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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.
Conceived in 1984 by a group of Holocaust survivors in Miami, the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach is a profoundly powerful experience. Miami Beach is a perfect location for the site, as the South Florida area is home to a number of Holocaust survivors. Before its construction, objections were raised by some who believed that Miami Beach was a symbol of fun and a holocaust memorial would put a damper on that image. However, after the group of survivors pleaded their case, the memorial was finally approved. The Holocaust Memorial is a solemn reminder of crimes against humanity, as The Sculpture of Love and Anguish (the focal point of the site) can be a heart-wrenching reminder of the past. The thousands of victims' names etched into the luminous black granite Memorial Wall is one of the most emotional reads visitors are ever likely to experience. For more information and updates on events, please check the website.
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.
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.
This is the historic boyhood home of George Merrick, the founding father of Coral Gables. In the 1920s, Merrick designed many of the elegant mansions that can be found in this tree lined, upscale neighborhood. Take a guided tour through the house constructed of coral rock or wander on your own around the lovely gardens and grounds. The home contains many of Merrick's original furnishings and gives a glimpse of South Florida life during this period.
The picturesque Venetian Pool is truly a one-of-a-kind attraction. This public swimming pool, chiseled out of a coral rock quarry in the 1920s, looks like a natural rock formation, except that no natural rock formation could be so perfectly suited to human enjoyment. This historical landmark is a work of art with its gushing fountains, coral caves and waterfalls. The 820,000 gallons of cool, refreshing spring water are replaced daily. Tours are conducted here.
For years this phenomenal work of art has fascinated people from all over the world. Coral Castle's creator carved his fantasy world out of stone using nothing but homemade tools. Latvian-American sculptor Edward Leedskalnin took more than two decades to create the Coral Castle. The castle is believed to be made out of coral, however it is carved out of oolite limestone and there was no mortar used. The castle complex comprises of a sundial, a polar telescope, furniture etc. A major tourist attraction, this landmark is an example of the strenuous efforts of Leedskalnin.
Generations ago, Miccosukees, a branch of the Seminole tribe, took refuge from the Seminole wars in the depths of the Everglades marshland. At this enclave you can see a typical village of thatched-roof, open-sided huts. Tiny squares of brightly colored cloth pieced into the famous Seminole quilting patterns unique to the tribe make wonderful souvenirs. Airboat rides on flat-bottomed craft propelled by jet engines skim across the Everglades for a look at alligators. At special shows, brave wrestlers tackle the toothy reptiles to show you their lethal teeth.