Miami Beach with kids is very doable--the constant sunshine makes simply being outdoors an easy way to while away the time. Here are some great things to do with kids on the Beach.

Flamingo Park: This giant park on 11th Street has everything you could want in a park: basketball courts, tennis court, shallow kid-friendly swimming pool (with water slides and rides), amazing playground (with new structures on that rubber ground and a train caboose for the kids to climb in), baseball and soccer fields. It also has those all-important public restrooms. You'll pay a small fee to use the pool ($6 adults/$4 kids) and a separate one to use the tennis courts.

The beach, of course! While the South Beach beaches tend to fill with trendy folk, it's also a great place to plop down with kids. Lummus Park on Ocean Drive is near playground equipment, public restrooms, and a Starbucks and Haagen Dazs.

The Wolfsonian Museum on Washington Ave. is a great place to go when the sun is a little hot, although it's probably best with older kids. The gallery houses the collection of Mitchell Wolfsonian Jr., who gathered a large collection of pop cultural material from about 1885 to 1945.  Check the calendar as they sometimes offer kid programming.

The Bass Museum is another indoor place to escape the heat. The rotating art exhibits will give you the requiste dose of culture you need on your vacation as well as entertain the little ones with interesting sculptures and paintings.

Take a walk along Lincoln Road and stop for ice cream at Kilwins candy shop. Browse the children's book collection at the independent book store Books & Books. Play in the many fountains along the outdoor mall. Have lunch at any of the outdoor cafes. Three Starbucks provide fortification for the grown-ups, although those in the know will stop at David's on Meridian for a cafe Cubano.

Technically in Miami, both Parrot Jungle and the Children's Museum are on Watson Island off the MacArthur Causeway, a 5 minute taxi from Miami Beach. Kids love the Children's Museum--a bright building with lots of hands-on activities including dressing up as a firefighter and riding on a motorcycle--but the live animal theme park JungleIsland.com across the street is much more fun for the whole family.

Head to South Pointe Park at the southern tip of South Beach and watch the cruise ships passing out from the Port of Miami to the ocean. Kids and adults alike will get a kick watching the gigantic vessels pass through on their way to some exotic destination. 

Traveling with kids to South Florida?

Here are some ideas for your visit to Miami Beach:

1. A day on SOUTH BEACH. Play in the sand. Visit the Lummus Park at 12 Street/Ocean Drive for some playtime with your child. Eat lunch at Big Pink at 2nd & Collins Ave. Afternoon on Lincoln Road Mall. Shop GAP kids 1001 Lincoln Rd. Go next door to Johnny Rockets for a kid-friendly snack 1025 Lincoln Road... Lincoln Road at Euclid Circle is always filled with children and small dogs and great people watching. Enjoy shopping, art galleries and the brand new Lucky Strike Rock-n-Roll Bowling Alley on Michigan Ave north of the mall (over 21 after 9pm). Very casual family fun. On Sundays from Sept-May there is a flea market and a year-round farmer's market as well.

The visitor center at 10th and Ocean can facilitate any tours you might want to take too! Check out the DUCK TOURS ( http://ducktourssouthbeach.com/ ) a 90-minute fully narrated tour of Miami via land & sea on a bus that turns into a boat! Travel through downtown Miami, Miami Beach and Biscayne Bay where you can view houses of the rich and famous.)

2. Downtown, there are a few spots to check out with kids... Bayside Marketplace is the portside attraction. Built by the folks who did South Street Seaport in NYC and also Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market in Boston, the place is a waterfront marina & mall with fun shops, Calypso music, frozen cocktails... a food court and some sit-down restaurants as well. Local tour boats sail from the marina offering a look at the stars homes etc. Wouldn't your kids enjoy a boat ride? Afterward, take the free Metromover to the MAM - Miami Art Museum which shares a courtyard with the Historical Museum of South Florida. www.miamiartmuseum.org/ www.historical-museum.org/

3. Located 22 miles southwest of Miami Beach, the Metrozoo houses more than 900 wild animals in a cageless setting that closely approximates the animals' natural habitats, giving the visitor a feeling of embarking on an international safari. The Miami Metrozoo is open every day of the year (including holidays) 9:30am - 5:30pm.

4. Parrot Jungle Island is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. located at 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, off 395, between downtown Miami and South Beach. Parrot Jungle is now the home for 1,100 tropical birds, 2,000 varieties of plants and flowers, and the best trained bird show in the world. It is a place where exotic birds "fly free" everyday. www.parrotjungle.com/ 

5. Monkey Jungle (zoo) 14805 SW 216th Street, Miami, 305.235.1611 Daily 9:30-5pm (no tickets sold after 4pm), Adults $19.95; Children (4-12) $13.95; under 4 free http://www.monkeyjungle.com/ (There is a DISCOUNT coupon on the website to print) Getting There: Take Florida's Turnpike south to exit 11 (SW 216th Street/Cutler Ridge Blvd). Go straight through the light at the bottom of the exit ramp, and drive past Miami-Dade government buildings on the right. Turn right on 216th Street, and head west. Cross U.S.1. Monkey Jungle is 3 miles west of U.S.1 on the right just past the 4-way stop at SW 147th Avenue.

6.Miami Museum of Science and Planatarium - http://www.miamisci.org/ Treat the kids to a view of outer space, a collection of Florida's funky reptiles and a variety of traveling exhibits about the planet and ecosystem.

