Suzy Skinner drives from Homestead to Palmetto Bay at least once a week to take her daughter to the park. Of Greater Miami’s 270 parks, Coral Reef Park is the family’s favorite.
The large playground provides children of a variety of ages with play options in a safe environment. The well-maintained facilities and safety of the park keep Skinner coming every week as well.
“It’s well shaded, which is a bonus. You don’t see a lot of that in Miami,” Skinner said. “It’s a large park so if she wants to get away from the playground, that’s okay too.”
Coral Reef Park is nestled in Palmetto Bay, self-described as the Village of Parks. Beyond the playground, it houses tennis courts, a baseball field, beach volleyball courts, walking paths with exercise machines along the route, a canal and open field areas.
“It’s very clean and I find the people to be very friendly and well-mannered, which is something you definitely want your toddler around,” Skinner said.
On any given day, Coral Reef Park is the space of choice for athletes, walkers, joggers, nature lovers, picnickers, friends and families. Most days, ducks parade along the canal and walking path.
Lucy Kealy knew exactly where to take Gabe Rowe, a friend from college who was visiting, when he said he wanted to play tennis.
She has been going to Coral Reef Park since her childhood and has seen the park grow with her.
“I grew up playing tennis at this park, did cheerleading, played soccer –– everything,” Kealy said. “I even went to Coral Reef Elementary. It’s just our neighborhood park that we love to go to.”
The tennis courts are open for free play as well as scheduled instruction and a summer camp for kids.
Kealy has continued coming to this park over the years because it is such a positive environment — from the people and open areas to the updated facilities.
“Everyone is nice. There’s not bad people around here,” Kealy said. “It’s really a neighborhood community.”
Peggy Bullard is another longtime patron of Coral Reef Park. She has been coming to the park to walk three to four times a week since 2003.
Her preference for the park stems from the fact that it is a place where she can think clearly while enjoying the fresh air, unlike the confines of a gym. Coral Reef Park features a natural pineland preserve with a more secluded trail, in addition to the one that encircles the whole park.
“It’s just a beautiful place and park,” she said. “It’s probably the nicest one and I feel privileged that I live in the community that I can come here very easily.”
Coral Reef Park is located at 7895 SW 152 St. and is open from 8 a.m. until sunset.
April Rubin is a sophomore at the University of Florida interning with Miami’s Community Newspapers.