Miami’s not just about sun and sand. A number of unique and unexpected Miami attractions offer a break from sun-worship, or in the event of inclement weather, something to do while waiting out the rain.
Butterfly World, the biggest butterfly house in the hemisphere, has 10 acres of botanical gardens, waterfalls & aviaries with over 150 species and 5,000 butterflies on display. The butterflies rub shoulders with brilliant birds such as the Lorikeet, Blue Cheeked Cordon Bleu and Yellow Legged Honeycreeper. 3600 W Sample Rd. Coconut Creek, FL (954 977-4400) 9-5 Monday-Saturday; 11-5 Sunday. No Entrance after 4:00 p.m. www.butterflyworld.com.
The Duck is a “Hydra Terra,” a virtually unsinkable amphibious vehicle. The Duck will take you by land to Miami & Miami Beach attractions such as South Beach, the Art Deco District, Fisher Island, Bayside, then dip into Biscayne Bay for glimpses at the Homes of the Rich & Famous on Millionaire’s Row & Star Island. Life jackets & preservers available on board, restrooms are not. 1665 Washington Avenue Miami Beach, FL (1-877-DUCK-TIX) www.ducktoursmiami.com
Check out 60 acres of Botanical Gardens, Aviaries, & Wildlife Sanctuaries at Flamingo Gardens. Start with the green-themed Xeriscape Garden then see the Butterfly & Hummingbird Gardens. The Tropical Plant House boasts orchids galore. Wander Alligator Lagoon and get close Florida’s native birds & reptiles. Take a narrated tram tour through tropical rainforest. Gardens & Galaxies children’s tour includes a Buehler Planetarium visit and tasty lunch. 3750 S Flamingo Rd. Davie, FL (954 473-2955) OPEN 7 DAYS 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. www.flamingogardens.org
Originally called “Parrot Jungle” when it opened in 1936, Jungle Island hosts 1,100 tropical birds & 2,000 varieties of plants and flowers. Enjoy a Jungle Book of beasts like tigers, leopards, orangutans and chimpanzees. Feed the pink flamingos in the park. Adult $32.95 Senior $30.95 Child $24.95. 2 and under are Free. 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail Miami, Florida 365 days a year 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. www.jungleisland.com
Miami Seaquarium offers killer whales, sharks, manatees and dolphins for your spectating pleasure. Meet “Salty” the frisky sea lion at the Golden Dome. Relax by serene aquariums filled with Atlantic and Caribbean fish. 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway. Key Biscayne, FL. (305 361-5705). OPEN 7 DAYS 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Last show at 2:30 p.m. www.miamiseaquarium.com
MIAMI HOTELS WE LOVE
The Acqualina Resort and Spa on the Beach offers 5 star luxury in the exclusive area of Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. Not only is it close to some of our attractions listed above, for two consecutive years, this beachfront hotel is the recipient of AAA’s coveted Five Diamond Resort Award. Those who want to experience Miami like a native Floridian rather than a tourist, will love the opportunity to stay in the more tranquil Sunny Isles Beach neighborhood.
The Hilton Bentley is a luxurious all-suite beachfront boutique hotel with a coastal attitude and an elegantly intimate ambience. Situated on Ocean Drive and just one mile from Jackie Gleason Theater and Lincoln Road, this 4 star luxury oceanfront hotel offers a premier South Beach location, contemporary spacious accommodations and an atmosphere of pure indulgence. Enjoy a complimentary value package when you book with us, which includes beach lounge chairs, towers, free wifi, and more!
The Mandarin Oriental Miami is located on the southern tip of Brickell Key, a 44-acre man-made island separated from downtown Miami via a pedestrian-friendly bridge. This elegant waterfront hotel affords 360-degree views of downtown Miami, South Beach and the ocean from its prestigious location at the mouth of the Miami River. This tranquil hideaway across Biscayne Bay is convenient to the pulsating energy of South Beach, Coconut Grove and Mary Brickell Village.