Best Parks and Nature Gardens to Visit in Miami, FL
Everybody knows Miami has great beaches, but you might not know about the area’s other natural treasures. The team at Miami Car Credit has put together a list of hidden gems, perfect for an afternoon or weekend trip. Here are some of the best areas to explore in and around Miami, Florida.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Built by agricultural entrepreneur James Deering in the early 20th century, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a National Historic Landmark in the Coconut Grove neighborhood. On sunny days, you can explore the ten-acre formal gardens, designed in the Italian Renaissance style.
The gardens contain many decorative fountains, plus antique sculptures and pieces commissioned for the property by Deering. Inside the historic home, you can also see Deering’s collections of masterpieces and historical artifacts from the ancient world.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day of the week except Tuesday but stops admitting new visitors at 4:30 p.m. Visitors can take photographs; if you want to pose for engagement pictures or other formal photographs, however, you’ll need to purchase a license from the main office.
General admissions tickets allow you to wander the grounds freely, and you can also purchase tickets for guided tours at different times during the day. Here are the daily admissions prices for Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, subject to change:
- $25 for adults aged 13 and over
- $10 for children between six and 12
- Free admission for children aged five and under
Miami Beach Botanical Garden
If you’re heading over to South Beach, spend a few hours wandering through the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. This three-acre tropical garden features several distinct areas, including a formal Japanese garden and space dedicated to indigenous plant species. Orchid enthusiasts might enjoy the orchid walk, a 350-foot trail along the water, covered with orchids from different regions. Several water features keep the plants hydrated and provide homes for various creatures, including dragonflies, koi fish, and turtles.
The gardens are open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day except Monday. Local organizations like yoga studios and poetry groups often host events on the garden’s main field. General admission is free, but events hosted at the gardens might have an associated cost. You might also spend some cash on souvenirs and gardening supplies at the in-house boutique.
Just across the Rickenbacker Causeway lies Key Biscayne, a charming oceanfront village with beautiful beaches and a historic lighthouse. The town lies between two major natural areas: Crandon Park in the north and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in the south. You might spend a day on one of the island’s protected beaches or try some snorkeling in the coral reefs underneath the water of Biscayne Bay. The village has several boutiques, restaurants, and bars for visitors who want to do some shopping or enjoy a meal near the ocean’s scenic views.
While you’re in town, you can visit the impressive Cape Florida Lighthouse. Early Miami residents built the lighthouse in 1825 at the southern tip of the island. Originally built to help sailors avoid running into the coral reefs, the lighthouse is now a historic landmark that’s open every day except Tuesday and Wednesday. The staff also offers tours of the building between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Visitors can still climb the 109 steps to the top of the spiral staircase and see Miami and the surrounding ocean, just like the original lighthouse keepers once did.
Everglades National Park
The Everglades National Park gives visitors an opportunity to explore the United States’ largest subtropical wilderness, which covers 1.5 million acres of South Florida. Established in 1947, the park is home to a range of unique and endangered species, like manatees, panthers, crocodiles, and sea turtles. It’s also home to many migratory birds, who come to the Everglades during the winter months to find food and shelter. You can drive through the park in a car or take walks in designated areas.
The park has three entrances, two of which are close to Miami. The Shark Valley Visitor Center is on Southwest 8th Street, due west of downtown Miami, and the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center is southwest of Miami in the town of Homestead. At the park’s visitor centers, you can learn about open camping spots and any trail closures. Consider visiting the Everglades National Park during the dry season, which begins in December and ends in April, to see migrating birds and avoid mosquitos. There is a $30 fee per vehicle to enter the park.
Visitors of all ages might enjoy a trip to Monkey Jungle in southwest Miami. In partnership with the DuMond Conservancy for Primates and Tropical Forests, Monkey Jungle houses various primate species in tropical settings, just like their natural habitats. This organization — which is one of the few habitats in the country solely dedicated to endangered primates — is home to over 300 primates, most of whom roam the jungle habitat freely. Guides take visitors on trips through the rainforest setting and let them observe monkeys and other species performing their natural activities, like feeding and swimming.
Currently, Monkey Jungle is only offering scheduled rainforest tours so they can protect their endangered species from contracting illnesses. You can call the ticket office at 305-235-1611 to find available times and learn about pricing. In the future, you might be able to attend some of the other shows, like the Wings of Love exhibit, a special habitat for domesticated parrots whose owners can no longer care for them. Monkey Jungle is also home to a collection of Paleolithic fossils, including 10,000-year-old bones from the extinct American lion.
Contact Miami Car Credit Today
If you want to explore one of these great Miami-area attractions, make sure you’ve got the right car for your adventure. Contact us today so we can tell you all about our inventory of quality used cars. Whether you’re looking for a sporty sedan or a family SUV, our expert staff has you covered.