Welcome to MetroGuide Networks' overview of Miami-area attractions. The Greater Miami area is full of attractions for all ages. With tourism as its backbone, pulsating Miami has evolved from a sleepy outpost near Florida's Everglades into a world-class cosmopolitan metropolis bursting with attractions, watersports, nightlife and shopping. Miles of sparkling shoreline, museums, parks, and a diversified line-up of restaurants await, along with a gleaming seaport boasting more passenger cruise activity than anywhere else in the world. Boom beginnings date to an 1895 record freeze sweeping northern Florida, where rail magnate Henry Flagler's trains regularly deposited wealthy snowbirds at his hotels. Citrus crops were devastated, prompting South Florida's Julia Tuttle to renew overtures to Flagler, offering a partnership in exchange for stretching his tracks to Miami. A few years earlier, Tuttle had invested in acreage along the Miami River's north bank and she had besieged Flagler about extending his railroad south. She visited, she wrote, and she wrote again, but Flagler remained aloof. With the freeze, Tuttle seized opportunity, according to legend shipping fresh-cut flowers from her unblemished garden to the rail magnate along with a “come see for yourself” note. Flagler did, and passenger service to Miami debuted in April,1896, kicking off huge development. After WWI, the boom was fueled not just by balmy weather and beachfront allure, but also by gambling and disdain for Prohibition. Despite hurricane devastation, followed by statewide recession and national depression, the mid-1930s brought construction of Art Deco buildings on Miami Beach. Prosperity reigned through 1942, when a German U-boat sank an American tanker off Florida's coast helping transform South Florida into a massive military staging area. After WWII, service trainees returned and settled, and so did gamblers and gangsters. Then Castro took power in Cuba, and Miami's Cuban population mushroomed, jump-starting the region's Latin/Caribbean magnetism with neighborhoods like Little Havana and Little Haiti. In the 1980s, Miami's dubious reputation as a haven for drug dealing got a positive spin on television's artsy Miami Vice, putting Miami Beach's Art Deco District on the world stage as a trend centerpiece. With Miami's vice, nice, and spice, little wonder that after Los Angeles and New York, Miami is the third most popular American city for international tourists.
Below is a list of some suggested things to do in the Miami Metropolitan Area,
with links to more details when available.
- Action Charters
Deep sea fishing charters are on tap from Miami and Miami Beach aboard Action Charters' 46-foot Bertram Sportfisher. Owner Linda Krupka and an experienced crew welcomes first-timers as well as seasoned anglers of all ages for half-, three-quarter-, and full-day charters.
Miamarina at Bayside, 401 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami. (888) 592-2202 or (305) 361-2131
- Ancient Spanish Monastery
Built in Segovia, Spain in 1141, the Monastery Cloister is the Western Hemisphere's oldest building. William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper magnate, shipped the pieces to America. In 1952, Miami developers reassembled the monastery at its present site.
16711 West Dixie Highway, North Miami Beach. (305) 945-1461
- Art Deco Welcome Center
As the largest 20th century National Register Historic District, the Art Deco area encompasses more than 800 historic buildings erected during the 1920s and 1930s. Flat roofs, smooth stucco walls and a distinctly modern look make most Art Deco buildings easy to spot despite variety in style and architecture. Historians tend to divide Art Deco into two self-explanatory periods: Decorated (1926-1936) and Streamline (the 1930s). The term Art Deco, for the record, was coined in 1968 by historian Bevis Hillier, describing early 20th century modern design. French in origin, the title comes from the celebrated 1925 Paris Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes. Industrial and modern define much of what Art Deco is all about. To help find your way around this pastel-splashed international drawing card, stop by the Miami Design Preservation League's Ocean Drive Welcome Center. Walking tours depart Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. from the MDPL Center. Self-guided audio tours are available with a $10 cassette rental. Bike, rollerblade and private group tours are also bookable. Trendy Ocean Drive, South Beach's best known street makes an ideal starting point for any tour. The 10-block stretch of pastel-colored hotels spills over with cafes, shops, restaurants and clubs.
