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This landmark building located in the center of Miami is especially important to Cuban residents. During the 1960s, it was the processing center for nearly half a million Cuban refugees. Designed by George A Fuller, Schultze, & Weaver the Freedom Tower was established in 1925. Prior to its stint as a Cuban refugee center, the Freedom Tower housed the Miami News. The Freedom Tower is home to MDC Museum of Art + Design. Visitors to the landmark can peruse beautiful artworks exhibited at the museum.
In the heart of Miami lies a charming neighborhood which can safely be called a dainty replica of Cuba. A well-known landmark in Miami, the neighborhood started being called Little Havana in the 1960s when scores of Cuban immigrants began to call the area home. Here, every turn of the winding street reveals a wealth of boutiques, cigar shops and authentic Cuban eateries splashed in vibrant greens, yellows and tangerines. Accentuated by the meandering Miami River, Little Havana is a stunning hive of cultural and communal activities, which essentially take place in Calle Ocho. Further dotted with parks (like the Domino Park) and several other attractions like the Tower Theater and the Walk of Fame honoring Cubans like Celia Cruz and Gloria Estefan, this quaint neighborhood is also a hub of musical performances, cultural fairs and major events like the Calle Ocho Festival. Havana's exuberant old-world charm comes alive in all its glory at this neighborhood which bears a stirring testimony to its ambitious Cuban inhabitants.
An exquisite estate that once belonged to businessman James Deering, the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is a lavish 20th-century complex featuring Italian Renaissance gardens, historic structures, and the main villa itself. Part of the estate is also composed of a native woodland landscape. The museum at the villa takes visitors back in time and lets one explore the beautiful architecture, European furnishings and other details of its past. Over the years, this stately villa has appeared as a backdrop for several Hollywood movies and soap operas, including Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Iron Man 3, and Days of Our Lives.
Included in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park is an important landmark. Originally a "colored-only" park during the 1950s, this park was renovated and reopened to all during 2008 after a period of closure. The various sites and venues include a picnic pavilion, playground, toy train for kids, a carousel and many other fun activities. Its picturesque setting combined with modern facilities make it an ideal venue for hosting private events, picnics and parties.
Located in Miami Beach's South Beach, Ocean Drive is quintessential Miami at its finest. Besides being the most picturesque part of the city, this famous stretch of road is the cultural hub of Miami. Trendy hotels, upscale eateries, and beautiful people fill the sidewalks amidst the mass of tourists. Art galleries and clothing boutiques thrive here, offering visitors an insight into one of the worlds foremost fashion and art centers. Ocean Drive includes over 800 preserved and protected Art Deco Buildings which have put South Beach on the map the world over.
Unlike many of South Florida's state parks, Barnacle State Historic Park is centrally-located and easily accessible by automobile. Just off the main street in trendy Coconut Grove, this five-acre (2.02 hectare) historic site offers visitors a glimpse into a past full of beauty and luxury. This stately structure was originally the home of Ralph Middleton Munroe, a landowner and yacht enthusiast who hailed from New York. Before and after Munroe's passing, measures were taken to assure that the property reflected South Florida's culture and blossoming heritage. Guests can tour Munroe's home or explore the lush land outside. The park also offers ample amenities for wildlife watching and picnicking.
Built in 1825, this 95-foot (28.95-meter) lighthouse is the oldest building in south Florida. It originally guided sailors through the dangerous waters along the Straits of Florida. Although it was removed from service many times during various wars, it has weathered the years extraordinarily well. The US Coast Guard has used it as a navigational device for the past 25 years. The lighthouse is part of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Guests can take guided tours or explore the Cape Florida Lighthouse by themselves.
Spanish Monastery was originally constructed in 1141 in Segovia, Spain and brought to America in pieces by William Randolph Hearst to be rebuilt stone by stone. It is the oldest building in the western hemisphere. Now officially named the Ancient Monastery St. Bernard de Clairvaux, the building serves as an historical landmark, an Episcopal church with 200 active members and a tourist attraction. The building is available for weddings, receptions and parties.
From the Tequesta Indians to the pioneers of the 1890s to Deering himself, this area of Cutler was a prime location for settlement. Just off of Biscayne Bay, this unique natural setting is home to many rare plants, tropical hammocks and endangered land forests. Today, you can tour the historic Stone House and the Richmond Cottage or explore the areas at the Environmental Center museum.
Zoo Miami is one of the oldest and largest zoos in the entire state of Florida. The zoo is what is called a "free-range zoo," where none of the animals are caged. Due to its tropical climate, it is an ideal menagerie for observing animals from warmer areas of the world like Australia and Africa. Visit all kinds of animals, from natives like Caimans, to those from the Southern Hemisphere like the Tree Kangaroo. The zoo also has several cafes and concession stands scattered throughout so visitors are refreshed.