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Things to Do in Florida - page 4

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Museum of Discovery and Science
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If you’re looking for an educational and exciting experience in Fort Lauderdale, visit the fascinating Museum of Discovery and Science. You can see sharks and marvel that the largest captive living Atlantic coral reef. The museum’s animals include bats, 12-foot snakes, alligators, turtles, and iguanas.

You can also learn about Florida’s Everglades in an interactive cockpit simulator exhibit or discover Mars in the space exhibit, Runways to Rockets. The museum also contains a visually stunning IMAX theatre, which is the largest in Florida. Go on a cinematic journey complete with 15,000 watts of surround sound.

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Miami Design District
23 Tours and Activities

The Miami Design District is dedicated to innovative fashion, design, architecture and dining. The area juxtaposes design brands with restaurants, international art collections and permanent and temporary art installations, while its new buildings exist with transformed historic ones. Design showrooms fill the area, including Holly Hunt, Knoll, Luminaire Contract and Ann Sacks, while retailers like Christian Louboutin, Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Prada also saw the potential for the area and have opened stores here.

The neighborhood continues to evolve, and new renovations continue with additional luxury brands like Givenchy, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani and Van Cleef & Arpels slated to open shop. The long-term dream for the district is for it to exist as a renowned destination for cutting-edge fashion, art, design and culture, while maintaining its commitment to creative experiences.

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Jungle Island
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Jungle Island (formerly Parrot Jungle Island) is a glorious homage to tourism kitsch. This is one of those places kids beg to go, so just give up and prepare for some bright-feathered, bird-scented fun. Actually, the 18 acre (7 hectare) waterfront facility, lushly landscaped and using a minimum of pesticides, is pretty impressive, thanks in part to the parrots, macaws, flamingos, and cockatoos flying about in outdoor aviaries.

The Cape Penguin colony is especially cute, as is Crocosaurus, a 20 foot (6 meter) long saltwater crocodile that lives in Serpentarium. Other critters include snakes, crocodiles, gibbons and orangutans, not to mention tortoises, iguanas, and a rare albino alligator on exhibit. You can even see animals in action, as Jungle Island host a number of shows starring roller-skating cockatoos, card-playing macaws, and numerous stunt-happy parrots. Nearby is Pinecrest Gardens, which has a petting zoo, mini-water park, and a lake.

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More Things to Do in Florida

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)

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Since 2013 this stunning glass structure with Miami coastal views has been showcasing contemporary and modern art to the masses. With one of the most impressive collections south of the Mason Dixon Line, the Perez Art Museum (known as PAMM to locals) drives to display works created in the 20 and 21st century from artists around the world. With colorful exhibits that reign from the Caribbean, South America, Africa and Australia, there’s a world of wonder inside PAMM’s doors. Museum educators host interesting talks and tours that unlock stories about the art and artists that line the halls of PAMM and a unique community-based program brings speakers, thinkers and creators to the community for informative lectures and roundtables.

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Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

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This iconic Florida bridge is a testament to humankind’s architectural prowess and mother nature’s sheer beauty. Officially known as the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge (named after the former Florida governor), it was built in 1954 and spans Tampa Bay with a 1,500-foot cable-stayed main span. The bridge’s height, expansive views of the surrounding bay and modern design landed it the No. 3 spot on the Travel Channel’s list of top bridges in the world. Those traveling to Tampa shouldn’t miss the chance to be impressed by this architectural wonder and the amazing views of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico it provides.

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Miami Children's Museum

Miami Children's Museum

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The Miami Children's Museum is not so much a museum as a glorified playhouse, with areas for kids to practice all sorts of adult activities like banking and food shopping, caring for pets, playing TV news anchor in a studio and acting as a local cop or firefighter.

Kids can pretend they’re banking at the miniature Bank of America, shopping at the local Publix Supermarket, or taking a Carnival cruise ship, which even stops in the re-created port of Brazil. One of the more impressive exhibits is the World Music Studio, where budding rock stars can lay down a few tracks and play instruments.

The Miami Children’s Museum also offers educational displays about subjects ranging from Miami architecture to Brazilian culture. There are also hundreds of bilingual, interactive exhibits as well as programs, classes, and learning materials related to arts, culture, community, and communication.

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Dolphin Mall

Dolphin Mall

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Rickenbacker Trail

Rickenbacker Trail

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Rickenbacker Trail is considered one of the best places for biking in Miami. Spanning the entire island of Key Biscayne, the 8.5-mile path includes well-known spots like Virginia Key Beach, Crandon Park and the Miami Seaquarium, and begins in southern Miami before continuing south along Rickerbacker Causeway/Crandon Boulevard.

There are picnic areas, coastal dunes and even an amusement center at the popular Crandon Park, which sits at the northern end of the trail. Visitors often snorkel, kayak and hike here, or visit the museum and historical lighthouse. Another spot is Bill Baggs Cape State Park, which includes one of the more low-key beaches along the trail. If you stop in Virginia Key, there are beverage, snack, and ice cream vending machines on site. Be sure to try smoked fish at Jimbo’s, a tiny restaurant shack that has earned quite a reputation.

