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Fascinating Florida – Part 4 Miami
We usually visit our beautiful villa in Orlando several times a year, but we sometimes fly into Miami before driving up the Turnpike to Orlando.
Miami, that melting pot of cultures is still a popular city to spend a vacation. With its eclectic mix of people and its colourful South Beach area it has plenty to entertain. It is the second largest city in Florida, after Jacksonville, and boasts one of the largest cruise terminals in the world.
1. Miami has a unique claim to fame. It is the only metropolitan area in the USA which has borders encompassing two national parks – the Biscayne National Park and the Everglades National Park.
2. The Everglades National Park covers 2, 100 square miles and has the slowest moving river in the world. It also has the largest mangrove forest in the world.
3. And while we are talking of the Everglades, one of its best known residents, the American alligator, otherwise known as Alligator mississippiensis, is the official state reptile. It was chosen as a symbol of Florida’s untamed swamps and wildernesses.
4. Snow fell in Dade County on January 20th, 1977.
5. Miami’s Seaquarium was home to a famous 1960’s television star – Flipper. However, five dolphins actually played this role.
6. The extravagant Italian inspired mansion called Mar-a-Lago on Ocean Boulevard is owned by Donald Trump.
7. The famous designer, Versace, owned a beautiful mansion in South Beach. He was shot and killed outside his home. Casa Casuarina, on Ocean Drive. Sold for $19 million, it is now a very exclusive hotel costing several thousand dollars per night.
8. Al Capone, that brutal ganster from Chicago, ended his days in Miami, where he settled in 1940 after being incarcerated in Alcatraz. He died of a heart attack in his Palm Island palace at the age of just 48.
9. There is a unique museum at Delray Beach, north of Miami, which is dedicated exclusively to the culture of Japan. It is called the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.
10. Roller blading is so popular that Miami was the first city to install a bank automated teller machine especially for roller bladders.
11. No doubt you have used suntan cream when in Florida, but it was a Miami Beach pharmacist who invented the first suntan cream in 1944. Benjamin Green developed it by cooking cocoa butter on his wife’s stove – in her granite coffee pot of all things!
12. Fort Lauderdale, just north of Miami on the south Atlantic coast is known as the Venice of America due to its abundance of waterways – over 185 miles of intercoastal waterways.
13. Miami also has its fair share of bizarre occurrences. For example, a German shepherd dog, Gunther, became the owner of Madonna’s former 8. 432 sq ft mansion when his owner, a German countess, died and left the dog her sole heir.
14. The Bank of America Tower in downtown Miami is 47 storeys high, soaring to 625 ft. At night it is illuminated with multiple colour schemes, which change according to the season or public holiday. On St Patrick’s Day it is lit up in green, whilst on American Independence Day it is red white and blue.
15. The Port of Miami is home to a huge number of cruise ships. It is the largest cruise ship port in the world, attracting millions of tourists every year.
16. Miami International Airport is one of the busiest in the world. Over 35 million passengers pass through its terminals annually. It is the largest hub of American Airlines.
If you get the chance to drive down to Miami then do take it. It is a fascinating place.
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