Miami’s beaches and resorts draw tourists from around the world. However, the bustling city is more than just a subtropical getaway. It is filled with cultural activities, as well.
A museum is the perfect place to study art, history, and science at local, national, and international levels. Though there are adult-oriented museums, such as the World Erotic Art Museum (a must-see for true art lovers), many of Miami’s fantastic museums provide entertainment and educational opportunities for the whole family to enjoy.
5 of Miami’s Best Museums
Miami offers a wide array of museums for art, history and science lovers alike. Here are a few of my favorite museums:
Miami Museum of Science
The Miami Science Museum aims to make a difference in people’s lives by inspiring them to appreciate the impact that science and technology can have on every facet of our world.
This educational center began as the Junior Museum of Miami in 1950. Its rapid growth required it to move buildings, where it became known as the Museum of Science and Natural History. Growth continued still, and a new museum was built and opened in 1960. Later, after so much success, a Space Transit Planetarium was added onto the museum property.
Today the museum is constantly offering new programs for the public held throughout the week and science camps for kids held during the summer. And it is making plans for yet another change. The museum will be eventually converted into a 200,000 square foot, three-story wonderment, featuring an early learning center for children up to age seven, science theater, aquarium, atrium and many exhibitions.
The expositions in the Science Museum go from the simple, explaining phenomena such as gravity, light and sound, to the very latest in technology. There are some highly entertaining temporary exhibits, such as a dance floor where movement generates electricity, or where you can form part of a giant yo-yo in the energy garden.
Miami Science Museum is located at 3280 South Miami Avenue, Miami.
This diverse, cultural center, named for philanthropists, Joe and Emily Lowe, was the first of its kind in Southern Florida. Opening in 1952, the art museum began collecting its 16,000 pieces which today, focus on Asian, American, Native America, Baroque and Renaissance art. In 1987, the state of Florida named the Lowe Art Museum a major cultural institution.
Aside from viewing art, various festivals are held throughout the year. Children’s art classes offer a chance to study under local artists, and art-related notions may be purchased at the gift shop within the museum. As well, the gallery can be rented in order to hold your own group’s special program.
Hours of operation vary depending on the day, however the museum is always closed on Mondays. Admission prices differ by age and membership status.
The museum is located at 1301 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables.
Founded in 1957, this historical museum began from the leftovers of an abandoned World War II Naval air station which had lengths of unused tracks on its property. Leased by the University of Miami to be used for research, one student saw the potential for preservation and he, along with others, sought to save pieces of Florida’s past. Objects such as President Franklin Roosevelt’s private train car, the Ferdinand Magellan, are now on display.
The museum exists today thanks to the support of philanthropists and local businesses. It offers viewing exhibits, walk-through exhibits, train rides, model building and many other special programs throughout the year.
With more than 40 historic rail cars on site (some of which are available for rides), plus play areas for the kids, everyone in the family will find themselves with plenty to do.
Birthday parties can be celebrated in the party shelter or an air-conditioned lounge car. Events, meetings, and weddings may be held in the museum’s main display area if approved by the Board of Directors.
The museum is located at 12450 SW 152nd Street, Miami. You can make a full day of it since the museum is located right next to Zoo Miami!
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
This lavish villa is a tribute to the Italian Renaissance. The museum contains much of the original furnishings and artwork, and is surrounded by lush, formal gardens.
James Deering built Vizcaya as his winter home between 1914 and 1916, a time when America was emerging as an international economic and cultural force.
By adapting European design traditions to a Miami context, Deering showed that America could compete with Europe, not only financially, but also culturally. In 1910 Deering hired Paul Chalfin (1874–1959) to advise on the creation of Vizcaya. Chalfin was involved in all aspects of Vizcaya’s design and is considered the artistic mastermind behind its creation.
Deering and his designers followed a practice common for the wealthy of this era, by decorating rooms in historic styles.
The gardens were created in the Mediterranean Revival style, and the gardens resemble the layout of France’s Versailles, with low trimmed shrubs creating walkways that form mesmerizing geometric patterns.
Between the house and grounds, Vizcaya is a living museum dedicated to the early days of Miami’s rise as a destination. The waterfront home’s many treasures include more than 2,500 antique pieces of art and furnishings.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is located at 3251 South Miami Ave., Miami.
Wings Over Miami Air Museum
Wings Over Miami Air Museum serves as a tribute to those veterans and aviators who pioneered civilian and military aviation. With this goal in mind, the museum both displays and flies military and classic aircraft to share the rich history of flight. It provides an operating legacy of aircraft with an insight to the legends of the pilots who flew them.
This is a charming little museum that provides an opportunity for a close-up look at classic and war bird aircraft. They have many enclosed cases filled with models and other memorabilia. Often a visitor will see plane restoration in process and on weekends, people may chat with the pilots of the planes if they are in the hangar.
Wings Over Miami is located at 14710 SW 128th Street, Miami. The museum is closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Now that you know about Miami’s best museums – make the most of your museum excursions with the Go Miami City Pass. See more for less by choosing a one, two, three- or five-day pass and save up to 49% off full retail admissions. Best of all, the card can even be delivered instantly to your smart phone.