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Walt Disney World®

Walt Disney World®

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Walt Disney has four main parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. In the Magic Kingdown you will find the iconic Cinderella Castle and plenty of thrilling rides to enjoy. The Animal Kingdom offers a unique blend of creatures real and fantasy, with a large dose of Disney characters, storytelling and magic. At Epcot Center, a world culture taster awaits, whilst in Disney’s Hollywood Studios you can experience movie-making at its best from flames bursting to cars splitting in half. Walt Disney World also has three water parks, a shopping district, 22 hotels, countless eateries, and transport systems.
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WonderWorks Orlando

WonderWorks Orlando

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A firm departure from the everyday, WonderWorks Orlando offers what most attractions cannot – a spin on this thing we call reality. Built to resemble an upside-down laboratory, this science museum offers over 100 hands-on exhibits built to test your belief of what is real and what is illusion. Filled with “oh, wow” moments that include rope obstacle courses, zip lines and laser tag, WonderWorks Orlando is an engaging step into science and discovery – one that will leave the whole family full of wonder.

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Gizella Kopsick Palm Arboretum

Gizella Kopsick Palm Arboretum

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Created on the site of what was once a miniature golf course, the Gizella Kopsick Palm Arboretum is now home to more than 500 palms and cycads, representing more than 150 different species from around the world. Starting with just 60 palms representing 10 different species, the two-acre park has continuously expanded since its 1977 dedication. From massive specimens that are too big to fit in private yards to popular types that can be found along Florida’s beaches, the Palm Arboretum is an ever-changing, never-ending project that grows and expands organically. Take the time to stroll down the pathways, learning about the specimens, or simply perch on one of the conversation benches and enjoy the peace of the palms.

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North Straub Park

North Straub Park

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Right on the waterfront of downtown St. Petersburg, North Straub Park offers a quite respite from the city. The small 4.8-acre park features trails, picnic spots and a stage where community events are held. Locals recommend visiting the park during holidays, like Christmas, when it’s lit up with lights and decorations, or on the Fourth of July and New Years, when it offers a great vantage point for fireworks shows. At the southern end of the park, you’ll find the local Museum of Fine Arts and the St. Petersburg Museum of History, and nearby Wheel Fun Rentals is a good spot to rent a beach cruiser or surrey.

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Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

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Encompassing 180 acres (73 hectares), Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is located near the Fort Lauderdale beachfront, although it holds a very tropical feel. Begin your day at the Terramar Visitor Center, which allows visitors to learn more about the park’s ecology and heritage through displays and exhibits. This will give you a good base of information so that when you’re exploring the park you can better understand the flora and fauna you’re looking at.

The major draw of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is its plethora of outdoor activities. While paved roads offer opportunities for cyclists and skaters, nature trails allow hikers to immerse themselves in organic beauty and see over 200 plant species. There’s also a freshwater lagoon for canoeing and kayaking. For those who enjoy fishing, the park features designated areas where this can be done. Also make sure to bring your camera to photograph the wildlife.

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Florida Mall

Florida Mall

5 Tours and Activities
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Orlando International Premium Outlets

Orlando International Premium Outlets

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Orlando may be known as the land of magic thanks to a mighty kingdom that offers up fun for the whole family. But just down the street there’s a massive Mecca for shoppers known as the Orlando International Premium Outlets. Home to more than 180 retail stores with designer names and high fashion items, this retail destination offers up some of the best deals in town with up to 65 percent off suggested retail prices. Travelers can comb through the stores in search of epic deals on designer duds. And more than a dozen snack shops and restaurants mean visitors can regroup and recharge between hitting the sales racks in the morning and returning to the shops in mid-afternoon.

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Edison and Ford Winter Estates

Edison and Ford Winter Estates

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Step back into old Florida and explore the prestigious estates of two of America’s most prominent men. The Edison and Ford Winter Estates are registered as national historic sites for the 20 acres of beautiful landscaped lawns and early Florida era buildings that tell the stories of not just the life and times of these inventors but about early Florida as well. Walk the award-winning Moonlight Garden or use the grounds to picnic or enjoy breeze form the cove. Also on site are the Edison Botanic Research Lab and the Edison Ford Museum. More than just a walk through museums, a visit to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates is an opportunity to enjoy the park-like environment.

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Las Olas Beach

Las Olas Beach

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For a top Fort Lauderdale beach experience head to Las Olas Beach. The sand is soft and white and the water is clean and calm, making it a great beach for families. In fact, even the most apprehensive swimmers appreciate this attraction’s warm translucent waves. Visitors to the beach enjoy sunbathing, swimming and body boarding. Don’t worry if you don’t have beach chairs or umbrellas, as they are available to rent for a fee (about $20 for an umbrella and $12 for a chair per day).

Because of Las Olas Beach’s popularity those who want a quieter experience should go earlier in the morning, while those craving something more lively should go in the afternoon and early evening. On the weekends the beach can get wild, especially as there are many bars around.

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