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Best Things To Do In Miami With Kids: Amazing Animal Encounters!

From feeding tortoises and swimming with seals to playing with lemurs we uncovered the best places to experience animal encounters and learn about wildlife in Miami.

Zoo Miami tortoise feeding

Getting up close and personal with giant tortoises at Zoo Miami.

We had the opportunity to tap into the wild side of Miami, and by that I don’t mean the party and nightlife scene. Florida’s sub-tropical weather makes it a perfect place for animal centric attractions where families have the opportunity to see exotic species, many of them endangered, and learn more about their environment and the steps you can take to ensure their conservation.

We visited the best animal attractions in Miami as we searched for the amazing animal interaction opportunities. Many of these attractions let visitors get up-close and personal with some of nature’s most amazing animals in natural habitats. Here are our top pics for the best animal interaction experiences in Miami.

Feeding camels at zoo Miami

Feeding a camel at Zoo Miami.

Zoo Miami

With large enclosures that let animals roam freely and many interactive activities it’s not wonder that Zoo Miami is one of the top 10 Zoos in the United States.  We loved the wide array of options when it came to animal interactions from feeding camels, giraffes and even rhinos to interacting and feeding giant tortoises and lorikeets in their habitat. The Florida Everglades is a highlight for kids; here they not only learn about the local wildlife but they also get the opportunity to interact with the exhibits sliding through the North American otter exhibit  or crawling through a transparent tunnel through crocodile infested waters.

Zoo Miami

Looking for crocodiles at Zoo Miami’s Florida: Mission Everglades exhibit.

If you’re going be sure to plan to stay there for the entire day. Check schedules as some of the animal interactions like feeding the rhinos, tortoises, camels and giraffes only happen at specific hours and Zoo Miami is pretty big so plan ahead to make sure you can make it in time for all of them. To feed animals you will have to purchase food which ranges from $5 to feed the rhinos, giraffes, tortoises and camels to $3 to feed the lorikeets. At the Children’s Zoo  you can interact with goats and other farm animals, this has no additional cost.

lemur interaction at Jungle Island

Playing with lemurs at Jungle Island.

Jungle Island

As you step into Jungle Island you really feel like you are entering a tropical forest, the thick vegetation along the walkways provides lots of shade and there are beautiful colorful parrots that you can feed around every corner. Besides feeding and posing for photographs with exotic birds Jungle Island offers some of the most unique animal interactions. The lemur interactions was one of the most amazing experiences we’ve ever had, as we sat down a troop of lemurs used us as their jungle gym jumping from head to head and letting us pet them as they played. We also had the opportunity of feeding and interacting with a family of sloths! Although the lemur and sloth interactions have an additional cost; the Lemurs Up Close interaction costs $39.95 per person and Hanging with Sloths interaction costs $29.95 per person they are well worth it (specially the lemur interaction) and an experience you will never forget!

Petting kangaroos at Jungle Island

We really loved that Jungle Island also has some pretty cool animal interactions that are included in the admission like being able to chill out and pet cute kangaroos, posing for pictures with colorful parrots or feeding all sorts of birds around the park including flamingos; you just need a quarter to buy the food from a machine. You can also pet cute goats and other farm animals at Jungle Island’s Petting Barn. Besides all the animal exhibits Jungle Island also has some fantastic shows where you will get to see some truly unique and rare species of animals including the southern cassowary.

Miami Seaqurium

Miami Seaquarium

If you have ever dreamed of swimming with dolphins or seals then visiting the Miami Seaquarium is a must! I remember going to the Miami Seaquarium with my parents as a kid and going back with my kids brought back great memories.  My kids loved the dolphin, seal and killer whale shows and also enjoyed touching the stingrays at the stingray exhibit, which is included in the admission but the seal encounter was the highlight of our visit and an experience we will never forget.

swimming with seals at the Miami Seaquarium

Swimming with seals has been on our bucket list for a while now and we just loved the experience at the Miami Seaquarium where we got to chill with some of the cutest and friendliest seals. I loved that that we also learned a lot about these fun creatures and about their environment. At the Miami Seaquarium you can also enjoy other special experiences interacting with animals among them the different dolphin encounter experiences, interacting with penguins and as well as the Sea Trek Reef Encounter where you can walk underwater through Miami Seaqurium’s 300,000 gallon tropical reef! All of these special experiences have an additional cost ranging from $85 to $165 depending on the program and the age of the participant. Here are height and age restrictions for all of these programs so be sure to check the animal encounter section of the Miami Seaquarium’s website for more information.

watching stingrays at Miami Seaquarium

We love visiting zoos, aquariums and other animal attractions that give us the opportunity to interact with and observe exotic species and learn about them. We believe that as kids form a connection with wildlife they develop the learn to value the environment and understand the importance of protecting them. Having the opportunity to interact with animals give our family a greater appreciation for wildlife and for making contributions and changes in our everyday life to protect them.

