Family Super Bowl Vacation
Miami is not necessarily known as a family-friendly destination. Images of the city are often dominated by raucous nightlife, exclusive restaurants and scantily-clad beach-goers. However, South Florida has a surprising number of family-friendly attractions. The list of kid-centric activities will be lengthened this year when the Super Bowl comes to town. Concerts and tail-gate parties will vie for itinerary spots with Miami vacation mainstays such as beaches, ice cream shops, outdoor adventures and family celebrations.
Super Bowl Attractions
- Super Bowl Saturday Night, in Fort Lauderdale, will take place on February 6th. Admission is free. The events will include musical performances and other activities. The highlight, especially for younger attendees, will be the 20-minute long fireworks display at the end of the event.
- Cuban food chain Pollo Tropical, which is located near Sun Life Stadium, where the Super Bowl will be held, will be hosting a family friendly tailgate party on the afernoon of the big game. The event will include prizes, games, and a giant inflatable “bounce house.” There will also be an attempt to get into the Guinness Books of World Records by creating the largest ever bowl of salsa.
- Miami MetroZoo is consistently ranked among the best zoos in the country. There are more than 260 species of animals. Many are kept in cage-less habitats, so they are free to roam over wide areas. This means that guests are able to view them in a more natural environment and see them behaving as they would in the wild. Feature residents include orangutans and tigers. There is also a 27 acre, 100 species Amazon and Beyond exhibit featuring three different rain forest eco-systems. Admission to the zoo is $16 for adults and $12 for kids.
- Beaches might, at first glance, seem to not be the best places for families to hang out. While the skimpy swimwear and “meat-market” atmosphere pervades some stretches of sand, parents and kids will feel comfortable on most of the Gold Coast’s beaches. Crandon Park Beach is one of the better family-friendly sandy spots in Miami Dade. A sandbar protects the water in the swimming area from being too rough and wavy and the two-mile long beach is lined with concession stands. Adjacent to the beach is Crandon’s Family Amusement Center, which features a carousel and other carnival-type rides.
- If you want to be outdoors, but don’t care to hit the beach, the Everglades National Park offers all sorts of outdoor adventures including diving, kayaking and hiking. Entrance is $10 per vehicle (good for 7 days after purchase). Camping is also possible for a $16 fee.
- A number of restaurants in Hollywood, Florida celebrate children on the first Friday of each month by offering “kids eat free” deals. This month’s event will take place on Friday February 5th. There will also be a free movie showing and other activities in Anniversary Park, in downtown Hollywood. Check the official event web site for a list of participating restaurants.
- There are several lesser-known chains that serve quality fare and are welcoming (and fun) for children. Pollo Tropical serves fast food, Cuban style. The entrees are healthy, compared to traditional fast food franchises and there are enough offerings that everyone will find something that fits their palette. Deli Lane is a smaller chain that serves a wide variety of sandwiches and treats. There are three locations in Miami. Prices are quite reasonable.
- Whip ‘n Dip is a hugely popular ice cream shop. If you are coming during the Super Bowl celebrations, it will not be as busy as it is on hot summer evenings, but the atmosphere and quality of the sweet desserts are still likely to make it an instant family favorite.
- A trip to Peace a Pizza is a family experience through and through. There are children’s movies playing on the big screens and a huge selection of pizzas to choose from. The décor might remind parents of the 1970s, but the atmosphere, as well as extras like balloons and toys, make this another sure bet for kids.
Fort Lauderdale has plenty of beaches, as well as shopping and a more laid back atmosphere than Miami’s beachfront. The city will host some Super Bowl events including the large Super Bowl Saturday Night celebration (which is free). Fort Lauderdale might even be a good pl
ace to base your family because it is not as crowded as Miami’s main districts and there will be more late-
Florida’s Gold Coast is filled with attractions for traveling families. The number of “must-do” activities will be higher than usual during Super Bowl week.