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By: Jenny Agress

Going on a cruise with your kids? If you’re starting or ending at PortMiami, extend your vacation a little longer and take a few days to check out some of the many family-friendly activities Greater Miami has to offer. Use our suggestions below as your guide. They include ways for families of all ages to have a fun half-day, full-day or two-day adventure near PortMiami.

Family at Downtown Miami's PAMM
Take the family to PAMM for your fix of modern and contemporary art

Half-Day Itinerary

Morning: Pérez Art Museum Miami

Start your day at Downtown Miami’s Maurice A. Ferré Park, where you can get your fix of modern and contemporary art at Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Opening at 11 am, the PAMM has nearly 3,000 works of art from the 20th and 21st centuries, spread across two floors and eight exhibits. Be sure to check out the year-round Mary M. and Sash A. Spencer Sculpture Garden, which features large-scale sculptures by artists such as Anthony Caro, Gonzálo Fonseca, Edgar Negret, Jedd Novatt and more. The entire museum draws from Greater Miami’s cultural diversity, focusing primarily on art from the US Latin experience, African diaspora, Latin America and the Caribbean. It also has a regular calendar of temporary exhibits, special events and educational programs.

When you get hungry, get lunch at Verde. Overlooking Biscayne Bay, Verde is where James Beard-nominated Executive Chef Hedy Goldsmith whips up a locally inspired fare, such as prosciutto pizza, “summer” salad, tangerine-creamsicle bread pudding and tortilla Española with a piquillo pepper vinaigrette. Think of it as art on the walls, followed by art on your plate.

Skywheel Miami at Bayside
For unparalleled views of Miami ride the Skyviews Miami at Bayside

Afternoon: Bayside Marketplace

Next, go to Bayside Marketplace for waterfront shopping and dining, boat tours and a ride on Skyviews Miami. Stores here include everything from Express and Havana Nines to Sunglass Hut, IT’SUGAR and more. When the kids need an afternoon snack, stop by Häagen-Dazs or Mammamia Gelato Italiano, or get gelato popsicles and bubble tea at Wonderfruits. Follow your sweet treat with a ride on Skyviews Miami—it’s a Ferris wheel with air-conditioned gondolas and a VIP gondola with leather bucket seats, a custom LED light show and a clear glass floor. Rides last 12+ minutes and promise idyllic views of Biscayne Bay, Bayfront Park and the Downtown Miami skyline.

Thriller Miami Speedboat
Thriller Miami is a 45 minute speedboat sightseeing tour that lives up to its name

Late Afternoon: Boat Tour

If you have time, catch a boat tour of Biscayne Bay out of the marina at Bayside Marketplace. Starting daily at 11 am, Thriller Miami leaves at the top of every hour and offers 45-minute speedboat sightseeing tours around Miami Beach, Fisher Island and Star Island. Curious about the homes of Miami’s rich and famous? Book the 90-minute Millionaire’s Row™ Sightseeing Cruise by Island Queen Cruises & Tours, which also leaves at the top of every hour, and get a fully-narrated, bilingual tour of the celebrity homes on the islands that line Biscayne Bay.

Frost Science Museum
Frost Science Museum offers interactive educational fun for the whole family

Full-Day Itinerary

Morning: The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science opens at 10 am – and you and your little ones will want to be there right when it does. This museum has a 3D planetarium, live animal presentations, immersive activities and permanent exhibits like “Feathers to the Stars,” which explores animal, human and space flight. You won’t want to miss the three-floor aquarium, which has a 31-foot-wide oculus lens that lets you see sharks, jellyfish and sea creatures from the Gulf Stream, mangrove forests and the Everglades. Kids and adults alike will be able to wander through the campus-like setting and learn about a whole range of subjects, including the Everglades, the ocean, the human body, dinosaurs and more. Your family might be hungry after all that learning, so stop by Food@Science for lunch and get pizzas and burgers for all.

Bayfront Park Statue of Julia Tuttle
Take time to relax and explore in Bayfront Park

Afternoon: Bayfront Park

Located in Downtown Miami, right on Biscayne Bay, the aptly named Bayfront Park is a part of Miami history. Built in 1896, it once had nothing more than a pavilion, a green space and a bandshell. Today, this 32-acre park has multiple open lawns, a bayfront walkway, a sandy beach area, a fountain, a tropical rock garden, a waterfall built in 1926 and even an amphitheater. Kids love visiting the Lee & Tina Hills Playground for its pirate ship, slides, bouncers, climbing areas and fun play sculptures in the shapes of waves, dolphins, turtles and manatees.

