Both parents and their kids can enjoy outdoor, beach fun on Key Biscayne

Posted September 25, 2013


KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — Key Biscayne resident, Gabriel Martinez loves to cool off in the Ocean Club Tennis Center after his morning tennis lesson. Once he catches his breath and rehydrates he’s off to meet up with his friends at the Key Biscayne Community Center.

“There is no place like the Key,” said Martinez, 11. “It’s an island, so obviously we have the best beaches, but there’s also a bunch of other stuff to do. We’ve got sports, games, parks, it’s awesome!”

Key Biscayne is an island community in Miami-Dade County in South Florida. A paradise destination lying just south of Miami Beach and southeast of downtown Miami.

The seven-mile long island is connected to the mainland via the Rickenbacker Causeway, originally built in 1947. After crossing the tollbooth visitors encounter the first of two bridges, which leads to Virginia Key, a barrier island just north of Key Biscayne.

Virginia Key is home to a number of attractions such as the Miami Seaquarium and the Virginia Key Beach Park. It is connected to Key Biscayne by a second shorter bridge.

Unlike the typical Miami travel experience, Key Biscayne is a quiet tranquil island getaway. The village is full of family friendly activities making this the ideal destination for parents and children alike.

“Key Biscayne is, was, and always will be a beautiful place,” said Patricia Villegas, 53. “My parents bought a place in the early ’70s and its been in the family since.”

After vacationing for years on the island, Villegas realized that Key Biscayne would be the perfect place to raise her children.

“The good schools and safe environment were exactly what my family needed,” she explained.

Virginia Key Beach Park

Virginia Key Beach was originally only accessible by boat. Established in 1945, Virginia Beach was highly popular with locals and visitors until it was closed in 1982 due to high maintenance costs. The public park remained closed until 2008, when local citizens formed the Virginia Key Beach Park Task Force in response to plans for private development of the property.

Today, Virginia Key Beach is open to the public and hosts a variety of attractions.

Most people go to Virginia Key in search of its beautiful beaches. Visitors can enjoy a mile-long stretch of recently renovated shoreline with an un-obstructed view of the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay.

While parents relax by the beach and soak in the sun, children can go swimming, enjoy the playground, take a spin on the antique carousel or ride on the miniature train.

The park also has picnic areas where families can enjoy lunch together. On weekends, the Historic Concession Stand serves seaside sandwiches, salads, beverages and treats.

“I love coming here with the kids on weekends,” said Rosario Riascos. “It’s the perfect place for me to unwind, and my kids never get bored.”

Miami Seaquarium

The Miami Seaquarium is also located on Virginia Key and has one of the world’s largest collections of marine animals. In addition to marine mammals the Miami Seaquarium houses fish, sharks, sea turtles, birds, reptiles and manatees.

The park offers daily presentations and hosts overnight camps as well as events for boy scouts and other group programs.

One of the park’s most popular attractions is Lolita the Killer Whale. Lolita arrived at the the Miami Seaquarium in 1970 and is currently the park’s only orca. She is one of the world’s oldest captive orcas.

Key Biscayne Community Center

The Key Biscayne Community Center located in the heart of the Village of Key Biscayne is a popular destination for adults and kids.

“The coolest place on the island is definitely the Community Center,” said Eduardo Chiaparra, 10. “I pretty much go everyday with my friends. We play basketball, video games, run around the game room. It’s a whole lot of fun.”

The Key Biscayne Community Center is open to both residents and visitors. Opened in 2004, the Community Center provides visitors with indoor multi-use courts, indoor playgrounds, video game and computer rooms, an outdoor swimming pool and a fully equipped gym.

There are also various classes and programs available to visitors of the Key Biscayne Community Center. While the kids run around having fun, parents can enjoy group spinning classes, group yoga classes or group pilates.

Group classes are also available for children including arts and crafts, music and dance or athletics.

The Ocean Club Tennis Center

The Ocean Club is a gated ocean-front community in Key Biscayne. While many of its amenities are reserved strictly for the use of those who own or lease property, its tennis center is open to the public.

“I love taking tennis lessons at the Ocean Club,” said Maxi Heinz, 10. “The coaches are great and I get to take classes with all my friends so it’s super fun. I pretty much go everyday.”

Aside from being able to reserve an instructor for a private tennis lesson at any time there are also various programs available to visitors of the Ocean Club Tennis Center. Every afternoon coaches hold Junior Clinics which are group tennis classes for kids. Adult Clinics are offered every evening.

“I bring my daughter here for lessons every Tuesday and Thursday,” said Lesley Hernandez. “While she’s doing her clinic I take a private lesson with one of the instructors. It’s a great workout.”

After lessons visitors can purchase drinks and snacks inside the air-conditioned club house.

“Growing up on Key Biscayne was out of this world,” said Sebastian Delgado, 22. “It’s a small community so everything is close by and everyone knows each other. It gives kids the freedom to do whatever they want and go wherever they want. There’s not many places like it.”

If You Go

Rickenbacker Causeway
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Toll is $1.50.

Virginia Key Beach Park
Park open year round from sunrise to sunset.
Vehicle weekday admission: $7.
Vehicle weekend admission: $5.
Cyclist admission: $1.
‘Biscayne Virginia Rickenbacker Central’ Miniature Train Ride $1.
‘Allan Herschell’ Vintage Carousel $1.

Miami Seaquarium
General Admission $39.95
Children (3 to 9) $29.95

Key Biscayne Community Center
Adult Day Pass $13.
Youth Day Pass $9.
Senior Day Pass $9.
Student Day Pass $10.
Prices of classes and programs vary depending on season.

The Ocean Club Tennis Center
Adult Clinic $28.
Junior Clinic $25.
Private one hour lesson $70.
Private half hour lesson $50.
Semi-private (2 or 3 people) lesson $100.

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