It's easy to forget amid all of the concrete and neon, but Miami is an ancient place. Eons before the first modern residents began to move into the Coconut Grove cemetery, indigenous people were shielding themselves from the elements using the region's natural rock ridge and sunless tanning salons. Today, Ghost Tours Miami visits the restless spirits that have gathered here over the centuries, including the specters in the windows of the Coconut Grove Playhouse. Pirates, pilots, gangsters, and those too close to gangsters have all met their ultimate fate in this tropical cove, and the photographs and stories of spooked tour guests testify to their continued presence.
Seaplane Tours uses a fleet of Cessna 206s to whisk flightless sightseers into the sky enabling them to view Miami's perpetual realness from a rarely seen vantage point. Settle in with up to three of your closest friends for a 15-minute Miami-area sky tour and marvel at the breathtaking scenery of downtown Miami, South Beach, Star Island, and Fisher Island. Each passenger will soar equipped with a personal viewing window and headset to speak with the pilot or pretend to be working at the world's first airborne drive-thru.
A two-day pass aboard the Hop On Hop Off Tour provides riders with accessible transit and the cranial expansion of local knowledge. Throughout the route, a narration crafted by expert locals will keep you up to speed on where you are, where you are going, and where to direct your photographic and human irises. Non-English-speaking guests or bilingually curious natives can tune in to multilingual headsets along the ride. In addition to directing rubberneckers, the local good-times gurus at Gray Line lead wide-eyed wonderers into cultural hotbeds and fashionable storefronts. Riders who want to simply sink into the sun-soaked sand can browse the beach buffet out their window, hopping off when the bus reaches a towel-worthy strip.
Wanting to share their love of water activities with as many people as possible, the staff at Miami Kiteboarding teach classes in English, Italian, Spanish, French, and Russian. This dedication is also revealed by the depth and diversity of programs offered, which include International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) certification courses, boat-assisted lessons, and kids' clinics. Through years of practice and very scientific study, the staff have developed an effective method for getting beginners up on the water in about six hours of instruction. Located in scenic Crandon Park on Key Biscayne island, Miami Kiteboarding offers paddleboard rentals, which helps patrons hone balance, coordination, strength, and stamina. Customers looking for family-friendly activities can also opt to rent kayaks, paddling leisurely through the shallow lagoon located nearby. The shop, equipped with everything one needs to fly a kite while gliding on water, can outfit novices with wetsuits, water shoes, and harnesses.
Miami Beach Ocean Watersports equips patrons with all the tools they need to plan an exhilarating day on the picturesque waters of Biscayne Bay. Visitors can grab an ore, hop on a paddleboard or kayak, and glide atop the blue expanses, or satisfy their need for speed on a jet ski. The company’s customized powerboat whips inflatable banana boats back and forth with hairpin turns, and sends parasails skyward so riders can enjoy expansive views and score points with seagulls by pointing out unsuspecting picnickers.
As they observe the vibrant exhibits of aquatic life inside the Miami Seaquarium, many guests don't realize that they are walking through a movie set and a hospital. In the onsite lagoon, bottlenose dolphins swim through waters once traversed by Flipper, who filmed several television episodes and films at the venue. The Seaquarium is also recognized as a manatee critical care facility. Its staff has accomplished several historic treatments, including monitoring the conception and arrival of the first manatee born under human care and conducting the first manatee neurological surgery.
These facets of the Seaquarium—along with its many conservation efforts, educational programs, and shows—underscore a united commitment to wildlife consciousness. The animal attractions enable visitors to witness the allure and fragility of oceanic fauna up close, whether they are petting the back of a stingray or washing a dress shirt on the rough back of an 8-foot nile crocodile. Special encounters decrease the distance even further, sending patrons on underwater Sea Treks through the reef display or helping them to lead marine-mammal training routines.
It's hard to pinpoint the biggest personality inside the Seaquarium tanks, but Lolita the killer whale—who performs daily alongside pacific white-sided dolphins—claims the title of heaviest, period. On the other end of the scale, macaws and cockatiels perch around the Tropical Wings section of the park, and endangered sea turtles lounge at Discovery Bay. Elsewhere, a watery playground and three-story ropes course keep legs from growing too wobbly after a trip to Shark Channel or a smooch from a sea lion.