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Things to Do in Florida - page 3

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Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)
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The ideal destination for curious people of all ages, the Museum of Science & 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.

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Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
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When visiting the Florida Keys it is hard to miss the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary as most of the water surrounding the Florida Keys is part of the sanctuary. Covering 2,900 square nautical miles, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects the incredible underwater world of the Florida Keys, where reefs and animals flourish.

During a visit to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, you have a few different options for how to experience this protected area of nature. The sanctuary is home to the world’s third largest barrier reef and is an excellent spot for scuba diving or snorkeling. There are even a series of shipwrecks you can explore as a diver called Shipwreck Trail. If you’d rather stay above water, you can rent a boat to explore the sanctuary and possibly do some fishing. When boating it is important to use mooring buoys for your anchor as they won’t damage the reef.

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Everglades National Park
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The Everglades National Park, covering much of the southeastern tip of Florida, is more than a big swamp full of alligators. True, you will see alligators - lots of them - but this unique subtropical wilderness also supports such creatures as American crocodiles, bottlenose dolphins, manatees, snowy egrets, bald eagles and ospreys. And amid the mangroves, cypress, hardwood hammocks and miles of sawgrass, there are endless opportunities for hiking, bicycling, canoeing, kayaking, or taking an airboat ride. You can book Everglades tours departing from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Fort Myers in addition to Orlando. Spot alligators on a day-trip along the Tamiami Trail or take a two-hour tram tour in Shark Valley. When hunger pangs set in, stop in Everglades City for a plate of gator nuggets and frog’s legs. The visitor center at Big Cypress National Preserve has great exhibits for kids and an outdoor, water-filled ditch popular with alligators.
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Sawgrass Recreation Park
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A marshy expanse of humid swamps, the majority of the 1.5 million acres that make up the Florida Everglades are inaccessible wilderness. With a visit to Sawgrass Recreation Park, however, guests are able to ride on a high-speed airboat and navigate the same marshes where Seminole Indians once roamed and endangered animals still call home.

Located only 30 minutes outside the urban streets of downtown Ft. Lauderdale, the Sawgrass Recreation Park not only provides thrilling rides over the glassy waters of the Everglades, but also gives visitors the chance to spot alligators living in the wild and other marshland animals such as slithery pythons, black leopards, and the endangered Florida panther.

Morning hours are best during the summer months as afternoons in the Everglades are prone to wind and thunderstorms, although those looking for a unique thrill can take part in the night time alligator viewing sessions which depart into the marshes various nights per week.

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Exploration Tower
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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.

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Biscayne National Park
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One of the top scuba diving areas in the United States, Biscayne National Park covers 181,500 acres (73,450 hectares), 95 percent of which lies underwater. In fact, divers and snorkelers from all over the world come to explore its extensive reef system. Above water, you can explore the park’s small mainland mangrove shoreline and Keys by boat. Biscayne National Park consists of 44 islands, but only a few of them are open to visitors. Long Elliot Key has picnicking, camping, and hiking among mangrove forests; tiny Adams Key has picnicking and equally tiny Boca Chita Key, once an exclusive haven for yachters, has the country’s second-largest lighthouse, picnicking, and camping. As the Biscayne National Park is mostly underwater, the best way to truly experience it is with snorkel or scuba gear. For beneath its surface, an underwater world explodes with multicolored life, from vibrant angelfish and parrotfish to swaying sea fans and multi-shaded labyrinths of coral.
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Wild Florida Airboats and Gator Park
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With a visit to Wild Florida Wildlife Park in the Florida Everglades, you can get an up-close look at the unique ecosystem of the area on foot or on an airboat tour.

Wild Florida is a combination of a wildlife park and a launch point for airboat tours of the Everglades. In the wildlife park, you can walk through a zoo-like atmosphere where you'll see animals from all over the world. There are exotic animals from Africa, Australia, South America, and elsewhere, which you can even feed. There's a special focus on Florida's native wildlife in the park, too, including alligators, white tail deer, and tropical birds. You can walk through the park on raised walkways overlooking the animal habitats, and then you can take off on an airboat tour of the Everglades. After your tour, you can get your picture taken holding an alligator.

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More Things to Do in Florida

Little Havana

Little Havana

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A vibrant Hispanic culture permeates everything in Little Havana - colorful murals, monuments to heroes past and present, elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, and cigar rollers deeply at work amidst Little Havana’s ever-present aroma of Cuban coffee. These scenes of daily Little Havana life play out amidst a backdrop of Little Havana’s pulsating music, vibrant storefronts, unique art galleries and quaint restaurants.

