Various types of pythons have grown to be the most popular of serpent pets. To obtain a feral python, take a flight to sub-Saharan Africa, hire a guide, trek through the jungle, and pray. Or drive across the Tamiami Trail through South Florida's spectacular River of Grass. Yes, kids, there are pythons in the Everglades. Plenty of them. Mostly erstwhile pets that outgrew their keepers' abilities to care for them, although God knows exactly how many pythons have taken a 747 from, say, Uganda, and found themselves lost in South Florida, or how many were blown free by Hurricane Andrew. (These magnificent rodent-eating reptiles can live for several decades; the oldest captive snake is said to have been a ball python that reached the age of 49.) The plump slitherers only come out at night, but by moonlight (or headlights) they're tough to miss. As you cruise toward Everglades City, keep your eyes open, but the side roads in the western area of the swamp present the most opportunities for a nonindigenous reptilian encounter. If you aren't lucky enough to eyeball one, you should enjoy the beauty of the Glades -- and maybe see some monkeys or a few giraffes. Just kidding about the giraffes.

Various types of pythons have grown to be the most popular of serpent pets. To obtain a feral python, take a flight to sub-Saharan Africa, hire a guide, trek through the jungle, and pray. Or drive across the Tamiami Trail through South Florida's spectacular River of Grass. Yes, kids, there are pythons in the Everglades. Plenty of them. Mostly erstwhile pets that outgrew their keepers' abilities to care for them, although God knows exactly how many pythons have taken a 747 from, say, Uganda, and found themselves lost in South Florida, or how many were blown free by Hurricane Andrew. (These magnificent rodent-eating reptiles can live for several decades; the oldest captive snake is said to have been a ball python that reached the age of 49.) The plump slitherers only come out at night, but by moonlight (or headlights) they're tough to miss. As you cruise toward Everglades City, keep your eyes open, but the side roads in the western area of the swamp present the most opportunities for a nonindigenous reptilian encounter. If you aren't lucky enough to eyeball one, you should enjoy the beauty of the Glades -- and maybe see some monkeys or a few giraffes. Just kidding about the giraffes.

Negotiate the labyrinthine and oddly designed parking garage until you reach the roof. Roll up the windows and roll up a fat spliff or fill a cigar wrapper with hydro. Take the elevator down to the first floor and stroll east on the paved pathway to the well-hidden area behind this gleaming, can't-miss-it skyscraper. Cop a sit on one of the many benches with a view of the crystalline waterway, the towers of downtown, and more. Spark and huff. If by some chance cops or security guards rush you, toss the roach into the water. If not, kick back and enjoy the visuals while nodding goofily at friendly passersby. The real fun comes in trying to drive out of that wild parking garage while you're still buzzing.

Negotiate the labyrinthine and oddly designed parking garage until you reach the roof. Roll up the windows and roll up a fat spliff or fill a cigar wrapper with hydro. Take the elevator down to the first floor and stroll east on the paved pathway to the well-hidden area behind this gleaming, can't-miss-it skyscraper. Cop a sit on one of the many benches with a view of the crystalline waterway, the towers of downtown, and more. Spark and huff. If by some chance cops or security guards rush you, toss the roach into the water. If not, kick back and enjoy the visuals while nodding goofily at friendly passersby. The real fun comes in trying to drive out of that wild parking garage while you're still buzzing.

The clichéd images of children struggling to launch their kites on a windy beach are charmingly sweet. But screw that. This is wild and sexy Miami. Kite surfing, or kiteboarding, a combination of surfing and parasailing, is quickly becoming the hottest trend in extreme sports. Imagine a surfboard that can ride the wind on its parachute sails as well as it rides the waves. No, don't imagine it, live it. Hobie Beach is the place to check out kite surfers turning more heads than the topless bathers of South Beach. In the way of those who indulge in potentially dangerous sports, kiteboarders are a close-knit but friendly group. Visit www.kiteflorida.com to check out the Florida Kite Surfing Association. They'll help you with the essentials to get going; Hobie provides the wind and the water.

The clichéd images of children struggling to launch their kites on a windy beach are charmingly sweet. But screw that. This is wild and sexy Miami. Kite surfing, or kiteboarding, a combination of surfing and parasailing, is quickly becoming the hottest trend in extreme sports. Imagine a surfboard that can ride the wind on its parachute sails as well as it rides the waves. No, don't imagine it, live it. Hobie Beach is the place to check out kite surfers turning more heads than the topless bathers of South Beach. In the way of those who indulge in potentially dangerous sports, kiteboarders are a close-knit but friendly group. Visit www.kiteflorida.com to check out the Florida Kite Surfing Association. They'll help you with the essentials to get going; Hobie provides the wind and the water.

At the very least, one could say that Sans Souci has Miami's most loyal tennis players. For good reason: Along with easy parking, bright lighting, and fair fees, the camaraderie among players is so close-knit that some liken it to an extended family. The center has both hard and clay courts, a well-stocked pro shop, and it offers instruction, tournaments, and even field trips. Bring your own balls.

Sans Souci Tennis Center
At the very least, one could say that Sans Souci has Miami's most loyal tennis players. For good reason: Along with easy parking, bright lighting, and fair fees, the camaraderie among players is so close-knit that some liken it to an extended family. The center has both hard and clay courts, a well-stocked pro shop, and it offers instruction, tournaments, and even field trips. Bring your own balls.

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.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®