Check out our video below!

Have you been to these animal attractions in Miami? What was your favorite one?
Best things to do in Miami

About the author

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

Paula moved from her native Guatemala to SW Florida with her husband and two children and together they are discovering what it means to live life between two languages.

Paula studied architecture who now makes a living as a freelance writer, traveler and amateur photographer. She started her writing & publishing career as the editor of Bebé y Mamá, the first parenting magazine in Guatemala. She is the founder of www.GrowingUpBilingual.com and www.365thingsswfl.com and writes articles in Spanish and English for both magazines and the web on travel, food and bicultural and bilingual parenting .

When she is not on a plane or road trip she likes to create recipes inspired in the flavors of her native Guatemala.

Permanent link to this article: http://growingupbilingual.com/2017/latino-parenting/best-things-miami-kids-wild-animal-encounters/


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  1. robin rue

    My kids are all about animal encounters. I think it is so cool when you can get up close and personal with them!!!

  2. Alli Smith

    I haven’t been to Miami in several years and I’d love to visit. I always have so much fun and I know the grandkids would love the Wild Animal Encounters at all these fun places. They would go wild if they could swim with the dolphins.
    Alli Smith recently posted…How to Have Beautiful Flower Filled Window BoxesMy Profile

  3. Christy Maurer

    Animal encounters are so much fun! I would love the Seaquarium! I’d want to swim with otters instead of seals though lol. They’ve got a newish giraffe encounter at the Cleveland Zoo that is cool. You can feed them but you’re not supposed to touch them.
    Christy Maurer recently posted…Sunday Strolls Giveaway Linky 6/11My Profile

  4. Sarah Honey

    We love Zoo Miami! It is really a fantastic zoo. Haven’t been to the Miami Seaaquarium yet! Have to check it out!

  5. Sarah Bailey

    Oh wow what some amazing animal encounters, I have to admit even now I am fascinated by animals and these look like places I would enjoy going myself.
    Sarah Bailey recently posted…Father’s Day at Debenhams for the Dapper DudeMy Profile

  6. Danik

    This looks liek a fun place for children to have fun and learn about the animals as well 🙂

  7. Pam Wattenbarger

    Jungle Island looks like a lot of fun. I would definitely spend the extra money for the lemur and sloth experiences!

  8. Angelic Sinova

    I don’t have kids but I did spent three days in Miami a few years ago and it was such a beautiful city! The Zoo Miami was so much. I really want to visit Jungle Island if I ever back in back over to Miami!

  9. Amber Myers

    My daughter LOVES animals, so she’d have so much fun with this. She would so love Jungle Island.
    Amber Myers recently posted…Stop Stereotyping Military WivesMy Profile

  10. Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    When I was a kid, I went ot the miami zoo and had so much fun. There is so much to see and do in Miami for kids.

  11. Bella

    These attractions look like a lot of fun! My kids love going to our local zoo but it isn’t as exotic as these.

  12. Maurene Cab

    That place should be on top of my list! We been thinking of what to do when we get to Miami. Thanks for sharing.
    Maurene Cab recently posted…Summer Recipes on RepeatMy Profile

  13. Debra

    It would be so awesome to get that close to those giant tortoises. My daughter would absolutely love that so much.

  14. My Teen Guide

    This is one experience I would love to take my daughter to. She loves animals and we frequent petting zoos in our area. I am sure she would be thrilled to swim with seals!

  15. Chubskulit Rose

    The tortoise is huge and that lemur would be fun! This is the kind of place that my children love.
    Chubskulit Rose recently posted…#Birthday: 44 and Lovin ItMy Profile

  16. Mimi Green

    Thanks for sharing these details. We are headed to Miami with the kids the first week of July and I was searching for things for us to do. The price is costly but sounds like a lot of fun.
    Mimi Green recently posted…I Have a Kindergartner, Now What?My Profile

  17. Claudia Krusch

    We love to go to the local zoo. These are all fun and educational places to take the kids. I would love to start with the Miami Seaquarium.

  18. Nikka Shae

    I can’t wait to get back to Miami to take the city in. The last time I was there for only one day.
    Nikka Shae recently posted…Crown Royal Introduces Limited-Release Wine Barrel Finished WhiskyMy Profile

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