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The Ten Best Arts Experiences for Kids in Miami

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Even when it’s not Art Basel, Miami holds its own as a cultural epicenter. Although Magic City arts events are notorious for free alcohol and late-night beats, the arts in Miami can be family-friendly when seen in a new light – namely, daylight.

The 305's ever-flourishing and diverse community of creatives has resulted in a mosaic of opportunities for even our tiniest residents to enjoy theater, history, literature, and more, and truly enjoy it. Check out these kid-tested, parent-approved activities that introduce cultural aspects of Miami with a spoonful of sugar.

10. WALLCAST™ concerts at SoundScape Park

Although toddlers and teens have little in common, it will be a cold day in Miami before you get either to sit in quiet enjoyment through a classical music concert. The solution: Embrace the chaos and try a more relaxed format, like the WALLCAST™ concerts at the New World Center's SoundScape Park.

These functions take the open-air concert format to new heights with a 7,000-square-foot projection wall and a built-in, state-of-the-art sound system. It’s like paying for front-row tickets for the entire family, but better because it’s free. Plus, there’s the added benefit that if little Timmy wants to wear flip-flops or take the family dog, that’s not a problem. Everyone is welcome, flip-flops and all.

The first concert of the season will take place October 15 at 7:30 p.m. with Michael Tilson Thomas and American classical pianist Emanuel Ax, presenting selections by Brahms, Mozart, Schoenberg, and Strauss.

9. Walking and Biking Tours

Parents are always telling their children to unplug and go get some fresh air. In Miami, it's easy for kids and adults alike to do just that while taking in some local color. A number of cultural institutions have walking or biking tours to regale visitors with the history and architecture of iconic South Florida neighborhoods.

The Miami Design Preservation League, for instance, offers daily tours of the Miami Beach Architectural Historic District for $25 per person, highlighting prominent examples of art deco, Mediterranean revival, and MiMo styles. The Coral Gables Museum hosts monthly walking tours of downtown Coral Gables for $10 per person.

For a more scholarly approach, HistoryMiami’s tours are hosted by real-life historians, such as Paul George and Pepe Menedez, who dive deep into each district, from Little Havana to Stiltsville. The outings include a variety of formats, from walking and biking to boat and coach tours. Prices range from $30 to $60 and take place year-round.

8. Viernes Culturales

Viernes Culturales is more than a free festival. It’s an immersive experience that lets attendees take in the iconic and endangered neighborhood of Little Havana.

Happening the last Friday of every month, this epic multiblock party takes over Calle Ocho from 13th to 17th Avenues. Here, families can witness an amalgamation of cultural mediums, from live music and performances to art exhibits. There’s no better place for little ones to practice rolling their r’s while taking in the sights and sounds of Miami’s signature blend of Hispanic cultures.

For busy downtowners, the City of Miami offers a free trolley service to transport eager culture vultures from Mary Brickell Village and the Brickell Metrorail station every 15 minutes beginning at 6:30 p.m.

7. Micro Theater Miami

With a unique format and content catering to a truly multicultural audience, Miami Micro Theater has succeeded in setting itself apart from cineplexes. Though evening shows sometimes include sex, intrigue, and four-letter words, weekend afternoons are strictly for the kiddies.

Every Saturday and Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m., Micro Kids turns seven shipping containers into colorful worlds filled with fairies and animals brought to life, in both English and Spanish, by more than 20 resident artists. As in the adult edition, the theater stays true to its name by staging five 15-minute miniplays, allowing children to sample a variety of stories while also hopping from one interactive element to the next, such as coloring and face painting, leaving no chance of boredom.

The new season begins Saturday, September 10, with the Best of Micro, a three-week engagement featuring staff and crowd favorites. Each play costs $5 per person (adult or child), and kids under 2-year-old are free as are all the hands-on activities in the courtyard.

6. Family Days at O Cinema

For the little film buff in the family, a trip to O Cinema Miami Beach is in order. The monthly series Family Days at the Movies aims to expand horizons for children, and the occasional parent, through an eclectic selection of all-time classics and rare finds of various genres.

Showing September 24 and 25, the first flick in the current lineup is Ernest & Célestine, an animated movie based on a classic Belgian book that tells of the unlikely friendship between a bear and a mouse. All screenings begin at 11 a.m., and tickets cost $5 for kids and $8 for adults.
5. Art Classes

As thrilling as walking through white-walled hallways and past “do not touch” signs must be for a kid, many local museums take the collaborative approach: Let’s not just look at art; let’s actually make some.

At MOCA, the first Saturday of every month (2 to 4 p.m.) welcomes Creative Arts 4 Kids, where children learn about current exhibitions by using the techniques of artists on display to create artworks of their own. Past classes have included painting, drawing, tapestry, and typography. Classes cost $18 each or $60 for a four-week series.

Similarly, PAMM Second Saturdays is a free program for both children and adults in which guest artists guide the art-making process and lead tours. The first event of the season will take place September 10 from 1 4 p.m. and will explore printmaking techniques in a class inspired by mixed-media master Robert Rauschenberg, whose work is currently on view.

4. Story Time at the Library

Whether your child is just beginning to sound out words or preparing for AP classes, fostering a lifelong love of books is always on the checklist, and your public library is here to help.

The Miami-Dade County Public Library system offers a network of story-time programs in every neighborhood and for every age group, allowing kids to practice while socializing with their peers. Many branches offer themed programs, such as Bedtime Stories, where pajama-clad families gather for 6:30 p.m. readings, and Bark and Read sessions complete with a therapy dog. The Coconut Grove branch even offers Fun French Story Time, where children can listen to a short story with built-in vocabulary-building. Teen book clubs and social hours are also available for young adults at multiple locations. For more information about the programs offered at your branch, visit the MDCPLS calendar.

3. Actors’ Playhouse

To take story time up a notch, head to Actors' Playhouse’s Musical Theater for Young Audiences, where classic books and fairy tales are brought to life through the magic of theater. The first show of the season is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, based on the book by Judith Viorst, opening October 6.

Weekday performances are reserved for school groups, with 2 p.m. Saturday performances open to the public for $20 per person. A special “All Kids Included” sensory-friendly performance is scheduled for one Saturday each month, when everything from lighting to sound is adjusted to accommodate little theater-goers on the autism spectrum.

2. Street Art at Wynwood Walls

Part of encouraging children to spend time outside involves teaching them to appreciate their surroundings. This is an easy lesson to learn at Wynwood Walls, where every corner is a literal work of art.

A stroll through the diverse and colorful courtyard is as much of an artistic experience as a lesson in history and social issues. From showcasing Shepard Fairey and his connection to the Obama campaign, to the highlighting philosophical difference between tagging and street art, each mural is a conversation.

1. Digital Media With YOUMedia

Our relationship with technology has reached a point where we can appreciate it as an art form. From your daily podcast to that cute cat video on Facebook, creating this material requires a specific set of skills. And what better place to learn something new than at your local library?

South Dade and North Dade Regional branches offer a YOUMedia series that teaches teenagers the age-old art of storytelling as applied to digital mediums such as filmmaking, photography, and podcasts. Teens are already active content creators, so if we want tomorrow’s cute cat videos to be on point, their makers need to start learning today.

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