I’ve lived in Florida my entire life and ever since I was old enough to join my folks at South Florida’s museums, I’ve appreciated the variety of museums that SoFl has to offer.

Vizcaya

Located in Miami, agricultural industrialist James Deering built this sprawling structure in 1916. Its many acre Italian-themed gardens seem right out of Renaissance Italy, and it feels as if you’ve been transported out of 21st century Florida to a more elegant time of beauty and grace. It’s more than worth a day trip to explore the priceless antiques in this home that’s been featured in some major Hollywood movies and even on various Travel Channel shows. View four centuries of artifacts and themed rooms including the music room with its 17th and 18th century instruments, the library with its secret door, and, of course, lose yourself in the gardens or play romantic hide and seek with someone special in the hedge maze. This unique and unusual slice of SoFl history is open from 9 am to 4 pm, every day but Tuesdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

The Deering Estate

Charles Deering, James’s older brother, divided his art collection between two homes – a home in Spain, and the Deering Estate in Miami, called the Deering Estate at Cutler. Part of the home was built as a sanctuary for his world famous art. His art collection included priceless masterpieces by artists such as Rembrandt. How much is his art collection today? Well, in the 1920s, the collection was estimated at 60 million dollars. Northwestern University’s Deering Library is named for this Deering brother because both Charles and younger brother James grew up in Chicago. The Deering Estate encompasses an endangered pine rockland habitat and, on this property, many natural communities are protected, from mangrove forests to over 40 species of trees. For more about Charles Deering and his estate, please go here.

The King Cromartie House

Originally the home of Edwin King, the King-Cromartie house was built during the early 20th century and then moved in the 1970s by the Junior League of Fort Lauderdale after the original owners sold it in the late 1960s. This charming little house in the heart of historic Fort Lauderdale is a perfect example of frontier Florida, from its wide wooden porch to its sweet yellow and green trim. To learn more about the King-Cromartie House, visit their website.

By Marissa Cohen

Photo By j.clark

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