I enjoyed this place very much when I was a little girl and it was Parrot Jungle - so coming here as a grown up with my own kids (ages 5 and 7) was a nostalgic experience. It is very clean although much of it looks as it did I was a kid in the 1980's, just more lush with taller trees and plants. We went one Monday during the December holiday break and we practically had the whole place to ourselves. The kids enjoyed walking on the path though the botanical garden, under the shade of the tall cypress trees. We also enjoyed:
• Feeding the fish - many koi in the stream. Fish food available at the splash & play attendant
• Playing on the playground - mosquito repellant helpful to have
• The Splash & Play - It's $1 extra per child, but well worth it. My kids had a blast here. There's no change area, you have to use the bathroom but most parents just hold the towels up while the kids change.
By the way, there are picnic tables and one small concession stand, so bring your own snacks. We also didn't do the petting zoo as the animals are out only at certain times but it's next to the playground, so you can see the animals sleeping in their pens.
My local friends tell me that they used to bring their kids here when the admission was free, but now that there is an admission, they don't come anymore. (It is $2 a person, $3 if you include the Splash & Play). I feel like this is such a small price to pay in order to maintain this gem. Also, it is a steal compared to many of the other family attractions in Miami which are incredibly expensive and usually very crowded - for example, adult ticket prices are $35 at Jungle Island, $25 at Fairchild Botanical Gardens, $41 at Miami Seaquarium... so $10 total for our whole family for a lovely, crowd-free afternoon in a tropical atmosphere was money well spent.
Local tip: before or after your visit, you need to stop by the Pinecrest Wayside Market for fruit milkshakes (just north of Pinecrest Gardens on 57th Avenue).