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Miami-Dade Approves Controversial Theme Park Near Rare Pineland

Photo: Damon On Road

Miami-Dade commissioners approved a controversial water theme park near Zoo Miami yesterday – despite worries over a new $9 parking fee for zoo visitors.

The Miami Wilds project includes a small hotel and shopping in the zoo’s 40-acre parking lot and a possible second hotel on nearby land.

Environmentalists have opposed the project because endangered Florida bonneted bats use the parking lot to forage for food. The site of the second larger hotel contains rare pine rockland.

But yesterday, the parking fee drew the most scrutiny.

Commissioners said the new charge could make it harder for families visiting the zoo. The Miami Wilds developer told commissioners the shared fee is needed to make the water park successful.

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