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Miami’s New Water Park: Black Beard’s Beach

May 19, 2008 By Suzy in  | 34 Comments

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This week the City of Miami opened it’s only water park.  Replacing the former Grapeland Library, Black Beard’s Beach is part of a multi-million dollar renovation of neighboring Grapeland Park that includes a baseball complex and a community recreational building complete with art and computer rooms.  The 20 million dollar facility, featuring artwork by world-renowned local artist Romero Britto, took just over three years to complete following numerous delays and controversies including environmental issues and allegations of improprieties.

The vision of Miami Commissioner Angel Gonzalez, the Black Beard’s Beach project did hit a few swells.  First there were allegations of improprieties when a company represented by City Hall lobbyist Steve Marin was awarded the project without a competitive bidding process.  The city was then greeted with an environmental clean-up.  Once used as a city dump, construction on the water park was delayed when it was discovered that a costly clean-up would run the City of Miami an additional 10 million in funds.  Yet finally, after 3.5 years, the long awaited Black Beard’s Beach finally opened it’s doors last Wednesday. 

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Featuring a play area for the big kids, a play area for the tots under 5, a resort-style, infinity pool complete with beach-like entry and a lazy river where one gets soaked while drifting on an inner tube, the water park definitely offers fun for the whole family.

Pirate’s Plunge, featuring a maximum water depth of 18 inches, is the water play area for children ages 5 and older.  The island offers three bright orange, twisting slides and a smaller one for the younger kids.  The huge wooden playground has three floors of wet, climbing, twisting fun.  Hoses on all floors can spray anyone approaching or inside of the playground structure.  Pirate’s Plunge is also decorated with Britto’s lively colored characters including twisting pipes and pinwheels which spray the kids as they play.  The area features a maximum bathing load of 286.

Shipwreck Island, the under 5 water play area, features a maximum water depth of 12 inches which is perfect for non-swimmers.  Decorated with bright, colorful Britto characters, the play area boasts two bright orange slides, numerous water spraying devices and a continuous waterfall from atop an Octopus adorned umbrella.  Due to health restrictions, only children in waterproof diapers will be allowed to use the facilities.  Shipwreck Island will allow a maximum bathing load of 115.

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Both water playgrounds are staffed with numerous lifeguards including two per slide and one at each entrance and surrounded by yellow and orange lounge chairs and large beach-like umbrellas.  Lifeguards at all Pirate’s Plunge slides and entrances ask children their ages to ensure the safety of those younger than 5.  Parents at Pirate’s Plunge with children younger than 5 are referred to Shipwreck Island.  Both play areas offer a watery surprise at 5 minute intervals.  The bright yellow, orange and black buckets atop each of the playground structures dumps a load of water on children below.  Horns sound shortly before the water dump to alert the kids.  They quickly gather in huddled crowds and shriek with delight as the water pummels them.  Even the younger children love it.

The Captain’s Lagoon is a resort-style, infinity pool which boasts a beach-like entrance for it’s namesake making it easily accessible for persons with disabilities.  The pool area is offered for adults and is definitely large enough to swim laps.  The area is also surrounded by brightly colored yellow and orange lounge chairs, available on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis, and large blue and white umbrellas for those wishing to just relax while the kids play.

Buccaneer River Ride, the 600 ft lazy river ride, is a twisting, turning tubing experience through Pipe Canyon Falls, winding path of broken pipes which spray water at you.  The current is kept moving with strategically placed jets.  Riders sit atop a bright yellow, black, white and blue inner tube as they work their way down the 3 foot deep river.

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The park is quickly being referred to as Brittos’ water park and quite rightly so as Romero Britto’s touch and signature, literally, are everywhere.  From numerous monuments, statues, fountains, plaques and flags, the bright, festive characters scream fun in the sun.  Even the Pop artist’s The Little Pirate Girl, also known as ‘Tina,’ greets patrons as they enter but his touch is what makes the place so much more than just a few water slides and chlorinated water.

The park offers a concession stand coined ‘Tina’s Cantina’ for the 25 foot tall, The Little Pirate Girl statue outside the park.  Drinks include sodas, waters and teas/juices while foods include burgers, pizza, hot dogs and fries with reasonable pricing.  Snow cones seemed to be the hottest item in opening day.

Black Beard’s Beach also boasts a state-of-the art lightning prediction system.  Equipped with Thor Guard, patrons will hear a 15 second horn blast if conditions favor lightning.  If conditions ‘favor’ lightning- not if lightning is seen.  In the event of lightning conditions, patrons are asked to immediately clear all areas of the water park and return to their vehicles.  The park will not reopen until 30 minutes after the last lightning strike.

