The Barnacle Historic State Park
Saturday Morning Sightseeing at The Barnacle Home
So today when I should have slept in, I had to get up early with my son to drop off his car at the auto shop for servicing. Being that it was early and a beautiful sunny day, my son and I decided to spend some time together as he is usually at home in his room, so I take every opportunity I can to spend time with him. After breakfast I asked him if he wanted to go to visit the Barnacle home as we have heard about this house a few years back when we did a Ghost tour of Coconut Grove and the tour guide had mentioned this historic home.
We arrived to the Coconut area around 11:00 a.m. and found a private parking lot for $5.00. Walked about a block and arrived at the gate of The Barnacle Historic Park.
The entrance to The Barnacle Historic State Park is on Main Highway street. Once you enter the gate you follow a nature trail with old big trees. If you are a nature lover, you will find information on this old trees such as their names. Good way to get your exercise too. My son and I walked about 3 miles while we were there, I know it’s not much but it is a lot more than what we would have done at home and we also got some much-needed vitamin D. So don’t forget your sunscreen. Very important.
After a few minutes you will find a sign indicating the entrance fee, the park uses the honor system, meaning, there is no one there taking your money but instead a box with envelopes for you to place your entrance fee of $2.00 per person, you then place your envelope in the slot of a yellow pole. If you don’t have the exact change, don’t worry if you leave a little more as all monies go to take care of the park.
This might not come into play but I feel that I have to give props to the park, the restroom was very clean and it didn’t have that awful smell that public restrooms usually have. So, I had no problem putting in a little more in my entrance fee since I didn’t have the exact change. Other parks should do the same.
Once you pay your entrance fee you are free to roam around the grounds; however, I suggest that you visit the gift shop and buy tickets for a guided tour of the Barnacle home. The fee is only $3.00 for an informative tour of the home and a brief history of who Mr. Ralph Munroe was in the Coconut Grove community.
There is not much to do in the park except for walking around the grounds, enjoying the nice breeze coming in from Biscayne Bay, taking photographs and relaxing; however, if you want to learn about Mr. Munroe and the Barnacle Home, you may want to take the guided tour of the home.
Mr. Ralph Middleton Munroe moved to South Florida from New York after his wife contracted tuberculosis and her doctors had suggested that moving to a warmer climate might benefit her; however, Mrs. Eva Munroe did not survive. Mr. Munroe built the Barnacle house in 1891 on a 40-acre property. Mr. Munroe was an influential pioneer in Coconut Grove. Mr. Munroe was a seaman and his passion for designing boats led him to build a boat house on his property. The boat house that you see below survived two hurricanes in 1926 and most recently hurricane Andrew in 1992. In 1973 The Florida Park Service acquired the 5 acres of Munroe’s property which is now called the Barnacle Historic State Park.
After we walked around it was time to meet in front of the Mr. Munroe’s home for our guided tour. The tour began with photographs of Mr. Munroe and his family, his boats, which were his passion. Mr. Munroe was also a photographer which you will get to appreciate his photos throughout his home (photo of Mr. and Mr. Munroe). We learned that Mr. Munroe enjoyed the quiet life and the family had no servants. We were given a room by room tour. The home is furnished with either original furniture or furniture that belong to that era. The windows of the home remained open during the tour so we felt the breeze throughout the home. The back porch had a view of the Biscayne Bay and the second floor had a balcony that it too had a view of the Bay. Imagine sitting out on a hot summer night.
In 1894, Mr. Munroe married again, this time to a younger woman named Jessie, whom he had two children, Patty and Wirth. Mr. Munroe died in 1933 and the family continued to live in The Barnacle home until 1973 when it became a State Park. Two of the grandchildren who today are in their seventies still visit the Barnacle home which I find interesting.
I am ashamed to admit that in all the years that I have lived in Miami, I only learned about this home four years ago and only today did I make time to tour the home. I repeat, Shame on me! Although, I must warn future visitors that if you are not a fan of homes with history, The Barnacle State Park is not for you. There is not a lot to do for kids except maybe run around in the yard, The gift shop doesn’t offer drinks or snacks but I wouldn’t worry as Coconut Grove has many restaurants to drink and eat.
The park offers four guided tours during their hours of operation so be sure to take one. I found it informative and learned a lot about the Munroe family.
My next Miami sightseeing will be Deering State, stay tuned for my post.