Not quite a private pool, the Miami Shores Aquatic Center nevertheless is open only to residents of the village and their guests. It's also really two pools at one location. One is a competition-size, eight-lane pool designed for laps. The other is an activity pool known as Shipwreck Cove that features several slides pouring out of a tower into a shallow pool. Definitely a good reason to cultivate friends in Miami Shores. Maybe wait a few days before asking about the pool to hide your true motivation.

Not quite a private pool, the Miami Shores Aquatic Center nevertheless is open only to residents of the village and their guests. It's also really two pools at one location. One is a competition-size, eight-lane pool designed for laps. The other is an activity pool known as Shipwreck Cove that features several slides pouring out of a tower into a shallow pool. Definitely a good reason to cultivate friends in Miami Shores. Maybe wait a few days before asking about the pool to hide your true motivation.

Plunging into the cool waters of Biscayne Bay from the old Rickenbacker bridge (next to and below its replacement highway) is one trippy, exhilarating experience. When you just can't take another sweat bead from the summer swelter, can't tolerate the oozing burn meant for lobsters being cooked, then taking a dive is your solution. Liberating -- you're flying! -- and mind-blowing -- what if it's only two feet deep? -- the bridge free fall is the splash that refreshes. From the bridge you plummet about twelve feet into the sea, scaring hell out of any fish in the area. Time freezes, you feel gravity's mighty pull, bubbles surround you. Exhale, sink as far as your lungs allow. The yawp of the howling teens watching from the bridge is muffled, creating a psychedelic underwater soundscape. Nearby you hear the splash of another bridge jumper. You surface for air. You grin, no smile. No, you beam like a little kid catching his first fly ball. The sun bakes your marinated skin. You swim to the shoals at the foot of the bridge (sneakers while jumping are recommended) and run around to the ledge. A few more times and magically you are carefree, fresh, and feeling like the crazy kid you're behaving like.

Plunging into the cool waters of Biscayne Bay from the old Rickenbacker bridge (next to and below its replacement highway) is one trippy, exhilarating experience. When you just can't take another sweat bead from the summer swelter, can't tolerate the oozing burn meant for lobsters being cooked, then taking a dive is your solution. Liberating -- you're flying! -- and mind-blowing -- what if it's only two feet deep? -- the bridge free fall is the splash that refreshes. From the bridge you plummet about twelve feet into the sea, scaring hell out of any fish in the area. Time freezes, you feel gravity's mighty pull, bubbles surround you. Exhale, sink as far as your lungs allow. The yawp of the howling teens watching from the bridge is muffled, creating a psychedelic underwater soundscape. Nearby you hear the splash of another bridge jumper. You surface for air. You grin, no smile. No, you beam like a little kid catching his first fly ball. The sun bakes your marinated skin. You swim to the shoals at the foot of the bridge (sneakers while jumping are recommended) and run around to the ledge. A few more times and magically you are carefree, fresh, and feeling like the crazy kid you're behaving like.

If you always spend rush hour grumbling to yourself and fruitlessly punching the buttons on your radio, you may never have noticed that the spot of trees on the corner of South Dixie Highway and SW 80th Street opens up into a considerably large park named after Holsum Bakery founder and city leader Charles T. Fuchs. It contains the usual South Miami park amenities such as a picturesque lake (with a fountain maintained by a snorkeling park employee and a bounty of fish, including bass), fairly new tot lot, a gazebo fit for a family reunion, and, bizarrely enough, a pro beach volleyball area constructed far from any beach. This charming park also displays miniature versions of Miami-Dade's natural environments. Three years ago extensive restoration resulted in urban versions of hardwood hammocks, wetlands, and maritime woodlands. Again, the park's maintenance crew and the South Miami city commission chose wisely by planting native species during the restoration. Serenity in the middle of worldly clamor helps make Fuchs a perfect rest stop for weary travelers. Or a great gathering spot for weekend partiers.

If you always spend rush hour grumbling to yourself and fruitlessly punching the buttons on your radio, you may never have noticed that the spot of trees on the corner of South Dixie Highway and SW 80th Street opens up into a considerably large park named after Holsum Bakery founder and city leader Charles T. Fuchs. It contains the usual South Miami park amenities such as a picturesque lake (with a fountain maintained by a snorkeling park employee and a bounty of fish, including bass), fairly new tot lot, a gazebo fit for a family reunion, and, bizarrely enough, a pro beach volleyball area constructed far from any beach. This charming park also displays miniature versions of Miami-Dade's natural environments. Three years ago extensive restoration resulted in urban versions of hardwood hammocks, wetlands, and maritime woodlands. Again, the park's maintenance crew and the South Miami city commission chose wisely by planting native species during the restoration. Serenity in the middle of worldly clamor helps make Fuchs a perfect rest stop for weary travelers. Or a great gathering spot for weekend partiers.

