Parks aren't just for picnics anymore!
Of course you can sit back and enjoy some bites on a blanket with friends and loved ones while enjoying the beautiful Miami views, but parks are also great places to connect with friends and the community, try new outdoorsie activities, and get a great workout! Read Examiner.com's Free resources for healthy living: Miami's public parks article about great ways to "Park It" HERE - and check out some great parks while in Miami below!
A.D. "Doug" Barnes Park and "Sense of Wonder Nature Center"
Address: 3701 SW 72nd Ave., Miami
Phone: 305-666-5883 (park)/ 305-662-4124 (nature center)
Hours: sunrise - sunset
Amenities: picnic tables, barbecue grills, swimming pool, walking trails, bike paths, baseball/softball field, basketball court, campsites
With your basic park features, such as picnic tables, barbecue grills, a heated swimming pool, and sports fields, Doug Barnes Park also has the Sense of Wonder Nature Center, a 15-acre wildlife sanctuary teeming with migrating birds and other wildlife. There are free nature study programs for kids and adults! You can also get up close and personal with the reptiles owned by the Miami-Dade Fire Department's Anti-Venom unit. The park also provides easy access for people with disabilities. A great spot for eco-tours, hiking, camping and outdoor engagements!
Alice C. Wainwright Park
Address: 2845 Brickell Avenue
Hours: sunrise - sunset
Amenities: picnic shelters, barbecue grills, walking trails, basketball court
Note:Parking can be tricky, but located in the gorgeous streets near Viszcaya, this park has some of the last remaining public views of Biscayne Bay! Picnick away near the hardwood hammocks and enjoy the beautiful skyline!
Amelia Earhart Park
Address: 401 E. 65th St., Hialeah
Admission: Free Monday-Friday; $5 per vehicle on weekends; Bark Park - free
Amenities: picnic shelters, barbecue grills, concession stand, walking trails, bike path, fishing, boat rental, volleyball, four soccer fields
A unique park that includes a petting zoo! Visitors can sample farm life in the Demonstration Shed, where you can learn to milk a cow, shear a sheep, or shoe a horse! Explore the crop field filled with vegetables and sunflowers, or even go fishing! Bark Park boasts space for both large and small dogs, washing and grooming areas, doggy swimming pools and obstacle courses. Still not enough? Get active with bike trails, soccer fields, and sailing lessons, then have some lunch at the picnic areas!
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Address: 1200 S. Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne
Hours: 8a.m. to sundown
Admission: $1.50 toll to access Key Biscayne, pedestrians and bicyclists $2, vehicle with 1 person $4, vehicle with up to 8 people $8.
Amenities: picnic shelters, barbecue grills, concession stand, walking trails, bike path, fishing, boat rental, showers
With nature paths, nature paths, picnic pavilions, play areas and 1.25 miles of soft beach at the foot of the oldest standing structure in the county, the Cape Florida Lighthouse, built in 1825. Tours available to see the keeper's cottage for free at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., Thursdays through Mondays – but it’s important call ahead and reserve your spot!
Biscayne National Park
Address: 9700 SW 328th St., Homestead
Hours: 24hrs/day (Water portion), 9am-5pm (Dante Fascell Visitor Center), 7am-5:30 pm (park headquarters)
Admission: free entrance
Camping on Elliott Key and Boca Chita Key: $10/night
Overnight docking: $15/night
Glass-bottom boat trip (10am-1pm): adults $24.45, children under 12 $16.45, seniors $19.45
Coral reef snorkeling trip (1:30-4:30pm): adults $35.00, children under 12 $29.95
Bay snorkeling trip (1:30-4:30pm) $25.95
Scuba diving (8:30am-1pm Sat-Sun): $54
Amenities: barbecue grills, walking trails, fishing, campsites, showers
Being America's "first underwater park" is a snorkler's paradise, a whopping 95 percent of this park is underwater! Try one of the snorkeling excursions among the coral reefs, or rent equipment for scuba trips, available on weekends (if you’re a certified diver!). There are a bunch of activities for those who want to stay dry as well! Take a three-hour glass-bottom boat tour to see dolphins, tropical fish and sea turtles cavorting near the coral reefs for example
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Address: 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables
Web site: www.fairchildgarden.org
Admission prices: adults $20, seniors $15, children 6-17 $10, children under 5 free.
Take an afternoon stroll through Windows to the Tropics, a large conservatory in which rare palms, ferns and tropical plants thrive year-round. Explore the Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion which showcases exotic fruits from around the world. Also enjoy the International Mango Festival, where visitors can sample a variety of exotic mangos, purchase mango trees, and even try mango-inspired dishes!
