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Biscayne National Park 50th Anniversary Events

January 2018 – Biscayne National Park turns 50 in 2018 and the park is celebrating with a series of events that highlight the park’s beauty and biodiversity, its history and culture, including the shipwrecks that make up the park’s Maritime Heritage Trail.

Biscayne National Park was established on October 18, 1968 after local conservationists campaigned to protect Biscayne Bay and its barrier islands from development. As the largest marine park in the National Park System, the park protects 173,000 acres of mangrove forests, shallow bay waters, secluded islands and coral reefs – all within sight of downtown Miami. 

Read more about the park’s history.

Here’s a list of scheduled park activities. For updates, check the park calendar.

50th Anniversary Events @ Biscayne National Park

Park After Dark Programs

  • Fireside Chat at Elliott Key, January 6, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. – “Water, water, everywhere!” Humans have survived and thrived in Biscayne for over 10,000 years. Free s’mores!
  • Fireside Chat at Elliott Key, February 3, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. – “In the mood for love!” Just in time for Valentine’s Day, rangers present a program about the courtship behaviors of aquatic life. Free s’mores!
  • Music Concert at Dante Fascell Visitor Center, February 17, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. – “Shanties by the Bay.” Multi-talented singer and songwriter Tom Callinan performs sea shanties & more!
  • Fireside Chat at Boca Chita Key, March 3, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. – “Light your fire!” Learn about the role of fire throughout Biscayne’s history and why it still speaks to us. Free s’mores!
  • Music Concert at Dante Fascell Visitor Center, March 17, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. – “Songs and Stories.” South Florida’s historian-in-song Grant Livingston & park ranger Gary Bremen share an evening of stories & songs inspired by national parks
  • Story Slam at Dante Fascell Visitor Center, March 24, 2018, at 7 p.m. – Storytellers share true, personal, five minute stories about water. Hosting the event is Gabriela Fernandez of the Moth in Miami. The stories will be professionally judged and cash prizes awarded.
  • Fireside Chat at Boca Chita Key, March 31, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. – “Gifts from the sea!” Explore the treasures that the ocean brings to the shores of Biscayne. Free s’mores!
  • Evening Paddle at Dante Fascell Visitor Center, April 28, 2018, 6 & 7:30 p.m. – Reservations required for this event, call 786-335-3644

Biscayne Art Exhibitions

January 22 to April 6, 2018 / Between the Tides: An Artist’s view of the Maritime Heritage Trail. Artist Ron Garrett has collaborated with park archaeologists to recreate ‘sunken ships/relics’ from the park using recycled materials and marine debris collected from the waters of the park. These works mimic and speak to the forces of nature, decay and the corrosive power of saltwater on human endeavors within the ecosystem. The show also features paintings, original woodcuts and etchings of marine life and shipwrecks of Park waters. Opening Reception: Saturday March 3 from 6 to 9 PM with Park Archaeologist Josh Marano.

April 13 to July 15, 2018 / Biscayne Plein Aire. Miami artist Jacqueline Roch, founder of Miami Plein Aire, and artist-in-residence this year for 11 Florida national parks will be showcasing a new collection of paintings and pastels of Biscayne National Park for the park’s 50th anniversary. As part of the exhibition, the artist and the park will host a “paint-out” where invited artists will create original works on site in a weekend-long live painting event that will allow visitors to witness the energy and efforts of these talented artists. Opening Reception: Saturday April 28.

July 20 to October 7, 2018 / Recombinant: A Golden Anniversary Retrospective. The park’s Dante Fascell Visitor Center opened 5 years after Hurricane Andrew wiped out the previous building with an exhibit called “A Rare Combination,” taking its title from the park’s 1968 enabling legislation. This new exhibit plays off that title with pieces chosen from 60 shows and 150 artists who have shown in the gallery since 1997, and also plays off a biological term, symbolizing the art and the park as living entities. Opening Reception: TBA.

October 12 to January 13, 2019 / From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream Waters. Biscayne National Park and Redwood National Park are connected, not only by the classic Woodie  Guthrie folksong “This Land is Your Land,” but also by the fact that Congress established both parks in October 1968. National Parks At Night will host one of their popular photography workshops in each park during the early part of 2018. Images resulting from those workshops will be combined into two identical exhibitions that will be shown simultaneously at both parks. Opening Reception: TBA

Biscayne Family Fun Fest

Family Fun Fest events takes place at the Dante Fascell Visitor Center on the second Saturday of the month from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. The events feature five hands-on activity stations for families to complete together. Family Fun Fest Junior includes specially-designed activities for toddlers (ages 5 and under) to ensure that the entire family gets to participate.

  • T.E.A.M.! – Sunday December 10, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math: take a futuristic look at the past with a time-traveling steampunk theme!
  • ¡Viva España! – Sunday January 14, Florida was once part of Spain…twice! Take a closer look at the park’s Spanish heritage! (Dress as a conquistador!)
  • Pirates & Wreckers – Sunday February 11, Get the REAL story behind some of Biscayne’s rough and tumble past? (Grab your headscarves and cutlasses!)
  • A Biscayne Renaissance – Sunday March 11, The Sword in the Stone, Arthur and Lancelot, and Damsels in Distress! (Lords and ladies galore!)
  • Back to the ‘60s – Sunday April 8, Biscayne National Park was established during a wild decade 50 years ago. Learn about the times that led to Miami’s National Park! (Grab those bell-bottoms and mini-skirts!)
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