A boy and his mother enjoy activities aboard a Brightline train.

Photo courtesy of Brightline.

All Aboard: Fun, Fast Family Outings!

A special day away is within reach

Take a mini “vacay” with day trips and excursions that won’t break the bank! 

High-Speed Happy With trains departing from Miami to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach seven days a week, the Brightline offers day-trippers a super-cool journey that’s an experience all its own. Maybe the best part, kids ride free in the summer! Choose your destination, pack a lunch (snacks and beverages may also be purchased on board or at the station), then head to points north as you take in the views while riding in shiny new train cars featuring cozy reclining seats and free Wi-Fi. The Virgin MiamiCentral station – alone worth a visit – is located at NW 1st Avenue between NW 3rd and 8th Streets, and is easily accessible via public transportation. Special discounted fare offers for adults are available; kids 12 and under ride free now through September 30. Visit www.gobrightline.com/miami for additional information. 

Southern Exposure Another option for heading out of town is the 301 Dade-Monroe Express Metrobus, which takes riders all the way to the Keys for just over the price of a regular bus fare. Disembark in Key Largo, Islamorada or Marathon to explore one or some of the areas no- and low-cost family-friendly sights, such as John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park (www.pennekamppark.com), the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center (www.missionwildbird.com), the Old Road Gallery (www.oldroadgallery.com), Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park (www.floridastateparks.org; search park by name) and Sombrero Beach (www.ci.marathon.fl.us; search beach by name). Visit www.miamidade.gov and search “301 Dade-Monroe Express” for schedule information. 

Museum Meet-Up Spend a day at one or more of 14 local museums and cultural attractions – including Miami Children’s Museum, Deering Estate, Pérez Art Museum Miami, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens and Zoo Miami – with the Miami-Dade Public Library System Museum Pass program. Simply visit your nearest branch, use your library card to check out a pass to a specific location and go! These first-come, first-serve passes are valid for seven days, may be used just once and are good for up to a family of four. Check out individual museum and attraction websites too, as many offer free and discounted entry family days throughout the summer. Visit www.mdpls.org and search “Museum Pass” for additional information. 

At the Movies Grab some snacks and blankets or lawn chairs and head over to Barnacle Historic State Park for movie watching under the stars! Upcoming screeners include Captain Marvel (July 26), How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (August 23) and the 2019 remake of Dumbo (September 27). Gates open at 8 p.m.; movies start at 8:30 p.m. Cobb Theatres is also offering free kids’ movie screenings at its Dolphin 19, Cobb Grand 18 and Miami Lakes 17 locations every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday through August 2 – Madagascar, Minions and Captain Underpants are just a few of the titles on offer. All screenings begin at 10 a.m.; doors open at 9:30 a.m. Visit www.floridastateparks.org (search “Barnacle Historic State Park” and then “Movies in the Park”) and www.cobbtheatres.com (click on “Kids Summer Movie Escape”) for additional information.

Culture Club A youth-directed arts access program of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Culture Shock Miami offers those between the ages of 13 and 22 $5 tickets to music, theater and dance performances and entry to museums and other cultural venues – and some events are free! Participating organizations include Actors’ Playhouse, Dimensions Dance Theatre Miami, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, HistoryMiami Museum and Miami Lyric Opera. Tickets are available online; for each one purchased, buyers may purchase a second for a friend or family member to accompany them. Visit www.cultureshockmiami.com for tickets and information about upcoming events.

For more budget-conscious outing and event ideas visit www.miamionthecheap.com, www.familymagazine.biz, and the events calendars at www.mdpls.org and www.TheChildrensTrust.org