Miami Design Preservation League, 1001 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. (305) 672-2015
- The Art Museum at FIU
Home to the Martin Z. Margulies Sculpture Park with more than 75 outdoor sculptures by celebrated artists including Richard Serra and Louise Nevelson, the museum offers gallery exhibitions, lectures, educational and family events free to the public. Free guided tours of sculpture gardens are offered to parties of 10 or more with two weeks advance notice.
University Park, Florida International University, 11200 Southwest 8th Street, Miami. (305) 348-2890
- Bakehouse Art Complex
Dedicated to artistic search and expression, more than 50 artists create and display their work. Children's programs are conducted year around. Visitors are welcome to browse free of charge.
561 Northwest 32nd Street, Miami. (305) 576-2828
- Barnacle State Historic Park
Built in 1891 by Coconut Grove pioneer Ralph Munroe, the home and grounds exemplify the early spirit of the Grove. Admission for children under age 6 is free.
3485 Main Highway, Coconut Grove. (305) 448-9445
- Bass Museum of Art
Reopening after renovation on Nov. 1, 2003, the Bass offers an overview of Old Master paintings, sculptures and textiles. Collections include European art and decorative arts as well as American, Asian and contemporary art. Traveling exhibitions from around the globe are offered. The newly expanded museum, designed by architect Arata Isozaki, has a media center, café and terrace, and museum shop. 2121 Park Avenue, Miami Beach. (305) 673-7530
- Beach Scene Diversity
Greater Miami's shoreline stretches for miles providing diverse options for shoreline enjoyment. Bal Harbour Beach has a palm-shaded jogging path curving around the mile-long beach. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area on Key Biscayne has a scenic beach at the southern tip with walking and bike trails along with a historic lighthouse. Crandon Park Beach has a three-mile long lagoon style beach protected by 13 lifeguard towers and beach wheelchairs for rent. Haulover Beach Park, on Miami Beach, has shady picnic areas with barbecue grills near the dunes. Hobie Beach / Windsurfer Beach, at the south end of Key Biscayne on the north side of Rickenbacker Causeway, allows watersports and dogs. Homestead Bayfront Park has a palm-shaded beach with free parking. Famed Miami Beach divides into North Beach (46th Street to 78th Street), Central Beach (21st Street to 46th Street) and the ever-so-sizzling South Beach (5th Street to 21st Street).
Oleta State Recreation Area has a shady beach and is popular with boaters and kayakers along nearby Snake River. South Pointe Park is excellent for watching cruise ships heading out to sea. Sunny Isles Beach has a freshly renourished two-mile long white sand beach with a landmark fishing pier at the south end. Surfside Beach is mainly residential with limited parking. Virginia Key Beach–South is ultra-secluded with nature trails and dogs allowed on leashes. Virginia Key Beach–North has great views of Brickell Avenue and the downtown Miami skyline along with windsurfing and ultralight seaplane rental.
Bal Harbour Beach, Collins Avenue from 96th Street to Haulover Inlet. (305) 866-4633
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area, 1200 S. Crandon Boulevard. (305) 361-5811
Crandon Park Beach, 4000 Crandon Boulevard. (305) 361-7373
Haulover Beach Park, 10800 Collins Avenue. (305) 944-3040
Hobie Beach / Windsurfer Beach, (305) 230-3040
Homestead Bayfront Park, 9698 S.W. 328th Street. (305) 230-3034
Miami Beach North, Central, South, Collins Avenue. (305) 673-7714
Oleta State Recreation Area, 3400 N.E. 163rd Street, North Miami Beach. (305) 919-1846
South Pointe Park, Ocean Drive at 5th Street. (305) 673-7714
Sunny Isles Beach, Collins Avenue from 157th Street to 193rd Street. (305) 947-0606
Surfside Beach, Collins Avenue from 88th Street to 96th Street. (305) 861-4863
Virginia Key Beach-South, east of Biscayne Bay, south of Rickenbacker Causeway. (305) 361-2833
Virginia Key Beach–North, east of Biscayne Bay, south of Rickenbacker Causeway. (305) 575-5256
- Biscayne National Park
A 45-foot diving and snorkeling catamaran and a 53-foot glass bottom boat take adventurers across southern Biscayne Bay through wilderness, mangrove, and out to tropical coral reefs. Canoe and kayak rentals, picnic area, walking trails, fishing, camping and shower facilities are on site, and a waterfront visitors center has exhibits, films and information.
