Coral Castle, Homestead
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Coral Castle at sunset is a dream! There are wonderful whimsical details everywhere and you can get swept up in seeing each detail from every angle! I love how little palm trees and bougainvillea are planted directly in the coral. I would imagine it could be hot and unpleasant to visit Coral Castle in the middle of the day, and its beauty would be less apparent, so come in the late afternoon or evening! Coral Castle is basically just a man's house that he built with great imagination in what was a far more empty Florida at the time (1920s). He built a two-storey fort in which to live, plus a walled garden where he made all manner of interesting things. All of it was dedicated to a sixteen-year old bride who ran off the day before the wedding. Ed Leedskalnin had worked in lumberyards in his native Latvia and so he knew how to use pulleys and leverage to move massive, heavy objects. He mined coral from his own property and then lifted the pieces himself to create his "castle." He was interested in outer space and he made holes in the coral that opened directly to stars like the north star. He crafted chairs out of the coral where he could recline in the sun in the garden and heal his tuberculosis, which was all gone by the time he died. A large throne sits high above the garden and was for himself, next to a throne for his love (who he never saw again), and their future child. It's fun for kids to climb up and sit on his throne. There is a gorgeous fountain with a star in the middle and bougainvillea that hangs down above it. And there are large, beautiful trees. An area that he planned to use to discipline his children has a slot in the coral where they were to put their heads while in time out. Kids have fun playing peek-a-boo here, and running around in general in the walled garden that so inspires one's imagination. Join one of the continuous tours if you get a chance to learn the fascinating details of the castle, which are not all apparent on their own. The video also tells you these details, at an excruciatingly slow pace. The gift shop has some lovely tropical things like hair clips from Bali. Come to Coral Castle Nov-Apr when it's not so hot and there aren't too many mosquitoes. Homestead is a fairly down-and-out area, but there is beautiful vegetation here and there nonetheless. While in the area, make sure you go to gorgeous Fruit and Spice Park. Kids also enjoy expensive Monkey Jungle.[continued...]
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Coral Castle is located at 28655 S. Dixie Hwy, Miami FL 33033, call (305) 248-6345.From the Florida Turnpike, take Highway 821 the Homestead Extension of the Turnpike. Exit at exit 5 for Biscayne Dr (288th St). Go west 1.7 miles on Biscayne Dr, then turn right on 157th Ave. Immediately turn right on Dixie Hwy (Highway 1) and then immediately turn right into the parking lot for Coral Castle. Parking is free.Hours are 8-6 Sun-Thurs, and 8-8 Fri and Sat. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $7 for children aged 7-12. Children under 7 are free. Look online or in tourist brochures at your hotel for coupons.
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Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.