If the thought of a public pool brings to mind a stale rectangular hole in the ground you haven’t visited the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables. Throw away all preconceptions of a public pool; this is a pool unlike any you’ve ever seen before.
The Venetian Pool is the only swimming pool on the National Register of Historic Places, and it’s no wonder why. This former rock quarry was turned into the Venetian Pool in 1924, then called the “Venetian Casino,” and has remained the most beautiful and unique public pool in the country. Palm trees surround the Venetian Pool and the roaring waterfall drowns all sounds of traffic out – there’s not a building in sight.
This 820,000 gallon pool is filled with fresh water from an underground aquifer and surrounded by the original coral rock. There are caves and waterfalls, little nooks carved into the coral, a sandy area for staying dry and an open swimming area. During the summer the pool is refilled daily from the artesian wells and there are never any chemicals in the water.
Bring the kids. Venetian Pool is a very popular summer camp field trip and a favorite amongst young locals for birthday parties and special Saturdays. There’s a shallow kiddy area connected to the main pool by an island and stone bridge to keep beginner swimmers safe and away from the deeper waters.
Don’t miss the dark caves and waterfalls, which are located on the far side of the pool.
Looking to have a relaxing day in a little historical haven that feels removed from the busy city life? Venetian Pool is just minutes away from Downtown Coral Gables. It’s a lovely place to read a book or lounge in the sun or shade; it’s a great alternative to the beach.
Coral Gables was a fully planned city designed by George Merrick in 1925. Merrick dreamt of a place inspired by Mediterranean architecture, covered in canopies of trees where residential space and international business could both flourish. Venetian Pool was part of this plan and much of the coral, used for grand entrances to the city, in plazas and homes was taken from this quarry.
The Venetian Pool was envisioned as a community hub where locals could congregate and swim, mingle within the community or watch a synchronized swimming show. There are photos documenting this history along the entrance to the facility. Sometimes, they would drain the pool and hold a concert with a full orchestra at the bottom of the pool.
The pool has been renovated several times to keep its original charm, so don’t expect any modern models. It’s pretty much just as it was during those synchronized swimming competitions. History buffs, this is a little slice of preserved history that you can feel a part of.
There’s more to do than swim at the Venetian Pool. Take advantage of the onsite café for a snack like pizza, mozzarella sticks or the usual concession stand favorites. You can bring your own lunch (no glass containers or coolers) and have a picnic in the sandy or grassy areas. Your entrance receipt lets you leave the pool and come back as you wish, so you can leave the site for lunch and come back to catch some rays in the afternoon.
Nearby Places to Visit
Done with your day at Venetian Pool but want to soak up all of Coral Gables charm? Make a day of it. The Granada Golf Course and the Biltmore Golf Course are both just a few blocks away. Downtown Coral Gables’ Miracle Mile, a street and surrounding area lined with cafes, boutiques, bookstores, bars, and even a theater is the perfect place to wind down after a day of fun in the sun. Aragon, a quaint street paralleling Miracle Mile, is home to the Coral Gables Art Cinema and the Coral Gables Museum.
If you’re more interested in getting your heart rate up instead of down, consider a game of tennis at nearby Salvadore Tennis Center or a lesson at The Biltmore.
Rates & Rentals
The rates at Venetian Pool change seasonally. Please see the Venetian Pool Website for current adult and children rates. The pool is sometimes closed in the offseason so call ahead. But it’s always open during the busy summer months, when the cool 77 degree well water is perfect for a Miami afternoon.
You can rent the Venetian Pool for parties year round, whether it’s a children’s birthday party or a private wedding.
Visit Venetian Pool and stop to think about how many fun times have been had there since the 1920s. Take in the details of the architecture and get inspired by the surrounding nature. Imagine the beauty pageants that took place there and the concerts in the emptied pool. You’ll be part of the history too after your visit to beautiful Venetian Pool.
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