Miami’s Tropical Attractions Await Student Travelers
Miami offers a great time for student travel groups. The year-round sunshine will always put a smile on students’ faces. Furthermore, many attractions within the city beckon to be explored. School tours love the exotic creatures that can be seen in many natural habitats. Historic landmarks, museums, beaches and annual festivals round out the experience.
Student Travel Attractions in Miami
Over 15 beaches can be found on the coasts of Miami and Miami Beach. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Beach, located on Key Biscayne Island, offers plenty of space to relax and tan. Other attractions include walking and biking trails, water sports rentals and a guided tour of the historic lighthouse.
Jungle Island, with over 1,100 tropical birds and 2,000 types of plants, also features exotic animals from different continents, three animal shows and interactive exhibits. A beach at the park has a 168-foot slide called Hippo.
Miami Metrozoo presents more than 2,000 animals and over 1,200 plants in a natural habitat. Large, open-air exhibits enable a better viewing experience, and the absence of cages allows animals to feel more at home. Over 100 exhibits and three miles of walkways cover the grounds.
Miami Seaquarium features dolphin, killer whale and sea lion shows along with exhibits on marine life. The dolphin program offers a chance to interact with dolphins prior to an informative lecture. Other options include presentations and exhibits of different sea creatures, such as stingrays and sharks.
Monkey Jungle, “where humans are caged and monkeys run wild” in open habitats, features 30 species of primates and hundreds of Amazon plants and trees. Students can feed monkeys and attend daily presentations. Monkey Jungle also serves as a sanctuary for displaced parrots.
Deering Estate at Cutler, a historical landmark located on Biscayne Bay in southern Miami, showcases art, architecture, nature and archaeology. The estate also contains Richmond Cottage and the Mediterranean Revival winter house of Charles Deering, the art collector who also was the first chairman of International Harvestor Company. Permanent collections include historic books, oil paintings and furnishings. Traveling exhibits of local artists and historical organizations can be seen as well. Guided house tours and natural area tours, along with monthly architecture tours, night hikes, bird walks and butterfly walks, can be booked free. “EcoAdventure Tours” and guided canoe trips are available for a fee.
Miami-Dade Cultural Center comprises three Spanish-style buildings, including the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, public library and Miami Art Museum.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a National Historic Landmark, offers guided group tours, public programs, film series and music performances. Built in the early 20th century by agricultural industrialist James Deering, the site features a Main House and many small gardens surrounding the house. Historic collections representing different art periods reside within the house. The gardens are themed and a number of fountains surrounded by Italian and French sculptures can be found within the gardens.
The Holocaust Memorial, an outdoor memorial to Jews who perished under the Nazis during World War II, features bronze statues, granite-slabs with Holocaust photographs and names of victims, and a meditation garden. Admission is free.
The Miami Science Museum, entertaining its visitors with laser shows, live presentations and science films, also features traveling science exhibits. Other attractions include Miami Planetarium star shows, Wildlife Center animal events and a museum store with interesting science items.
Miami Sightseeing Tours for Students
Everglades Safari Park features a 30-40-minute airboat ride with a tour guide, alligator/wildlife show and a walking trail with exhibits. Students can pass by alligators, crocodiles and other exotic animals.
Duck Tours Miami lasts 90 minutes and takes students on an amphibious vehicle past popular landmarks and famous homes and into Biscayne Bay.
Island Queen Cruises offers 90-minute narrated cruises along the coast of Miami. Highlights include Miami Beach, homes of the wealthy (“Millionaire’s Row”), Port of Miami and the Miami skyline.
Miami Design Preservation League offers a number of tours that cover the history of Miami and its famous Art Deco District.
Miami Performance Venues for Students
Colony Theater, a 430-seat theater, offers specialized equipment, including projectors and platform risers. Byron Carlyle Theater, seating 304, features equipment rental, including piano and projectors. With room for 275 people, Area Stage Company provides production services and technical personnel available upon request.
Top Festivals and Events in Miami for Students
Orange Bowl Festival, which culminates in the Orange Bowl football game, is held every New Year’s Day.
The Harvest Festival attracts nearby craftsmen and artists. It also features live music and demonstrations, free petting zoo, shopping areas and food services. The festival takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving.
Art Basel Miami, a sister art show of the world-famous Art Basel held in Switzerland, spotlights international art works of the 20th and 21st century. The show is held early December in Art Deco District galleries. Also in December, the Everglades Music and Craft Festival spotlights American Indian heritage at the Miccosukee Indian Village. The events include arts/crafts displays, dance performances, Miccosukee Patchwork Fashion Show, alligator wrestling, airboat rides and live bands. Authentic Native American food can be sampled as well.
Miami Eateries for Students
Caciques Corner, a good downtown place to pick up a quick sandwich, also offers affordable breakfast selections. Lil Anthony Pizzeria has great pizza for a great price. Five Guys Burgers and Fries offers meals under $10 with free toppings and free refills.
Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, with six convenient locations dispersed around the Miami area, offers salads, quesadillas, tacos, fajitas and other Mexican favorites, all under $10. Zona Fresca, which also offers Mexican cuisine, makes delicious burritos, tacos, salads and more. Meals do not exceed $8.
Planet Samba provides tasty fish, shrimp and chicken sandwiches, as well as fruit smoothies with optional vitamin and protein boosters. Every meal and drink is under $6. Whip ‘n Dip Ice Cream Shoppe can satisfy a dessert craving.
Affordable Student Lodging in Miami
La Quinta Inn & Suites, with many locations around Miami, provides students with free wireless high-speed Internet, free breakfast and an outdoor swimming pool.
Crowne Plaza Miami International Airport, conveniently located one mile south of entrance to airport, offers a health and fitness center, outdoor pool and hotel shops.
Hawaii Hotel, an affordable quality hotel in Miami Beach a short distance from the beach, provides students with wireless Internet.
Miami has all the great attractions that student travelers enjoy. Whether they wish to explore cultural districts, catch a glimpse of an exotic creature or just lie on the beach, Miami delivers.