This past weekend was another one of my typical north-south weekends. My original Saturday plans fell through so I decided to go a few parks down in North Miami Beach that I hadn’t frequented in a few years. The first stop was at Snake Creek Canal Park. A mile-long paved trail runs along Snake Creek that is perfect for hiking, biking and rollerblading on. Since I’ve biked and bladed on it a few times, I thought I’d change things up a bit and walk it. And I had such a good time, I ended walking past the trail and into the quaint residential areas of North Miami Beach. I actually came across this canal park by accident while looking for Oleta River Park. I never did see a sign for Oleta Park, but I did see one for Greynolds Park, which is now one of my favorite parks in Miami-Dade County.
As I made my way to Greynolds next, I decided to make a quick detour and check out the Spanish Monastery. I went there for the first time a couple years ago, and since I was so close by, I couldn’t help but going back and enjoying this 800-year-old treasure again. Originally bulit in Spain in the 1100’s, it was brought over here in the early 1900’s stone by stone, but due to some unseen circumstances, the Monastery wasn’t completely put back together until 1954. An extremely impressive and beautiful sight, they still have regular church services and many weddings take place here too. It’s a very unique feeling walking through the ancient halls, and the gardens are gorgeous too, with religious statues interspersed throughout. Onto Greynolds Park, which is Miami-Dade County’s second oldest park (dedicated in 1936) after Matheson Hammock Park. There are many cool things about this park, such as its many hiking trails that run along a creek, the limestone lookout tower upon a mound, the covered bridge and boathouse, and the incredible number of iguanas that make this beautiful park their home. I often refer to Greynolds as the Land of Iguanas, and I saw quite a few this time around.
After spending most of the day in North Miami Beach, I drove one city up to Aventura, where I walked along the Don Soffer Trail, that surrounds the pristine Turnberry Isle Resort Golf Course. A long and fun day of hiking, I planned for a more relaxing but equally adventurous day on Sunday up north in West Palm Beach.
I took a couple really good friends to the nation’s first ‘cageless’ zoo. Called Lion Country Safari, you drive your vehicle along a road that is surrounded by animals from South America, Africa and India. We just happened to get there at feeding time too, so many of the animals were right next to the road where you could practically reach out and touch them. That’s why they have a strict policy about keeping your windows rolled up. Rhinos, zebras, giraffes, elephants, ostriches, and monkeys (not counting the two in the car) are just a few of the many animals that reside here. And lions too, but they’re very well protected and kept at a safe distance. We then walked around the Safari World Amusement Park, which has many fun rides for the kids (and monkeys), plus live animals shows and a petting zoo. They also have a few animal exhibits, and we thoroughly enjoyed watching the squirrel monkeys. This was my second time here, so I knew what to expect, but one of my friends’ was a first-timer, and she was pretty amazed by it all. After our fun-filled day, we food-filled ourselves at the historic Old Key Lime House. Built in 1889, the popular waterfront restaurant was originally the second oldest house in Lantana.
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