The impressive 1920s estate of Charles Deering sits on the Miami Rock Ridge, a unique geological feature of south Florida made up of limestone deposits from ancient coral reefs. Here visitors will find a host of interesting karst features including sink holes, wildlife, razor rocks, and even caves that have been carved out by water moving through the limestone. This well-protected section of the ridge hosts over eight unique Florida ecosystems. Most notably, the site has 87 acres of well-managed pine rocklands. This habitat, rich in biodiversity, was once common in South Florida but has been reduced to only 5% of its historical range.
With the diversity and uniqueness of habitats comes a plethora of species – over 200 resident and migratory birds have been recorded on-site, including rarities such as Mangrove Cuckoo and Black-whiskered Vireo. Before you go, you can explore eBird sightings or download a printable checklist to get an idea of what you are likely to see. The protected land also provides a refuge for 89 rare and endangered plant species.
Deering Estate also offers a host of classes, including virtual K-12 classes that can be done with in-person classrooms or remote learners on topics including biology, ecology, archaeology and physics. Classes and tours for adult learners on everything ranging from photography to history to conservation are offered both virtually and in person.
If you tire of wildlife viewing and hiking during your trip (which we suspect will be unlikely, given the impressive offerings at this site), you can also explore the estate itself by touring the extensive historic buildings and viewing some of the multiple art exhibits on display. The estate will even be hosting a vintage auto show on Nov. 8 – there is certainly something for everyone here!
The Deering Estate is currently open to visitors and masks are required for visitors in both the indoor and outdoor areas of the estate. For more information on guidelines and requirements related to COVID-19, visit deeringestate.org/covid-19.