9700 Southwest 328th Street, Homestead. (305) 230-1100
- Coopertown Airboat Tours
Since 1945, this has been the site for airboat rides and alligator exhibitions with professional guides leading tours through Hardwood Hammock to see wildlife in its native Everglades environment. The restaurant menu includes frog legs and gator tail.
22700 Southwest 8th Street, Miami. (305) 226-6048
- Coral Castle
Visitors to Coral Castle some 60 years ago were greeted enthusiastically by a man weighing a mere 100 pounds and standing just over 5 feet tall asking for 10 cents admission to his fantasy world carved out of stone. It was obvious Ed Leedskalnin took pride in his work. Since no one ever witnessed Ed's labor in building his rock gate park, it was sometimes said he had supernatural powers. Ed would only say that he knew secrets used to build the ancient pyramids. Tours of Coral Castle include a 30-minute audio tour in English, Spanish, French or German detailing what millions saw on national television shows and how rock star Billy Idol wrote "Sweet Sixteen" about Ed's lost love. The Coral Castle remains a mystery to those who explore.
28655 South Dixie Highway, Homestead. (305) 248-6345
- Coral Gables Merrick House
The boyhood home of George E. Merrick, founder and developer of Coral Gables, is a landmark built in 1899 as a frame house, and added onto in 1906.
The house has been restored to its 1920s period and filled with Merrick family art, furnishings and personal treasures.
907 Coral Way, Coral Gables. (305) 460-5361
- Deering Estate
Apart from natural beauty, the 440-acre Deering Estate at Cutler also includes buildings dating from 1896 to 1922, archaeological sites that date human presence to 10,000 years ago (with animals going back 100,000 years), and a Native American burial mound from around year 1600. This property encompasses endangered pine rockland habitat, coastal tropical hardwood hammocks, mangrove, salt marshes, and a coastal dune island. Chicken Key, the park's restored bird rookery, can be visited via scheduled canoe tours. Dating to 1896, Richmond Cottage was home for the Samuel H. Richmond family in the old settlement of Cutler. In 1900, the family built a major addition and opened Richmond Cottage, the first inn between Coconut Grove and Key West. In 1916, Charles Deering, International Harvester's chairman of the board, remodeled it as his winter home. (Nearly destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, it has been restored.) In 1922, Deering built Stone House, a Mediterranean Revival mansion with bronze and copper-clad doors and windows and 18-inch thick, poured concrete walls to shelter his art and antiques. Between 1916 and 1920, Deering built the Carriage House, Power House and Pump House, now used as estate offices and educational facilities. Guided tours are available.
16701 Southwest 72nd Avenue. (305) 235-1668
- Everglades Alligator Farm
South Florida's oldest working alligator farm on the Everglades edge (but not within Everglades National Park) has more than 3,000 toothsome gators to view in a rustic atmosphere. Farm visits include airboat rides and walking tours to see alligators, crocodiles, caimans, and snakes from Florida and elsewhere, along with the opportunity to be photographed holding a baby alligator. Originally started as an airboat ride attraction, transition began after 1985 changes in Florida law permitting alligator farming. In the 1960s, federal officials believed the American alligator was close to extinction and commercial farming was seen as a way to preserve these reptiles traced back to dinosaur times. Smaller gators are kept in grow-out pens with larger ones moved to breeding ponds where females have one clutch of eggs per year with up to 45 eggs. Scheduled entertainment includes Alligator Feeding and a Weird Animal Show.
