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By: Angela Caraway-Carlton

Beautiful beaches and sparkling waters are Miami’s superpower, but there are must-see attractions and experiences for visitors that go beyond the beach. Zip through the Everglades on an exhilarating airboat ride. Swim with dolphins or get up-close-and-personal with marine and land animals. Soar high above Miami on a fancy Ferris wheel for unmatched vistas. See world-class art and performances at our cultural venues. Check out this list of some of the top attractions in Greater Miami & Miami Beach now, and start planning your best vacation yet.

Hold a baby alligator at Everglades Alligator Farm
Hold a baby alligator at Everglades Alligator Farm

Everglades Alligator Farm, Homestead

If you’ve never seen an alligator up close, Everglades Alligator Farm in Homestead offers the rare and exciting chance. Here, visitors can rocket through the Everglades on an airboat to spot alligators in the wild, as well as other flora and fauna, fish and wading birds. Just as thrilling, you can watch trainers feed the many alligators that pack the farm’s pond. It’s a heart-pounding showcase where the alligators fight to chomp down on a meal. And you can’t miss the shows where alligator wrestlers show off capturing techniques once used by Native Americans. If you dare, you can even hold a baby alligator.

Sea lion show at Miami Seaquarium
Watch the playful sea lion show at Miami Seaquarium

Miami Seaquarium, Key Biscayne

Dolphins, manatees, sea turtles and African penguins – they’re all on view at the iconic Miami Seaquarium along the Rickenbacker Causeway linking the mainland to Key Biscayne. Visitors can take in shows to watch dolphins perform aerial acrobatics and see the playful sea lions who steal the show. Breeze through the open-air exhibits to spot the gentle manatees and sea turtles that patrol these warm waters. Stop at touch tanks filled with sea life, and “flamingle” with a gaggle of bright-pink Caribbean flamingos. There are also interactive swims with harbor seals or friendly dolphins at Dolphin Harbor, where they’ll pull you through the water and shake your hand or give you a kiss. New experiences even put you up-close-and-personal with nurse sharks and rays in a natural mangrove forest.

Blue art installation at Perez Art Museum Miami
Admire the art at Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Downtown Miami

Want standout art paired with water views? You’ll find it at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), where beauty abounds both inside and outside. Perched above Biscayne Bay in Downtown Miami, the museum impresses visitors with its grand hanging gardens and a sprawling outdoor terrace with swinging chairs meant for staring at those gorgeous bay views. Art buffs will gravitate to the vast collection of contemporary art. Take a guided museum tour that spotlights the best of the permanent collection and exhibitions, which are always changing. Don’t skip the museum gift shop for unique and artsy gifts, and enjoy lunch or coffee at Verde, one of Miami’s best restaurants with a view.

Frost Siblings
Explore the marine life at Frost Museum

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, Downtown Miami

Visitors of all ages will appreciate a day at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Downtown Miami. While there are certainly fascinating planetarium shows and interactive exhibits that focus on everything from the human body to prehistoric animals, this is more than just a science museum. Don’t miss the observation deck on the fourth floor, which presents gorgeous views of sparkling Biscayne Bay and lets visitors peer down into the aquarium’s tanks to see sharks skim the surface. On the same floor, discover the River of Grass, an Everglades experience where you’ll learn about the natural beauty of the ’Glades. The museum’s centerpiece is the Oculus, where you’ll stand underneath a giant circular window to view the Gulf Stream’s constant parade of sharks, rays and fish. Kids and adults alike love hands-on experiences such as the Florida Bay Touch Experience, where you can gently touch stingrays. Frost Science is right next to PAMM, so it’s possible to visit both museums in one day.

Skywheel
Enjoy breathtaking views from the top of Sky Views Miami

Sky Views Miami, Downtown Miami

It's all about Miami’s incredible views on the Sky Views Miami observation wheel. Soar 200 feet above Bayside Marketplace in a cushy gondola for breathtaking vistas of Biscayne Bay, Bayfront Park and, of course, the Downtown Miami skyline. It’s the chance to watch life on the water, from boaters to marine life. Spring for a VIP gondola to sink into leather bucket seats from which you’ll enjoy a custom LED-light show and the views through a glass-bottom floor. Biggest perk: There’s air conditioning, so your ride is always a comfortable 72 degrees.

South Pointe Stroll
Relax & enjoy the views at South Pointe Park

South Pointe Pier, South Beach

Located in dreamy South Pointe Park, South Pointe Pier extends dramatically over South Beach’s blue waters. It’s the perfect place for a stroll. The pier has bragging rights to some of the best views around. Hang out on the pier to watch cruise ships depart from PortMiami, as well as speedboats and Jet Skis racing along the Atlantic Ocean. The 450-foot pier also offers the opportunity to fish, spot fish and turtles, or just watch local surfers and swimmers. South Pointe Park is a great place to chill under a palm tree with a picnic, or let the kids meander through the plentiful green spaces and play in the splash pad.

Vizcaya Aerial
Visit this Mediterranean-style villa in Coconut Grove

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Coconut Grove

Grand gardens and opulent interiors reign at the architecturally significant 1916 winter retreat of James Deering, tucked away in lush Coconut Grove. The Mediterranean-style architecture of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens immediately impresses, and guests can tour the mansion’s library, breakfast room, music room and bedrooms to see collections and artifacts that date from the early 20th century. While you can explore the home on your own, a tour offers the chance to step back in time and learn about the estate’s storied past and design details. Carve out time to wind through the 10 acres of formal gardens, which are the highlight of the estate. Look for rare orchids, climb limestone staircases and search for the Secret Garden, which is a not-so-secret photo spot. Welcoming outside spaces tempt you to stay awhile, so find a shaded spot to soak up the views of Biscayne Bay and the Venice-inspired dock.

Taking pictures of Wynwood Walls
Visit the world's largest collection of street art

Wynwood Walls, Wynwood

Art enthusiast or not, you’ll want to wander the colorful maze of walls that take center stage in the Wynwood neighborhood. At the Wynwood Walls outdoor museum, walls are splashed with nearly 50 different murals created by some of the world’s best street artists. Old-school graffiti artists and new talent are commissioned each year to create fresh murals, so the walls are everchanging. You can peruse the walls on your own or book a tour for insight on the walls’ artists and inspiration. Be sure to bring your camera, as the entire neighborhood is one of Miami’s most Instagrammable spots.

Zoo Miami Everlgades Otter exhibit
Crawl through a clear tunnel at the Everglades otter exhibit at Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami, South Dade

Locals know this zoo in South Dade with tropical vibes offers something special. With open-air exhibits that give the feeling that its mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are in their natural habitats, the zoo offers the opportunity for visitors to see animals from all over the world. Zoo Miami is home to more than 3,000 animals representing over 500 different species, which visitors can see as they wind through the lush walkways. Feed a camel or a towering giraffe. Learn about conservation efforts and the endangered animals that live at the zoo. Those who want a more intimate experience can book a VIP tour to zip around the property on a golf cart to interact with the animals.

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