Museums and kids can be an odd combination, if it’s not the right type of museum. During my search for places to visit in Miami with my family, I found Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and was instantly pulled in. The first thing to came to mind was Versailles in France.
Pre-Kids I visited Europe numerous of times. By far my favorite activities to do there were visiting the different palaces and castles owned by various monarchs spread throughout the continent. I couldn’t resist myself not to visit this modern day, European Palace in Miami - of all places.
The way I got my kids excited was to tell them about the labyrinth they had in one of the magnificent gardens and they became as into visiting the place as I was!
Fun Facts About Vizcaya Museum:
1. James Deering, American Industrialist, lived on this estate from 1916-1925.
2. The estate and gardens took almost 4 years to build entirely.
3. His large staff became more of a village just to maintain the estate when he was there or away.
4. The majority of the main house has antiques from furniture to fountains from different parts of Europe dating back to the 1500 – 1800’s.
5. The extensive gardens (from Rose Garden, to Secret gardens, to Labyrinths and more) took over seven years to design and perfect.
6. The main house has 34 rooms, 12 of which were just for the servants.
7. In 1952 James Deering’s heirs sold the Main House and Gardens to Miami for an extremely reasonable price. Plus donated all the furnishings (worth millions) to the county as well to make it into a public museum.
Facts are fun, but images are even better. But nothing beats being there.
Here’s a taste of what you’ll see and do when you’re at Vizcaya Museum:
The Main House View from the Gardens
Statues to Play on
The Labyrinth / Maze
The Bay and Ocean Area
The Boat for Cocktails – built especially without a bridge to it, so the guest would be brought over for sunset cocktails on small boats
View of Main House from the waterfront walkways and bridges
The Cafe – tasty eats and really affordable prices!
Inside the Main House (NOTE: we didn’t know you weren’t allowed to take photographs. So we only got one shot in:)
My Take On It:
This was without a doubt one of our best day trips while visiting Miami and South Florida with my family. The gardens alone will keep your kids excited and out in the fresh air burning off energy (which is always a good thing). The inside of the house was great fun for a short while for my kids. Once the restlessness ensued we kind of had to do the marathon tour.
My parents, who joined us for the afternoon, took the audio tour and got a much deeper understanding and appreciation of all that is part of the house and gardens. I started the tour but kids normally can’t stand too long in one place, so it was better for us to hear the abbreviated version from my parents.
Tips to Help You Enjoy Vizcaya Museum and Gardens:
1. Audio Tour – definitely recommend this if you’re not coming with small kids. You will get such a grand experience of how life was back in the heyday of this insane estate.
2. Stroller and wheelchairs – the one thing I did find to be a bit problematic is that it’s really not stroller or wheelchair friendly for the most part. To some extent you can maneuver your way around the gardens, but in the main house you simply can’t visit the upstairs. My recommendation is to call and find out how to best enjoy the Museum for disabled.
3. Food and treats – you can bring in your own snacks if you want. But I found that the food was reasonable and tasty at the cafe.
Important Information for Vizcaya Museum:
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Hours: daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. except Tuesdays
Address: 3251 South Miami Avenue / Miami, Florida 33129
Child 6-12 $ 6
Children 5 and under Free
Seniors 62 and older with ID $ 10
Students with ID $ 10