Trees are dope.
You know how we know this? We went to the Fruit & Spice Park in Homestead.
You may have lived here all your life and never driven south to this 37-acre paradise, which is filled with trees. Amazing trees! Trees that bear tropical fruit. Trees that have these weird, disturbing, phallic looking pods hanging off them. Trees that get knocked down by hurricanes and live to tell the tale.
We told you: AMAZING trees.
There are more than 500 kinds of exotic fruits, spices, nuts and herbs from all over the world here. There’s everything from bamboo to bananas. There are 15 varieties of jackfruit here and as far as we can tell three million varieties of – sigh – mango.
(Editor’s note: There are really only 180 varieties of mangoes at the park, and they are out of season, and this mango hater needs to calm down.)
You can walk around the park, which is a great choice if you are trying to wear out small, wild children. You can also take a free tram ride and build camaraderie with fellow park goers even though the tram PA system isn’t so great. The guide stops along the way and tells you interesting stories about the trees, including one with poisonous leaves (not pictured here in case you are fighting with your spouse).
Before or after, you can get sandwiches, salads and snacks at The Mango Cafe or bring your own lunch to eat at picnic tables throughout the park (no grills or giant coolers allowed, so think small).
Here are some things you can see at the park:
Here’s the deal on the fruit: You are not, we repeat NOT, allowed to pick it. Some people think this is a ripoff, but think about swarms of nitwits yanking stuff off the trees and suddenly you realize this is a sensible rule. Want inexpensive local fruit? The Redland Market Village farmers market is about 15 minutes away.
If you find fruit on the ground, you’re allowed to pick it up and take it home.
See those green buds sticking out of that tree, the ones that look like okra? That is cocoa. It turns into chocolate. MIND BLOWN.
It’s strangely calming to ride through this grove.
This giant baobab
It was knocked down in Hurricane Irma and lay on the ground for weeks. When the park finally got the means to right it, no one was sure it could be replanted. It’s doing just fine. But please stop carving your name in the bark. Seriously. You’re not 15.
Visit the gift shop
Buy tickets and try fruit samples here. You can also shop. We recommend the blueberry Chardonnay balsamic jam and the ginger wasabi key lime marinade.
Fruit & Spice Park
Where: 24801 SW 187th Ave., Homestead
Hours: 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas
Tickets: $8 for adults; $2 for children 6-11; 5 and under free
Information: redlandfruitandspice.com or 305-347-5727