BEST PLACE TO DITCH THE KIDS FOR A FEW HOURS

Let's Scrap!

Walk into Let's Scrap! on any given day and there they are: mesmerized kids measuring, cutting, gluing, painstakingly putting together pages of photographs, text, stickers, paper cutouts, ribbon, glitter. Filling volumes that document almost every stage or event in their still-short lives, the little ones are creating scrapbooks, a grand tradition they've now dubbed "scrapping." It's a task that requires hours of rapt attention and careful labor, hours that could occupy your children and give you that much-needed time-out. Albums, paper, scissors, glue, and all the decorative doodads can add up to real money, but scrapping is priceless: a creative, constructive hobby that keeps youngsters away from the potentially negative (as in brain-dulling) influences of TV, video games, or the Internet, and safely removed from possibly bone-breaking activities such as extreme sports. Good news for kids who aren't very crafty: Monthly classes cover chalking, stamping, and picture tinting. But the best news for weary parents at the end of their rope: Mastering the finer points of scrapping takes a really long time.

BEST PLACE TO DITCH THE KIDS FOR A FEW HOURS

Let's Scrap!

Walk into Let's Scrap! on any given day and there they are: mesmerized kids measuring, cutting, gluing, painstakingly putting together pages of photographs, text, stickers, paper cutouts, ribbon, glitter. Filling volumes that document almost every stage or event in their still-short lives, the little ones are creating scrapbooks, a grand tradition they've now dubbed "scrapping." It's a task that requires hours of rapt attention and careful labor, hours that could occupy your children and give you that much-needed time-out. Albums, paper, scissors, glue, and all the decorative doodads can add up to real money, but scrapping is priceless: a creative, constructive hobby that keeps youngsters away from the potentially negative (as in brain-dulling) influences of TV, video games, or the Internet, and safely removed from possibly bone-breaking activities such as extreme sports. Good news for kids who aren't very crafty: Monthly classes cover chalking, stamping, and picture tinting. But the best news for weary parents at the end of their rope: Mastering the finer points of scrapping takes a really long time.

Those kids you see on those fancy boards sliding across the shallows at South Beach are not skimboarding. They're just dabbling in the latest extreme sport, spending their cash on a fad that's been dressed up with designs, paint, and lots of publicity -- which is true of most extreme sports. For several decades young Miamians had gone skateboarding (via boards made by nailing skate wheels to a piece of two-by-four) down handicapped ramps at public schools; BMXing, as in riding a bike through dirty, muddy, highly unlevel terrain; and skimboarding. The real thing involved searching trash piles for a piece of plywood about three feet wide and four to six feet long. When it rained back then, Miami-Dade's terrible drainage allowed water to build up in the swales, tiding over into the street and covering the sidewalk. Bring out the board, place it at the edge of the puddle, run full speed, jump with force onto the board, and leave the rest to physics. No tricks. No judging. No wetsuit with the brands of sponsors embossed. No TV. No money. Just fun, fun, fun. Alas, these days are long past. Parents want their kids to have it better, so they buy the little ones brand-name minisurfboards and take them to the beach, forgetting that the real joy wasn't in looking cool or even in performing well. It was losing control and sliding all over without cracking your skull, then coming up soaked, muddied, bleeding, bruised, and smiling ear to scraped ear.

Those kids you see on those fancy boards sliding across the shallows at South Beach are not skimboarding. They're just dabbling in the latest extreme sport, spending their cash on a fad that's been dressed up with designs, paint, and lots of publicity -- which is true of most extreme sports. For several decades young Miamians had gone skateboarding (via boards made by nailing skate wheels to a piece of two-by-four) down handicapped ramps at public schools; BMXing, as in riding a bike through dirty, muddy, highly unlevel terrain; and skimboarding. The real thing involved searching trash piles for a piece of plywood about three feet wide and four to six feet long. When it rained back then, Miami-Dade's terrible drainage allowed water to build up in the swales, tiding over into the street and covering the sidewalk. Bring out the board, place it at the edge of the puddle, run full speed, jump with force onto the board, and leave the rest to physics. No tricks. No judging. No wetsuit with the brands of sponsors embossed. No TV. No money. Just fun, fun, fun. Alas, these days are long past. Parents want their kids to have it better, so they buy the little ones brand-name minisurfboards and take them to the beach, forgetting that the real joy wasn't in looking cool or even in performing well. It was losing control and sliding all over without cracking your skull, then coming up soaked, muddied, bleeding, bruised, and smiling ear to scraped ear.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®