Wander through the park and check out its impressive monuments. The Challenger Memorial, designed by 20th-century sculptor Isamu Noguchi, is a 100-foot white pipe tower dedicated to those lost in the Challenger disaster. Another of his Bayfront Park sculptures is the Slide Mantra, a 29-ton white Carrara marble slide that represents his idea that “play can lead to a new appreciation of sculpture.” There are also statues of Christopher Columbus, Miami founder Julia Tuttle and more. When you’re done exploring the grounds, see them from above at The Flying Trapeze School, where you can fly trapeze with the safety of an instructor, a spotting harness and a net.

Brickell City Centre
Brickell City Centre is full of shopping and dining options as well as the CMX movie experience

Evening: Brickell City Centre

End your day in Miami with dining, shopping and entertainment at the four-level Brickell City Centre complex. Anchored by a 107,000-square-foot Saks Fifth Avenue, its storefronts include Aesop, Giuseppe Zanotti, Kendra Scott, Lululemon Athletica, Zara and more. Get pizza and pasta at Luna Park, a three-story Italian food hall and market, or tacos at Tacology. If the kids are still awake after your busy day, catch a movie at the luxurious CMX movie theater.

South Pointe Park
Walk along South Pointe Park for views of both Downtown Miami and South Beach

Two-Day Itinerary

Day 1 - Morning: South Pointe Park

Wake up and take the kids to South Pointe Park, which is a beautiful green space and beach at the southernmost tip of Miami Beach. Visitors here won’t be able to miss the movie-worthy views of South Beach, the Downtown Miami skyline and boats sailing past Fisher Island. Your family can spend the morning walking or biking along the waterfront promenade, splashing in the motion-activated water playground, reading a book under shaded trees or running around with the dog in the off-leash dog park. Join the locals gathering on South Pointe Pier to fish and watch surfers. Don’t leave without going to the beach, where you can rent loungers and cool off in the Atlantic Ocean.

Joia beachfront dining
Waterfront Joia transports you to the Greek Isles

Mid-Day: Joia Beach Restaurant

When you dry off, hop in the car and drive to Joia Beach—it’s located on Watson Island, right off the MacArthur Causeway. The definition of see-and-be-seen Miami, this waterfront dining destination transports you right to the Greek Isles. (Think: Mediterranean decor, tables right on the sand or under an open-air cover, chic Mediterranean fare, sunbathing, swimming and good Champagne for Mom and Dad.) Walk through a jungle path to the entrance and kick off your meal with delights like burrata pizzettas, hummus and pita, Greek salad and more.

Afternoon: Ichimura Miami Japanese Garden

Did you know Miami has its own traditional Japanese garden? Also located on Watson Island, the namesake Ichimura Miami Japanese Garden was founded by Kiyoshi Ichimura in 1958. While visiting Miami, the Japanese businessman envisioned this place as a haven of orchid trees, waterfalls, bamboo fences, Japanese festivals and classes about Japanese heritage. This outdoor cultural space is small, so you won’t need much time to take it all in. It’s free to enter and a beautiful place to relax before going back to your hotel after a long day in the sun.

History Miami Museum
HistoryMiami Museum houses one of the most important archive collections in Florida

Day 2 - Morning: Historic Overtown

Start your second day in Miami by immersing yourself in Historic Overtown, the heartstrings of the city’s Black cultural heritage. This was once an entertainment district that hosted performances by Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday in the height of their heyday. There are two museums worth checking out here. HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, has over 37,000 artifacts—from prehistoric times to 20th-century Afro-Cuban folk art—as well as one of the most important archive collections in Florida. The Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum highlights the struggles and accomplishments of Black police officers who worked in Overtown during the pre-Civil Rights era. After you check out both, enjoy a neo-soul food lunch at Lil Greenhouse Grill.

Wynwood Walls
Explore Wynwood Walls for a fun-filled experience for the whole family

Afternoon: Wynwood

Once a neighborhood of dilapidated warehouses, Wynwood became famous for its street art in the early 2000s—and now it’s a full-blown haven for aspiring painters, innovators, creatives and graffiti artists. Start your artsy afternoon at Wynwood Walls, a collection of six buildings with giant walls that have become canvases for some of the best muralists from around the world. For example, artists Cryptik and DALeast teamed up to create a bold black, gold and silver mural that alludes to spirituality, Eastern philosophy and a sense of enlightenment. A newer addition to Wynwood’s art scene is Superblue Miami, a pop-up immersive art experience that “wows” guests with indoor exhibits like a mirrored labyrinth, a transcendent digital garden environment and a light-based work that envelops attendees in light.

Finish your day in Wynwood with a sweet treat at The Salty Donut. This family-owned, artisanal donut shop whips up over-the-top donuts made from scratch, like their maple bacon brioche donut, their guava and cheese donut topped with crushed Galleta Maria cookies or their white chocolate and tres leches donut with torched meringue. If the kids are craving something else, check out one of Wynwood’s other great restaurants and eateries.

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