Snowbirds Arrive in Florida for Same Old Same Old - My Family Travels

It’s the Christmas week and we, like thousands (if not millions) of other families make the annual pilgrimage to the sun.

Presents, sunblock, and bagels from our special place back home crowd too many suitcases as we load Grandma and kids into the rental car to complete our journey with, or to, more family.

Hotel, condo, golf club, beachfront resort, cousin’s house; they’re all a destination for families fleeing the chilly winds and snow drifts of the northeast for the warm sands and limpid pools of Florida.  The geese have preceded us, waiting patiently on the golf course for grandchildren who will throw them leftovers from breakfast while the elders sigh.

Only this year, as in recent ones, it’s cold and sometimes rainy.

“Hah! And they call it global warming!” pronounces my great aunt. “Fools!”

South Beach in Miami is always fun though, and this year’s public art project, close on the heels of the hugely successful Art Basel show, is a smash hit.

The Sculpture Biennale overflows Bayfront Park between the hot, happening American Airlines Arena where LeBron James has generated unbelievable heat, and the pretty Intercontinental Hotel, which boasts several large sculptures in its lobby. Couples mill around, angling cellphone cameras to catch the artworks with a slice of bay in the background for an “I am here” facebook post.

More striking is the public art project from Italy and the Cracking Art Group collective that has left 45 huge and less-huge fuschia pink snails dotting the landscape.  On Alton Road, along the northern shore of the Venetian Causeway, in front of the Art Deco Welcome Center on the sidewalk of Ocean Avenue itself, we watch as families of every stripe, color and configuration pile on top of each other to be photographed in front of one.

Talk about successful public art. These ugly-gorgeous icons for a city that is slowly dragging itself out of the mortgage crisis — assets like sun, sand and bikinis safeguarded in its impregnable shell — have struck a chord with everyone.

When you, snowbird, like me, make your migration south, don’t miss them. They’re in town till January 3rd. Don’t tell Grandma, but if your group is too impatient to discover them on their own, you can visit for the official map.

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