Published: June 28, 2019
FAVORITE STORE FOR KIDS’ DECOR
IKEA’s got you covered for just about any furniture and furnishings for kids, from the day you bring them home until they’re almost all grown up. Perhaps it’s not surprising that the Scandinavian chain is a go-to retailer for kids furniture — it was founded by a kid of only 17 years of age. (Fun fact: IKEA is an acronym for its founder’s name, Ingvar Kamprad; Elmtaryd, his farm’s name; and the nearby village of Agunnaryd.) Of course, IKEA has come a long, long way since its 1943 beginnings in rural Sweden and its early days as a catalog service. Today, with its “for-the-people” concept and 422 stores in more than 50 markets, IKEA is virtually synonymous with the word “furniture.” Plus, IKEA is extra family-friendly. Most stores feature family parking spots, a baby-care area, baby food, microwaves, shopping strollers and a free supervised play area for youngsters between 4 and 10 years old. Called Småland, it features a Swedish forest atmosphere — of course. And for kids 3-12 years old, IKEA Miami Kids’ Club offers family-friendly crafting workshops each month.
1801 NW 117 Ave., Miami
El Dorado Furniture
Resonating with the legacy of Miami’s Cuban-exile community, this family business has grown from the christening of its first store on Calle Ocho in Little Havana to the largest Hispanic-owned furniture retail enterprise in the country. It’s name is even taken from the boat that founders Manuel Capó and his sons used to flee Cuba. Today, Capó’s sons and grandchildren still run the business, where shopping is like taking a stroll down old-fashioned city streets. With facades ranging from 16th Century-inspired stained glass windows to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, El Dorado’s innovative Boulevard Showrooms feature over 20 themed storefronts that open into specialized showcases of the latest furniture styles — including a full range of furniture for the kids’ rooms. Decor services are also offered, and there are two Furniture & Mattress Outlets as well. Miami-Dade Boulevard Showroom locations are Calle Ocho, Cutler Bay, Hialeah, Kendall, Miami Airport and Palmetto.
FAVORITE MALL OR SHOPPING CENTER
One of the country’s top shopping centers, Aventura Mall is anchored by Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s and features over 300 luxury stores and more than 50 eateries. But that’s not all — the mall is also an experiential art exposition. Its Arts Aventura Mall program is a showcase of 20 museum-quality pieces to enhance the shopping experience. It features installations designed for hands-on fun as well as appreciation, such as The Aventura Slide Tower. The towering landmark by Belgian artist Carsten Höller invites shoppers to actually spiral their way down its 93 feet. For young patrons, the Kids Club offers special birthday treats, gifts and discounts from participating merchants. And on weekends, the mall’s community connection shines with the Aventura Market of Farmers & Artisans and its pet-adoption program, which has resulted in more than 300 pets finding homes.
19501 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura
FAVORITE KIDS FUN AT A SHOPPING DESTINATION
Aventura Mall Kids Play Area
The first artwork installed as part of Aventura Mall’s art program was … a playground. A safe, toddler-sized playspace, the Rainbow Valley Playground is South Florida’s first indoor children’s playground designed by contemporary artists — Miami’s Sam Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III, of Friends With You. Inspired by a story created by those artists, Rainbow Valley lets children play in a sea of vibrant rainbows, clouds, small mountains and water, as they discover Peekoo, the baby mountain, and his adventures with his new friend, Cloudy. Only children under 42 inches are permitted in the playground, and they must be monitored by an adult. Children and adults must wear cotton socks at all times. The playground’s new location is on the Lower Level in front of JCPenney.
19501 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura
FAVORITE STORE FOR KIDS’ STUFF
Barnes & Noble
More than a bookstore, this is a place with kids at heart. Beyond the vast volumes for children and young adults on its shelves and online, it also features a huge selection of toys and games for all ages — from preschool toys and Legos to Disney and Funko Pop! collectibles to puzzles and strategy games. But the fun doesn’t stop there. The seasonal Kids’ Book Hangout invites children ages 6-12 to discover and talk about books, play games and activities and enjoy giveaways and discounts on featured books. Then there’s the Summer Reading Program, in which kids in grades 1-6 can earn a free book when they read eight books. Also, local stores hold weekly events — such as the Baby & Me Storytime for children up to 24 months and their caregivers at the West Kendall location; the new summer YA Book Club at the Coral Gables store (www.bn.com/yabookclub); and the Sunset location’s Game On! event for game-loving young readers.