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Historical Miami Landmarks, Points of Interest, and Local Cultural
Fun things to do & see in Miami and South Florida.
Miami Beach Fairchild Botanical Gardens:
Fairchild Botanical Gardens are a popular destination for frequent visitors and tourists to Miami Beach. It is also one of the most unique and impressive botanical gardens in the world. The gardens are cover an area of over 2.6 square miles of vegetation and wildlife. Originally commissioned in 1962, the gardens with visitors a unique opportunity to see and learn about many of the plants and flowers that are common to Florida and other tropical regions around the globe. The gardens are a well-planned blend of art and science. The colorful sights, distant sounds, and sweet aromas, are a pleasant treat for the senses, the environment will surely quickly transcend your conscience into a blissful state of serenity. The gardens are vast as they are varied, and just one visit will leave you craving and planning for your next retreat. The lush gardens include Florida plants and trees such as, bromeliads, palms, orchids, and many more. In 1962, the gardens received a well-deserved renovation by the prominent architect, Ramond Jungles. This renovation included a new plant nursery, a Japanese garden, newly stocked ponds, and even an events plaza. There's no hurry to leave, you can stay as long as you like, giving you plan your visit within normal operating hours. Although you might be tempted to pitch a tent, I'm afraid that just won't be possible, but it's an interesting thought nonetheless. Your experience is greatly enhanced by presence of night time accent lights are the gardens, giving the entire area mystical aura. The gardens are available for private events, but is mostly popular for celebrating weddings. Originally, Fairchild Botanical Gardens operated as a city park, but was later transformed to its present condition. The gardens also host a plethora of social events such as tea time sittings, and the likes of. It's the kind of place you just don't want to leave right away, so a reading book is recommended to pass the tranquil time along.
Manny Miami Tip: You can take the South Beach Local Bus Northbound for only twenty-five cents!
Miami Freedom Tower Downtown:
The Miami Freedom tower was built in 1925 and was the design was inspired by the Giralda Tower, part of a 13th-century Muslim mosque in Seville, Spain. In 1567, a Jesuit brother took Tequesta Indians from the Miami River to Seville's cathedral, where they were baptized. They were subsequently brought back from Spain as the first Tequesta Indian Catholics. The Freedom Tower in Miami was built approximately 200 years after this historical milestone. The Freedom tower in Miami was originally by and used as the headquarters for the Miami Herald newspaper. Nonetheless, the government subsequently leased the building and used it to house the flood of Cuban exiles between 1962 and 1974. Because the builder served in the assistance of more than 200,000 Cuban exiles, it subsequently became know as the building of liberation for Cuban immigrant and was formally named as the "Freedom Tower." As these exiles came to Miami, they were registered in the first floor of the tower, and later escorted throughout the tower. They were than giving a medical check-up, cheese, and money, as many of the new immigrants to Miami were virtually penniless. These refugees had no means of transportation other than their two own legs, and logically took up homes close by in what is now known as Little Havana. These new citizens would return to the Freedom tower for continued assistance as often as once per week. By 1955, Miami boasted a population of over one million people. Soon the demographics of Miami would forever be changed as more, and more Cubans arrived daily. In fact, it precisely this wave of immigration had an immense positive impact on the cities economy. Furthermore, the inflow of Cubans into Miami would define the culture and history in such a way that is unprecedented in Miami's history. To this day, more of Miami's people speak Spanish than they do English. The influx of new blood into Miami transformed what was already a geographically important landmark, into a thriving and vibrant international city. Regrettably, the tower was closed in 1974 as the need for the building as a sanctuary for newly arriving immigrants declined. The consequences of the closing would be devastating to the building, as it became home to squatters and the vagrants alike. It was not until 1997, that the very same people the tower had so graciously served, over the years, would come to the rescue of this historically important cultural monument to our nation. In the year 1997, after years of neglect and decay, a successful Cuban-American by the name of Jorge Mas Canosa bought the building for $4.1 million dollars and began the tedious process of restoring the Freedom Tower to its original slender and glory. Today, the Freedom Tower serves as testimony to the trials, perseverance, and loyalty of the Cuban people in our great country. The first floor now serves a public museum exhibiting such things as boat lifts, and life in pre-and post- Castro Cuba as well the advances made by Cuban Americans in this country. Additionally, there is a library which boasts one of the largest and richest sources of literature on the tribulations and challenges endured by a people which came to our country with so little, and were able to create and give back so much more. The old offices of the newspaper have been converted and service as the headquarters for the Cuban American National Foundation.
