7 weird attractions that you should check out in Miami
Miami is a weird place.
It's a city that exudes wealth, but at the same time has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation. It's a city where uber-expensive restaurants sit side-by-side with cheap mom-and-pop restaurants. It's the city where the government turned a national shame into an attraction and openly worship burgers in a museum.
This is Miami in a nutshell, a town where the unorthodox and abnormal is an ingrained way of life. It's both fun and slightly terrifying at the same time, and if you want to see the weird side of the Magic City, here are seven weird attractions that you should check out in Miami.
1. Monkey Jungle
You would think that in a city as swanky as Miami, that you wouldn't see an attraction that would fit in more with Palatka than in this modern metropolis. But yet, here it is, the Monkey Jungle in all its stinky glory. Created in 1933 by a man named Joseph DuMond, it was his dream to create the first free-ranging monkey establishment in America, and he did it right here in Miami. This is a popular tourist destination for families who visit the area (mainly because there are few 'family style' attractions down here) and after fighting off attempts to close the attraction, the Monkey Jungle lives on, funk and all.
2. Jackie Gleason's Mausoleum
Legendary comedian Jackie Gleason was born in Brooklyn, but chose to pass away at his home in Lauderhill, just north in Broward County. When he passed away from cancer in 1987, his family decided to build a mausoleum for the departed Gleason at Out Lady of Mercy Cemetery, a Miami cemetery that is as far inland as you can possibly get in Miami-Dade County. When you get to the Cemetery, Gleason's tomb will stand out like a thumb that's seen too many ends of a table, and, surprisingly, it is one of MIami's famed tourist spots.
3. The Clock Face of Faces
If you by any chance happen to land at the Borinquen Health Care Centre, on the west side of the building you will see a clock. But it's no ordinary clock, as this clock keeps time using 12 human faces. You read that right, this clock, called "Clock Face of Faces," actually uses 12 human heads to keep the time at the hospital. We hope that you don't have to come here for anything serious, but if you're looking for Miami oddities, this is one weird attraction that you have to see to believe.
4. The Car on the Building
Hospitals in Miami have a weird way of showcasing themselves. If you thought the "Clock of Faces" was weird, you will get an eye-full when you visit the Biscayne Medical Plaza. Look on the outer wall and you can't miss it, an actual car planted right on the side of the building. Unlike the Clock Face in Hialeah, there is a perfect explanation as to why there is a car on the side of this building. The building that is now home to the Medical Plaza used to be the American Police Museum. When the museum moved up I-95 to Titusville, they left the car behind, and the car has been stuck on the wall ever since.
5. The "Wrong Way" Hurricane Monument
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Take a trip down to Islamorada in the Florida Keys and you will run into this weird monument that pays its respects to one of the most devastating hurricanes to ever hit the US. On Labor Day 1935, a Cat 5 hurricane (these bad boys weren't being named at the time) slammed into Matecumbe Key in between Tavernier and Marathon. The hurricane was the most power storm to ever hit the US, and it obliterated everything in its path, including the village of Islamorada. The village would eventually recover, and the remind folks of how powerful hurricanes can be, they erected a granite memorial on U.S. 1 that has the cremated remains of all those who perished in the storm inside. Even creepier, the storm bent the palm trees the wrong way, toward the storm, which is a sight that you have to see for your very eyes.
6. Coral Castle
This place will either give you inspiration of the chills. More than likely, the Coral Castle in Leisure City will give you both. This compound of megalithic stones was built by Edward Leedskainin in 1920. Leedskainin (say that name three times fast) spent over 28 years building the attraction until he died in 1951. Originally, the charge to enter the Coral Castle was a dime but was later made free for those who wanted to see eh oddity. The Coral Castle to this very day remains one of Miami's most visited attractions and one that is worth the drive to see for yourself just how weird Miami can actually get.
7. The Elian Gonzales Museum
For those who are old enough to remember, the Elian Gonzalez tragedy of 2000 is one that will forever haunt those of us who witnessed it first hand. If you don't know about the story, here's a quick history lesson: In 1999, Gonzalez, who was six-years-old at the time, was found floating in a makeshift raft off of the coast of Miami. His relatives who were living in Miami took him in. But just five months after he arrived, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) order him deported back to Cuba, and he was forcibly removed from the house he stayed in by gunpoint and sent back to Cuba. People were outraged, protests were staged. So, to honor his memory, his family did the most upstanding thing to do—they turned the front of the house into a tourist attraction. The museum, officially named the "Museum of the Battle of Ideas" (corny? Yes, we know) has become a sad stop for tourists who tour the house where little Elian once stayed. it's a sobering reminder of what the Gonzalez, and to a greater extent, Miami, went through at the time, and this weird attraction is one that should be visited by those who can stomach the gut-wrenching tour.
Kareem Gantt is a Florida-based writer that loves the weird and the creepy of Miami. For more from this author, follow him on Twitter.