In the swelter of a South Florida summer, it is difficult to imagine anything more desirable than getting wet. Running the garden hose on your head is the low-end option. Much better is the high end, an aquatic chill-out that could change your life and maybe even allow you to save a life. The location for such a super soaking: Venetian Pool (2701 De Soto Blvd.), the Coral Gables quarry site that grew to be one of the nation's most spectacular swimming holes. Thanks to the American Red Cross volunteers who staff the Venetian Aquatic Club (formed in 1959), a summer program will provide you (and more important your children ages 5 and up) several opportunities to enjoy Venetian's 820,000 gallons of sweet aqua and the "springs," waterfalls, and grottos that surround it while also receiving training in swimming and water safety.
The classes remain open Thursday until August 5, so the time to dive in is now. Miami offers plenty of places to play like a fish. None offers the beauty of the Venetian Pool. So get wet, and live to get wet again. Cost is $40 for 10 morning sessions for children Monday through Friday or 6 evening adult classes Tuesday through Thursday (Red Cross levels 1 through 6). Call 305-460-5356.
Elevate your mood outdoors
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Greenery has flourished for years at Pinecrest Gardens (11000 Red Rd.). Opened in 1936 as Parrot Jungle, the park saw the colorful performing birds fly the coop to Watson Island in 2002. Native and exotic plants, hardwood hammocks, and banyan caves stayed. The city bought the land, lest some insensitive developer swoop in, and the new-and-improved venue welcomed the public a little more than a year ago. Now home to classes, festivals, concerts, summer camp, a petting zoo, roaming peacocks, waterfalls, and soon a water playground, the park is the ideal place to get married or just get happily in tune with nature. Admission is $5. Hours are 8:00 a.m. to sunset daily. Call 305-669-6942. --Nina Korman