Coral Castle is Miami’s creepiest, coolest roadside attraction. Why haven’t you been there yet?

Photos by Connie Ogle

Coral Castle is the anti Wynwood.

There is no craft beer or giant burgers wrapped in bacon. There’s plenty of parking, and hipsters are in short supply. Instead of murals and air conditioning, you’ll discover tragic romance and mystical energy.

It’s like Stonehenge but with broken hearts and sweat.

This roadside attraction next to Dixie Highway in Homestead is a monument to the wonders that can be accomplished when you get dumped the night before your wedding.

After being spurned by his 16-year-old betrothed, the story goes, Latvian immigrant Ed Leedskalnin spent 28 years excavating and carving 1,100 tons of coral rock to prove his eternal devotion (as one does). Legend says he had no help and used no machinery, employing only a working knowledge of engineering and, possibly, the secrets of the pyramids.

Ed just KNEW things.

Here are important things to know about Coral Castle

  • Billy Idol was inspired by Ed’s love story to write the song “Sweet Sixteen,” which features the lyrics “Built a moon/For a rocking chair/I never guessed it would/Rock her far from here/ Oh oh oh.”
  • Coral Castle is actually the SECOND coral castle Ed built for his jailbait dream girl. First he built one in Florida City, then trucked it north to Homestead. Your love is a joke.
  • Ed built himself a coral throne which quite frankly would have been my first move.

Here are some fun things you can do at Coral Castle

This three-ton revolving gate was made without gears or bearings in the rotating mechanism. Mind blown, Ed.
  • Push a three-ton coral rock gate with your finger
  • Peer through Ed’s extremely cool telescope and admire his remarkable sundial
  • Sit in his reading chairs, which are surprisingly comfortable if a little exposed
  • On Valentine’s Day, you can gather around Ed’s 5,000-pound heart-shaped table – which is in Ripley’s Believe It or Not – and renew your wedding vows with the price of admission ($18). Coral Castle will throw in flowers,  chocolate-dipped strawberries and all the romantic vibes you can handle.

So come take a walk with us through this magnificent mystery. But there’s much more to see, and you’re going to want to see it for yourself.

Meet Ed

He is not happy to see you. Ha ha! Of course he is. He wants you to marvel over his masterpiece. Did we mention this guy was only five feet tall and excavated and carved 1,100 tons of coral rock? And you think you’re special because you brought your significant other some wilted flowers.

Ed built a table shaped like Florida

That water in the middle represents Lake Okeechobee. Pretend it’s green and full of toxic algae.

Ed made a telescope

You can see the North Star through one of its four quadrants, depending on the time of year. Math!

Also he sculpted celestial bodies. Out of coral.

No wonder Billy Idol was into it.

His rocking chairs actually rock

This one weighs 1,000 pounds. Even Hurricane Andrew couldn’t budge it.

You couldn’t fit an 8-year-old in his tub

But you could get a really hot bath here in August with no trouble at all.

He tragically carved stone beds for the family he never had

Sad, but nobody was getting a good night’s sleep here.

He had a real bedroom, but let’s not talk about that

The serial killer vibe is strong.

He created a world like nothing you’ve ever seen

It’s a wonder for the ages.

Coral Castle, 28655 South Dixie Highway, Homestead; 305-248-6345

Hours: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. daily

Cost: $18 for adults; $15 for seniors 65 and up; $8 ages 7-12

28655 South Dixie Highway, Homestead