Skip Black Friday. Visit outdoor Miami Florida attractions


Why battle Black Friday crowds when you can enjoy the peace of the butterfly exhibit at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden?

The day after Thanksgiving is coming. But do you really want to go anywhere near a mall?

Even at the best of times, Black Friday shopping is a preview of hell, full of fury and desperation and angry, sweaty people who will have no problem shoving you aside on their way to a bargain.

And now, with the COVID-19 pandemic surging ahead like that lady at Wal-Mart who really, really wants that half-price flatscreen TV, the whole idea of being around a bunch of pushy, out-of-breath shoppers is even less appealing.

May we suggest getting some fresh air instead?

After a thoroughly soggy October and November, the sun is out and the breeze is balmy in Miami. Here are a few of our favorite alternatives to mall madness. Bring the kids and your mask. You can stop at your favorite small business and support them on the way home.

Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden

Enjoy the beauty of nature amid tropical greenery. In addition to reducing the number of touch surfaces — that means fewer benches, for the record — the garden has created a one-way route and canceled tram tours. You no longer have to buy a specific time slot, but masks are required. More information and tickets at

Zoo Miami

Visit the largest zoo in Florida and see the animals by day or roam the grounds after dark under a million LED lights at the annual Zoo Lights event. Tickets must be purchased online at

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Stroll around 10 acres of Italian gardens and enjoy the fact it’s not raining. Finally! Just don’t forget your mask — they’re required. Tickets must be purchased online at

Jungle Island

The new Jungle Island eco-adventure park features zip lines and other aerial obstacle courses.

Work off some of that turkey (or whatever you ate at your socially distanced Thanksgiving) at the new and improved eco-adventure park with zip lines, obstacle courses and more. Make reservations at

Knaus Berry Farm

It is closed on Thanksgiving and on Sundays, But if you want to get some fresh air on Black Friday, summon your patience and head to Knaus Berry Farm and get in line for a little magic in the form of milkshakes and some of the best cinnamon rolls on the planet. There are new social distancing rules, but you can still grab a dozen to go. You won’t mind staying home if you have a few cinnamon rolls handy.

Miami Seaquarium

After being closed for almost eight months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the marine life park has reopened Friday through Sunday and will expand its hours in December. Capacity is limited inside the park, and masks are required. Tickets must be purchased online at

Fruit & Spice Park

The Fruit & Spice Park in Homestead has over 500 varieties of fruit, vegetables, spices and herbs.

Did you forget about this 37-acre botanical garden and park in Homestead? Well, don’t. It’s a good place to get outside and away from other people breathing on you. It’s open daily except on Thanksgiving. The Mango Café is open for takeout only. More information at

Everglades National Park

Shark Valley is still temporarily closed due to flooding, but the main Homestead entrance is open. Proceed with caution, however: Pine Glades Lake, Sisal Pond and Pa-hay-okee areas are closed due to high water, and the first 10 miles of the Main Park Road are under construction while the road is repaved. Minimal delays expected. On the bright side, tropical fruit mecca Robert is Here has reopened, so you can grab a shake on the way. Consult for more information.

The beach

Did you forget where you live?

On a good day, you can’t beat the beach.

Connie Ogle loves wine, books and the Miami Heat. Please don’t make her eat a mango.

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