Miami is a world renown destination because of its tropical blue waters and sunny weather, but locals know it can get more than comfortably warm here. While South Floridians can’t wait to get out into the sun, it’s primarily the excitement of everything from water sports to ballgames that gets them outside every summer. The best bet for sunny days in Miami promise cool, comfortable fun without breaking the bank.
Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens
10901 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables, FL 33156
Price: $25 adults/$18 seniors 65 and up/$12 for children 6 to 17/free for members
The Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens is home to some of the most luscious and beautiful plants in Miami. Located in Coral Gables, this botanical oasis was opened in 1938 by David Fairchild and Robert H. Montgomery. Today their passion for plans is evident the the thousands of species of plants on display. Parking is free, and bus service runs here through the week.
1390 N.W. 6th St.
Miami, FL 33125
Price: from $10
Take me out to the ball game is back in a brand new way. Since the opening of Marlins Park, locals have been flocking to cheer on the fish and also to get a glimpse of the team’s new stadium. Take a walk between innings, order a hot dog and a cool drink as you and your family bask in under the sun courtesy of the state-of-the-art retractable roof. For garage parking, prepay online. To take the free trolley, park at the Civic Center. From the Metro, get off at Culmer Station and take a free shuttle to ballpark.
6747 Crandon Blvd.
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
Price: $5 weekday parking/$6 weekend parking
Crandon Park is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Miami. It’s also home to the Bear Cut Nature preserve where visitors may explore the natural beauty of the land and sea. So whether your family wants to sunbathe, swim or go on a hike, Crandon Park has you covered. Parking is available at the beach, or take the Route B Metrobus from Brickell Metrorail station to Crandon Park.
6767 Crandon Blvd.
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
www.miamidade.govPrice: $70 kayaking and snorkeling/$30 kayak/$44 canoe/$28 bike tours/parking included
Take advantage of the natural beauty of Florida and explore it like the tourists do. For a flat rate, kayak, snorkel, canoe or bike along Crandon Park with your own ecotour guide. Equipment is included in the cost, so all you need is the proper attire. If you get hungry along the way, concessions are available in the South Beach area of the park, and vendors are located in the North Beach area of the park. Children younger than 9 are not eligible to participate in Ecotour activities.
12400 S.W. 152 St.
Miami, FL 33177
Price: $15.95 adults/$11.95 kids
Zoo Miami is home to South Florida’s most exotic creatures, set on 740 acres featuring more than 100 exhibits. Some of the zoo’s 2,000 animal residents include lions, tigers, bear and koala. With more than 2,000 animals and 1,200 plants visible just strolling through this amazing zoo, it’s sure to offer something for everyone. Park for free, or catch the Coral Reef Match Bus at the Metrorail Dadeland South Station.
Related: Best Public Pools for Kids
This is a new installation at Zoo Miami, located in the Amazon and Beyond Exhibit. Now in addition to braving the wild, guests may tame the Amazon on their own kayaks, pedal boat or ride a water tricycle for 30 minutes. Equipment is provided and all children younger than 21 must be accompanied by an adult. For the best deal, buy the summer savings pass and get admission to three other Miami attractions.
4400 Rickenbacker Causeway
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
Price: $39.95 general/$29.95 kids ages 3 to 9/$8 parking
The Miami Seaquarium is a tried and true summer favorite of locals and tourists alike. This park is Miami’s version of Sea World. Families may explore the aquatic life above and below sea with Sharky’s Sky Trail ropes course and the underwater Sea Trek Reef Encounter. For public transit, take Metrorail to Brickell Station, then take Bus B to Miami Seaquarium.
Price: $199 dolphin odyssey/$139 dolphin encounter experience/prices include admission
If you feel like giving your family an experience to remember, while at the Seaquarium, head to Dolphin Harbor. Here, snag a dolphin piggyback ride in the Dolphin Odyssey, or enjoy a shallow water encounter with the Dolphin Encounter Experience. Both of these programs begin with a 15-minute class teaching your family all about these adorable animals and then it’s off to the pool. Equipment is provided. Finish the day at on-site restaurants including the Manatee Bay Café.
Niema Hulin was born in Newark, NJ but raised in Lexington, South Carolina for the bulk of her formative years. In 2002, she moved to Miami after graduating from the University of Florida. Since then, Niema has worked in film, television and commercials as a Production Assistant and Production Coordinator. Some of her films have included Bad Boys II and I Am Number IV. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.