Located in the heart of the city, Watson Island sometimes feels like a tropical paradise—complete with a leopard lurking in the undergrowth. Luckily, this jungle cat is safely within the confines of Jungle Island, which has inhabited the isle for more than a decade. And yet the story of this themed park, which houses everything from exotic birds and primates to rare plants and trees, began more than 75 years ago.
Jungle Island got its start in 1936 as Parrot Jungle, a small South Miami roadside attraction where the exotic birds could soar uncaged. In the following decades, the aviary hosted a wide array of noteworthy occupants, including Pinky—a high-wire bicycle-riding cockatoo—and several pink flamingos that appeared in the opening credits of Miami Vice. When Jungle Island's current owners purchased the company in 1988, they introduced new mammals and reptiles—but after Hurricane Andrew struck in 1992, they made plans to relocate. They settled on Watson Island, and in 2003, finished construction of the animal habitats and 18 acres of tropical gardens, renaming it Jungle Island.
Jungle Island is currently home to rare white tigers and a white lion, a high-wire bicycle-riding cockatoo, one of the only tame cassowaries in the world, a set of orangutan twins, a rare occurrence. Animal shows and presentations allow visitor to experience Jungle Island's residents in many ways, and a VIP safari tour is available for the very curious. Jungle Island's latest addition is a floating aqua park.
Dance Now! Miami returns with two encore performances on the adult-themed interpretation of Luigi Pirandello's 1921 play, Six Characters in Search of an Author. In the original play, six fictional characters unravel the veil of reality as they confront a stage troupe about their own incomplete portrayal. The interaction breaks down the relationships involving authors, their creations, and the role of theater performers in bringing stories to life. Scored by Federico Bonacossa for violin and two guitars, original choreography from artistic directors Diego Salterini and Hannah Baumgarten expands on the play's themes of identity and the ways we play-act ourselves, pushing the meta-envelope to the P.O. box of self-awareness without uttering a single word.
When the Colony Theatre opened in 1935, as part of Paramount Pictures' movie-theater chain, it signaled a new era in Miami Beach entertainment. Its Art Deco style gave life and panache to the films that lit its silver screen and the performers who took its stage. Now, more than three quarters of a century later, the theater remains a mainstay of the area's cultural landscape, having recently completed a $6.5 million restoration to bring that original glory back. Apart from concerts, the venue hosts dance performances, standup comedy, film screenings, and ushering tournaments.
• For $58, you get a ticket for seating in sections 110–115, rows 29–34 (a $99.50 value before fees, or up to a $115.75 value online, including all Ticketmaster fees). • For $84, you get a ticket for seating in sections 105, 107–108, 117, or 120, rows 20–29 (a $149.50 value before fees, or up to a $168.20 value online, including all Ticketmaster fees).
In support of her high-decibel new album, Rihanna kicks off her hotly anticipated LOUD tour with emphatic gusto and a sizzling roster of special guests. Like an art show at a sundae bar, the LOUD tour floods the senses, enchanting audiences with lavishly designed sets, myriad costume changes, move-busting dancers, and Rihanna's songbook of Grammy magnets. Crooner Cee Lo Green augments the songful offerings with his own vocal talents, and Roc Nation rapper and rhythm scientist J. Cole further helps resuscitate ear drums traumatized by the outside world's blaring car horns and shrill howler monkeys.