Everyone’s definition of bizarre differs, yet is greatly influenced by what society expects to be normal. When it comes to statues or public art, message, presentation, color or location can add significance to the piece by clashing with norms that make it outrageous, scandalous, weird or outstanding. Here are a few of Miami’s best bizarre art pieces that require some contemplation.

(Source: Coral Castle Museum)

Coral Castle

Coral Castle Museum
28655 S. Dixie Highway
Miami, FL 33033
(305) 248-6345

Once known by its creator Edward Leedskalnin (1887-1951) as Rock Gate Park, Coral Castle is constructed of coral rock locally quarried and sculpted into a variety of shapes that evoke Stonehenge. Legend has it that Leedskalnin was jilted in his native Latvia the day before his wedding by his 16-year-old fiancée, Agnes Scuffs, and built it upon his arrival in America as a living testament to his love for the girl. The coral figures took 28 years to build and though he worked alone, hydrogen balloons are believed to have been Leedskalnin’s method of moving such immense coral rock on his own.

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(Source: weheartit.com)

Sawgrass Mills Mall – Gator Art Installation

Sawgrass Mills Mall
12801 W. Sunrise Blvd.
Sunrise, FL 33323
(954) 846-2300

Sawgrass Mills Mall is the second most popular tourist attraction in the state of Florida next to Orlando’s Walt Disney World. A crush of major chain-store outlets and a variety of restaurants hold an unexpected colorful surprise outside one of the entrances. A small park with a gazebo between P.F. Chang’s and valet parking is home to “Gator Glam,” a series of seven-foot-tall alligator sculptures that add color and whimsy to an otherwise tranquil setting. Originally installed to celebrate the mall’s 20th anniversary, it is now a permanent fixture and photo opportunity for visitors. Each statue is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece designed to showcase south Florida’s diverse culture influenced by such artists as Nadine Egan Floyd, Isabel Perez Salazar and award-winner Robert Tabor.

(Source: Beaux Arts Gallery)

Brickell Avenue Bridge Statue

Immediately south of downtown on Brickell Ave.

What better way to kill time in downtown Miami traffic than gazing at sculptures along the perimeter of the bridge named after William and Mary Brickell? In 1995, the Florida Department of Transportation commissioned Cuban sculptor Manuel Carbonell to adorn the bridge with a myriad of historic recreations. Often referred to as the “Pillar of History,” this statue is a “carved bas relief column” that stands 36 feet high and depicts the history of the Tequesta Indians, the original inhabitants of Miami. The sculpture contains 158 figures, the most prominent of which is the “Tequesta Family” flanked by an Indian warrior pointing his arrow high to the sky with wife and child by his side.

(Source: Miami Marlins)

Miami Marlins Park – Home Run Celebration Sculpture

501 Marlins Way
Miami, FL 33125
(305) 480-1300

In most MLB stadiums, when the home team hits a home run, the locals get to go berserk to a brief fireworks display. Leave it to the Miami Marlins to celebrate with an eyesore that is nothing short of Disney World meeting Salvador Dali in a domed stadium. The whimsical creation of renowned artist Red Grooms, the carousel looks like something out of a South Beach senior citizen’s nightmare. Located beyond the right centerfield fence, it explodes in light and spits out bangs and booms while fish jump hither and yon celebrating a home run by the home team.

(Source: Miami Holocaust Museum)

The Holocaust Memorial

1933-1945 Meridian Ave.
Miami, FL 33139
(305) 538-1663

Fun in the Miami sun comes to a grinding halt with a visit to the Holocaust Memorial, strategically located in a largely Jewish section of Miami Beach. A riveting and moving series of sculptures depict the fear and horror of the mass extermination of over 6 million Jews and countless other ethnicities. The centerpiece is the “Sculpture of Love and Anguish,” an enormous hand sculpted of painted bronze that springs from the ground, reaching skyward, revealing a tattooed number on the forearm just like those used to brand Jews in Auschwitz. The hand beseeches the heavens while the souls of the condemned wrap around the forearm in an anguished ribbon of death.

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Glenn Osrin is a journalist and seasoned consumer products sales professional living in Miami, Florida. A new vegan, his most recent assignment is writing about the benefits of a plant-based diet and lifestyle while learning about the Miami vegan community. His work can be found at Examiner.com.