The Ten Weirdest Landmarks in Miami
Miami can be said to be the home of a lot of things: home of the torrential downpour, perhaps; home of the majestic likes of Trick Daddy and Rick Ross; even home of the Whopper (Burger King is headquartered here). This tropical wasteland is a vastly varied landscape, so much so that she could readily be described as charmingly schizophrenic. But there is at least one thread that winds its way through the fabric of the Magic City: the weird.
Photos by Travis Cohen
To be perfectly clear: Weird is not a strictly negative term. The weird that lives in Miami's DNA is one of the things that makes this town so fascinating. It's what gives this place a personality that can be all at once inspiring and revolting, what keeps this city's blood flowing in that unnerving shade of purple neon magic. And it's in that fine tradition of the celebration of strange that we've put together this list of the flat-out strangest signs, structures, and other stops around town. From the distinctive to the bizarre, from the incredible to the inane, and all sorts in between, these are Miami's ten weirdest landmarks.
10. The Miami Science Museum's Giant Sloth Statue
3280 S. Miami Ave., Miami
If you've driven up the northbound lanes of South Dixie Highway to the junction with I-95, you've undoubtedly seen this hulking fellow. Perhaps you've asked yourself: My God, what is that confused-looking creature? And why does he have such a peculiar grin? We can't explain the grin, but this 20-foot-tall concrete curiosity is a statue of the now-extinct giant land sloth, a huge, apparently silly-looking mammal that wandered the Earth, embracing invisible friends, until about 5,000 years ago. Presumably, they were just as lovably slow and goofy as the three-toed sloths of today. In a decision-making process that can be described only as unclear, the museum's powers that be decided the first sight to greet visitors upon their arrival to the planetarium for their annual field trip should be no less than an unsettling reproduction of a giant land sloth. Unfortunately, the big guy might not be long for this world, because the new Miami Science Museum will soon open at its new home in Museum Park, so be sure to give him a hug next time you pass by.
9. Fernando Botero's "Torso" in Bayfront Park
301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
Botero is an unequivocal genius. His style is both playful and powerful, and to this day, some of the artist's works carry in their message a degree of gravity and social commentary that other artists often spend their whole lives pursuing.
That said, this piece seems odd in the context of its placement. Dropped nearly on the sidewalk along Biscayne Boulevard, the colossal bronze body with no legs, arms, or head towers over passersby amid the palm trees and bustling streets of downtown, subtle as a great black monolith. It is undoubtedly a beautiful work of art and a fine jab at all the self-centered morons who spend hours flexing in front of the mirror with their iPhone, trying to capture the perfect picture of their newly embellished tan line. Social commentary ahead of its time. But still, pretty weird in its current context.