Did you know? The cupola of the Freedom Tower in Miami was housed with a beacon light, as it was once used as a light tower by boats navigating nearby waters.
Manny Miami Tip: You can take the C-Bus Southbound from Washington Avenue for $2.50
Miami Holocaust Memorial:
The Miami Holocaust Memorial was dedicated in February of 1990, after six years of convincing and preparation. A small group of Florida Holocaust survivors formed the Holocaust Memorial Committee in 1984, in the hopes of making their dream of the Miami Holocaust Memorial a reality. Many people rejected the idea of the memorial due to it not fitting in with the fun, light-hearted vibe of the rest of the city. It took over 500 Holocaust survivors bombarding a city meeting to convince the City Commission to build the memorial. It’s designer Kenneth Treister at first received backlash for his design of the memorial, people thought his literal and heart-wrenching portrayal of the Holocaust was too much for the city. The breathtaking 30-foot hand centering the memorial chillingly displays dozens of Holocaust survivors clinging for life. Experiencing these shrill faces is a truly humbling experience, as the statue shows us the reality of the pain that was suffered in the Holocaust. Next to the statue lies the ever-growing Holocaust survivor dedication wall, which contains the names of thousands of Holocaust survivors. The wall serves as a place to pay respect to the thousands of victims that died in the Holocaust.
Manny Miami Tip: You can take the South Beach Local Bus North-bound for only twenty-five cents!
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens of Miami:
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in MiamiVizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a breath of fresh air in the midst of a busy city. It was once the home of James Deering, vice president of the agricultural machinery imperium Deering Harvester Company. The estate and property began construction in 1910 and did not finish until 1922. Deering resided winters in the Vizcaya until his death in 1925, he passed before the full completion of the villa however. The property was left to his nieces, who relinquished it to the city to be made into a museum. The integrity of the villa has been maintained throughout the years, keeping Deering's original vision intact. Deering had collected thousands of pieces of art and antiques, most of which still remain in the museum today. The gardens have also been beautifully maintained and are viewed as some of the greatest in the country. They were originally designed by Colombian Italian architect Diego Suarez. The 50 acres of gardens incredibly blend Italian and French Renaissance styles. Throughout the gardens hundreds of pieces of art can also be found. Antique statues and vases can be viewed amongst the foliage while walking through the gardens.
Venetian Pool in Coral Gables, Downtown Miami:
The Venetian pool in Coral Gables was first opened in 1923. Rather than having been built, the pool encompasses an already formed coral quarry. Each day the pool is naturally drained and filled by an underwater aquifer. Behind the beautiful waters sits two picturesque towers and a bridge aiding in the Mediterranean vibe of the pool. Created under the vision of developer George Edgar Merrick, the Venetian pool attracts thousands of people from all around the world yearly. Merrick envisioned all of Coral Gables to be encompassed in a Mediterranean style, which can be seen in the limestone built into the homes and surrounding buildings. Since its opening the pool has undergone two renovations, but still maintains the same structure and history it did the day it opened. The pool is suitable for all ages as it ranges from eight feet in depth to the two foot kids pool. It has served its community of Coral Gables in providing swimming lessons, lifeguard classes, and even a day for swimmers to bring their dogs to the pool. Not only does the Venetian pool provide a beautiful day in the sun, but it has also become one of Miami’s most popular wedding destinations. The scenery surrounding the pool provides a grand backdrop for any event.
Biltmore Hotel in Miami:
Built in 1926 the Biltmore Hotel has been a long time historically important landmark in Miami. It's founder was George E. Merrick, who teamed up with John McEntee Bowman to build this Miami gem. The building has a rich history and has housed various business ventures throughout its existence. The hotel even served as a hospital during World War II, teaming with doctors, nurses, and other essential personnel in order to treat wounded soldiers. It also served as the medical school for the University of Miami. Rich in history and constructed with an eloquent facade and lush gardens, the hotel is amongst the most recognized and cherished hotels in the world. The hotel pool was quite some time the largest pool in the world. The Biltmore also has served a favorite meeting place for politicians, businessmen, as well as famous celebrities. The pool is lined with roman statues that have withstood the time since the hotel's completion. No trip to Miami is complete without a Miami tour is this monumental tribute to the essence of beauty. Consequently, it would come as no surprise when the hotel was named a National Historical Landmark in 1996. The hotel sits on a plush 18 hole golf course.