40351 Southwest 192nd Avenue, Homestead. (305) 247-2628
- Everglades Safari Park
For some 35 years, Everglades Safari Park has provided a “river of grass” showcase, becoming one of the Florida Everglades' largest, most complete attractions. The park offers several ways to observe the Everglades, including an Airboat Ride, Alligator Show, and a Jungle Trail. Airboat rides are guided by skilled narrators familiar with Everglades history, vegetation, and wildlife. The Alligator Show provides informative, interactive opportunity to become familiar with features of American alligators as well as other animals. A Jungle Trail leads to an Alligator Farm with more than 400 American alligators, a crocodile exhibit, and a replica of a Chickee Village.
26700 Tamiami Trail, Miami. (305) 226-6923
- Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
The 83-acre Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, established in 1938 and adjacent to Matheson Hammock Park, is one of the world's preeminent botanical gardens, with extensive collections of rare tropical plants including palms, cycads, flowering trees and vines. The first Wednesday of each month is Contribution Day, when visitors set their own admission fee. Garden admission includes a narrated tram tour, offered hourly, plus admission to the Conservatory and Gate House Museum at no extra charge. Fairchild is fully accessible to persons with disabilities, and wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Light lunches and cold beverages are served at the Garden Café, where visitors can snack under the sapodilla tree or observe the conservatory nursery through the café's large windows. The Garden Shop offers an array of botanical and horticultural books and also sells gifts, t-shirts and decorative accessories with a tropical horticultural flair. Guided walking tours are offered mid-November through
10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables. (305) 667-1651
- Fruit and Spice Park
At the Fruit and Spice Park, visitors are welcome to sniff and taste their way along as they tour this 32-acre county-run park attraction with more than 500 varieties of fruit, nut and spice trees, including 80-plus banana varieties and more than 40 varieties of grapes and other exotic edibles. Iron-rich soil here provides some of Florida's best farm acreage. Winter is a fine time to tour the area since many farmers offer samples at roadside stands. The Fruit and Spice Park itself is a showcase for tangy guava, sweet sapote, musky coffee beans and jaboticaba berries. The bookstore has volumes with growing tips and recipes, plus a variety of candies and sauces made from some of the more unusual produce of the world.
24801 Southwest 187th Avenue, Homestead. (305) 247-5727
Miami's 31,000 square foot GameWorks, open since 1999, is a high-tech entertainment, restaurant and bar experience where guests eat, drink, and play. There are more than a dozen GameWorks flagship locations in the U.S. and the company has smaller facilities without beverage service called GameWorks Studios.
Shops at Sunset Place, 5701 Sunset Drive, South Miami. (305) 667-4263
- Gold Coast Railroad Museum
Featuring more than 40 pieces of railroad rolling stock and equipment including diesel and steam locomotives, the museum is dedicated to preserving, exhibiting, and operating historic rail equipment. The Museum was formed in 1957 by activists trying to save pieces of Florida history that were taken for granted and rapidly disappearing. Its collection includes the Ferdinand Magellan (the private railroad car built for President Franklin Roosevelt), the Florida East Coast Railway locomotive 153, (the engine that pulled the rescue train out of Marathon after the 1935 hurricane); and the 113, (an FEC locomotive built in 1913 and used in regular revenue service over the entire Florida East Coast railroad). The "Train Crew Member For-A-Day" program enables the public to act as a part of the Train Crew on Museum trains. The program provides for 30 minutes or more of run time (actual throttle time) in one of the Museum's active locomotives. Participants in this program are under strict supervision at all times
Gold Coast Railroad Museum, 12450 Southwest 152 Street, Miami. (305) 253-0063
- Island Queen Cruises
One of South Florida's oldest sightseeing tour boat attractions, Island Queen Cruises has more than 35 years experience providing daily narrated sightseeing cruises and nightly dance cruises with entertainment by professional DJs on Miami's scenic Biscayne Bay. Large tour groups and convention groups are welcome.
