Miami Children’s Museum is temporarily closed to the public as a precaution against COVID-19.

Donor Newsletter | Spring Summer 2018



It’s been a busy few months at Miami Children’s Museum and as we prepare to celebrate our 15th anniversary in September, we’re reflecting on the past 15 years and the countless families and children that have come through our doors. We have welcomed over 5 million visitors since our doors opened on Watson Island in 2003 as well as provided free after school programming, field trips and educational programming throughout our South Florida community.

Additionally, we are more than 75% complete with the Museum’s exhibit renovations, making sure we continue to serve the needs of the community we live in and the children we serve. We are a child’s first encounter with arts and culture and we are committed to our mission more than ever.

I am excited to share some of our new initiatives and accomplishments through this newsletter. We’ve had the privilege of hosting successful programs and events, opening new exhibits and leading the way when it comes to encouraging children to learn through play all while maintaining our status as a fiscally sound institution.

We hope we can continue to count on you as we provide every child in our community with the chance to play.

Until next time,




On Saturday, March 17, 2018, at Soho Studios in the arts district of Wynwood, Miami Children’s Museum hosted more than 600 attendees for the 2018 Be A Kid Again Gala “Superheroes: From Fiction to Fantasy,” a world of crime-fighting caped crusaders and villains! The evening, emceed by Pulitzer Prize winning humorist Dave Barry, raised nearly $1 million to support educational programming with the help of generous donors, sponsors, an extensive silent auction and a high end live auction.  This year’s gala was chaired by Jennifer and Gabriel Montoya with Auction Chair Melissa Netkin.

Guests felt like a kid again from the moment they entered Soho Studios. Costumed superheroes abounded about as the night kicked off with performances from aerialists, the Miami Children’s Museum Theater Troupe channeling their inner villains and a red carpet experience with image and fashion consultant, Elysze Held. The not to be missed cocktail reception previewed over 200 unique silent auction items including designer handbags, great travel, fine jewelry and rare wines.  The main event of the evening was an energetic live auction featuring spectacular items. Among the highest bidders were Board Vice President, Marianne Devine who took home a lease for a Range Rover Velar courtesy of Land Rover North Dade, a division of the Warren Henry Auto Group Adding the Spice to our Superhero themed extravaganza was a taste tempting array of treats provided by Chef David Schwadron Catering and Event Design with a twist that brought to life all the iconic visions of fantasy and fun.

This year’s Be a Kid Again Gala Sponsors included Dr. Brigitt Rok Potamkin and Mr. Alan Potamkin and the Fairholme Foundation, Greenberg Traurig, Jeff and Yolanda Berkowitz, Susan and Richard Lampen & Jackie and Adam Malamed, Jose and Heide Dans, TotalBank, Constance and Mike Fernandez, Northern Trust Bank, Allied Universal, Baptist Health South Florida, Berkowitz Pollack Brant, Rycon Construction, Jennifer and Gabriel Montoya, Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation, Academica, Trish and Dan Bell, Carnival Cruise Lines/Carnival Foundation, Jacklyn Taplin Schiffrin and Joshua Schiffrin, CPM, Michael and Jolie Berkowitz & Andrew and Felicia Berkowitz, Watermill Institutional Trading, Miami Marlins, , Bilzin Sumberg, Comras Company / Terra Group, Medina Family Foundation, Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A.,  Weber Law, Hypower, Inc., Century Risk Advisors, Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, U. S. Trust, Bank Of America Private Wealth Management and Pam Garrison.

The After Party, presented by EFFEN Vodka, chaired by Brittany Sharpton and Brooke Sharpton and hosted by Playmakers, kept the party going!  Miami’s most influential emerging professionals joined gala goers on the dance floor with 10-foot LED robots and together they partied into the night. Attendees were treated to a 3 Hours Open Bar featuring EFFEN Vodka, light bites and sweets catered by Chef David Schwadron Cuisine & Event Design and special guest DJ A Fly Guy. Don’t miss next year’s annual Be A Kid Again Annual Gala set for March 16, 2019!

Sponsors for the After Party include EFFEN Vodka, Greenspoon Marder, 13th Floor Investments, McHugh Construction, Tom Gallagher Insurance, Duffy’s Foundation, Ironview Capital Management, Toshiba Business Solutions, NextGen, Wells Fargo, Health Foundation of South Florida, The No-Fault Group, YAFN, RSP Nutrition, Capital One and JWR Construction Services



The Lion Guard: The Exhibit

Miami Children’s Museum debuted the first-ever museum exhibit based on Disney Junior’s hit series, “The Lion Guard,” on January 27, 2018. Spotlighting important learning areas such as social and self-development, problem solving, creative thinking and arts & culture, this one-of-a-kind exhibit brings “The Lion Guard” story to life for young children and their families. The exhibit takes guests on an adventure through the Pride Lands where they are inspired to protect the Circle of Life. Children learn to train in the Lion Guard’s secret lair, explore the power of teamwork by utilizing each of the Lion Guard’s unique traits to go on special missions, and discover and learn about the African savanna and the animals that live there. The exhibit also includes the “Little Lion Guard,” an area where younger visitors engage in developmentally appropriate activities of exploration, creativity and skill building.