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Black Beard’s Beach, operated by the City of Miami, will be open daily from 9 am to 8pm in the Spring/Summer months and 11 am to 5 pm in the Fall/Winter months.  All pool areas are open from dawn to dusk.  All of the pools and pool deck areas are accessible to the disabled.  One time Admission fees for children ages 4 to 13 is $5 per person.  City Residents older than 13 pay $7 with proper identification and non-city residents pay $10 per person.  Wednesdays boast free admission for children 13 and under.  Annual passes as well as group (15+) pricing available however parties will not be allowed.  Outside food and beverages are prohibited as are water toys and pets.  The park located at 1550 NW 37th Ave has ample parking available with overflow into Grapeland Park.  Black Beard’s Beach can be accessed by NW 37th Ave or NW 14th Street.   

Make sure to have proper swim attire- no jeans, cut-offs, thongs, clothing with rude, vulgar or offensive graphics/language, a towel, some sunblock and a ready-to-have-fun attitude.  Well, that and a lock.  The lockers offered, while free, do not have locks somewhat defeating the purpose.  With the amount of people that are sure to flock to this fabulous, AFFORDABLE, close option- especially for the younger kids, you’re sure to not have much security when it comes to your belongings. 

All-in-all, I loved it.  My 4 year old loved it as did all the other, what must have been over 500, people that were there with us on opening day.  I admit, I was bothered that the City chose to remove the library.  I guess it wasn’t such a bad move after all.

Click Here To See More Pictures

Grapeland Park
1550 NW 37th Avenue
Phone: (305) 960-2950

Related Categories: Britto Water Park

Suzy Newhouse is a homegrown herald at Miami Beach 411.  This cat loving, orange and blue wearing, SoFla native credits her strong Cuban family roots as the strength helping her raise her son.

See more articles by Suzy.

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34 Comments on

"Miami’s New Water Park: Black Beard’s Beach"

ELISA DE LA FE says:

ESA ES MI HIJA!

Posted on 05/19/2008 at 10:45 AM

... says:

OMGosh!!! Ladies and Gents: that comment above is from my stalker.  I call her ‘mom.’ 
The comment literally says ‘That’s my daughter!’

Posted on 05/19/2008 at 10:54 AM

Gentleman George says:

I love the idea, but am hesitant about its probable reality.  If Black Beard’s Beach ends up as I expect, it will eventually succumb to a similar fate as Six Flags Atlantis did… over-crowded, under-patrolled and not safe for children (although inundated with teenagers).  I hate to sound so pessimistic, but my friends and I no longer enjoy the Youth Fair for similar reasons.  I wish it the best, but you won’t see me there.

Posted on 05/19/2008 at 3:01 PM

Ellen says:

I will never go on the weekend but through the week may be do-able as it is open til 8:00 pm. I hope the residents treasure this and treat the place with respect and pick up their trash and leave their guns and overt vulgar public displays of affection at home.

Posted on 05/19/2008 at 10:12 PM

... says:

I agree George, given it’s cheap price tag, but there really were tons of lifeguards on rotating shifts when I went and even one with a megaphone voice hollering at some running kiddies.  There was also the one who told me Nick was too young to be in the Pirate’s Plunge play area-even IF I was in there with him.  Granted, it was opening day.

Ellen, I would definitely advise, make that vociferously campaign against (at least for the time being), going on the weekends and even on Wednesdays, the free children’s day, to avoid over-crowding. As an example, Sunday morning I drove by there at 8:45 am; they already had a line out to the parking lot waiting to get in.  Afternoons should be nice but take note Ellen, although the park is open until 8 pm, the pool areas close at dusk.  I didn’t write it in the article, but the water was a tad cold.  I figured it was because I went after 6 pm and it was already starting to get cooler, so I didn’t include it in the review but an FYI none-the-less.

Posted on 05/20/2008 at 9:06 AM

elisa says:

George, how long has it been since you went to the Youth Fair, the last 2 years has been quite enjoyable, the price hike has made weekends almost empty. The kids buy the braclets now that allow them to ride anything for one price BUT it does not include weekends!

Posted on 05/20/2008 at 1:56 PM

Gentleman George says:

Elisa,
I’ll admit it has been at least 4 years since I last went to the Youth Fair, but without getting into detail (or off topic out of respect to Suzy’s well-written review), the last time I went was a complete nightmare.  I’m an open-minded guy, so if you think it’s worth another shot, I’ll keep your comments in mind.

Posted on 05/21/2008 at 9:06 AM

... says:

I’d say timing is key- at both the Fair and at the water park.

Posted on 05/22/2008 at 3:44 PM

loli says:

With regards to youth fair 2008 in the middle of westchester a shooting the first week, I refuse to go ever again.  This place is in a less than favorable area.  This in and of itself will tell you what the future holds for this place.  I will try it (1) time, I am sure it won’t be long before the place is a dump just like it’s surrounding area. Unfortunately, the children will pay for what the teenagers will do to this place.  I am a pesimist, and it is only because i have lived hear all my life and the scenerio reapeats itself more often then not.

