Situated on the site of a former horse track and opened to the public in 1979, Miami-Dade County's Tropical Park is an excellent place to relax, exercise, picnic, or take advantage of a variety of other activities.
According to the Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation Department, Tropical Park attracts approximately one million visitors per year who come to the park to enjoy various pursuits. One of the centerpieces of the park is Tropical Park Stadium, home to the Metro-Dade Track and Field Team, which has been the recipient of a number of regional and national awards. The team practices regularly at the field and has hosted a number of prestigious track and field events here. Several times, the stadium has hosted both the USA National Track and Field Championships and the Junior Olympics.
The Miami FC, South Florida's only professional soccer team, also plays its home games at 7,000-seat Tropical Park Stadium. The team, founded in 2006, is a member of the United Soccer League, which is headquartered in Brazil.
In addition, this expansive 275-acre park boasts the Tropical Equestrian Center. The center has two clay show arenas, two grass courses, and seating for approximately 1,000 horse show lovers. The promenade and show arena are covered by a steel roof to protect patrons from scorching Miami sun and inclement weather. The Tropical Park Equestrian Center hosts about three dozen horse shows each year and is the busiest equestrian arena in the region.
In addition to equestrian competitions, the Tropical Park Equestrian Center is also rodeo central for South Florida. Several full-size rodeos are held here each year and additional bleachers are added to accommodate up to 7,500 guests. The facility also offers 267 horse stalls for rent to visiting competitors and has hook-ups for recreational vehicles and plenty of concession stands for hungry and thirsty horse show and rodeo patrons.
An on-site Tennis Center provides a dozen lighted courts for visitors to the park to enjoy and all are wheelchair accessible. In addition, racquetball courts are available. Reservations are accepted and lessons are offered to players of various skill levels.
The Tropical Park Demos Boxing Center is a fully-staffed training facility that teaches the fundamentals of amateur boxing to students of various ages. Since its inception in 1978, the boxing program has trained 13,000 members, some of whom have gone on to become Olympic and professional boxers.
Tropical Park in Miami is also home to four lakes which accommodate boaters with small vessels. Paddleboats can be rented and visitors can also enjoy sunning on the beach or swimming in the calm waters of the lakes. Freshwater fishing is also popular and can be enjoyed at any of the lakes.
From just before Thanksgiving to mid-January, Tropical Park plays host to Santa's Enchanted Forest, which occupies about half the park. The annual event includes carnival rides, live holiday entertainment, a giant Christmas tree, and about five million lights that decorate the trees and man-made structures inside the park.
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