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By: Jennifer Agress

Drive about 35 miles south from Downtown Miami, deep into South Dade, and you’ll find yourself in Homestead and Florida City. This tranquil part of Greater Miami & Miami Beach is full of natural landscapes, farmland, historic sites and entertainment for the whole family.

Tower at Coral Castle
Learn about the love story that inspired Coral Castle

Coral Castle

Visit Coral Castle Museum and stand baffled amid the giant stone structures, just as scientists, engineers and scholars(not to mention every other visitor) have done before you. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, this mystifying attraction was built by Latvian-born Ed Leedskalnin, who began constructing it in 1923 as a monument to his lost love, Agnes. While most people would write a sappy letter or send flowers, Ed spent 28 years single-handedly building, carving, sculpting and constructing a castle out of more than 1,100 tons of coral using just hand tools. Look in and around the castle and you’ll find other items made of coral: a sculpture garden, rocking chairs, a Polaris telescope and a nine-ton gate that’s so light it can open with the touch of a finger. Most impressive? Ed was only five feet tall, weighed no more than 100 pounds and did most of the work at night, by lantern light.

Coral Castle Museum is open Thursday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Both audio and in-person tours are available.

Everglades Alligator Farm
Come meet the wildlife at Everglades Alligator Farm

Everglades Alligator Farm

A trip to the Everglades wouldn’t be complete without an alligator sighting. At Everglades Alligator Farm, one of the few farms in the world that doesn’t process the animals it protects, there are more than 2,000 alligators (including the famous 14-foot “Grandpa” alligator). Come to see daily alligator shows and feedings, hop on an airboat ride, or to get up close and personal with crocodiles, caimans and other wildlife.

Everglades Alligator Farm is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Both guided and private airboat tours are available.

Florida Pioneer Museum

The Florida Pioneer Museum is filled with artifacts, books and photographs from those who settled in South Dade during the early 20th century. Its exhibits include tools used by pioneers during that time, photographs of local pioneering families, displays about Native Americans and more.

The Florida Pioneer Museum is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily from November through April only.

Pink lotus at Fruit & Spice Park
Explore a subtropical paradise at Fruit & Spice Park

Fruit & Spice Park

The Fruit & Spice Park is a truly unique attraction, surrounded by lush greenery, flowers and nature’s beauty. The subtropical climate of the area is the only one of its kind in the continental United States, allowing the park to grow more than 500 varieties of fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and nuts. Walk through its 37 acres – organized by geographic areas of the world – and find more than 180 varieties of mangoes, 70 bamboo species, 40 banana varieties, 15 types of jackfruit trees and more. Come into town at the right time and experience one of the park’s annual festivals, such as the Summer Fruit Festival, Midsummer Adventure or the Redland International Orchid Festival.

The Fruit & Spice Park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last entry permitted at 4 p.m. Guided tours take place at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. daily.

Britto Lifeguard
Plan a day of sun and fun at Homestead Bayfront Park

Homestead Bayfront Park

Homestead Bayfront Park has everything your family needs for a fun day in Homestead. There’s a beach with an atoll pool where visitors can swim, pavilions with grills and picnic tables, the full-service Herbert Hoover Marina and La Playa Grill, a casual seafood restaurant that overlooks Biscayne Bay. When you go, look for the colorful lifeguard stands painted by Romero Britto. Come here to fish off the pier, have a cookout with family and friends, rent a kayak, go paddle boarding or sail your boat to nearby Biscayne National Park. No matter what you do, look up and take in the view – you can see all the way to the Downtown Miami skyline.

Homestead Bayfront Park is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Homestead Miami Speedway
Feel the thrill at Homestead Miami Speedway

Homestead Miami Speedway

Looking for an adrenaline rush? At Miami Exotic Auto Racing at the Homestead Miami Speedway, you can experience the thrill of putting the pedal to the metal. Take your pick from exotic cars such as a Lamborghini Huracan EVO, Ferrari 488 GTB or Porsche GT3 RS, then let a veteran racer teach you the basics as you prepare to go full speed through 11 turns and two straightaways. There are no restrictions on how fast you can drive, and a professional driver will be in the passenger seat next to you the whole time. For an adventure that’s less intimidating but just as thrilling, hop in a race car for a ride along with a professional driver at the wheel. You must be at least 18 years old (with a valid driver license) to take the wheel, and at least 9 years old to ride as a passenger.

Homestead Miami Speedway also hosts monthly Fast Lane Fridays and professional races such as the Dixie Vodka 400 and Baptist Health 200.

Robert tropical fruit
Discover your new favorite fruit at Robert Is Here

Robert Is Here

What started as a fruit stand on the side of the road is now a beloved produce shop. Since 1959, Robert Is Here has been selling everything from lettuce, onions and tomatoes to rare and exotic fruits such as dragon fruit, sapodilla, guava, eggfruit, giant jackfruit and even Monstera deliciosa, a cucumber-like fruit that tastes like a banana blended with a pineapple. Bring your kids and let them check out the small animal farm while you order milkshakes made with any tropical fruit in the store. A trip to Robert Is Here promises fun for the whole family.

Robert Is Here is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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