7. Shark Valley - Lions and Tigers and Bears? No. but Alligators GALORE! Daily, every hour on the hour from 9 am to 5 pm. Venture into the heart of the Everglades with a Concession or Park Service Naturalist. Experience the sawgrass marsh and diverse wildlife from the comfort of a tram or rent bicycles. Trams depart at 9:30 am, 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm April through December - Visitor Center 305-221-8776 Take the Florida Turnpike to the exit for SW 8th Street (also known as U.S. 41 and Tamiami Trail). Travel 25 miles west on U.S. 41 to signs marked Shark Valley. From the Naples area, take U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) east to signs marked Shark Valley.

Why not Go FISHING?!

Some of the best surf casting in the city can be had at Haulover Beach Park at Collins Avenue and 105th Street, where there's a bait-and-tackle shop right on the pier. (305) 947-3525

Due west on 163rd Street a few miles inland is Oleta River State Recreation area. You can spend a day here with your kids fishing, biking or kayaking on the inland waterways. Check out the pier and further info here: https://www.floridastateparks.org/par... .  And here: http://www.miamidade.gov/filmiami/gal... For Information about Oleta River State Park, please call 305-919-1846

South Pointe Park, at the southern tip of Miami Beach, is another popular fishing spot and features a long pier, comfortable benches, and a great view of the ships passing through Government Cut.

Want to feel like you're part of Animal Planet or the Discovery Channel?

Each summer, April to September, Florida beaches host the largest gathering of nesting sea turtles in the U.S. Sea turtles once roamed the oceans by the millions but over the past few centuries, the demand for sea turtle meat, eggs, shell, leather and oil and loss of habitat due to urban development along the coasts have greatly reduced their numbers.

This summer you can help save these sea creatures by participating in turtle releases during the height of the hatching season. Since 1980, more than 505,595 endangered sea turtles have been hatched and released through the Miami-Dade Parks Sea Turtle Nesting and Relocation Program.

Journey into the world of sea turtles. Learn of their behavior and help new hatchlings reach the sea. To participate on Miami Beach, call Selina Mills at (305) 947-3525. Time: 9-10:30 p.m. $5.00. Wednesdays and Fridays. Please make reservations in the end of July for presentations and releases in August and September.

Haulover Beach Park 10800 Collins Ave. Miami Beach

To participate in Key Biscayne, which is closer to Downtown Miami and Coconut Grove, call (305) 361-6767. Hours: 8:30-10:30 p.m. $5.00. Thursdays and Saturdays.

Crandon Park Nature Center, 6767 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne.

Did You Know?

Sea turtles are on the brink of extinction.

Only 1 out of 1000 hatchlings will reach maturity.

Sea turtles have been around since the dinosaur, 60 million years.

Sea turtles deposit between 80-180 eggs in their nests. Turtles will return to the beach were they laid to deposit their eggs, year after year.

Since 1980, Miami-Dade Parks has hatched and released approximately 505,595 endangered sea turtles. It's illegal to buy products made from sea turtles or any other endangered species. Miami-Dade Parks offer morning and evening turtle presentations. You Can Help! Participate in Miami-Dade Parks Sea Turtle Program. During your visit, never approach turtles emerging from the sea or disturb or harass nesting turtles. Watch out for disoriented hatchlings or turtles wandering on the road. Be careful while boating to avoid collision with turtles. When on or near the beach, keep outside lights off or minimized from May 1 - October 31.

This is REALLY cool for adults and children as well...

More Water time Fun?

Check out this site: http://www.coopertownairboats.com/

Coopertown, itself, is home to a population of 8 human residents, a restaurant known for its down-home style frog legs, an educational center and the entry point to guided tours into the "real" Florida Everglades aboard the Coopertown Airboat fleet

For your Keys GREAT ADVENTURE...

www.pennekamppark.com

As long as you can swim, the park has all-inclusive boat trips out to a shallow area over the most breathtaking reefs for snorkelling. The crew carefully demonstrates how to snorkel and provides safety equipment. You will want to bring: bathing suit, towel, STRONG sunscreen, and maybe a dry change of clothes.

If you are reluctant to try this out, you can just go along for the ride and tan on the boat.

There are also glass bottom boat tours for the non-wet-set... Tours are 2 ½ hours long. The Spirit Of Pennekamp departs three times daily, at 9:15, 12:15, and 3:00. Tickets are $22 for adults and $15 for children under 12.

From 8:00 am until 3:45 pm, they offer canoe and sea kayak rentals for exploring the wild, winding mangrove creeks of the park. Prices for canoes are $12 per hour

From Miami Beach, take 95 south to 836 west to 826 southbound following the signs to Florida's Turnpike south to US 1. Take US 1 to Key Largo. Look for the State Park entrance on your left at Mile Marker 102.5.

For authentic things to do in Miami Beach, a stroll on Lummus Park boardwalk through South Pointe Park all the way to the Marina is a must. A meal at Joe's Stone Crab shouldn't be missed either. More things to do in Miami Beach includes a stroll down the beautifully renovated Collins Avenue. 

If you are traveling with kids, tiring them out at our great Miami Beach parks such as Flamingo Park, South Pointe Park and Maurice Gibb Park, will come in handy. They're free, their playgrounds are well maintained and some are shaded. Fun things to do with kids include Miami Beach Botanical Garden, the kids' room at Books & Books bookstore and having some homemade ice-cream at Frieze Ice-cream Factory.