401 Biscayne Boulevard, Bayside Marketplace. (305) 379-5119
- Jungle Island
A brand new jungle has bloomed on an island near Miami -- Jungle Island, a $47-million park opened in June, 2003, replacing Parrot Jungle and Gardens, a South Florida fixture dating to 1936. The new 18.6-acre entertainment destination, between downtown Miami and South Beach just off MacArthur Causeway, is home to some 3,000 exotic animals and 500 plant species, with animal stage shows, one-of-a-kind aviaries, jungle trails, a petting farm and more. Jungle Island's centerpiece is Jungle Theater, an open-air "oooh" and "aaah" arena. Guests are "face-to-beak" with more than 200 parrots and macaws in the Manu Encounter, the world's only aviary replicating the clay cliffs of Manu, Peru. Everglades Habitat recreates South Florida's "river of grass" and its wildlife. The park's huge collection of reptiles and amphibians, including an extremely rare albino alligator and a 21-foot crocodile, are housed in the Serpentarium. At the 1,200-seat Parrot Bowl, shows feature antics of trained parrots, cockatoos, and macaws. Theme park admission is not required for access to the indoor/outdoor Lakeside Cafe, overlooking Flamingo Lake with tropical fish and a sea of pink Caribbean flamingos.
1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami. (305) 400-7000
- Lowe Art Museum
The Lowe is South Florida's only area museum owning a distinguished collection of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquities. From origins in three classrooms in 1948, history of the Lowe Art Museum reflects commitment to serving the University of Miami along with residents and visitors. A gift from philanthropists Joe and Emily Lowe allowed the 1952 opening of a free-standing museum facility to the public as South Florida's first art museum. Its 10,000-object collection is one of the most important in the southeast, with strengths in Renaissance and Baroque, American, Native American, pre–Columbian, and Asian art. A 1956 donation by Alfred I. Barton bought one of the country's finest collections of Native American art. In 1987, the Lowe was designated a “Major Cultural Institution” by the State of Florida. On the U.M. campus in Coral Gables, Metrorail arrivals should take the “University” stop. From there, a free U.M. shuttle bus heads for the museum, which has a gift shop.
1301 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables. (305) 284-3535.
- Miami Museum of Science
The Museum of Science has more than 140 hands-on exhibits exploring mysteries of the universe. In addition to robotic dinosaurs and the other manufactured displays, live demonstrations and collections of rare natural history specimens provide informative fun, and often involve audience participation. The Wildlife Center has more than 175 live reptiles and birds of prey. The adjacent Space Transit Planetarium projects astronomy and laser shows and interactive demonstrations of computer technology and cyberspace. Museum favorites include the Cyber City exhibit that explores the future of computers in society and the nationally-recognized Falcon Batchelor Bird of Prey Center, which not only teaches about these aggressive but lovable animals but also helps save endangered ones.
3280 South Miami Avenue, Coconut Grove. (305) 646-4200.
- Miami Seaquarium
After a fall 2005 shutdown forced by Hurricane Wilma, Miami Seaquarium, open 365 days, is back with a new look, new shows, and value-added admission specials. Discovery Bay, home to Nile crocodiles, and Shark Channel, with brown nurse sharks, are restored to watery splendor. A Sea Lion Show at the Golden Dome features Salty and the Reef Rangers, and the Flipper the Dolphin Show takes place at Flipper Lagoon. The Sequarium centerpiece remains the Whale & Dolphin Stadium, home to Lolita and her Pacific white-sided dolphin pals. A "Swim with our Dolphins Program" continues, featuring one-on-one close-up observation opportunity. Annual Seaquarium extravaganzas include an Easter Egg Hunt, Splashtacular Summer events, Monster Splash Halloween Bash and Winter Kids Fest.
4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami. (305) 361-5705
- Miccosukee Indian Gaming
Just west of Florida's Turnpike, Miccosukee Indian Gaming is a multi-service gaming and entertainment complex featuring poker, lightning lotto, high-stakes bingo, more than 50 poker tables and 1,200 video pull-tab machines. Open 24 hours, there is nightly entertainment along with a restaurant and lounge.
