Miami has the nickname Magic City for a reason; it’s one of the world’s flashiest and trendiest hot spots, and where the world comes to play.
Whilst the stunning South Beach often grabs the headlines, the city has so much more to offer holidaymakers on short-trips to Miami and the Everglades. Here in our Miami guide we take you through some of the must-see attractions in the city.
Zoo Miami, also known as The Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, is the largest zoological garden in Florida and is the only sub-tropical zoo in the continental United States.
The unique climate and weather in Miami and South Florida means the zoo is able to keep a wide variety of animals from Asia, Australia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas. It is home to over 3,000 animals and 40 endangered species.
Visitors can see animals like okapis, giant river otters, elephants and rhinos, and can feed giraffes and Australian parrots at specialist feeding stations. If that’s not enough then Zoo Miami also offers camel rides, an Indian rhino encounter, meet and greets with the Zoo Squad mascots, tram tours, family cycle tours, water play areas, a monorail to ride on, and large exhibits like Amazon & Beyond.
If you needed more encouragement to visit this amazing zoo, you might like to know that Trip Advisor has rated Zoo Miami as one of the top 10 zoos in the US – pretty impressive!
Zoo Miami is located at 12400 SW 152 street in Miami and is open from 10am–5pm on weekdays or 9:30am– 5:30pm on weekends.
Coral Castle Museum
The Coral Castle was secretly built by Ed Leedskalnin at night, who excavated, carved, and moved 1,100 tons of coral rock. To this day, scientists, engineers, and scholars continue to be mystified by how Ed Leedskalnin created this architectural feat.
Visitors to the attraction can see a hand-carved 9-ton gate, a Polaris telescope, and the world’s only sundial that displays the time of day, the month, and the season.
Often referred to as a Modern Megalith, Coral Castle is compared to the ancient megaliths of the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge, and is considered by many to be “one of the Wonders of the World”.
Travellers who have Disneyland Florida tickets for the family should also try and fit in a visit to Miami to see this stunning attraction, which has previously been featured on the History Channel, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Ancient Aliens, Univision, BBC, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, Good Morning America, and much more!
The Coral Castle also has a café for refreshments and a gift shop where you can pick up a souvenir to remember your visit.
South Beach, Art Deco and Ocean Drive
Visitors just need to follow the MacArthur Causeway to Miami Beach’s southern tip to reach South Beach, which is regarded as the American Riviera.
South Beach is magical and the jewel in its crown is the Art Deco District, which showcases more than 800 architecturally protected buildings from the 1930s and 1940s – the largest concentration of Art Deco architecture in the world.
Miami and Beaches, the official travel and tourism guide to the city, also recommends visiting Ocean Drive when in South Beach as it is virtually a worldwide catwalk of see-and-be-seen boutique hotels, with models, alfresco cafés, bikini-clad in-line skaters and beaches packed with sun seekers.
Saturated with Cuban culture, Little Havana is full of restaurants that feature a range of Latin specialities.
Miami and Beaches adds, “Domino Park is a classic stop to watch Cuban elders play dominos, which is close to The Little Havana Cigar factory, where artisans still hand-roll cigars.”
If you want to watch Latin entertainers and dancers, then the various nightclubs in the area usually host some sort of show. A great way to see Little Havana and other districts in the city is to buy a Miami Adventure ticket.
Jungle Island is a popular attraction located in the heart of Miami, between downtown and South Beach.
Jungle Island enriches the lives of park visitors by connecting adventure, animals, discovery and play. What you can expect to see? All kinds of fun stuff, from jetpacks and fly boards, to behind-the-scenes VIP tours and unforgettable interactions with some of the world’s most amazing animals.
Jungle Island also hosts three shows and wild adventure camps as well as boasting a new private beach for its visitors to soak up the Florida sun.
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Imagine a historic Italian estate in a spectacular subtropical setting and you’ll begin to imagine Vizcaya Museum & Gardens.
This stunning private winter home of American businessman James Deering in the early 1900s on South Miami Avenue is open all-year round.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a National Historic Landmark recognised across the world for its cultural and historical significance.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
The 83-acre Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden was established in 1938 and this popular attraction is dedicated to exploring, explaining and conserving the world of tropical plants.
Its range of plants include palms, cycads, orchids, tropical fruit trees and more. It is these tropical plants that attract over 350,000 people every year. The lucky visitors who decide to visit Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden can explore the range of plant species via a tram tour.
The botanic garden is open every day except Christmas Day and costs just $25 for adults, $18 for people over 65, and $12 for children aged from 6-17.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park was named after the former Miami Times editor Bill Baggs and is home to an historic lighthouse that was built in 1825.
Hiking, biking, blading and kayaking are just some of the activities visitors can take part in at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.
Guided tours of the lighthouse and lighthouse keeper’s cottage usually run twice a day and if that’s not enough, you’ll be interested to hear that Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is rated in the top 10 beaches in the United States.
Biscayne National Park
Miami And Beaches highly recommends visiting Biscayne National Park, an underwater world that is within sight of downtown Miami.
Biscayne National Park being 90 per cent underwater means that it is teeming with sea life and plants, and features living coral reefs as well as the longest stretch of mangrove forest left on Florida's east coast within its 173,000 acres.
Popular pastimes that visitors can do on a visit to the park include diving, snorkelling or glass bottom boat riding.
Oleta River State Park
Oleta River State Park might be Florida's largest urban park, but it offers visitors a little piece of paradise.
The park boasts 14 miles of off-road bicycle trails, two miles of nature trails, over 1,200 feet of sandy beach, saltwater fishing and a number of swimming opportunities.
In the north section of the park there is a stunning mangrove forest that canoeists and kayakers can explore.
Image Credit: Zoo Miami, Coral Castle Museum, Miami And Beaches, Jungle Island, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden,Iouri_Dovnarovich.