Local Guided Tours
Conference guests are invited to register for one of three local guided tours organized by the FIU Agroecology Program. In the event that one of the tours is canceled, we will add another available tour.
1. Everglades airboat ride and wildlife show
• Gator Park, Inc. 24050 SW 8th St, Miami, Florida 33194
The Gator Park airboat tour provides plenty of photo ops to catch wildlife in their natural habitat. Experienced guides offer tips to ensure you spot alligators, soft-shelled turtles, and birds you won’t find anywhere else. You’ll travel through expansive wetlands and pass by tree covered islands, or hammocks, where raccoons, whitetail deer, and wild boar run wild. Afterwards enjoy Gator Park's famous alligator and wildlife show. Watch experts wrestle alligators using the barehanded technique originally used by Seminole Indians to capture and showcase the great power and agility of the gators. If you’re looking for something more than a souvenir from your trip to Miami, you can actually hold a real live baby gator in your hands.
*The Everglades airboat ride and wildlife show tour will be limited to 48 guests and registrations will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Transportation will be provided. Participants will need to bring $25 for entrance fees as well as an additional $10-30 for lunch at the Café Hammock located at Miccosukee Resort & Gaming.
2. Tropical gardens tour
• USDA Agricultural Research Service Subtropical Horticultural Research Station: 13601 Old Cutler Rd, Miami, FL 33158
The USDA ARS Subtropical Horticulture Research Station supports the agricultural industries in the southern areas of the United States by providing environmentally sound research on a number of fronts. Some areas of research include the genetics of tropical and subtropical fruit and ornamental crops, the interdiction and control/eradication of exotic plant insect pests, and development of a potting mix from construction debris, biosolids, and organic composts with improved water holding and ion exchange capacities to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of wastewater from nursery irrigation operations.
• Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden: 10901 Old Cutler Rd, Miami, FL 33156
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is another one of the world’s most unique botanical gardens. At Fairchild you can visit the arboretum to discover the allspice tree with quilted leaves smelling of the warm spice or walk along the Madagascar Spiny Forest and find yourself in a land of bizarre and beautiful plants. Stroll down the alley and spend some time at the overlook where you can see sparkling lakes and islands beyond. Explore the rainforest and find yourself along a rushing stream with surprising waterfalls and petite cascades. Look up into the canopy of towering trees and see amazing orchids, colorful vines and birds-nest anthuriums growing on the trees. Visit the palmetum to see a tropical world filled with palms of all shapes, textures and sizes or enter the delightful Wings of the Tropics conservatory and find yourself in a world filled with strikingly colorful butterflies flying to nectar-filled flowers. Wander into the tropical conservatory, Windows to the Tropics, where you’ll discover a pool of brightly colored cichlids from tropical Africa.
*The tropical gardens tour will be limited to 24 guests and registrations will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Transportation will be provided. Participants will need to bring $10-25 for lunch at an establishment located at the Shops at Sunset Place.
3. Redlands agricultural tour
• Fruit & Spice Park: 24801 SW 187th Ave, Homestead, FL 33031
The Fruit & Spice Park is a unique 37-acre public facility owned and operated by the Miami-Dade County Park and Recreation Department. The Park's tropical climate can be found nowhere else in the continental U.S. and hosts over 500 varieties of fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, and nuts, and other commercially important plant specimens from around the world. The Park showcases 150 varieties of mango, 75 varieties of bananas, 70 bamboo varieties, and numerous other exotic edibles. Visitors of the Park are invited to try some of the fruits grown there at the tasting counter inside of the Park Store.
• Possum Trot Tropical Fruit Nursery: 14955 SW 214th St, Miami, FL, 33187
Robert Barnum, owner of Possum Trot Tropical Fruit Nursery, is a well-renowned farmer descended from a long line of agriculturalists and an expert in rare and exotic tropical fruits. Barnum grows a large variety of tropical fruits, spices, and timber as well as medicinal and poison trees and has acquired considerable first-hand knowledge of these plants which he is always more than willing to share.
*The Redlands agricultural tour will be limited to 36 guests and registrations will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Transportation will be provided. Participants will need to bring $13 for a special surprise lunch.