U.S. Highway 41 (Tamiami Trail), 18 miles west of Krome Avenue. (305) 222-4600.
- Miccosukee Indian Village
An authentic Indian village allows discovery of centuries old culture. Guided tours cover the past, present and future of the Miccosukee tribe. A museum, restaurant an gift shop are on premises, and other entertainment includes alligator wrestling and airboat rides.
U.S. Highway 41 (Tamiami Trail), 18 miles west of Krome Avenue. (305) 223-8380.
- Monkey Jungle
Wilds of South America, Asia and Africa come to life with this jungle safari escape as crab-eating monkeys dive for treats. A lush, tropical Amzaonian-style rain forest is filled with hundreds of exotic monkeys. Grounds also contain one of the South Florida's richest fossil deposits. Exhibits include rare Amazon parrots, the Cameroon Jungle and the Lemurs of Madagascar.
14805 Southwest 216th Street, Miami. (305) 235-1611
- Pelican Harbor Seabird Station
This non-profit organization is dedicated to rehabilitating and releasing injured seabirds into the Biscayne Bay area. Dawn to dusk tour of the facility are available at no charge, with donations gratefully accepted.
1275 Northeast 79th Street Causeway, Miami. (305) 751-9840
- Richard Petty Driving Experience
Here's an opportunity to ride or drive an authentic NASCAR Winston Cup-style race car. Driving programs last for three hours, riding programs from 15 to 30 minutes
Homestead-Miami Speedway, One Speedway Boulevard, Homestead. (800) 237-3889
- South Florida Art Center
The public is welcome to visit more than 40 artists at work in studios and to view professionally curated shows in the 800 Lincoln Road Gallery, free of charge.
800, 810, 924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach. (305) 674-8278
- Tropicalboat Charters
Tropicalboat Charters showcases sparkling waters of Biscayne Bay or the Florida Keys in powerboats of 22 feet for up to six guests or 32 feet for up to 10, with your personal captain leading the way. Choose from assorted watery adventures with rates starting at $150 and $400 per vessel, depending on size and tour, from an hour and a half to a full day. Island Adventure on either size boat takes in Star Island, Palm Island and Hibiscus Island, also cruising along Venetian Canal, and pausing at an uninhabited tropical isle rich in photo opps for take-home memories. Bay Blaster, including Island Adventure features, also cruises by Fisher Island toward downtown Miami passing by Bayside and the Hard Rock Café. Tropical Paradise includes Bay Blaster delights, also cruising Virginia Key and Key Biscayne, Cape Florida and the Lighthouse, with a sandbar stop. Tropical Sunset embraces Biscayne Bay at sundown, with add-on possibilities of Tropical Night, cruising Miami's starlit shoreline. Keys adventure ranges from the six-hour Boca Chita Escape to a small island, to the multi-faceted Kokomo Dream, exploring assorted dots of land accessible only via boat, and the Ultimate Fun in the Sun, where you design the day afloat. Rates include private vessel with captain, insurance, safety equipment, fuel, ice, coolers, and water-fun gear.
- Venetian Pool
In Coral Gables, tucked behind stucco walls and wrought iron gates, is Venetian Pool, the only swimming pool included in the National Register of Historic Places and possibly the only one anywhere embellished with vine-covered loggias, shady porticos, a Spanish fountain, three-story observation towers and cascading waterfalls spilling into a free-form lagoon with coral rock caves and a palm-fringed island. Fed by artesian wells, Venetian Pool was once a limestone quarry pit. In 1924, the eyesore was transformed to what was then called Venetian Casino. During its heyday, Esther Williams and Johnny Weismuller of Tarzan fame swam its length. Three-time Democratic presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan delivered speeches here for his annual fee of cash and Coral Gables real estate. The 820,000 gallon pool, fed with spring water daily, features two waterfalls, coral caves and grottos. Venetian-style architecture, designed by Denman Fink, uncle of Coral Gables founding father George Merrick. Children under age 3 are not admitted, and youngsters must be at least 38 inches tall and 3 years old to enter.