Posted on 05/23/2008 at 10:12 AM

Gus says:

“Unfortunately, the children will pay for what the teenagers will do to this place.”

I hope you’re wrong, loli. After all, it’s pretty hard to vandalize a water park, especially with so many lifeguards around policing the kids.

Posted on 05/23/2008 at 10:41 AM

... says:

Let’s hope that it doesn’t Loli.  The area is slowly improving and it’s not as if the neighborhood is dangerous or even high crime.  It’s simply located adjacent to an expressway between the airport and the river.  Granted, it’s no Coral Gables but if Venetian Pool (who went through similar plights) has been able to survive as a city run park, maybe Black Beard’s can too.

Posted on 05/23/2008 at 10:55 AM

speakerfreaker says:

I ‘digg’ this article…great review!

Posted on 05/23/2008 at 12:39 PM

Mace says:

Nobody is going to go after the first time, with so many lifeguards there, no one will want to due to the fact that you can not do anything fun, yes there is safety but to an extent. :]

Posted on 06/04/2008 at 4:11 PM

Mace says:

& if they made a bigger water park here, everyone would go, there could be a toddler/kid section, & then the rides for the bigger kids, the money is really in them, well to me. they should also but a river that carries you along, for the parents to relax, & a cafeteria, & a few sitting areas.
Just a place to have fun.
& by the way with the big kid rides, they should be at least 100 feet high, & you should have tube,mat rides for the older kids.

Posted on 06/04/2008 at 4:15 PM

Rick says:

The “teens gone wild” scenario won’t play itself out at Grapeland. It is mostly a toddler park, save for the short lazy river and the zero-entry resort pool. This will attract families with young children. I can’t vouch for the crowds that will turn up on free Wednesdays, but I doubt this will be a hub of hooligans, just as Pinecrest Gardens’ waterplay area is wholesome.

As for the Fair shooting, it took place in a gas station and not at the actual property.

Posted on 06/06/2008 at 10:45 PM

... says:

Rick & Mace: as a weekly regular (yes, I take Nick weekly), I can vouch that it is predominantly a family spot-granted, I NEVER go on weekends; the crazy line that is visible from the Dolphin Expressway on Saturday and Sunday mornings is enough of a deterrent.  I usually go on Tuesdays or Thursdays and, barring opening day which was also free, I’ve yet to see the teen thug crowd which makes me VERY happy.  The lazy river seems to be open only on weekends incidentally.  Also, I thought the water was freezing on opening day and figured it would get warmer as time went on but no way- it’s always cold; but the thing that irks me most is the way they handle patrons with regards to adverse weather conditions.  They have that lightning detection system and they advise you to keep your receipt as proof in case you do have to reenter due to lightning.  Yet if you’ve been at the park for more than three hours and you have to leave because of lightning, you are required to pay the entrance fee again.

That’s not right.

Posted on 06/09/2008 at 11:43 AM

JANETT says:

IN REGARDS TO SUZY’S COMMENT OF THE YOUTH FAIR BEING IN THE MIDDLE OF WESTCHESTER AND BEING IN A BAD AREA. I HAVE TO DISAGREE. WESTCHESTER IS ACTUALLY A GOOD AREA, AND THE SCHOOLS ARE “A” SCHOOLS. I KNOW THIS FROM EXPERIENCE. SHOOTINGS HAPPEN IN ANY AREA WHERE FESTIVALS, FAIRS, AND WATER PARKS ARE LOCATED. IT’S NOT THE LOCATION, IT’S THE IGNORANT TROUBLE MAKERS THAT GO. I THINK THAT THE BEST THING TO DO IS TO HAVE STRONG HIGH SECURITY IN ANY PLACE WHERE CHILDREN WILL ATTEND. FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR CHILDREN. PERSONALLY I PREFER SANTA’S ENCHANTED FOREST WHICH IS STILL IN WESTCHESTER, BECAUSE IT’S OPEN FROM NOVEMBER TO JANUARY, UNLIKE THE YOUTH FAIR THAT IS ONLY OPEN FOR 2 WEEKS. WHICH IS ANOTHER REASON WHY THE YOUTH FAIR GETS SO CROWDED. I DO AGREE THAT WEEKDAYS ARE THE BEST TIME TO TAKE YOUR CHILDREN TO THESE EVENTS BECAUSE UNFORTUNATELY WEEKENDS DO GET OVER CROWDED.