Address: 1000 12th St., Miami Beach
Amenities: concession stand, swimming pool, walking trails, baseball/softball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, showers
Right in the heart of the Deco District, this park is a great place for pick up baseball games, tennis lessons, friendly dog parks, and the occasional movie under the night’s sky!
Fruit and Spice Park
Address: 24801 SW 187th Ave., Homestead
Hours: 10am-5pm daily, guided tours at 11am, 1:30pm, and 3pm
Admission: adults $5, children 6-12 $1.50, children under 6 free
Amenities: gardens, festivals, gift shop
35 acres of exotic fruit, herbs and spices is the extremely inviting aspect of this park! Tour the herb and vegetable gardens and groves to see fruit-bearing plants from around the world, including more than 27 types of mangoes, 40 different kinds of grapes and 80 varieties of banana! If you’re lucky enough to grab a piece of fallen fruit, enjoy it!
Address: 9610 Old Cutler Road, Miami
Hours: sunrise - sunset
Admission: $4 per vehicle, $10 per boat
Amenities: picnic shelters, barbecue grills, concession stand, pool, walking trails, bike path, fishing, showers
A place for boaters for sure! Visitors can dock their dinghy in tropical hammocks or take classes at the sailing school. No boat? No worries! You can still enjoy the water in the park's man-made atoll pool. There’s also Red Fish Grill for eating after a long day on the water!
Maximo Gomez Park
Address: 801 SW 15th Ave., Miami
Hours: 7:30am - 9pm
Amenities: tables for dominoes, chess and checkers
This famous neighborhood site and tourist attraction on Calle Ocho is one of the most vibrant spots in Little Havana. Named after a Cuban revolutionary war hero, this spot is now referred to as “Domino Park” by locals, because of all the Cuban men and woman spending hours playing the game on tables at the park!
Oleta River State Park
Address: 3400 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach
Admission: vehicle (one person) $3, vehicle (2-8 people) $5, pedestrians/bicyclists $1
Amenities: picnic shelters, barbecue grills, concession stand, bike path, fishing, volleyball, showers
Oleta River is Florida's largest urban park with more than 1,000 acres. With dolphin or manatee encounters, this mangrove lined oasis is a kayaker’s dream! Even including butterfly garden, this park has something for everyone to enjoy.
Address: 11000 Red Road, Pinecrest
Hours: 8am-sunset daily
Amenities: petting zoo, botanic gardens, concession stand, water park, playground, gift shop, library (planned), exhibits
Playgrounds, petting zoos, miniature water parks, oh my! Also including a swan-filled lake, Pinecrest Gardens is a favorite families in South Miami-Dade. Take a walk and explore the botanic and butterfly gardens or trail along the mock rivers and waterfalls.
South Pointe Park
Address: 1 Wasington Ave., Miami Beach
Hours: No set hours
Parking: meters; $2 for residents
Amenities: open play space, picnic shelters and pavilions
At the very southern tip, this park has a bunch of open air, free space, and canine-friendly atmosphere. Sunday evening lend attraction as you can watch the passing ships and setting sun. If you’re looking for a little more excitement and your stomach is rumbling- Smith & Wollensky serves up al fresco dinner and wine, with breath-taking views to boot!
Address: 7900 SW 40 St., Miami
Amenities: playground, tennis, raquetball, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, boxing, equestrian center, biking, running, fishing, fitness court
An athelete’s heaven-with football, basketball, tennis and baseball facilities. Not into sports? This park also has fishing and a fitness course. Love horses? Tropical Park also has an equestrian center, which hosts more than forty horse shows annually! Or just sit back and watch others sweat it up- Tropical Park Stadium is home to both Miami FC professional soccer and the nationally recognized Metro-Dade Track Club.
Look into even more parks, open spaces, and recreational sites at http://www.miamidade.gov/parks/home.asp!
In New York: Outdoor Adult Playgrounds!
New York Introduces a Playground...for adults! In an attempt to push outdoor activites for the community. New York City is testing its first such playground in Macombs Dam Park in the Bronx. With plans to bring as many as two dozen more to neighborhoods across the five boroughs in the next 18 months, these outdoor workout facilities are going to be taking the North by storm!
The goal is to lure people off their couches and into the outdoors with specially designed playground equipment — in grown-up shades like forest green and beige — that recall the joy of childhood play while tightening up flabby abs, thighs and triceps.
You won't find any swings, slides, or monkey bars here, however they are built by the same manufacturers as children's playgrounds. These outside gyms allow adults to get up and outside, breathe in the fresh air, and get in a great work out under the sun or stars. Read the full article about these adult "play grounds" by the NYtimes.com Winnie Hu here!