Activities & Resources
Deering Estate at Cutler050in Miami, FL 33157
about Deering Estate at Cutler:
As you enter the property through the Historic Main Entrance you feel as if you're peeking into Miami's past. The large Stone House and other buildings are at the end of a long tree-lined driveway. As you walk past the house, down the long front yard leading to the boat turn around, you can envision the privileged, private life lived by the Deering family on this estate.
Walk to the boat turn around, and look for fish and other marine life in the water. We were told that Manatees often visit this key-shaped inlet. From the boat turn around, look in either direction at the mangrove trees creating the terrain of the shoreline. Watch your small children here, because there is no fence between you and the water!
Devastated by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 the estate's restoration project have come to fruition. Several of the structures needed to be rebuilt, and new facilities to further enhance the experience of the estate have been added. Note the marking on one of the Royal Palms of the water level in various hurricanes through Miami's history, including Andrew. The level shown is water only, the surges from the storm were as high as the second story of the Stone House. The Royal Palm grove on the front yard is surrounded by picnic tables. There is no food for purchase at the estate, but picnics are welcome.
As you tour the houses (Richmond Cottage and the Stone House) make note of the centering of the buoy marking the channel to Deering Estate and the center of Richmond Cottage (the family's original dwelling). It's said that the channel was dug central to the house to allow the house lights to act as a lighthouse for boats arriving at night. The Stone House (built in 1922) was built to house Deering's extensive art collection. Note the copper doors meant to protect the treasures from fire.
Check out the surrounding natural habitat with a guided walking tour that lasts approximately one hour. This is better suited to older children, and we were impressed by how knowledgeable the guide was about the plants, butterflies, history, and ecology of this area. Ask about the tourist trees (called so because of their reddish color and peeling skin) that can grow even if they lose all of their leaves in a tropical storm. This is a fun and informative tour. Tram tours are available if necessary. Specialty tours are offered that cover butterflies, art & architecture, geology. Canoe tours are offered on Sunday mornings for ages 9 and up. Call in advance to schedule or make reservations.
This area of Miami is called the Miami Rock Ridge, and it is the highest natural point between Miami and the Florida Keys. Because of its elevation, it contains some of the oldest archeological finds in the area. On the nature tour you'll be shown a Tequesta burial mound from the 1700's containing the remains of 18-20 chieftains laid in a radiating pattern (heads in the center). The chieftains were of different eras, and it is thought that the burial mound was active for about 200 years. The area also contains a midden (garbage dump) of the Tequestas who used to inhabit this area. Because it was moved from the shoreline to fertilize an avocado grove, children (who attend camp at the estate) can learn about archeological digs and Tequesta history exploring this area.