Top Miami Museums To Visit On Your Vacation

children's museum

Miami Children's Museum

Coral Castle

Coral Castle

Coral Gables Museum

Coral Gables Museum

Frost

Frost Museum

jewish museum interior

Jewish Museum of Florida

pamm

Entrance at the PAMM

The Bass

The Bass

vizcaya

Aerial view of Vizcaya

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By: Shayne Benowitz

With a wide array of museums, Miami has plenty of educational activities for the whole family. Whether you're into art, history or science, Miami has the perfect museum to provide you and your family with an entertaining and educational afternoon. There’s plenty to see, do and learn at Miami’s best museums. Here’s where to go and what to do while you’re there.

Art

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)

Situated on Museum Park overlooking Biscayne Bay in Downtown Miami, the Pérez Art Museum Miami was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron drawing inspiration from the iconic Stiltsville homes built offshore in the 1930s. The structure alone, with abundant outdoor space to swoon over the views, is worth the visit. Inside, the museum’s thought-provoking contemporary collection focuses on international art of the 20th and 21st centuries from the perspective of the Americas. There’s also a lovely café onsite providing more inspiring views.

ICA, Miami

With free admission, an alluring location in the stylish Design District and a collection of cutting edge contemporary art, ICA, Miami is a must-visit for anyone who wants a taste of Miami culture. Dedicated to continuous experimentation and intellectual exchange throughout Miami and internationally, the museum’s programming focuses on local, emerging and under-recognized artists, guaranteeing there will always be something new and exciting to discover when you visit.

The Bass

Set inside a landmark Art Deco building from the 1930s on the National Register of Historic Places, The Bass recently reopened after a multi-million renovation with 12,800-square-feet of exhibition space. The South Beach institution set on Collins Park is dedicated to modern art and has some shiny new public art acquisitions to boast, including Ugo Rondinone’s massive, neon-painted “Miami Mountain” limestone boulders in the park and Sylvie Fleury’s “Eternity Now” neon sign on the museum’s façade.

History & Culture

The Wolfsonian

Situated in a historic Art Deco building in the heart of South Beach, The Wolfsonian – Florida International University is a museum, library and research center with an intriguingly specific scope and mission. The collection of 120,000 artifacts, photographs, design objects and artworks dating from 1885 to 1945 sheds light on “the persuasive power of art and design, and explores what it means to be modern.” Curators work with historical advertisements, posters, clothing, photographs and film to illustrate their theses.

HistoryMiami

One of the largest private, regional history museums in the southeast U.S. and part of the prestigious Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program, HistoryMiami in Downtown Miami entertains and educates with more than 13,000 artifacts dating back to pre-Columbian times. Immerse yourself in the permanent and temporary exhibits, ranging from immigration to tourism to development and technological advancement in South Florida. Be sure to make a stop at the Visitors Research Center to take in the one million photographs, drawings and documents.

Coral Gables Museum

Once a police and fire station, the Coral Gables Museum boasts a 3,000-square-foot gallery and 5,000-square-foot public plaza that centers around permanent and traveling art and design exhibits, lectures and concerts. Renovated and reopened in 2011, the museum also offers guided Saturday morning walking tours so you can get to know even more of The City Beautiful.

Jewish Museum of Florida

The building itself, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a stunning 1936 Art Deco masterpiece with 77 stained glass windows, a Moorish copper dome, Art Deco chandeliers and marble bimah. Inside, explore more than 250 years of Jewish history at the Jewish Museum of Florida- FIU, as well as its permanent exhibit MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida. Through audio-visual presentations, films, photos, documents and artifacts, you’ll discover how the Jewish people have maintained their history, tradition and culture in Florida.

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

Modeled after grand European villas, Vizcaya was built in the 1910s as the private waterfront estate of millionaire industrialist James Deering. Taking in the views of the elaborate, manicured gardens will transport you to Versailles. On the east terrace overlooking Biscayne Bay, it’s more like a palazzo in Venice. The Mediterranean Revival villa is filled with elaborate Renaissance tapestries, Rococo furniture, Chinese objets d'art, Roman sculptures and early 20th-century paintings. Rooms are styled after different Italian cities: Milan in the Music Room, Palermo at reception and Venice in various bedrooms. It’s a totally transporting experience!

Coral Castle Museum

Want to storm the castle? Do so at the Coral Castle Museum in Homestead. While you may hear a lot about Miami’s diverse architecture, from Art Deco hotels in South Beach to Mediterranean Revival mansions in Coral Gables, the Coral Castle is a singular structure. As the story goes, the 1,100-ton castle was built single-handedly in secret by one man inspired by lost love. It’s a mystery on par with Stonehenge, just with a South Florida coral rock twist. You can tour the unusual site with coral sculptures that were built between 1923 and 1951.

Science & Discovery for All Ages

Frost Science

Miami’s landmark Frost Science museum opened in Spring 2017 on Museum Park overlooking Biscayne Bay in Downtown. It’s one of the only science museums in the world to boast both an aquarium and planetarium under one roof. The hands-on, interactive exhibits make for a perfect family-friendly outing. The Gulf Stream Aquarium spans three floors and includes an open tank at the rooftop. You’ll spy hammerhead sharks, stingrays and mahi-mahi circling the 500,000-gallon tank.

Miami Children’s Museum

For the young—and the young at heart—head to the Miami Children’s Museum. Located midway between Downtown Miami and Miami Beach on Biscayne Bay along the MacArthur Causeway, the Miami Children’s Museum is filled with activities that emphasize art, culture, community, communication, imagination and creativity. It’s also home to a two-story sandcastle of dreams, a 30-foot rock climbing wall, a life-sized cruise ship and an outdoor playground.

Transportation Wonders

Gold Coast Railroad Museum Have a thing for the Little Engine that Could? The Gold Coast Railroad Museum is a must-see for train enthusiasts and collectors. With more than 40 passenger cars, freight cars, locomotives and antique railway equipment, you’ll want to hop aboard! Ride one of the many historic railway cars (offered most weekends), view "Ferdinand Magellan" (the private railroad car built for President Franklin Roosevelt) and explore the vast array of model trains, while learning about South Florida’s locomotive history.

Wings Over Miami Air Museum

Ready for take off? You will be upon visiting Wings Over Miami Air Museum, a tribute to veterans, aviators and aircraft history. See the evolution of flight at the museum's location in Kendall, as well as restored and maintained military and classic aircrafts, some of which even take off into the wild blue yonder on weekends. Be the pilot of your own aircraft after a visit to the gift shop, which features model kits, videos and clothing for adults and children.

Insider Tip: Make the most of your museum excursions with the Go Miami Card. See more for less by choosing a one, two, three or five day card and save up to 55% off full retail admission. Best of all, the card can even be delivered instantly to your smart phone.

More About Miami's Arts & Culture

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