My Travels – MLB Stadiums: Marlins Park, Miami Marlins (July 12, 2013)

After the Rays and Twins game, we started the four-hour drive down to Miami. We stopped at Doc’s Beach House in Bonita Springs for a great dinner right off the beach. It was a perfect stop at the midway point outside Naples and the food was very good. We finished our drive through the north side of the Everglades and got into Miami late that night.

Kara at Everglades Alligator FarmThe next morning we headed to the Everglades Alligator Farm. It’s located about 40-45 minutes south of Miami and I’m very impressed with the experience. We took an airboat ride (my first one), watched an alligator feeding, and toured the farm. This was one of the highlights of our entire trip. If you have the time, go visit the farm.

Jon at Monkey JungleOur next visit was to Monkey Jungle, which is a half-hour drive back towards the city. There are mesh-covered walkways all throughout the reserve where monkeys climb all over. At different parts in the canopy, small dishes on long chains hang down for visitors to put raisins for the monkeys to pull up in the dishes and eat. It was a great experience and we had a lot of fun.

Finally, we headed to Marlins Park, the newest stadium in major league baseball. It’s a beautiful stadium with a contemporary look. The Nationals were in town and their ace Stephen Strasburg got hammered by the home team. His line: 2.0 innings, 5 hits, 7 runs, 4 walks, 2 K, 1 HR. Ouch. The Marlins pulled out an 8-3 winner and we enjoyed post-game fireworks after the roof retracted for the night.

Our last stop in Florida bumped our ballpark total to twenty-five. Marlins Park is a nice visit if you’re spending some time near South Beach. Here’s some of what we learned from our visit…

  • I’ll be honest, Marlins Park is located in a pretty suspicious part of Miami. We parked about 5-6 blocks away from the stadium for $5. More parking is available closer to the ballpark, but the overall feel of the area is the same.
  • One of the touted features of Marlins Park is the aquarium behind home plate. It is there, but you need to have a ticket in the 100 section to get anywhere close to the aquarium.
  • I will say the food was good. The Taste of Miami section gives a great cross-section of food and the price is comparable to many other ballparks.
  • We give the “Best Jumbotron in MLB” Award to Marlins Park. I’m very impressed with its layout and the timeliness of score updates. Well done, Miami.
  • The Clevelander bar is located along the outfield wall. We didn’t visit, but we heard that there’s a pool at field level where visitors can watch the game.
  • Major league baseball still hasn’t taken off in Miami and I was very disappointed that Marlins officials would rather let an anemic first-level attendance remain the same throughout the entire game. We were two out of six, six people in our entire section in the 300 level.

JK - Marlins Park

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