A one-of-a-kind tropical botanical garden, Preston B. Bird & Mary Heinlein Fruit & Spice Park sprawls across 37 acres, showcasing more than 500 varieties of fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, and nuts from the world over. (There are 160 varieties of mango and 75 of bananas alone!) Owned and operated by the Miami-Dade County Park and Recreation Open Spaces since 1944, the park serves as both a place of beauty and an educational facility, encouraging people through classes, workshops, and events to garden and giving them the scientific and practical know-how they need to grow tropical and subtropical plants. So vital is the park to the neighborhood in which it resides that it was designated part of the Redland Historic District.
Named after former County Commissioner Preston B. Bird, who helped establish the park, and Mary Heinlein, its first superintendent, the Fruit & Spice Park was hit by hard times when Hurricane Andrew wiped out many of its holdings in 1992. However, park manager Chris Rollins began replanting, taking an ethnobotanical approach by laying the park out according to geographic region. Today the gardens thrive.