Posted Nov. 11, 2012
By RACHEL JANOSEC
Upon entering the Venetian Pool located in Coral Gables, I was greeted by an expansive, yet beautiful, courtyard and, of course, the pool itself. Before making the short trip from the University of Miami campus to the pool, I was skeptical about actually taking a dip into the pool or not. Where I’m from in New Jersey, we do beaches, and public pools mean a dirty, over-crowded and a filled-with-screaming-kids hangout area.
But once I saw this pool I knew it was different and yet quite opposite of what I thought.
Upon moving to Miami I always heard about the Venetian Pool and was told it was a must-see here but never actually got around to it.
But I am glad I finally did. I found the pool to be quite the surprise and a fun experience. After entering through the historic courtyard I saw the huge crystal blue pool and an island where people lounge. What immediately caught my eye was the large waterfall in the corner of the pool, which is definitely the focal point of the pool.
After learning that the pool is drained and cleaned each day, I was more comfortable about going for a swim. I was nervous previously because I know how public pools can get, especially during hot days and with kids. But this pool is unlike anything I have ever seen. The pool resembles the ocean and is very well kept, so I jumped right in.
Originally the Venetian Pool was a coral rock quarry, but was converted into a swimming pool in the 1920s. The history of the pool is displayed for visitors upon entering on a plaque in a small foyer.
Today the pool is filled with 820,000 gallons of cool spring water from an underground aquifer, perfect to cool off for a few hours under the hot Miami sun. The pool is also included in the National Register of Historic Places and known as the “world’s most beautiful swimming hole.”
The pool holds true to its name and can only be experienced if visited. It is also a great alternative to spending the day at the beach, especially for residents and visitors staying in the Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and Kendall areas.
The pool is one of the main tourist attractions for those visiting the City of Coral Gables, and I could see this when I visited because the place was pretty crowded. The pool itself is so large though that the crowds don’t bother you and there is still plenty of room to splash around with the family.
There are lifeguards on duty, but the pool restricts children under the age of three to enter the facility. This rule is rough for families wanting to bring their children here, but is nice for older people trying to relax without crying babies distracting them.
The pool isn’t the only feature to enhance the visitors’ experience here. There are the two waterfalls as well as cave-like grottos that provide a fun time for swimmers of all ages. The waterfalls display a scenic backdrop. Visitors can swim through the grottos and it seems like you are underwater. The pool is also lined with palm trees, loggias, porticos and the signature bridge, which all add to this unforgettable experience.
The pool was made into a paradise and that is how everyone feels when he or she is there. It takes you away to a tropical island and resembles a Mediterranean style home. During its early days, visitors of the site enjoyed gondola rides, orchestras surrounded the pool and there were poolside dancers.
None of this happened when I was there though and I wish it had. The rich history of the pool is still displayed there today and can be observed through the entry fountain and through pictures hanging on all of the walls.
Lauren Bernoskie is a senior at UM and came with me to the pool.
“It was my first time to the pool as well even though I have lived in Miami for the past four years and it it literally around the block. The pool was unique and pretty in its own way and different from anything else I have experienced in Miami. I would recommend it to families with younger kids. The entrance fee was also very cheap and I liked that, I will be back here soon definitely, she stated.”
Once I dried off from swimming for an hour or so, I came upon a good-sized beach on the side of the pool to relax. The sand added to the atmosphere and made it feel like I was actually in South Beach on the beach in the real ocean. It was a great addition to my experience here because who doesn’t like sand in their toes?
Lunchtime rolled around and, although the pool doesn’t have any restaurants, it does have a delicious concession stand with very reasonably priced food perfect for a mid-day snack. The menu offers sandwiches, burgers, fries, pizza, nachos, mozzarella sticks, drinks and even sushi. The prices range from $2 for a grilled cheese to $5.50 for a large order of mozzarella sticks, so one can’t go wrong with prices. I enjoyed a turkey and cheese sandwich and curly fries with ketchup while catching some rays on the soft sandy beach.
A family I met at the pool talked about its first experience here.
The mother, Marie La’Valle, said the pool was an excellent choice for her family.
“We live up in Fort Lauderdale and decided to come down to Miami just for the weekend to see family and have some fun and were told to come to the Venetian, she stated. It was cheap to get in, the food is cheap and pretty good and the pool is breathtaking and so large! It is a perfect place for the kids to enjoy and so easy to access, and is also something different then just going to the beach.”
Another feature that sets this pool apart from others are the pool parties available and the facility rentals. The package includes a reserved upper or lower patio area, $50 refundable security deposit, three café tables, 15 chairs and one long table, choice of two piece chicken tenders, slice of pizza, or a hotdog, bag of chips per person, and unlimited pitchers of soda for two hours. This package is aimed towards children’s birthday parties. Facility rentals are also available for weddings, holidays, rehearsal dinners and so forth.
After my long day spent at the Venetian Pool, I was glad to finally check this off my Miami bucket list. My favorite part of the pool was the caves you can swim through; I spent most of my time in there. The pool is unlike anything else I have ever done here in Miami or anywhere for that matter. It is so much more then just a public pool. It is a beach, a relaxing paradise, a historical site and a place to hangout, enjoy and eat with your family.
IF YOU GO
- The Venetian Pool is located at 2701 De Soto Blvd., Coral Gables, Fla. 33134.
- Driving directions from UM: turn left onto George E. Merrick Drive, turn right onto Stanford Drive, turn left onto Ponce de Leon Boulevard, turn left onto Granada Boulevard, at the traffic circle, take the second exit onto De Soto Boulevard, the pool will be on the right.
The number to contact the pool is: 305-460-5306.
- The entrance fee of the pool is $5.25 for a resident age 13 or older and $7.70 for a non-resident, $4.15 for a resident age 3-12 and $4.15 for a non-resident.
- Children must be a minimum of three years of age and 38 inches tall to enter the facility, verification of age must be presented at the time.
- Coolers, glass containers and alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
- School / camp rates are by reservation only.
- There are lifeguards present.
- The birthday party package is $300 for the first 15 guests and $12 for each additional guest with food.
- Non-commercial still photography shoot is a fee of $85. Commercial still photography shoot is a fee of $485 each day during operational hours. Commercial motion picture / video shoot is a fee of $1,213 each day.