Soccer is the universal sport. All around the world kids understand that fun and good-natured competition happens when you take a ball and begin kicking it around. The City of Miami kicks off a new soccer program today that is free of charge for disadvantaged inner-city children. The season runs through November at Shenandoah, Douglas, Lemon City, José Martí, Cagni, Patricia A. Mishcon, and Robert King High parks. Admission is free. Call 786-797-6436 to register.
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If you want to see the zebra longwing butterfly, iridescent in its sky-colored wing span, hang out near native or exotic passion vines. That's where its caterpillars thrive. Dying to see a hummingbird in Miami? Scout Hong Kong orchid trees; the zippy flyer loves its nectar. There is a method to the nature-watching madness, and expert spotter Bob Kelley, associate chair of the UM math department, will be teaching tricks just in time for the winter migration. After talking turkey with him, you'll soon be obsessed with the annual appearance of the painted bunting (so colorful it reminds Kelley of Celia Cruz), or the black-faced grassquit that is luring bird lovers from all over the world to the Everglades. (For updated reports of birds spotted in our area, check out the Miami Bird Board at www.tropicalaudubon.org.) Kelley speaks at 8:00 p.m. at the Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr., South Miami. Admission is free. Call 305-667-7337. -- By Juan Carlos Rodriguez
As we creep into Spooktober, Metrozoo's exhibition "Masters of the Night: The True Story of Bats," reveals the less-than-gory realities of our mammalian brethren. Are these winged fiends really blind, and is that why they inevitably find their way into little children's hair? Are these nocturnal flappers like our darker selves: carnivorous, with a thirst for blood and an instinct for menace? After all, our own skeletons are remarkably similar to those of bats. You can judge the resemblance for yourselves as the exhibit features a bony comparison of frames. Whatever frightening misconceptions these sights may dispel will surely be restored by the zoo's gargoyle greeter. The exhibit opens at 10:00 a.m. through March 21 at Metrozoo, 12400 SW 152nd St. Tickets cost $12 adults, $7 children. Call 305-251-0400. -- By Victor Cruz