HSI Conference Tour Alternatives
Should conference guests be uninterested in registering for one of the local guided tours, several other entertainment options exist.
Big Bus Miami
The Big Bus sightseeing tour of Miami has been specifically designed to show you the best that Miami has to offer. You can enjoy it all from the comfort and great vantage point of an open-top bus, or hop off wherever you like to explore the places that intrigue you most before hopping back on to continue your journey with us. You will see all the most thrilling and attractive areas such as South Beach, Downtown Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Little Havana and more. You will see iconic buildings and monuments like the Freedom Tower, Vizcaya Museum and the Versace Mansion, not to mention the sleek shapes and vibrant colours of the Art Deco District.
You can join the tour at any of the hop-on, hop-off points. All stops are clearly signposted and buses follow a set route, visiting the stops in ascending order.
Beach Loop - Blue Route 1. Central Station- Bayfront Park/Bayside 2. Miami Beach Marina- Alton Rd & 3rd St 3. South Pointe Park- South Pointe Park & Washington Ave 4. Ocean Drive- Ocean Drive & 10th St - Temporarily moved to Collins Ave & 9th St 5. Lowes Hotel- Collins Ave & 16th St 6. Bass Museum- Collins Ave & 22nd St 7. Rui Hotel- Collins Ave & 31st St 8. Fontainbleu- Collins Ave & 44th St 9. Lincoln Road- Washington Ave & 17th St 10. Old Miami Beach City Hall- Washington Ave & 12th St 11. Angler's Resort- Washington Ave & 12th St 12. Shops at 5th & Alton- 5th St & Michigan Ave 13. Jungle Island- 1 - 395 West Bound
City Loop - Red Route 1. Central Station- Bayfront Park/Bayside 14. Vizcaya & Science Museum- S. Miami Ave & SE 32nd Rd 15. Coconut Grove- Grand Ave & Virginia St 16. Biltmore Hotel- 12 Anastasia Ave 17. Venetian Pool- De Soto Blvd & Almeria Ave 18. Coral Gables Downtown- Aragon Ave at Salzedo at entrance of Coral Gables Museum 19. Cuban Eateries- SW 8th St & SW 36th Cl 20. Little Havana- Domino Park on 8th St & 15th Ave
Coconut Grove Organic Farmers Market: 3300 Grand Ave, Miami, FL 33231
Open on Saturdays and presented by Glaser Organic Farms, the Coconut Grove Organic Farmers Market offers a variety of organic fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds and raw vegan foods under its tents. Longstanding relationships with many local organic growers have been nurtured, guaranteeing customers access to all of the tropical fruits and vegetables that the local climate offers, based on seasonal availability. The best available organic fruits, vegetables, and exotic rarities, such as durian and jaboticaba are sourced from around the nation and around the world. The salad bar is an epicurean delight offering wild rice salads, avocado salad, corn salad, olive salad, and fruit medleys, all complemented with our raw vegan dressing made with fresh herbs and organic extra virgin olive oils. The raw food pizzas, featuring handmade pestos, crafted with our own farm-grown ingredients, are an unexpected treat. The raw chocolate frozen tiramisu is heavenly.
Coconut Grove self-guided walking tour
Just south of downtown and the beaches sits boutique shops, eclectic restaurants and Miami’s original art gallery district. Coconut Grove is best known for its lush green landscape bordered by the shimmering blue waters of Biscayne Bay. From its beginnings in the late 1800′s, this magical place has attracted tycoons, artists, writers, and musicians galore and–truth be told–more than its share of kooks, eccentrics and free spirits. Coconut Grove has attracted adventurers since its beginnings. Long before Miami even existed, this tropical frontier village lured sailors and individualistic settlers into its quietly breathtaking natural setting with its wild sense of inspirational freedom. It’s no surprise Coconut Grove has been a haven of inspirations for such luminaries as Tennessee Williams, Robert Frost and Alexander Graham Bell. Today, the village known to locals simply as “the Grove” is still a brilliant gem on the edge of the City of Miami. Though the sun can be found shining bright off the waters of Biscayne Bay any day, it’s the warm welcome of the Grove community that illuminates your stay. In the midst of a bustling world, the Grove remains a place of secret pleasures awaiting your discovery.