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Duck Tours, Miami - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Places to Visit

If you have been to London and visited the London Eye, then you cannot have missed seeing the fascinating ‘Duck Tours,’ which transport you around London, in an ex World War 2 amphibious vehicle. They take you past the landmarks of London and then suddenly launch themselves into the River Thames at Vauxhall Bridge for a waterborne tour.

Well, if you visit Miami you can do exactly the same thing, but these ‘Duck Tours’ are really amazing. Take the vehicle for instance, they are really huge - the length of a coach at least. You sit up quite high and they offer a really good vantage point.

This most unusual tour departs from South Beach, at the corner of Lincoln Rd and James Ave, just opposite the Albion Hotel. It’s a great way to see the fascinating Art Deco area of Miami Beach, with the candy coloured hotels which are so typical of the era. Many of them have been renovated, and you will see those that are still in the process of renovation. You will pass the Versace Mansion, where this famous fashion designer lived for many years until his untimely end at the hands of an assassin, It was Versace who, amongst other things, designed the flamboyant outfits worn by Elton John. Sadly, in 1997 he was shot, in front of his beautiful mansion, at the peak of his career. It is now a private club, and there are rumours that it will be converted into a $2,000 - $6,000 a night luxury hotel. It is just one of a number of stunning mansions along Ocean Drive, in this exclusive part of South Beach. It is a sparkling white building, which was built in the style of the house owned by the son of Christopher Columbus in 1510.

The tour continues over the McArthur Causeway, which faces the Port of Miami. If you are there at the weekend you will see the stunning panorama of huge superliners, which are lined up in the port, ready for their departure, around 5.00 pm, for the many islands of the Caribbean. These stunning white leviathans of the ocean will take your breath away, as they tower above the terminal buildings. You may even be lucky enough to watch one of these wonderful ships as she glides silently out of port. If you are there at the right time you will see that even the residents of Miami are impressed enough to stop their cars and toot their horns as the ships sail majestically past.

Next you will be taken into Downtown Miami, to the Bayside area, which is a bustling development of shops, restaurants, and a sparkling marina filled with the yachts of the rich and famous. You will pass the American Airlines Arena, a huge edifice, which is home to world class concerts by such artists as the Rolling Stones, Bette Midler, Gloria Esterfan, and Elton John. It is Miami’s largest arena. You won’t be able to see it, but there is a giant plane drawn on the roof of the arena.

Look out for the beautiful Freedom Tower, which is 256 ft high, and was constructed at the end of 1925 as a headquarters of the Miami Daily News. It has a Spanish feel to it, and it was inspired by the Cathedral Tower of in Seville. It is now a Cuban American Museum, and is a most attractive building.

Next it’s on to Watson Island, which is home to the seaplanes that fly into Miami. You may be lucky and see one of these graceful planes take off along the water. They are fascinating to watch as they speed along the water and suddenly lift off in a cloud of spray. They never cease to excite us. Seeing them, with their huge floats hanging below the wings, takes you back to the early days of flying, when seaplanes were commonplace.

Then it’s onto the most exciting bit of the tour, when your land vehicle slips into the water of Biscayne Bay, and the sea adventure begins.

The tour takes you past the Marinas full of sparkling white yachts, around Star, Palm and Hibiscus Islands, and along Millionaries Row, this most incredible neighbourhood of Miami, where huge homes and luxurious condominium towers jostle for space. You don’t need a mortgage to buy a piece of real estate here, you need a fortune! Gloria Esterfan lives on Star Island as does Rosie O Donnell, and P Diddy, but you will be very lucky to spy them!

All too soon your tour will come to an end, and you will be back where you started. Tours last 90 minutes and depart daily, every hour from 10 am to 6 pm. At $24 adults and $17 children it is great value, and an interesting and unusual experience, especially when your motor vehicle turns into a boat! Don’t miss it!

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Page added on: 27 June 2006
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