By: Shayne Benowitz
Looking for an unexpected and unique experience during your time in Miami? Here are eight of the craziest and most adventurous activities around.
1. Hold a Baby Alligator
One of the most unique attractions in Miami is the 1.5 million acres of subtropical wetlands known as Everglades National Park.
Also called the Sea of Grass, The Everglades is one of the United States’ most unique ecosystems, comprised of hardwood hammocks and saltwater marshes. This creates the perfect environment for -- you guessed it -- alligators.
Head to Miccosukee Indian Village, Everglades Alligator Farm or Everglades Safari Park and see if you have the guts to hold a gator in your bare hands. Don’t forget to take a picture!
2. Eat a Bowl of Dead Crickets
There’s a lot of buzz happening on the Upper East Side of Biscayne Boulevard now that Vagabond Hotel & Restaurant has opened. This corridor is famed for its Miami Modern motels built in the 1950s. Having been restored to its original glory, the property caters to a trendy, in-the-know clientele.
Whether you check-in to the funky hotel with throwback design flourishes reminiscent of the Jetsons or simply swing by for dinner, a visit to this space-aged marvel is highly recommended.
Just be prepared to get a little more than you bargained for when the waitress drops a bowl of peanuts at your table. They’ve been prepared with crickets! Yes, actual smoky, salty, formerly alive crickets!
Other standout dishes by the young, ambitious chef Alex Chang are the dry-aged burger (an ooey-gooey, savory, melt-in-your-mouth extravaganza), ricotta gnocchi and the hamachi tartare. It’s the perfect destination for adventurous foodies with an appreciation for vintage architecture.
3. Sail to Bimini and Back in Just One Day
Who knew you could spend the day in the Bahamas and still be back in Miami in time to hit the clubs? It’s possible when you set sail aboard Resorts World Bimini’s SuperFast ship to Bimini, just 50 miles east of Miami.
In a matter of hours you’ll be on the white sand beaches of this legendary Bahamian island where Hemingway once battled sailfish and Martin Luther King Jr. retreated to write his “I Have a Dream” speech. Aboard the SuperFast, enjoy a live action casino, multiple bars and restaurants and all-encompassing views of the deep blue sea.
4. Fly to New Heights on Biscayne Bay
Ever dreamed of joining the circus? Here’s your chance. The Flying Trapeze School offers classes to those who want to soar through the air like the professionals.
Located near the waterfront in downtown’s Bayfront Park, the school offers the “Try n’Fly” (one turn on the flying trapeze to give it a whirl) and the “Flying Trapeze Class (focusing on teaching the essentials and tricks of the art). For the hardcore enthusiasts the “Hold Your Set!” program is by invitation only and is reserved for the serious high flyers.
5. Fire an Automatic Weapon in the City
You wouldn’t think the two go hand in hand -- a shooting range and Miami’s preeminent arts neighborhood. But believe it or not, there’s a place in Wynwood where you can fire automatic weapons and it’s totally legal.
Enter Lock & Load, a 14,000-square foot facility with 24 firing lanes and 25 different varieties of firearms to choose from. Get one-on-one professional guidance as you fire away in a safe and controlled environment.
6. Go Full Throttle On the Water
Hop aboard one of Aqua-Jet’s Flyboards or strap on the Jetpack R200X and use the power of water to propel you 30 feet above the water. All you need is about 15 minutes of flight training before you can hit the waves for four hours at full throttle.
Head to Jungle Island and fly directly off a private beach or set sail on a luxury yacht and explore the waters of Biscayne Bay. Not for the faint of heart, there are a few height and weight restrictions—you must be between five and six and a half feet tall, as well as weigh between 100 and 330 pounds.
7. Drink Wine Made From Tropical Fruit
In Miami, we don’t limit our wine consumption to only grape varieties. We take full advantage of the subtropical flora at our fingertips to create one-of-a-kind wine made from star fruit, mangos, lychee and even avocado. And we do this at Schnebly Redlands Winery & Brewery in Miami’s countryside.
Peter Schnebly has been producing such wines since 2004 and a visit to his winery is a fun day trip. He added brewmaster to his repertoire in 2012, so you can also taste microbrews made with ingredients like coconut and key lime at his Miami Brewing Co. -- all under the same roof.
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