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.
Lauded by The Miami Herald’s Christine Dolen for their “high artistic standards,” Area Stage Company’s founder, John Rodaz, and its producer, Maria Rodaz, have been providing a spotlight for South Florida’s rising talent since 1989. In addition to staging Broadway hits, the group seeks out compelling scripts by Hispanic playwrights, presenting them in both Spanish and English. Now settled into the Riviera Theater, the company has expanded to include music and dance series, a professional theatre program, and an invisible supporting cast for one-man plays.
Dubbed "the newest big player in Florida's loaded MMA scene" by Sports Chat Place, the Championship Fighting Alliance pits local and international mixed martial artists against each other in intense tournaments and battles royal. During the CFA 03 main event, Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran John "Doomsday" Howard channels rage against two-faced imaginary friends as he squares off with Dennis "The Menace" Olson. Before the bigshots take big shots at one another, lightweights and featherweights brawl through the brackets in a tournament in which the last man standing in each division garners $20,000. The bouts at CFA 03 cover the exciting semifinal round of the lightweights and the quarterfinals of the featherweights, whose pounds are meticulously tested on a balance scale stacked with peacocks before every match.
Cheer on the Hurricanes as they defend their home court from the hardwood harassment of evenly matched ACC conference mainstay North Carolina. Guards Malcolm Grant and Durand Scott lead the offensive attack while sophomore center Reggie Johnson controls the lane against UNC's sticky-heeled dribbles and drives. Tickets will be redeemed at the BankUnited Center in a specific area for Groupon subscribers before tipoff.
At the Miami Fine Chocolate & Food Show, vendors and chocolate lovers alike descend upon South Florida during a celebration of life's sweeter side. An estimated 3,000 foodies visit the evening event, witnessing and tasting the creations of some of the region's and the world's most distinguished chefs.
Themed areas make navigating the event a cinch. In designated chocolate zones, gourmet retailers, bakers, and pastry chefs win the hearts of taste buds with their sweets, which range from handmade goods to organic and small-batch treats. For a more savory experience, Restaurant Row showcases the eats of more than 30 South Florida restaurants. Pairing seminars, meanwhile, discuss what edibles go well together, and live cooking demonstrations share tricks of the trade, such as how to turn a chef's hat into an oversized drinking goblet. There will also be a number of beer, wine, and spirits vendors on hand and attendees can enjoy music performances throughout the space.
Nestled within the food show, the Cigar Cellar & Lounge sponsors the Miami Smoke Affair. Cigar connoisseurs stroll the booths of 20 brands, learning from the factory reps about how the cigars are made, what they're made from, and how they should be smoked. As they meander through the space, they sip on unlimited glasses of craft beer and nibble on bites of food. They can also dig into cigar-packed goody bags in the tented smoking lounge.