Since 1938, the keepers of the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden have cultivated more than 85 acres of floral displays with a mixture of science and art. The gardens are lush with plants valuable to scientists and educators, and the tropical landscapes designed by William Lyman Phillips are like ever-evolving canvases, blooming and fading as the seasons change. Most of the palms, cycads, flowering trees, and vines were collected from the wild, but the grounds also harbor endangered plant species.
Guides give English and Spanish tram tours as well as walking tours through specific parts of the gardens, or visitors can explore the displays at their leisure, wandering through the 16,428-square foot two-level Tropical Plant Conservatory exhibit, which blooms with orchids, fruit trees, and rare palms. Cascading waterfalls punctuate the stream flowing through the 2-acre Richard H. Simons Rainforest, where visitors admire the diverse plant life and reflect on the worldwide threat of rapidly vanishing rainforests. The Wings of the Tropics exhibit features thousands of exotic butterflies with tropical fish and rare plant life. Butterflies are released twice daily and the Butterfly Metamorphosis Lab lets kids experience them up close. The water gardens combine tranquility pools with waterfalls, sculpture, and lily pads to evoke a sense of calm.
Founded as a sanctuary for flowers, birds, and their admirers, Pinecrest Gardens has flourished into a family-friendly retreat that entertains visitors with horticultural exhibits and artistic events in a scenic setting. Spanning 4.3 acres of forested wetland, the gardens harbor more than 1,000 rare and exotic plants, including a 100-year-old coco plum tree, orchids, and a banyan tree that spreads across three-fourths of an acre. Waterways full of fish snake through these plants, their inhabitants impatiently pursing their lips at visitors for handfuls of food.
Pinecrest Gardens offers other entertainment opportunities for youngsters, who can splash around in the water playground, spot wildlife at Swan Lake, or play with potbellied pigs at the petting zoo. In addition, the 500-seat outdoor Banyan Bowl offers concertgoers pristine acoustics and cool evening breezes along with complimentary views of the stars.
A well-timed dose of cupcakes can make a dull winter bright, bring a smile to the face of a child, and even play a pivotal role in diffusing tensions during an XYZ Affair. Resolve your own diplomatic crisis by appeasing your sweet tooth with today's Groupon. For $6, you get a 12-pack of mini cupcakes from LA Sweets in South Miami, a $12.84 value. There is no purchase limit, so addiction is imminent. However, there is a limit of one redemption per visit to help curb any ensuing mini-cupcake dependency.
Color Me Mine puts paintbrushes and pottery in the mitts of customers old and young. Budding Toyozo Arakawas will follow six easy steps to craft beautifully painted ceramics, first choosing a ceramic piece (around $12 and up) from Color Me Mine's selection of more than 300 items, such as a piggy bank (from $18), mug (from $15), or vase (from $25). After charting out the desired design from individual imagination or Color Me Mine's idea gallery, painters will select an underglaze from Color Me Mine's cast of more than 60 colors, applying paint with the focus of a peregrine falcon occupied by a Rockwellian spirit. Color Me Mine handles all kiln-firing work, allowing clients to take home their final products in about a week. A studio fee of $8 for children and $9 for adults covers all paints, supplies, glazing, and firing. Regardless of age or ability, customers will find Color Me Mine's ceramic-painting experience a rewarding dive into the creative process of an art form that dates back to the ziggurat-dwelling days of Mesopotamia.
The newly renovated Holiday Inn Miami Coral Gables across from University of Miami is centrally located in the heart of the upscale city of Coral Gables, on South Dixie Highway (US 1) across from the University of Miami and just ten minutes from Miami International Airport.