Miami Dolphins fans are as diverse as the city. Some fans are party animals while others are more family oriented, but all are united in the spirit of football. Depending on where you park, your tailgate could turn into a festive party or it can become as stale as the leftover chips from last week’s game. So either park in or visit these lots to get a slice of Miami Dolphins tailgater life.
The Fanatics – Maroon Lots (N-1 to N-2, N-10 to N-12)
Sprinkled throughout these lots, you can find the hardcore fanatics. These are people who pile on the makeup and create unforgettable costumes that scream, “I’m the number one Miami Dolphins fan.” These people will be easy to find as there is always a crowd of people around them begging for pictures. They’re always gracious and they enjoy the attention, so if you want to show children a good time or take a picture to show off to your friends, this is the place to do it.
The Serious Tailgaters – Orange Lots (E-22 to E-24) & Blue Lots (E-12)
The serious tailgaters are the people with the massive tailgating displays, the Food Channel-worthy food, a bar stocked with alcohol or a combination of the three. These people arrive four hours early to set up and cook and they have everything. We’re talking satellite reception from the back of their trucks, a monster sound system and the best of barbecue. They make you think you’re in a tailgating commercial. One fan has a large inflatable football player while another made the bed of their truck into a pool for their family. It’s like a Christmas decorations contest for Dol-fans with none of the contentious competitive spirit.
The Game Players – Orange Lots (East & West)
There are those that celebrate the game and then there are those who invented the game. These people can be found either playing cornhole, beer pong, dominoes, ladders or tossing a football around. They range from families to a group of friends who meet up every game. The adults have beer in a red plastic cup in one hand and a game piece in the other, yet somehow they have complete concentration. If they score, it’s bottoms up again and they’ll approach the next shot a little more inebriated than the last. The kids in this area are more playful. They usually have a football in hand imitating their favorite Dolphins players, like Reggie Bush or Ryan Tannehill, and with each successful pass, they share in the glory of the gridiron cheers.
Tailgater Oblivion – The Walmart Lot
There are about 300 spaces located in the nearby Wal-Mart parking lot. If you park here, you’re doomed. Tailgating is not allowed in this area. These are the people who are looking to get to the game fast. The only time you have to be social is on your walk over to the stadium. This is a good time to strike up a conversation with a fellow Dol-Fan or give the opposing team’s fans a hard time. People are usually pretty cool either way. Just don’t talk to them while you’re crossing the street. You want to make sure you both get to the game in one piece.
So now that you know which lots have what personality, you know exactly where you fit in. You can go to the next game with confidence and walk the parking lot like a pro.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
Niema Hulin moved to Miami after graduating from the University of Florida. Since then, Niema has embraced the city and all it has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.