Things to Do in Florida - page 3
Universal Orlando's Harry Potter attraction is spread across two parks at the resort: Diagon Alley on the Universal Studios Florida side and Hogsmeade at Universal's Islands of Adventure. The two are connected by Hogwarts Express train, and each features shops, dining, and attractions inspired by the young wizard.
Test your mettle at St. Augustine's Medieval Torture Museum, the first museum of its kind in the United States. This trove of recreated torture instruments, enriched by academic research, demonstrates just how much suffering humanity infllicted during the Middle Ages. Uncover how these deadly objects were employed and why they were used.
Step into the Florida Everglades at Wild Florida Airboats and Gator Park, located outside Orlando, where visitors can explore the Florida wilderness and its resident animals. Spend the day spotting alligators, white-tailed deer, sloths, and tropical birds and take an adventurous airboat ride at this popular family attraction.
Reenact what it was like to be a settler of Florida at the Old Florida Museum in Fort Menendez. The museum is set up to be interactive and guests will get the chance to dress up, play with props and interact with actors who are in character as people who lived in Florida during the 16th to 18th centuries. This is a great attraction for kids and adults who will also enjoy the historical aspects as you learn more about the settling of St Augustine and the surrounding area.
While visiting, you’ll get the chance to dip candles, watch how a loom works, ground corn, make ropes, observe wood working and partake in several other activities from the era. In addition, there are colonial games set up that will further teach your family about the history of the area. There is also an onsite gift shop selling items that are similar to the ones you’ll encounter while touring the Old Florida Museum.
Located only 30 minutes outside downtown Fort Lauderdale, Sawgrass Recreation Park offers guided airboat rides through the marshy, humid swamp waters of the Florida Everglades. Visitors can spot alligators and other marshland animals, such as pythons, black leopards, and the endangered Florida panther living in the wild.
You can enjoy one of the best views along the Space Coast with a visit to Cape Canaveral’s new Exploration Tower. Built in 2013, the curved, sail-like building is a design match with the myriad cruise ships that venture in and out of Port Canaveral, and the viewing platform atop the seven-story structure offers an ideal vantage point for watching the bustle of the port or a NASA rocket launch from Kennedy Space Center, which sits about 10 miles to the north. Exploration Tower also features inside exhibits, including interactive movies in a two-story auditorium, and a simulator where would-be cruise captains can try their hand at navigating Port Canaveral.
Sandwiched between the sizzling beaches of Miami and the white sands of Key West, the 1.5 million-acre Everglades National Park stands in stark contrast to its seductive neighbors—but don’t make the mistake of passing it by. Visit the park and discover for yourself the spectacular swampy weirdness that draws over one million visitors every year and constitutes a one-of-a-kind destination for nature lovers.
Vibrant Cuban culture permeates every aspect of the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, Florida—you’ll find it in the colorful murals, the monuments to heroes past and present, the residents facing off in the domino park as they discuss politics, and in the cigar rollers at work amidst the ever-present aroma of Cuban coffee.
Everglades Holiday Park is a classic (if a bit kitschy) introduction to the Florida Everglades and its wild inhabitants. Geared toward the whole family, the 29-acre (11.7-hectare) park has been entertaining and educating visitors for almost 40 years and is also the home of Animal Planet’sGator Boys TV show.
The ideal destination for curious people of all ages, the Museum of Science and Industry offers numerous exhibits and attractions designed to pique one's scientific interest.
With over 450 hands-on attractions, MOSI offers a unique interactive experience to its visitors. Feel free to lie down on a "bed of nails," allow a butterfly to land on your shoulder in the "Bioworks Butterfly Garden," enjoy an astronomy show in the Saunders Planetarium, or take a ride on the famous "High Wire Bike," suspended on a cable 30 feet (9 meters) above the ground. No matter how daring you are or how interested in science, the museum offers engaging opportunities designed to draw in visitors of all ages.
"Kids in Charge!,"the largest children's science center in the United States, is the perfect place to bring those in the 12-and-under crowd. The attractions there emphasize the value of learning through play by bringing together science and creative thinking, and inspiring the imagination.MOSI is also home to Flordia's only IMAX Dome theater. The Dome regularly shows both educational and popular commercial films.
More Things to Do in Florida
Biscayne National Park, 95 percent of which lies underwater, is one of the top scuba diving areas in the United States. Divers and snorkelers flock here to experience Biscayne Bay’s extensive reef system. Above water, you can explore the Florida park’s small mainland mangrove shoreline and keys by boat.
Big Cypress National Preserve is the northern neighbor of Everglades National Park, but with fewer crowds and more wildlife. Among the first national preserves to be established in the US, Big Cypress still permits many of the activities that are forbidden in national parks, inviting visitors to go off-roading, hunt, take an airboat ride through the swamp, and more.
