3 Miami Attractions: Great Local Theme Parks for Family Fun in South Florida

With the price of gasoline soaring, many families will be disappointed when vacation trips may be out of the budget. But, what about day trips with the family at local Miami attractions? Below is information for three of my favorite places where I took my children years ago and now taking my grandkids. These great local theme parks are just as popular as ever!

Jungle Island

1111 Parrot Jungle Trail

Miami, Florida 33132


Jungle Island (originally known as the Parrot Jungle) is a fun day trip for families. Many, many years ago an Austrian, Franz Scherr, came to America and created a fabulous tourist attraction in Miami. He developed acres of tropical gardens and the venue was known for its variety of birds and parrots. Even talking Macaws that get the kids giggling. Today Jungle Island is in its new home with over 1100 tropical birds, 2000 tropical plants and flowers on 18 acres and the best bird shows in the world. It’s a place where the birds “fly free” as Franz Scherr intended. You can find more than just birds at the island; a zoo of animals is there to amuse the family.

Jungle Island presents a day of fun in the sun. There are Monkey Chat Times, Lorikeet Feedings, Kangaroo Konnection and interactions with the animals and trainers. Your family can take a hike along a true replica of the Florida Everglades and then cool down at La Playa, which is Jungle Island’s private beach. Little children will definitely enjoy the playground where they can all “monkey” around. Don’t forget to stop by the Kodak posing area where you can take pictures of your family along side the beautiful parrots.

This Miami attraction is open 365 days a year with special events during holidays. The hours are Monday-Friday from 10AM to 5PM and Saturday and Sunday from 10AM to 6PM. Admission for adults (ages 11 and up) is $32.95 plus tax. Children’s tickets are $24.95 for ages 3-10 and age two and under are free. There is a military discount and group pricing. Baby strollers and wheelchairs can be rented. There is a parking fee of $8.

For more information about the exhibits and shows visit the official website here.

Miami Seaquarium

4400 Rickenbacker Causeway

Miami, Florida 33149


Other than the ocean itself, the only major marine life attraction in Miami is the Seaquarium. Stroll amongst 38 acres of pure fun. There are giant aquariums with all kinds of fish and sea life along with many entertaining and educational shows at this venue. The dolphin and killer whale attractions remain forever favorites for kids and adults alike. For an additional fee, slip on a wetsuit and enjoy a one-on-one experience with the dolphins.

The Miami Seaquarium is open 365 days with special attractions on holiday weeks. This Miami attraction opens at 9:30AM and closes 6PM. There are food outlets to quench a thirst and keep the tummy full. Admission is $38.95 for adults, $28.95 for kids ages 3 to 9, and a parking fee of $8. There are several discounts that can be viewed on the official website. For a more detailed expose of this venue visit the Miami Seaquarium online.


12400 SW 152 Street

Miami, Florida


Lions and tigers and bears – oh, my! This is exactly what you will be saying when visiting Metrozoo with their menagerie of animals across 327 acres of developed land. Now known as Zoo Miami as of their 30th birthday in 2010, it is one of the top ten zoos in the country according to Tripadvisor.com. What is really nice about this zoo is that the animals live in an environment very close to their natural habitats. You feel like you are on a safari when visiting, yet confident that you are strolling in a safe venue. There are numerous exhibits to visit like Amazon & Beyond featuring tropical American animals like giant river otters, jaguars, and spectacular eagles. Walking through this area lets me pretend I’m in a rainforest, not with just the animals but the lush tropical plants that surrounds this acreage. Another ‘best bet’ is the Wings of Asia with over 350 birds in 84 species to view and listen to their beautiful birdcalls and songs.

The young members of my family truly enjoy The Children’s Zoo where the little ones can take a real camel ride and then stay cool in the indoor Toad Stool where the children can get ‘up close and personal’ with a variety of small animals. There is also the Wildlife Conservation Carousel with 30 handcrafted replicas of endangered animals where the children can play and mystery shows scheduled throughout the day on stage. Plan on spending the day there and wear comfortable shoes for walking – there is so much to see and Zoo Miami will truly enlighten visitors of all ages.

Zoo Miami is open 365 days a year with special events during holidays and celebrations. The general park hours are from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, with shows and exhibits scheduled throughout the day. Tickets can be purchased at the park and even online before you arrive. Adults (ages 13 and up) are $15.95, children from age 3 to 12 are $11.95 and under the age of 2 have free admission. Discounted options are listed on the official website. To learn more about this famous Miami attraction visit the zoo’s website.

Whether it’s a school break or summer vacation, take time to plan a day trip to one of these Miami attractions. Whether you are a local resident or a visitor to our area, you and your family will be happy that you visited one or all of these great local theme parks. And don’t forget the camera – you will want to savor all the memories!

Personal experience and website information