The neighborhood’s colorful spirit unfolds on Calle Ocho, Little Havana’s bustling main street, packed with shops and restaurants. Farther down Calle Ocho, between SW 15th and 17th avenues, the Arts District contains a string of studios and galleries that showcase some of the best Latin American art in the country. Nearby, the Bay of Pigs Museum & Library enshrines the crew of the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion. The two blocks SW 13th street, south of Calle Ocho, contain a series of monuments of Cuban patriots and freedom fighters.

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Big Cypress National Preserve

Big Cypress National Preserve

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Big Cypress National Preserve, a 720,000-acre (2,900 sq. km) area, was one of the first national preserves in the United States when it was established in 1974. Not technically part of the Everglades, but bordering it to the south, Big Cypress preserve is the most biologically diverse region of the terrestrial Everglades. Composed primarily of a wet cypress forest, it is home to a wide array of flora and fauna including mangroves, orchids, alligators, venomous snakes, a variety of birds, the Florida panther and the Florida Black Bear. The preserve is also home to several endangered species such as the West Indian Manatee, the eastern indigo snake and the Florida Sandhill Crane.

With twelve campgrounds, some of the area’s best hikes and a long-established hunting scene (white-tailed deer, hogs and turkeys are abundant), Big Cypress provides plenty of opportunities to explore the outdoors.

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Universal’s Volcano Bay

Universal’s Volcano Bay

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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.
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Universal's Islands of Adventure

Universal's Islands of Adventure

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Take an unforgettable journey through uniquely themed islands where your favorite adventures come to life. Soar above Hogwarts™ in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ - Hogsmeade™, help save the city on The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®, and escape the jaws of a T-rex on the Jurassic Park River Adventure®.

Plus, with a Park-to-Park admission ticket you can ride between both lands of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ on the HogwartsSM Express.*

HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s14)

*Additional restrictions apply. © MARVEL. Jurassic Park River Adventure ® Universal Studios/Amblin. Universal elements and all related indicia TM & © 2014 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.

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Wynwood Walls

Wynwood Walls

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Wynwood Walls is an art exhibition that spans 80,000 square feet of wall space. Located in Miami’s Wynwood district, the “outdoor museum” boasts a constantly changing collection of murals by some of the world’s top graffiti and street artists.
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Universal CityWalk

Universal CityWalk

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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™.
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International Drive

International Drive

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One of the most exciting and flashy strips in America, I-Drive is packed with restaurants, hotels, shopping, and dinner theaters. And if that’s not enough, six of the world’s greatest theme parks make their home on I-Drive: SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Wet 'n' Wild, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Aquatica.

I-Drive winds past Big Sand Lake, and part of the road is lined with palm trees and a pleasant walking district. Also here is Ripley’s Believe It or Not and Skyventure. Head to Pointe Orlando or Prime Outlets International for mega-mall shopping, or browse the quirky independent shops on Antique Row.

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Everglades Holiday Park

Everglades Holiday Park

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Nicknamed the "Gateway to the Everglades," this 29 acre (.12 sq. km) park has been entertaining and educating visitors for more than 30 years. Most famous for its guided airboat rides, as well as being the home to the Animal Planet’s Gator Boys show, Everglades Holiday Park is a classic—if a bit kitschy—introduction to the Everglades and its wild inhabitants. With covered airboats, the ride into the Everglades is a bit more civilized and finding alligators is almost guaranteed, as the guides know their scaly neighbors by sight. The gator “wrestling” show by the Gator Boys is a crowd favorite; those who like to walk on the wild side can even get their picture taken holding a live gator.

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Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

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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 Palace 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.

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Manatee Park

Manatee Park

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What wonderful hand of nature guided and shaped the elusive manatee? Loved all over the world, these gentle giants are Florida’s favorite and are admired for their happy disposition and general ability to loaf lazily in the soft sea-grass. Endangered but protected, the Fort Myers Manatee Park is your chance to see and experience these contented creatures up close and personal as the park acts as a non-captive park and refuge for the Florida Manatee. The best viewing is in winter when the manatees approach to feed, but year-round the Manatee Park is a beautiful Florida sanctuary teeming with butterflies, a bountiful natural fishing point, and offers a great ethno-botany trail.
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St. Pete Beach

St. Pete Beach

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Harry S. Truman Little White House

Harry S. Truman Little White House

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Located in what is now called the Truman Annex in Old Town Key West, the Harry Truman Little White House was the winter White House for President Truman for a total of 175 days over the course of 11 visits. However, Truman is not the only president and notable figure to enjoy some respite in Key West.

The house originally served as the base commandant’s house for the naval submarine station at Key West. President Taft was the first to visit in 1912 and Thomas Edison resided in the house during World War I. Over the years, six American presidents have used the residence, but the most important usage was by President Harry Truman from 1946 -1952. Due to advances in technology, Truman realized that he could continue to act on matters of importance outside of Washington, D.C. and thus, the Little White House became his home from November-December and February-March, allowing the president a time of rest and recuperation.

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