high on the list. However, the city offers other attractions that makes it a haven for families with kids. The tropical climate of Florida allows the state to keep a wide variety of animals that are hard to find in other states. To see a broad mix of unusual species of animals, visit Miami Zoo, just north of Homestead. For more monkey business head to Monkey Jungle south of the zoo, Jungle Island in downtown Miami, or just gape at sealife at the Miami Seaquarium in Key Biscayne. Seaaquarium has recently added a new Penguin Isle- habitat for African penguin- offering beautiful above and below water views of penguin habitats in a sprawling 9,000-gallon pool.
For passive aesthetic recreation, Fairchild tropical Botanical Garden is the best spot. The sprawling tropical oasis exhibits a rare collection of exotic plants and flowers. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden also hosts special events – the International Mango Festival and International Orchid Festival- to promote learning and personal enrichment.
Key West – a tropical island- is ideal for family vacation. History lovers can explore the collection of gold and silver treasures from 17th century shipwrecks at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West. To further learn and enjoy the history of Keys, from the Spanish explorers to the destruction of the Flaglar Rail Road from the 1935 hurricane, visit Florida Keys History & Discovery Center on Islamorada. Recently, the center has added a new permanent model of Indian Key, which was once the Florida Keys’ second largest community outside of Key West and was only accessible by private boat or kayak.
Nature lovers can visit the Dolphin Research Center and Turtle Hospital in Marathon to enjoy close encounter with sealife. For more sealife experience one can make reservations for guided park tours and shark and tarpon feeding with the Florida Keys Aquarium Encounter located on Marathon.
Naturalists’ favorite spot at Keys is Everglades National Park- a swampland full of alligators. Visit Everglades to experience the serene and quiet beauty of a swamp, to study mangroves or to observe alligators, bottle nosed dolphins, turtles and white-tailed deer. You can also learn about the Miccosukee Tribe’s unique way of life at the Miccosukee Indian Village.
Fort Lauderdale is known for its beaches and art and culture exhibitions. To have a more interactive art experience, visit the Artspark at Young circle. Featuring an amphitheater, playground and visual arts pavilion, the park appeals to children of all ages and maturity level. It also offers a variety of hands-on activities such as glass blowing and jewelry making classes.
Nature enthusiasts can head to Flamingo Gardens & Wray Botanical, which offers 60 acres of diverse native plants and trees, a Bird of Prey Center with a free-flight aviary, and the chance to view alligators, flamingos, bobcats and Florida panthers. Yet better views of nature can be found at Butterfly World in Coconut Creek, the world’s largest butterfly park. Housing more than 20,000 butterflies from around the globe, the facility is a feast for the eyes.
Immerse in the living history while enjoying the nature at Bonnet House Museum and Gardens. The Museum preserves a piece of old Floridian and the twentieth century historical charm within its 36-acres estate. Looking for an on water experience? The Jungle Queen Cruise is the ultimate answer. The cruise company offers a great mix of dinner, show and sightseeing opportunities and bundles them in affordable packages.
Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Boynton Beach is highly recommended for the hikers looking for beautiful winding trails with exotic wildlife. However, the place holds something for everyone: guided marsh tours, bird walks, canoe trips and much more.
The best known adventure for the kids at the facility is the Lion Country Safari, where you can enjoy a drive-through experience checking out more than 900 animals including giraffes, lions, zebras and monkeys. Families with young children will especially enjoy a trip to the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. Featuring more than 50 hands-on educational exhibits, a state-of-the-art planetarium, a new science laboratory for educational programs and an upgraded theater, the center will keep your young ones engaged for hours.
To introduce your young ones to Florida’s marinelife and ecosystem, pay a visit to the Loggerhead Marinelife Center at Juno beach. Loggerhead is a rehabilitation for injured sea turtles and a sanctuary for endangered species of turtles where kids enjoy interacting and learning about turtles. The center also holds an on-site playground for kids and when tired of all the activities at the center you can easily slip out to the picturesque Juno beach and just relax.