Florida is definitely a kid-friendly destination. Contrary to popular belief, not all diversions are animatronic or even remotely animated. Sure, there are the theme parks, the roller coasters, the talking mouse, and Cinderella Castle. We've got Flipper and orca and parrots that play poker. Then there's the Playmobil FunPark. So check out this family-friendly itinerary you may not have experienced yet.
Day 1: Key Biscayne
The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne has fabulous children's programs, not to mention pretty cool diversions for adults. If it's in your budget, spend a day checking out the resort (skip the Miami Seaquarium unless the kids want to swim with the dolphins), and, if not, just spend the day at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, where the entire family can explore an ancient fossil tidal pool. If there's time left, check out the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and rent a hydrobike.
Days 2 & 3: Coral Gables & South Miami
Get an early start and head south to Homestead's legendary Coral Castle. When the kids have had their fill, head south and either grab lunch at the family-friendly, family-run Mexican mainstay, El Toro Taco. On your way to Coral Gables, make a stop at Zoo Miami or Monkey Jungle, depending on your preference in animals, and then clean off that stinky animal scent with a splash in Coral Gables's resplendent, refreshing Venetian Pool. If you're up for it, check out Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, and/or the Miami Science Museum. After working up an appetite, take the kids for burgers at Brickell's bustling Burger & Beer Joint, where no one goes hungry -- or thirsty.
Day 4: Miami & Port St. Lucie
Before leaving Miami, be sure to stop at the Miami Children's Museum, where the kids can spend a few hours channeling their inner grown-up in a bona fide TV and recording studio. If the kids are in the mood for animal antics instead, head across the causeway to Jungle Island. For a more amphibious take on Miami, consider hopping on the Miami Duck Tours "vesicle," a hybrid that's part vessel, part vehicle and looks like a duck. Quacky, to say the least. Then grab a TV dinner at the G-rated Big Pink on South Beach, and let the kids nap en route to Vero Beach. You don't need to stay overnight in Vero, though there is a satellite Disney resort there, Disney's Vero Beach Resort, and the newly renovated family-friendly Club Med Sandpiper Bay on the St. Lucie River. En route to Vero, you may want to take the kids to West Palm Beach's whimsical Playmobil FunPark or on a safari through Lion Country Safari, and then grab lunch at Jupiter's legendary Nick's Tomato Pie.
Day 5: Vero Beach
As if Club Med or Disney doesn't have enough for the family to do -- or not do -- if you decide to spend the night in Vero, or even if you don't, you may want to take the kids to McLarty Treasure Museum, where they will marvel at pirate's booty, or to one of the beautiful beaches nearby.
Day 6: Arrive in Lake Buena Vista
Okay, we lied. Sort of. We're sending you in the environs of Disney and friends, but only to check into the coolest kid-friendly hotel possibly in the entire world. The Nickelodeon Suites Resort, offers "Kid Suites," with different themes featuring the kids' favorite Nick characters. We know many a family that has traveled here just so the kids could stay in the hotel. If you choose, you can go to Disney World or one of the theme parks.
Day 7: Spacing Out at Cape Canaveral
Despite the fact that the shuttle program is in its final countdown, so to speak, the John F. Kennedy Space Center is a must-see for everyone (for now), but especially kids. Not only will you see where rockets and shuttles are launched, but you can also have lunch with an astronaut! Either spend the night here and fly out of the Melbourne International Airport, or make the 3-hour drive back to Miami International Airport.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.