The giant sloth statue that guards the Frost Science's old location in Coconut Grove was poised to be relocated to Omni Park. However, New Times has learned those plans have fallen through. Why? Reportedly, the Miami Community Redevelopment Agency doesn't want to move the 15-foot sculpture to Omni because the temporary park would not be a permanent home for the iconic sculpture.
"Upon commencement of construction, Omni Park will cease to exist," reads the park's official website.
So, alas, the giant sloth's future is, once again, in limbo. And maybe that's a good thing since it deserves a forever home. Still, as of this moment, nobody in Miami — even Frost Science staff — really knows what is to become of the obscure yet famous statue.
We're here to help. Here are our five suggestions where the big guy could retire in Miami.
1. Museum Park
This seems like the obvious answer. Since the statue has, for its entire existence, stood beside the science museum, shouldn't it get the chance to retire in Frost Science's new digs in Museum Park? Picture it: The sloth could stand proudly beneath one of the gigantic banyans that has been imported into the park, just as an actual prehistoric giant sloth might have done back in the day. We believe this is the most appropriate place for the sculpture to retire, and bewilder new generations of Miamians as they stroll the park. However, it might take some persuading to make it happen. The folks at the Bayfront Management Trust, which oversees the park, told New Times this past spring they had no intention of bringing in the statue.
However (with a little public pressure), nothing is impossible.
2. Jungle Island
The giant statue could greet visitors as they enter the tamed wilderness that is Jungle Island, one of Miami's top attractions. Amongst the dense foliage and the caws of wild birds communicating escape plans to their captive brethren, the giant sloth could lounge about. A plaque could even be installed describing what the hell he is. However, we have no idea how Jungle Island higherups feel about this recommendation — they didn't immediately respond to our suggestion about the statue.
Wynwood is a creative, accepting neighborhood. Why wouldn't Wynwoodites (Wynwoodians?) welcome the 15-foot celebrity? All he needs is a hipster hat — a flat-brim, limited edition Supreme cap, perhaps — and maybe a little makeover to add beard extensions and he should fit in perfectly. Where exactly could he stand, strumming his imaginary guitar? Maybe by the Wynwood Yard, or the terrace of Coyo Taco.
4. Morningside Park
Although it's not as visited as Museum Park, Morningside is still one of the best parks in Miami. Set beside glimmering Biscayne Bay, and chock-full of big trees, the five-block park could comfortably house the giant sloth, perhaps along one of its winding paths. He could watch people play tennis in the distance, smile as concerned kids learn to ride their bicycles beneath his gigantic shadow, or just stare out over the water.
5. Vizcaya's New Urban Garden
The giant sculpture could remain at his current post beside U.S. 1. It's a spot locals are used to seeing him. However, a spokesperson from Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, which owns the land where the old science museum rests, recently told New Times this is unlikely. Why? Vizcaya staff plan to replace the science museum in its entirety (including the statue) with an urban garden. When we asked if the giant sloth could retire among the trees of the new garden, the answer we got was pretty blunt: "Vizcaya has no plans to install it in the new urban garden."