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More Miami Attractions for Families

Updated on October 1, 2013
Lily Rose profile image

I am a believer in being a tourist in your own town (and state) —so few people take advantage of what's in their own back yards.

Silver Crescent car, top level at Gold Coast Railroad Museum
Silver Crescent car, top level at Gold Coast Railroad Museum

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.

click any picture to enlarge

Gold Coast Railroad Museum, Miami, Florida
Gold Coast Railroad Museum, Miami, Florida
Florida East Coast train car
Florida East Coast train car
engine & caboose you can ride on - we rode the caboose!
engine & caboose you can ride on - we rode the caboose!
room full of train tables for kids - big and small - to play with
room full of train tables for kids - big and small - to play with
last remaining hangar door tower
last remaining hangar door tower

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.

giraffe feeding - look at the size of that head!
giraffe feeding - look at the size of that head!
orangutan
orangutan
Metrozoo's monorail
Metrozoo's monorail
Safari Cycle - the best, and coolest, way to see the zoo!
Safari Cycle - the best, and coolest, way to see the zoo!

Miami Metrozoo

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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    • ideasformiami profile image

      ideasformiami 8 years ago from Miami, Florida.

      Wow! now I wanna go to the metrozoo, thanks L.R.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 8 years ago

      Dear Lily,

      Thanks for a wonderful hub. I spent every winter school recess at my Grandmother's house in Miami. Thanks for re-kindling those memories.

    • Lily Rose profile image
      Author

      Lily Rose 8 years ago from East Coast

      I highly recommend it!

    • profile image

      Don White 8 years ago

      Thanks, Lily, for alerting us of the Metro Zoo. Sounds like a great idea. You get to come very close to the animals, but in the privacy and pleasure of a modern conveyance. I don't know why we didn't go to the zoo when we were there. We will next time. Don White

    • Kavita Trivedi profile image

      Kavita Trivedi-Kapoor 8 years ago from London

      This is a great hub. I have never been to Miami but might want to go now!

    • Lily Rose profile image
      Author

      Lily Rose 8 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks for visiting, Dohn. Yes, Metrozoo is really great - I can't wait to go back. That little flesh-colored leaf is my oldest daughter (4), with my husband and baby (she just turned 3, but she's still my baby!) behind her.

      You know, the massive size of that giraffe's head compared to my daughter there was freakier to see in the picture than it was in person! I guess I wasn't paying attention to the proportions then, while taking the picture.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      What a great hub, Lily Rose. I'd love to visit the Metro Zoo someday. The Gold Coast Train museum looks very cool too, especially for the kids (my niece and nephews). Thanks for a wonderful hub. That giraffe's head is beyond belief. I hope it didn't think that little girl was a flesh-colored leaf ;)

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