Posted Sept. 21, 2012
By ANDRES CORREA
MIAMI, Fla. — Eduardo Herrero rests on a bench as his fully-grown brown Labrador, Greco, jogs around a gated area in David T. Kennedy Park.
This is one of two gated areas for dogs in the park. The other one is reserved for dogs that are below 25 pounds. Eduardo consciously makes an effort to bring Greco here at least once a week because, like so many others, this park holds a special place in his heart.
“I used to come here every day after high school,” Herrero said. “I almost forgot how amazing it was until I got my own dog last year and now I’m here all the time.”
For those that have pets, there is a great value in being able to bring them to an environment where they can run around and be themselves. Stephanie Cangas, an employee at the nearby Pet Supermarket, works around animals and knows how important it is for dogs to get their exercise.
“Working at a pet store we understand and really recommend that dogs get as much exercise as they can,” Stephanie said. “Kennedy Park provides enough space and a positive pet environment for dogs to interact with one another and get the exercise that they need to have a happy and healthy life.”
For decades, Kennedy Park has been a hotspot for Miami locals to escape the busy city life and spend a day outdoors. Scattered throughout the park are not just dogs and their owners, but couples on picnics, joggers keeping in shape, and fathers teaching their sons the fundamentals of any sport you can think of. The scenes taking place in this park always seem to be taken directly out of a feel-good film.
Perhaps this is why many people come to Kennedy Park to do none of those things, but to just sit back and enjoy the view. It just happens to be one of the most relaxing places to get some fresh air in the city. Isabel Flores often comes to the park to eat her lunch when there’s a nice breeze.
“I just bring a sandwich and then pick a bench,” Flores said. “It’s nice to just sit here and get a view of the bay.”
That’s right; Kennedy Park also overlooks Biscayne Bay. Just when it seemed that the scene couldn’t get any more picturesque, there’s an ocean view for couples to sit and watch the sunset. For those who are not in relationships, however, there are plenty of features in Kennedy Park that visitors use to get in “dating-shape.”
Just a few feet behind where Isabel sits, joggers are breaking a sweat. The noise from their steps is muffled by the rubber padded trail in Kennedy Park. This trail eventually leads to the other side of the 29-acre park.
On this side, all of the activity seems to be athletic. The joggers take a break from their run to use pull-up bars, while a man coaches children through soccer drills next to a sand volleyball court. As the joggers continue, they run across a section of the park dedicated to exercise equipment where some young men are working out. The most intriguing part of all of this is that most of these athletes go to the same place afterwards for a refreshing treat.
“A lot of the time I come here just for AC’s Icees,” 20-year-old Aleksandre Ramiz said with a smile. “It’s worth the drive.”
Located in the parking lot of Kennedy Park and operated from a truck, AC’s Icees has become a place where many Miami locals go to get the best refreshment on a hot summer day.
Children along with their parents sweat in the heat as they wait in line to get their hands on sugary frozen lemonade. Most of them are there because they have spotted others throughout the park walking around with the familiar cup with the sliced lemon on top and they could not resist one for themselves.
That’s because AC’s Icees has been in business for more than 30 years and has become known as the staple of Kennedy Park. It is one of the attractions that make this place so special for Miami locals.
Towards the center of the park there is a post that reads, “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in several different languages including Chinese, Greek, and Japanese. Living in a city as fast as Miami, it can get hard to find peace and relaxation.
For people like Eduardo, Isabel, and Aleksandre, as well as many other Miami locals, Kennedy Park is a place where that can be achieved. Many may wonder about the true purpose of that post at the center of the park, but it seems to be as a symbol of the fact that Kennedy Park is a place where peace can prevail.
IF YOU GO
- Address: 2400 S. Bayshore Dr., Miami, FL 33133
- Hours: From sunrise to sunset.
- Parking can get tricky on the weekends, try and ride a bicycle there if possible. There is disabled-parking available.
- There is no fishing allowed in the bay.
- The park is dog-friendly.
- No admission fee.
- AC’ Icees sells food and beverages, as well as their famous icees.