More Miami Attractions for Families
Being a tourist in my own home state is something I love to do. Why is it that so many people don't ever go to the tourist attractions where they live? I guess it could be because people work and don't have time and when they're on vacation they go elsewhere and check out other peoples' hometown attractions!
Well, if you live in Miami or the Southern Florida area - or you are or will be visiting one of these places - try to make the time to check out these fun places. You can easily see them in one weekend or, in the case of the locations featured below, in a day (because they are located right next to each other.)
For more fun things to do whether just adults or families with kids, be sure to check out my links at the end of this article for more great destinations.
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Gold Coast Railroad Museum
The site of the Gold Coast Railroad Museum is rich in Florida history, having originally (1942)been the Naval Air Station Richmond (NASR), the largest coastline airship base built for WWII. It was commissioned to oversee the vast airship operations in southern Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. At the time the three airship hangars, constructed mainly of wood and concrete (steel rationing), were the largest wooden structures ever built. Today, the only remaining door support column of Hangar #1 stands outside the museum entrance - the towers each housed one half of the giant hangar doors.
Kids love to play with the wooden model train sets, including the beloved Thomas, at the Gold Coast Train Museum. Not only are there miniature train sets to play with, but kids and adults alike can climb aboard displays of historic railroad equipment.
Treasures such as the Pullman car, Ferdinand Magellan, and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s private railroad car, which was also used by Truman, Eisenhower and Reagan can be seen here. The Ferdinand Magellan is unique among Pullman railroad cars in that it's the only car custom built for the President of the United States in the 20th Century. Its last official government use was in 1954 and in 1958 it was offered to the Smithsonian Institute, but they failed to take the necessary steps to acquire it, so the Gold Coast Railroad Museum ultimately acquired it.
Train rides on the Edwin Link Children’s Railroad are offered as well; they consist of a twenty minute ride on a 2-foot gauge track. Also offered are rides on a standard gauge train using diesel equipment with the air-conditioned “Belle Glade” passenger coach. For an extra few dollars, kids can even ride in the cab. We rode in the caboose!
This museum is located right outside of the Miami Metrozoo. For more information, click here to go to their website.
The only zoo in the continental United States to be located in a subtropical climate, Miami's Metrozoo is one of the world’s great zoos. More than 1,300 animals are showcased in this 300-acre cageless zoo.
Recently, the Aviary Wings of Asia exhibit opened – home to over 300 birds representing 70 species of exotic, rare and endangered Asian birds in a large, free-flight area that feels just like an Asian Jungle (well, I’ve never been to an Asian jungle, but I believe them when they tell me it is!) The aviary is alive with trickling brooks, beautiful birdsongs and a wonderful waterfall.
There’s a children’s zoo, a wildlife carousel, guided tram tours and Zookeeper talks, as well as a water play areas where everyone is invited to get wet with water shooting from a frog, a flamingo and other fun zoo spouts.
Throughout the zoo are water misters to help keep you cooled off – very refreshing. Several shows are actually in air-conditioned indoors, too!
You can see the aerial view of the zoo from their air-conditioned monorail, which has four convenient stops throughout the zoo.
One of my favorite things about this zoo is that you can rent a safari cycle to tour the entire zoo – but it’s not just a bicycle, it’s a family bicycle! The small one seats up to 3 adults and 2 kids and there’s a larger one that seats up to 6 adults and 2 kids. All bikes have a sun canopy, making it a cool (in more ways than one) way to see the zoo!
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