Tropical Park, at Bird Road and Palmetto Expressway, was Tropical Park race track from 1931 to 1972. The 245-acre track opened Dec. 26, 1931, and closed after the 1972 racing season. For 40 years, it was a winter haven for northern and local gamblers, jockeys and horse owners. By 1971, the track was in financial chaos and Miami-Dade county offered to purchase it for $9.7 million. The county also bought adjacent land, increasing the park’s size to 275 acres. The federal government approved a $683,000 grant in July 1976 for the development of the park. The former track officially opened as a park on July 4, 1978, to a crowd of 250,000 people. Parkgoers could play tennis, racquetball and baseball, or fish, swim, ride horses or enjoy a picnic. The park is also famous for its yearly seasonal event, Santa’s Enchanted Forest, which runs from November through January.
9/1/1985, Mary Lou Foy/Miami Herald: Courtney Gonzalez, Alissa Abello, Jo-Dee Gersch and Tillie. Today, they taught Tillie how to jump over a stick at Tropical Park.
12/16/1988, Mary Lou Foy/Miami Herald: Mathieu Prendergast and his dad, Roy Prandergast, take a ride and a walk through the trees Tropical Park.
10/21/1966: From the chilly north comes cautions. Checking him in at Tropical Park's backstretch are (L - R) Yo smith and Sharon lee. All this is in preparation for the earliest racing season in Florida history which gets underway at Tropical Saturday, November 19.
7/31/1987, Tareaz Thompson/Miami Herald: 2 1/2yr old Lydia Randello and her 5yr Old brother Alfonso fishing at Tropical Park.
12/24/1992, C.W. Griffin/Miami Herald: Michelle and her son John Michael McDaniel enjoy a Ride on the carousel at Santa's Enchanted forest.
1/13/1985, Peter Andrew Bosch/Miami Herald: Herman Benson takes Santa's house at the Enchanted Forest at Tropical park.
5/29/1980, Jim Reed/Miami Herald: From Left to right: Terry Arcia (10), Bonnie McLeod (16), Nancy Dawson (11) and Cookie Arcia (14) converse on a hill top in Tropical Park as storm clouds gather in the sky.
1/12/1988, Mary Lou Foy/Miami Herald: Metro Dade Stables manager Sheri Gornto at Barn C where workman Robert Doyle is tamping down the new stable floors.
9/8/1987, Albert Coya/Miami Herald: Jorge Lopez plays the a trumpet at Tropical Park. He's a part-time musician and full-time electrician.
1/4/1967: Trotters Coming. To make room for new receiving barns, work is under way to clear an area behind the backstretch at Tropical park. The Barns. Will be used to house trotters when the second portion of Pompano Park's harness race meeting is transferred to tropical for racing under the lights beginning Feb. 28.
11/25/1960: Lake of Cars. Bumper to Bumper, As Tropical Opens. . . and most of them were brand new models.
8/27/1988, Albert Coya/Miami Herald: On top Walter Hernandez, 10, right his brother Miguel Hernandez and in the left his cousin Fernando Hernandez, 4, playing at the kids gym in Tropical Park.
3/21/1983, David Walters/Miami Herald: Mindy and Jack Finkelman and their son Jason, 2, make beautiful music together during their afternoon outing at tropical park.
1/21/1993, Patrick Farrell/Miami Herald: 5yr. old Andres Posada of Kendall plays monkeys bars at Tropical Park.
10/12/1986, Mary Lou Foy/Miami Herald: Three year old Jason Ferras climbs to the top of the new tot lot gym while mother Christine keeps watch in the back.
7/2/1989, David Walters/Miami Herald: Jimmy Schwartz gives "Ramet" his aunts Arabian stallion a smooch after a hard days work and a 3rd place performance in the English pleasure/Junior owner division of the firecracker fourth horse show at tropical park.
6/24/1984, Rick McCawley/Miami Herald: Alfred and Edward Engler play on the monkey bars at Tropical Park.
9/17/1988, Albert Coya/Miami Herald: Tony Geilin, 14, plays at Tropical Park lake with his radio controlled speed boat.
7/29/1987, Albert Coya/Miami Herald: Metro police ride instructor William Eades and Sarg. Bobby Page, take a stroll through the tropical park wooded area aboard Appaloosa horses prince and "Gandler".
12/6/1988, Beth A. Keiser/Miami Herald: Beth Joe Blaire (left) and Danny Fitzpatrick take a ride on the Ferris Wheel at Santas Enchanted Forest at Tropical park.
7/17/1983, Albert Coya/Miami Herald: Gary Jung and son Ian enjoying the sun in raft atTropical Park lake.
11/22/1963: Seeing Double? Well, as a matter of fact, you are. You're seeing Bobii (left) and Jacqui Banner the Tropical Twins who are pre-paring Tropical Park's tote board for the twin double.The betting gimmick will be introduced at the Miami track this year.
6/16/1987, Miami Herald: Julia and her son Sean Guttierez, 1, Ccean up after an afternoon of sand, shade and shenanigans at Tropical Park.
12/3/1989, Al Diaz/Miami Herald: Mike, Patty, and daughter Christina Moore visit Santa's Enchanted Forest.
6/24/1984, Rick McCawley/Miami Herald: Robert and Anna Barton stamp the hand of Paul Anthony as he enters the Beach Area at Tropical Park