The exhibit, developed by Miami Children’s Museum in collaboration with Disney Junior, will be on display at the Museum through September 9, 2018 and then travel to other children’s museums across the country through 2022.


South Florida and Me

Miami Children’s Museum reopened the newly renovated Five Millers Family Foundation Gallery, South Florida and Me Gallery on March 28, 2018.  The huge bow of the fishing ship still highlights the newly renovated gallery. New equipment to fish with has been added as well as whale watching projections, a sea turtle diorama, Octo-pipe and Manta Ray xylophone musical stations a new Everglades area and so much more!

This beautifully redesigned exhibit features the exciting Ethel and Harry Reckson Foundation, Michael Spritzer and Marjorie Baron Snoezelen Room, specifically designed to meet the needs of children with autism spectrum disorder.  Opened just in time for Autism Awareness Month, the room is a multi-sensory experience with incredible visuals presented in a reduced and comfortable lighting setting and is based on and was designed in collaboration with Beit Issie Shapiro, the global leader of research into Snoezelen therapy.  Snoezelen Multi-Sensory Environments are relaxing spaces that help reduce agitation and anxiety, but also engage and delight the user, stimulate reactions and encourage communication.  This space has been created specifically for children with autism, sensory processing disorders, global developmental delays and other special needs to enjoy with their families.



The Thomas E. Rodgers Foundation has been a long-time annual supporter of the Museum. As part of their commitment to animal welfare, the Foundation has made a gift to support the renovations of our permanent exhibit gallery, Pet Central. Featuring many new activities and interactives that explore veterinary services and choosing and caring for a pet, the renovations are set to be completed by the end of 2018.

For more information on how to get involved, please contact Belissa Alvarez at



On Tuesday May 22, 2018, Miami Children’s Museum hosted a reception, generously sponsored by Toshiba Business Solutions, to honor donors that have contributed to the success of its growth and special programs that make it such a valuable asset to the South Florida community. Board President Gary Reshefsky and CEO/Executive Director, Deborah Spiegelman recognized those whose contributions were instrumental in the recent renovations of our permanent exhibit galleries. One of the highlights of the night was when Mrs. Young, a parent from our After School Program, spoke about the impact the program has had on her three children and her entire family.

Additionally we announced future renovations which include an interactive water exhibit, in collaboration with FIU, with a focus on educating children about Sea Level Rise, The Vet Gallery funded in part by Thomas E. Rodgers, Jr. Foundation; the Construction Gallery and our Safety Zone exhibit thanks in part to Jackson Health System and Motorola Solutions Foundation. Others recognized for their support of Museum programs and special events across this year with a significant contribution were: The Kirk Foundation, Paul and Sandy Steinberg, The Five Millers Family Foundation South Florida, Harry Reckson Foundation, Michael Spritzer and Marjorie Baron.

Support Miami Children's Museum!

Support Miami Children's Museum!

Want to get involved in helping us plan our our annual Not So Scary Family Halloween Bash and Something’s Brewing After Dark? To see how you can get involved in our fundraising committees, please contact Daniella Cabezas at or at 305-373-5437 ext.142



Welcome to our new PLAYMAKERS

Kirk Staley

Welcome to our new BENEFACTOR MEMBERS

Ryan & Rachel Bailine

Alexander & Sara Berkowitz

Manoel Kort-Kamp & Ellen Fontanella

Joe & Charlene Marcello

Gabriel Montoya and Jennifer Quinn-Montoya

Naomi and Luisa Sakata

Jorge Somodevilla & Marian Vargas-Somodevilla


Vector Group, Ltd.


For more information or to join the Playmakers Young Professionals Group or become a Benefactor Member, please CLICK HERE  or contact Tiffany Conrado at




National Ice Cream Day Sponsored by Florida Dairy Farmers |  July 15, 2018

When I Grow Up Career Day | July 28, 2018

Kindergarten Kickoff | August 4, 2018

MiChiMu’s 15th Birthday | September 15, 2018

Not So Scary Family Halloween Bash | October 14, 2018

Something’s Brewing | October 20, 2018

Be A Kid Again Gala and After Party | March 16, 2019