Explore Miami: Attractions along Old Cutler Road

An Adventure in Nature on Old Cutler Road

Looking to explore the natural world of Miami and want to stay on one convenient road? Look no further than Old Cutler Road which runs between Coconut Grove and Cutler Ridge. Old Cutler Road was named after Dr. William Cutler by his friend William Fuzzard. Dr. Cutler came to the southern end of Miami-Dade County in the 1870s and fell in love with the area. He tried to bring settlers down but the only one who stayed was Fuzzard. Fuzzard set up a starch mill and cut a path through the wilderness from his home to Coconut Grove. Old Cutler Road was declared a public road in 1895. There are three beautiful stops that showcase the natural and man-made beauty that Old Cutler Road has to offer.

Matheson Hammock Park

Starting in at the north end of Old Cutler Road is Matheson Hammock Park. Matheson Hammock Park is a beautiful park with a wonderful surprise--a man-made atoll pool, which is flushed naturally with the tidal action of nearby Biscayne Bay. A favorite of kids, the pool is ideal for those that are beginning swimmers and allow parents to keep an easier eye on their kids than the expanse of a regular beach. You can also explore the nature trails throughout the park. The family can pack their bikes/scooters and explore the bike trails available too. The park also has a full-service marina, snack bar and restaurant. The Red Fish Grill is open every day except Monday for lunch and dinner. But you can bring your own food and make use of their picnic pavilions (available for rental) and picnic tables with charcoal grills. For those who want to learn more about boating, Matheson Hammock also contains a sailing and power boat school. For more information and entrance fees go to http://www.miamidade.gov/parks/matheson-hammock.asp.


 

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

The next stop further south on Old Cutler Road is Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Fairchild gets its name from explorer David Fairchild (1869-1954). Dr. Fairchild searched the world for useful plants but also spent his time as a scientist and educator. Dr. Fairchild retired to Miami in 1935 and joined a group of fellow plant enthusiasts who worked tirelessly to create a world class botanic garden. In 1938 Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden opened its 83 acres to the public. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden offers tram tours, guided, and self-guided tours. The guided tours and their discovery carts are themed so you can learn in-depth about different areas of the gardens. There are also interactive classes and self-guided tours available for families that allow kids to learn about the gardens in fun, interactive ways. Offered the second and fourth weekend of every month, the Let’s Explore at Fairchild program has themed activity stations consisting of crafts, science-themed games, planting, and other fund activities that kids love. The collections and exhibits at Fairchild include the Wings of Tropics Conservatory, Tropical Plant Conservatory and Rare Plant House, The Edible Garden, Moos Sunken Garden, the Richard H. Simmons Rainforest, and many others. Throughout the year there are festivals, concerts, plant shows and sales, art exhibits, and other special events held at Fairchild so you may want to plan your visit around one of those.

For more information on pricing and special events go to http://www.fairchildgarden.org.

Deering Estate

The final stop on Old Cutler Road is the Deering Estate, an environmental, archeological, and historical preserve. Charles Deering was a businessman, art collector, and philanthropist. He created several estates throughout the United States and Europe. He moved his winter quarters permanently to the Cutler Estate in 1915, not too far from his half-brother James’ estate Vizcaya. He filled the house with millions of dollars of artwork and was the patron of many artists. The estate was owned by the family until the death of the last heir in 1985 when the property was purchased by Miami-Dade County and the State of Florida. The Deering Estate now offers a variety of activities for people to enjoy. From Eco-Bike Tour, Kayak Rentals, Canoe Tours and a Bay Cruise, to lecture series, to both guided and self-guided tours the Deering Estate is a place of learning and adventure. The Estate is also a thriving cultural art center offering fine art and historic exhibitions, artist in residence programs, musical showcases, as well as classes, workshops and lectures. Kids will enjoy Book Nook by the Bay- a program that includes story time, eco-arts and crafts, science programs, and more at the Estate on the 3rd Saturday of every month. The Deering Estate has events going on year round and it is worth planning your visit around those events that may interest you. For information on entrance fees and any other fees for specialty programs and a calendar of events visit http://www.deeringestate.org.

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