2701 DeSoto Boulevard, Coral Gables. (305) 460-5356
- Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Industrialist James Deering's 34-room winter residence showcases a long-gone lifestyle as well as America's finest collection of 15th through 19th century furniture and decorative arts. When Deering (1859-1925) started to build his estate more than 85 years ago, he enlisted help from New York painter Paul Chalfin. They made buying trips to Europe for important architectural components, furniture, and art including wall panels, ceilings, mantels, and tapestries. Each room conveys a particular period style, from Renaissance to Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassic. Deering's suite covers several Neoclassic periods. In the sitting room, Italian carved wood paneling frames Louis XVI silk on walls, and massive mahogany desks are French Empire. A French Savonnerie rug dates from the early 19th century. His bedroom contains a gold laurel wreath on the ceiling, bed drapery supported by a bronze eagle and gold-decorated mahogany furniture of the Napoleonic French Empire period. Deering's bath features a linen ceiling canopy, suggestive of a Napoleonic campaign tent. Marble walls are decorated with Sheffield silver. Since Vizcaya was acquired by Miami-Dade County in 1952, the main house and contents have undergone extensive restoration. Unoccupied since Deering's death, salt air humidity and neglect had taken their toll. In 1987, the open courtyard was enclosed and air-conditioned for preservation.
3251 South Miami Avenue, Miami. (305) 250-9133
- World and U.S. Chess Hall of Fame
Visitors to the World and U.S. Chess Hall of Fame, the only official museum of the World and U.S. Chess Federations, might be surprised to learn the first time Superman appeared on the cover of a comic book, he was depicted as a chess piece. The World and U.S. Chess Hall of Fame is the place to bone up on chess history, including the birth of modern chess, the beginnings of college chess, chess in the Old West, chess and U.S. presidents, chess and baseball, and more.
13755 Southwest 119th Avenue, Miami. (786) 242-4255
- Zoo Miami
Over the 2010 Independence Day weekend, Miami MetroZoo, officially the Miami-Dade County Zoological Park and Gardens, celebrated its 30th birthday and changed its nickname to Zoo Miami. Surviving hurricanes Betsy and Andrew, today's Zoo Miami can be traced back to Key Biscayne's Crandon Park Zoo, created in 1948 when three monkeys, two black bears and a goat were picked up for $270 from a road show stranded near Miami. The collection grew to 1,200 animals, resulting in the Crandon Park Zoo, which in 1967 succeeded in the rare captive birth and rearing of an aardvark. Then 1965's Hurricane Betsy caused deaths of 250 animals leading to MetroZoo, a county-operated zoo opening in 1981, with 38 exhibits covering 200 acres. In 1982, another 25 acres and a monorail were added, with following years bringing the Wings of Asia exhibit, a 1.6 acre free-flight aviary and more. In 1989, MetroZoo debuted both the first koala born on the east coast and PAWS, the children's petting zoo. In 1990, the Asian River Life Experience opened with small-clawed Asian otters, a blood python, Malayan water monitor, clouded leopards, land tortoises, muntjac deer, demoiselle cranes, and fly-river turtles. On Aug. 24, 1992, Hurricane Andrew blew away some 5,000 trees and Wings of Asia, built to withstand winds of up to 120 m.p.h. The 300 exotic birds, representing the finest collection of Asian birds anywhere, were lost. Reopening four months later, by July, 1993, animals were back home at MetroZoo and 7,000 trees had been planted. Features at the new Zoo Miami now include the Australian, African, Asian and forthcoming Tropical Americas exhibits, featuring over 2,000 animals and 1,200 plants indigenous to these areas in their natural outdoor habitats; talks, demonstrations and tours conducted by zoologists; Amazon & Beyond; and American Bankers Family Aviary, Wings of Asia which opened in May, 2003.
12400 Southwest 152nd Street, Miami. (305) 251-0400