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Cultural attractions of Miami explored during free tours

Free tours showcase South Florida's best sights, sounds

Erick Johnson | 3/27/2014, 9 a.m.
Long after the Ferris wheels and art displays have disappeared, residents seeking tranquility and rejuvenation from Miami’s busy festival season ...
Nature lovers will appreciate Greynolds Park during What's Out There Miami?, a free tour program.

Long after the Ferris wheels and art displays have disappeared, residents seeking tranquility and rejuvenation from Miami’s busy festival season can explore the lavish grounds where Michael Jordan was married or the exquisite gardens of Vizcaya.

The sites are all part of free tours of popular parks and attractions in South Florida.

Sponsored by the Cultural Landscape Foundation and Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation, the guided tours are

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Tour participants will see where Michael Jordan was married at Bethesda-by-Sea Episcopal Church.

part of "What's Out There Weekend Miami?" a weekend long excursion that allows participants to roam and explore 30 parks and attractions in South Florida. In addition to Miami-Dade, the tours are also held in Broward and Palm Beach, where participants can even learn the history and culture of posh cultural landscapes of Worth Avenue.

"What’s Out There Weekend Miami?" takes place April 12-13. Aventura Mall and Bartlett Tree Experts are the main sponsors of the event.

The tours educate participants on various types of cultural landscapes and their relationship with people and social groups.

Cultural Landscapes could be shopping districts, cemeteries parks and hotels. Tour officials believe these places mesh with our experiences over time, creating permanent memories.

“We find that people who attend these live near these places don’t know much them” said Nord Wennerstorm, Director of Communications of the Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Wennerstorm said up to 1,200 people are expected to participate in the event.

South Florida has a diverse mix of landscapes that are included on the foundation’s selective list of must-see attractions. They include Lincoln Road, South Beach, Greynolds Park in North Miami, and Fairchild’s Tropical Gardens in Homestead.

Also on the list are Coral Gables’ Merrick House, The Venetian Pool and The Biltmore Hotel, the Ancient Spanish Monastery in North Miami and The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens off Biscayne Bay.

The list also includes Bethesda-by-Sea Episcopal Church, an 89 year-old towering gothic building with stunning gardens. Last year, Michael Jordan married model Yvette Prieto here in a lavish, star-studded ceremony that was perhaps the largest held at the Palm Beach church.

All tours last an hour, but participants can stay longer or drive to visit another attraction nearby. Most of the tours are located within a close radius and the tour times allow participants to visit other landscapes.

The Weekend is an extension of the What’s Out There? database of America’s designed landscapes.

The database includes 10,000 images of 1,500 parks, gardens and open spaces throughout the US. What’s Out There is now optimized for smart phones and other handheld devices and features What’s Nearby, a GPS-enabled function that locates all sites in the What’s Out There database within a 25-mile radius of any given location.

Participants can register to join the free tour by going online to www.tclf.org/landscapes/wot-weekend-miami.