4 Miami Attractions You Won't Find in Your Guidebook

Written by VIVA Staff

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Photo by Flickr user Phillip Pessar via Creative Commons

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Miami is full of famous attractions of all shapes and sizes, from Ocean Drive, to Perez Art Museum, to Bayside Marketplace, and of course, its many beaches.

For every well-known attraction in the Miami area, however, there are even more lesser-known attractions, many of which don't even appear in guidebooks.

Without further ado, here are four offbeat Miami attractions we recommend checking out on your next visit to the city.

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The Kampong

The National Tropical Botanical Garden is composed of five gardens. Four of those gardens are in Hawaii. The lone garden outside the Hawaiian islands is The Kampong, which is situated Miami's Coconut Grove neighborhood—the oldest neighborhood in the city.

The Kampong is spread over nine, lush acres. Across its green expanse, you'll find mangos, avocados, bananas, carambola (starfruit) and hundreds of other exotic plant species that its former caretaker, famed horticulturalist Dr. David Fairchild, brought to Florida from far-flung corners of the globe.

If this lush, tropical paradise sounds like something you'd like to check out, call 305-442-7169 to arrange a visit. Tickets cost $15 for adults.

Miami Jai-Alai

Jai-Alai has been called the world's fastest ball game. And while its popularity has waned significantly, sports fans can still take it in at Casino Miami—formerly known as Miami Jai-Alai.

If you venture over to catch a Jai-Alai game, here's what you can expect:

The game is played on a 176x45 court called a fronta. The players are called pelotari. Each pelotari has a woven, cane sling, called a cesta attached to one hand. The cesta is used to hurl the pilota—a small ball made of goatskin and rubber that is quite literally as hard as rock—at speeds of up to 180 miles per hour.

If you're interested in witnessing this ridiculous fast, ridiculously dangerous sport for yourself, you can plan your visit here.

The Wolfsonian-FIU

The Wolfsonian-Florida International University (abbreviated to Wolfsonian-FIU), is a museum, library, and research facility located in Miami South Beach’s famed Art Deco District. It's mission, according to Atlas Obscura, is to “illustrate the persuasive power of art and design, to explore what it means to be modern, and to tell the story of social, political, and technological changes that have transformed our world.”

Inside its doors, you will find a collection of over 120,000 objects dating from 1884 to 1945—including rare books, periodicals, ephemera, pieces of art, and lots, lots more. Those objects come from historic periods like the Industrial Revolution and World Wars, and represent a long list of countries, such as Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, the United States, Austria, France, Hungary, Japan, and the former USSR.

This incredible facility, which has been acclaimed by scholars, collectors, educators, and the media alike, is located at 1001 Washington Avenue. Admission is free on Friday evenings from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Outside of that timeframe, there's a small admission fee.

World Erotic Art Museum

What can we say about this museum that the name doesn't already sum up?

The World Erotic Art Museum, located at 3500 NW 37th Ave, specializes in all things erotic, from ancient times to the modern age. Provided you're 18 or older, you enter the museum via an elevator, and take in 12,000 square feet of adult-themed art—from sculptures, to pottery, to paintings, and lots, lots more.

And hey, there's a Starbucks on the ground floor if you feel like you need a palate cleanser after your visit.

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