Posted on 06/19/2008 at 3:07 PM

JANETT says:

PLEASE EXCUSE ME SUZY, I MEANT LOLI’S COMMENT ON WESTCHESTER.
I CAN’T COMMENT ON THE WATER PARK YET BECAUSE I HAVEN’T TAKEN MY CHILDREN THERE. ONLY BECAUSE I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO GET THE DAY OFF WORK, BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE THE ONLY TIME THAT I WOULD TAKE MY KIDS, ON TUES. OR THURS.

Posted on 06/19/2008 at 3:23 PM

maria vega says:

haha

Posted on 06/20/2008 at 12:55 PM

Ruru says:

Hi well i work for the water park and if you have any questions please feel free to ask!! i wold like to answer a comment that was made….Teens are not allowed to enter without an adult whose over the age of 21!!

Posted on 06/25/2008 at 3:00 AM

janett says:

Ruru,
Thanks for letting us know that teens are not alowed without an adult over the age of 21.

Posted on 06/25/2008 at 4:34 PM

Ruru says:

No problem!! if you or anyone has anymore questions feel free to ask!!

Posted on 06/25/2008 at 8:31 PM

$O$O D3F says:

Any where you go there can be shooting.And it is great that the water park opened cause its cheap and it is fun for kids and even if its over crowded that just tells you to wake up extra early.And nobody tells you to go to these type of events so stop judging it cause some people actually likes it.

Posted on 07/01/2008 at 10:52 AM

JICYRA says:

this looks like a water park that i would enjoy.ill be there 2 morrow.

Posted on 07/01/2008 at 9:41 PM

JICYRA says:

this looks like a fun water park o i cant wait.o i funna hav some fun wit my brother and best friend.we funna hav so much fun @ that water park.

Posted on 07/01/2008 at 9:46 PM

Terry says:

I went on a Monday, had 8 kids w/ me ranging from 4 to 13. Did not have a problem.  Except for the pregnant ghetto lady who cursed at me b/c we supposedly cut in front of her.

Posted on 07/11/2008 at 11:03 AM

RURU says:

WELL I HAVENT LEFT A COMMENT HERE BUT ON FRIDAY AUG.1 IT WILL BE TEEN NITE FOR CHILDREN BETWEEN THE AGES OF 13-17 AND IT WILL BE AWSOME ITS $5 THE ENTRANCE FOOD FREE! BYE

Posted on 07/31/2008 at 3:26 AM

Omy says:

This reply is for Loli and her comment about the Weschester area being in less than a favorable area.  I would like to know if you in fact live in this area? and what prompts you to such a comment? For your information Weschester is a great area. Things like that can happen anywhere..even in your beautiful and safe part of the world smile

Posted on 08/01/2008 at 12:14 PM

janett says:

I absolutely agree with Omy,Westchester is a great area, trust me I live there.

Posted on 08/04/2008 at 4:26 PM

YAMI says:

I LOVE IT! ITS AWESOME. MY TWIN NIECES LOVE IT.

Posted on 08/06/2008 at 1:04 PM

Supergirl says:

The water park was fun! I hadn’t been to one in a while, so it was nice to have one close by and not have to travel so far.  My husband and I took our 2 year old son and he enjoyed it. The water was really cold, so he was quite hesitant to get in the water at first. You definitely have to get there early or you may have a really long wait. The parking lot was full by 11:30 am. so people had to find parking elsewhere. For the most part, this is a great place for kids to enjoy and it is nice to finally have one in Miami.

Posted on 08/14/2008 at 10:01 AM

EjG says:

I love the idea of having a little water park for me to take my little sisters too.  And as long as their having a great time I’ll stay in line all day, their my world!
ANd yeah there are some crappy, ignorant people(I’m talking about from kids all the way up to adults) out there but that’s EVERY WHERE in the world regardless of the neighborhood.  We should make the best out of things regardless, don’t let the idiots get you down.
As far as the shootings, anyone with a"clean” record and 21 and over can carry a gun(or any age off the streets if you know the “right” people) but c’mon if we stop and think about all the evil and scary things going on in the world we would all be confined in our homes.  So c’mon people enjoy the fresh air, lets support Miami and lets let the ignorant people who want to ruin it for us realize they need to move to a different area code.

Posted on 04/20/2010 at 6:44 PM

katt(: says:

i dont think its that bad. ive been there 4 times in the past year and its fun . but mostly for liddo kids. my 2 years old sister is very happy with the slides . and the sprays . so stop hating on the damn waterpark . :{

Posted on 05/10/2010 at 3:42 PM

joe mama says:

what a disappointment they raised the prices which are not reflected here. So, rather than give the locals a break they kick you in the nuts. Park is good for the kids I must say but a little pricey. They got you as it’s either this or drive to Orlando. Oh well, guess I’ll have to get used to getting kicked in the groin by Miami.

Posted on 04/03/2012 at 6:13 PM

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