By: Kara Franker
Take a dip in the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables.
A beautiful oasis inspired by Mediterranean architecture, the Venetian Pool is a unique part of Miami’s history. A sight to behold, you’ll find swaying palm trees, coral rock formations, whimsical waterfalls and interesting caves to explore. The Venetian Pool is the only swimming pool on the National Register of Historic Places. This former rock quarry was turned into the Venetian Pool in 1924. Large enough to hold 820,000 gallons of fresh water from an underground aquifer, the pool draws water from artesian wells in the summer. And it’s the perfect place to cool off and go for a swim.
Historic real estate developer, George Merrick, designed and built the city of Coral Gables. He was inspired by the Mediterranean and envisioned towering trees enveloping an idyllic neighborhood with a small-town vibe. Part of his master plan, the Venetian Pool was meant to be a local’s hangout where residents could gather and mingle.
The location of the Venetian Pool was originally a limestone rock quarry, but Merrick transformed it into the then “Venetian Casino” in 1924. It was a popular destination for A-list visitors and celebrities. In 1989, artist Denman Fink and architect Phineas Paist transformed the casino into the Venetian Pool.
Today visitors to the pool can soak up the history through a series of pictures hanging at the entry way. Adding to its allure, the Venetian Pool has since earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, making it the only swimming pool in the nation with such an esteemed and iconic reputation.
General Visitor Information
The Venetian Pool is located at 2701 De Soto Blvd., Coral Gables, FL 33134. Non-resident daily admission rates are $13 per adult and $8 for children ages three to 12. Coral Gables residents score entry for just $5.50 per adult and $4.50 per child. Hours of operation vary depending on the day and season, so be sure to check coralgables.com.
In general, the Venetian Pool is closed on major holidays including New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. And sometimes the pool is closed during the off season.
The pool is also available for special events like birthday parties, weddings and corporate events.
Programs and Classes
The Venetian Pool has plenty of programs and classes for locals and visitors alike. Adult and child swim classes are available, the latter of which is taught by volunteers of the Venetian Aquatic Club who have previously taught American Red Cross lessons. There are six different levels of the class children can take, each of which focus on a different stroke and skill set.
The Community Lifeguard Certification Course, designed for swimmers who are 16+ years old, can turn you into a certified lifeguard in just one week. This class teaches valuable lifesaving skills and is led by the pool’s experience lifeguard instructors.
Similarly, Guard Start, a lifeguard aid course, is an advanced course that teaches water safety through the eyes of a lifeguard, and even certifies attendees in CPR, AED and First Aid management.
Half- and full-day summer camps are also available. The Junior Lifeguarding Full Day Summer Camp teaches water safety, CPR, and First Aid and water rescue skills for kids of all ages, all while making sure they have fun. The Fun in the Sun Half Day Camp lets kids ages 7 to 12 play games and hangout at Venetian pool, under the guidance of camp supervisors and pool staff.
What to Do Nearby
Grab a slice of pizza, some mozzarella sticks or a soda at the pool’s onsite café. When you need a break from the sun, go shopping on Miracle Mile, visit the Coral Gables Art Cinema or check out the Coral Gables Museum.
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