The historic Governor's House Cultural Center and Museum has played many roles in the state of Florida since being built more than 400 years ago. During the colonial period of the 16th century, it served as the official residence and offices of the Spanish governors of Florida. The mansion was then rebuilt in 1710 after being destroyed by British forces. British governors of East Florida ruled from the structure during the American Revolutionary War, often throwing lavish parties. In 1821, history was made here when the Spanish governor turned over the control of Florida to the United States.
Once a part of the new nation, it served as a U.S. post office, courthouse, and customs building before opening as a museum in 1991. The structure itself holds centuries of history, though its exhibits go into further detail the significance of the house and the area. Many archaeological artifacts, including Spanish gold and Native American canoes, tell the stories of the multiculturalism that influenced Florida and St. Augustine as it is today.
Universal’s Volcano Bay™ water park is a tropical-themed attraction located at Universal Orlando™. Attractions draw on South Pacific influences, and the centerpiece of the park is a towering 200-foot (61-meter) volcano called Krakatau™, which is the base for thrilling water slides. Other rides include an aqua coaster and a body plunge.
Roughly 40,000 gallons of water and 45,000 pounds of sand make up SEA LIFE® Orlando, the home of over 5,000 sea creatures, including green sea turtles, jellyfish, seahorses, black tip reef sharks, and colorful clownfish. Visitors can admire sharks and exotic fish from all angles and watch rays float gracefully overhead at theAtlantic Ocean Exhibit with its 360-degree tunnel, or check out the interactive rockpool to touch starfish, spot hermit crabs, and learn about coastal rock pools.
Regular talks combined with feeding times let children and adults learn more about the animals living here—it's a good idea to schedule a visit around these feeding times, as the wildlife will be the most active during those hours.
Apart from the Atlantic Ocean, the aquarium also focuses on the more tropical Indian Ocean and delves into the marine life of the Pacific. Visitors can also learn about the aquarium's breeding and rescue programs while finding out how to help the conservation projects.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure™, set inside Universal Orlando Resort™, is slightly larger than the neighboring Universal Studios Florida™. The 120-acre (49-hectare) park is divided into several themed “islands”— Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, the Lost Continent, and Seuss Landing—where thrill rides stand front and center as heroes and monsters from the big screen come to life.
Stretching for 17 miles (27 kilometers) between the Orlando Premium Outlets to Walt Disney World, Orlando’s International Drive (I-Drive for short) serves as the city’s tourist hub. Six of Orlando’s top theme parks—SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Wet ’n’ Wild, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Aquatica—are located along this stretch.
Universal CityWalk™ is where daytime fun and nighttime excitement meet. It’s everything you’re looking for. And anything but ordinary. Here you can enjoy the fine cuisine of Emeril’s Orlando, the world’s largest Hard Rock Cafe®, Jimmy Buffett’s® Margaritaville®, and unique eateries like The Cowfish®, VIVO Italian Kitchen™, AntojitosAuthentic Mexican Food™, NBC Sports Grill & Brew™, and The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen™.
Catch your favorite bands live in concert or play a game of miniature golf -- the choice is yours! There is also a 20-screen movie theater and a variety of shops and boutiques. You can even sing karaoke with a live band and backup singers. The Universal CityWalk dining and entertainment complex is open nightly until 2 am. There’s no admission fee, although some venues with live entertainment do have cover charges*.
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If you’ve ever wanted to see, feed, and even hold alligators, GatorWorld is the place to be. At the extensive park you’ll find pools of baby alligators, and a drive-through course where you can view alligators in their natural habitat. For a change of scenery, spend some time with the bunnies, goats, and other animals in the petting zoo.
Miami is often called the Magic City, and if it truly is, this opulent Italian Renaissance-style villa, the housing equivalent to a Fabergé egg, is its most fairy-tale residence. Built for industrialist James Deering in 1916, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens brims with 15th to 19th century furniture, tapestries, paintings and decorative arts.
The poetic seaside grounds, which front Biscayne Bay, are full of splendid gardens (including a secret garden), beautiful fountains, sculptures, elegant pools, a charming Florentine gazebo, canals running everywhere and lots of trails. The landscape and architecture were influenced by Veneto and Tuscan Italian Renaissance models and designed in the Mediterranean Revival architecture style.
Nearly 200,000 people visit Vizcaya each year including some of the world's leading dignitaries such as President Reagan, Pope John Paul II, Queen Elizabeth of England and King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain. In 1994, the historic Summit of the Americas was held at Vizcaya with President Clinton and the 34 leaders of the Western Hemisphere.
You can spend a full day strolling up and down this eclectic South Florida district, which is filled with art galleries, boutiques, and al fresco dining options. The 10 blocks that span all the way to the ocean are lined with palm trees and Mediterranean architecture, and set the stage for a relaxing day or night in Fort Lauderdale.
The Historic Stranahan House Museum is the oldest surviving structure in Fort Lauderdale. It was built in 1902 as a trading post by Frank Stranahan, the founder of the city, and used by Stranahan’s wife, Ivy, as a school house. Over the decades it has also served as a post office, community center, and town hall. Today it’s a historic attraction that’s open daily for guided tours.
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