The Miami Children’s Museum was established in 1983 as the Miami Youth Museum. The first building was only 2,000 square feet big and was tucked into a shopping center in West Kendall. Within two years the facility had moved but didn’t increase in space until the following year when it moved again. The facility grew in popularity through the years and continued to move to expand its collections. Plans to create a new, permanent facility began in 1992 but it wasn’t until 2003 that the new facility, under the new name The Miami Children’s Museum, opened on Watson Island. But by 2006 the educational classrooms and outreach programs had gained such a following that a build out of the facility added another 10 classrooms.
The popularity of this Miami Museum is not only evident in their rapid growth and the way they’ve drawn visitors and repeat customers but in the way the collection has changed, improved and grown.
There are fourteen permanent exhibits for everyone to explore and enjoy with hands on experiences and bilingual information. A brief description of each permanent exhibit follows.
All About Art – With less focus on art in today’s school systems it’s important to expose children to a wide variety of artistic activities whenever possible, All About Art lets them create their own works of art using everything the museum has to offer.
Bank – Parents may imagine how much this six foot piggy bank could hold, but kids will enjoy going inside and creating their own money, learning about how to save, spend and earn money.
Castle of Dreams – Explore a two story sandcastle and examine different sands collected from different beaches around the world.
Cruise Ship – You can’t ignore the importance of the cruise business in Miami and the Cruise Ship exhibit gives little ones a chance to explore what a cruise is all about from participating in typical cruise activities to navigating the ship.
Everglades Park – The Everglades Park gives youngsters a look at what much of Florida used to look like, the everglades, filled with alligators, osprey, and other native critters.
Health and Wellness Center – The Health and Wellness Center provides tips that can lead to healthier lives. Explore good nutrition options and learn why exercise is so important.
Meet Miami – Meet Miami is especially interesting for visitors from out of the area but it also gives locals a chance to explore the neighborhood through the years and from a different perspective.
Mt. MiChiMu – Mr. MiChiMu challenges children of all ages to climb this rock wall. This exhibit does have an additional fee attached.
Ocean Odyssey – The Ocean Odyssey is a seaworthy experience for older children with a 900 gallon marine tank filled with fascinating sea creatures.
Pet Central – A favorite stop is Pet Central where kids can learn what pet best suits your family, how to care for a bet and all the ins and outs of pet ownership.
Port of Miami – Learn about the Port of Miami and how important the imports and exports from the port are. Kids will love getting their turn at operating the gantry crane.
Safety Zone – the Safety Zone give children a chance to see what being a real life hero is, learn about everyday people with heroic jobs and dress up as a fire fighter or a police officer or other.
The Sea and Me – The Sea and Me exhibit is designed for a younger set, children under five specifically. The wall of bubbles is fascinating for youngsters and the water play area will keep them interested for a long time.
Supermarket – Something most children are experienced with is taking a trip to the supermarket, but never one like this. Here they can harvest their favorite local goodies and shop for ingredients from Miami’s ethnically diverse neighborhoods.
You and Me and Teddy Bears Too! – The teddy bear workshop is an interactive way for children to learn about treating others according to the golden rule.
World Music Studio – Miami definitely has a musical sound of its own, but the World Music Studio busts out of that mold and introduces children to a variety of instruments from different cultures and then lets them explore a recording studio.
In addition to the exciting and educational exhibits listed above, the Miami Children’s Museum hosts a number of traveling exhibits throughout the year. The exhibits that are brought into the museum look to give children a chance to explore areas that aren’t normally offered at the Miami Children’s Museum, they also tend to be big draws with exciting exhibits that really wow audiences.
In 2010 The Wizard of Oz Educational Exhibition will hit the museum and guests are invited to travel down the yellow brick road to experience a multi-sensory wonderama fully of educational experiences in literature, visual arts, music, performing arts, science, physical challenges, decision making and more. Introduce your children to the wonder of the Wizard of Oz in a way they’ve never even imagined was possible.
In addition to the traveling exhibits there are also a large number of special events and classes. Check the website to see if your little ones would be interested in participating in one of their special events such as story time, crafts, ethnic educational activities, Hands in Sand, and other themed camps.
The Miami Children’s Museum is open daily from 10am to 6pm except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day with some abbreviated hours on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Admission charges are $15 for out of state guests, $12 for Florida residents and Miami residents within predefined zip codes receive admission at 50% off the regular price. Children under a year old are always free, no matter where they life.
For parents who want to create a birthday party to remember, the Miami Children’s Museum is available for party packages. A private birthday party at the museum includes a number of goodies that will make this special occasion one to remember for everyone who attends.
The Miami Children’s Museum is an incredible experience for youngsters of all ages, giving them a chance to learn and explore the world around them all while having a wonderfully fun time.
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