You don’t have to be a child to want to come and play at Miami Children’s Museum on Watson’s Island, just off Downtown Miami. But it’s certainly a lot more fun when you visit with a youngster in tow. Designed for preschoolers to 10-year-olds, the museum, which is painted the colors of sand, surf and sun, has 17 immersive interactive exhibits where kids (and adults) can play, learn, imagine and create.
“The museum is really designed to introduce children to the world around them—community, communications, culture, the arts. It’s a terrific place for kids to come and learn and experience life the way their parents would,” says Deborah Spiegelman, executive director of Miami Children’s Museum. For example, there’s a supermarket exhibit where children can shop, and a bank where they learn about saving, spending and earning money. They can also ride a fire truck, sit on a police motorcycle or climb on board a cruise ship. There’s even a Port of Miami exhibit where children can operate remote-control boats in the water and learn how to navigate through a port.
At the popular All About Art gallery, activities focus on elements from color, space and form to texture, line and shape, and an artist-in-residence studio adds to the experience. There’s also a Glass Lab, where sandblasting workshops offered for kids and parents gets the “cool” stamp of approval from visitors.
However, what makes this children’s museum different from others is that it focuses on real life in Florida. “We showcase what’s different in Florida [from the rest of the country] so when you walk into the museum, you feel very Florida-like beginning with our giant sandcastle installation and, of course, the Port of Miami exhibit. Another gallery has a fishing boat and whole area about the Everglades, so you can discover the ecosystem in our backyard,” says Spiegelman.
Don’t miss the Very Eric Carle exhibit, through May 8, created around the art and storytelling of children’s book author and illustrator Eric Carle. Written in 1969, The Very Hungry Caterpillar remains a beloved favorite with book lovers.
Besides regular visiting hours (daily, 10 a.m.-noon; 1-3 p.m.; 4-5 p.m.), the museum holds camp on the days Miami-Dade Public Schools are closed—something parents really appreciate. In summer one-week camp sessions, with a different theme each week, are offered. For a calendar of events, ranging from rocket building to planting trees, visit Miami Children’s Museum website.
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