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    Vizcaya Museum and GardensVizcaya Museum and Gardens Miami, Florida
    Vizcaya was the former villa and estate of businessman James Deering, a member of the Deering family that had a significant interest in the Deering McCormick-International Harvester fortune, located on Biscayne Bay in the Coconut Grove district of Miami, Florida. The estate contains huge Italian renaissance gardens, historic village outbuildings and native woodland landscaping. The magnificent landscape and architecture had been influenced by the Veneto and Tuscan Italian renaissance models and designed in the Mediterranean revival style with baroque elements and designed mainly by Paul Chalfin. The villa was constructed between 1914 and 1916, with the gardens and village being constructed until 1923. James would use the estate as his winter retreat from 1916 until 1925, when he passed on. The fabulous estate did have 180 initially when James purchased it, but now contains just 50 acres, with ten of those acres dedicated to the expansive gardens and the remaining forty containing native hammock and circulation. The villa's museum houses over 70 rooms of excellent architectural interiors that are decorated with gorgeous antiques, mostly from the 15th to the 19th centuries of European decorative arts and furnishings. The estate's collections are very diverse, especially since it includes the National Historic Landmark main house and village outbuildings, the beautiful gardens with their outstanding architectural elements and statuary and the spectacular art objects that are showcased throughout the villa and also integrated with the design of the main house.

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    Zoo MiamiZoo Miami Florida
    the Miami Zoo is the oldest and biggest zoological garden in the state of Florida, and the only tropical zoo in the nation, located on the old Richmond Naval Air Station that is located south of Miami-Dade county, housing more than 2000 animals occupying 740 magnificent acres. The zoo has four main exhibit areas that include; Australia, Asia, Amazon and beyond and Africa. Some exhibits haven't been installed in any specific group yet, and these include; bongo, Marabou stork, saddle-billed storks, addax, Siamang gibbons and American flamingos. Pelicans and waterfowl are found in the Pelican Cove that contains a big pond fed by a waterfall; and a big lake called Lake Iguana is located on the grounds for added attractions. The Asian exhibit houses tigers, dromedary camels, Arabian oryx, orangutans, Cuban crocodiles, lions, banteng, Malayan tapirs, gemsbok, Asian elephants, Indian rhinoceros, sloth bears, bactrian camels, Cape Hunting dogs, guar, spotted hyena and komodo dragon; with muntjac, blood python, Malayan water monitor, clouded leopard and Asian small-clawed otters can be found here as well in the Asian River Life Experience. The zoo is only one of two in the nation that showcases a pair of black-necked storks and is always included in a list of the top ten zoos in America today. Africa houses reticulated giraffes, lowland gorillas, Grevy's zebra, chimpanzees, black rhinos, giant eland, ostrich, okapi, pygmy hippos, gazelle, crested porcupine, African crowned cranes, African elephants, white storks, Andean condors, Stanley cranes, spider monkeys, rheas, African sacred ibis and guanacos. The Amazon houses giant anteaters, harpy eagles, jaguars, Orinoco crocodiles, anacondas, giant river otters, freshwater stingrays, bats, green iguanas and basilisks. Australia houses black duikers, Red River hogs, Aldabra giant tortoises, koalas, wattled cranes, red kangaroos, warthogs, tree kangaroos, New Guinea singing dogs, crocodile monitors and more.

February 22, 2013