Miami has a variety of attractions for tourists that revolve around animal and bird
life. These include the Miami Seaquarium, Parrot Jungle Island, Monkey Jungle and Miami
Zoo. However even more attractive are the truly wild animals and birds that can be seen in
South Florida. The Intracoastal waterway and other canals along the highways and roads
plus numerous lakes in residential areas and along the highway attract birdlife
particularly water fowl. For the best experience, South Florida, in the areas around
Miami, has numerous parks where the truly wild can be seen.
In the Palm Beach area there is Grassy Waters Preserve, Marinelife of June Beach,
Hungryland Boardwalk And Trail, John D. Macarthur Beach State Park, Okeeheelee Park Nature
Center. In the Boca Raton Area there is Gumbo Limbo Nature Center
and Fern Forest Nature Center.
In Hollywood there is Anne Kolb Nature Center at West Lake Park. Broward County has
Tree Tops Park, while Greynolds Park is located on Miami Beach. Two of the parks that are easily accessible for those in the south Miami
area are Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park.
Biscayne National Park is located at 9700 SW 328th St., Homestead. Ninety-five percent
of this marine park is underwater and features colorful coral reefs and undeveloped keys
in Biscayne Bay. Most of the keys are covered by mangroves and tropical hardwood hammocks.
The park has a walkway along the seafront that is fringed with mangrove. It is a good
location for seeing various species that associate with water, including ring-billed
gulls, double crested cormorants, ruddy turnstones, woodpeckers and grackles. Fishing is
allowed at designated areas in the park plus kayak and canoe rentals are available. The
park is open from 7am to 5.30pm daily and entry to the park is free of charge.
Close to Biscayne Park is the Biscayne Boat Dock, which has a $5 entry fee. At the boat
dock there is a small beach for swimming with lifeguards, rest rooms and a snack bar. For
a more active afternoon or morning, saltwater fishing is allowed among the mangroves and
along the walkway. For the birdwatcher, sapsuckers, ospreys, grebes and cormorants can be
To get to Biscayne National Park take Florida's Turnpike south to Exit 6 (Speedway
Boulevard), turning left from the exit ramp and continuing south to Southwest 328th Street
(North Canal Drive). Turn left and continue to the end of the road. The entrance is about
approximately five miles on the left.
Everglades National Park covers over 1.4 million acres with a diverse habitat
ranging from the marine and estuarine areas of Florida Bay to pinelands, hardwood
hammocks, and vast sawgrass marshes and freshwater sloughs. The park offers the
opportunity for a wide range of activities including; beach combing, birding, camping,
diving, fishing, hiking, photography, ranger led activities, snorkeling, swimming and
There are three campgrounds inside the park; Long Pine Key, Flamingo, and Chekika and
all campgrounds are open year round. Canoes may be rented at Flamingo and Gulf Coast.
Bicycling is permitted along the main park roads, on the Shark Valley tram road, on the
Old Ingraham Highway, on Long Pine Key Nature Trail, and on the Snake Bight and Rowdy Bend
trails at Flamingo. Visitor centers are located at the main entrance (west of Homestead),
Royal Palm, Flamingo, Shark Valley, and Gulf Coast (south of Everglades City).
It is however in the area of wildlife watching that the Everglades National Park truly
astounds. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded, seven of which are rare or
endangered. Migrating birds use Everglades National Park both as critical wintering areas
and as a stopover. Species include the Cape May warbler, peregrine falcon, bobolinks, and
tree swallows. Wading birds you may encounter on a visit include the great white heron,
great blue heron, great egret, snowy egret, tri-colored heron, little blue heron, cattle
egret, reddish egret, black-crowned night heron, yellow-crowned night heron, least
bittern, glossy ibis, and the very colorful roseate spoonbill. Some birds of prey of the
Everglades include the red-shouldered hawk and the barred owl. Along the mangrove island
areas of Everglades National Park, you are likely to see an osprey dive into the water to
catch a fish. About fifty pair of bald eagles, who also feed on fish, nest in the park.
One of the most threatened birds in the park, is the Everglades or snail kite.
Anhinga Trail over Taylor Slough at Royal Palm is a good place to watch anhingas nest
in the spring, as well as year-round viewing of herons, egrets, double-crested cormorants
and white ibis. Eco Pond near Flamingo is a good place to observe herons, white ibis,
roseate spoonbills, white-eyed vireos, red-shouldered hawks and numerous species of
butterflies. From the Flamingo Visitor Center, you can see white pelicans, gulls, terns,
shorebirds, white herons, reddish egrets and other birds along the fringe of the bay.
Over forty species of mammals are found in Everglades National Park. It is not uncommon
to see white-tailed deer wading through the sawgrass prairie. The marsh rabbit is common
in higher fresh water marshes, pinelands, and coastal prairies. Raccoons and opossums are
common creatures throughout the park. The gray fox is most frequently seen near hardwood
hammocks. River otters are commonly observed in the spring at the Anhinga Trail and Shark
Valley. The Florida Panther which is a subspecies of mountain lion is found in the park
but elusive so rarely seen. The bobcat, unlike the endangered Florida panther, is common
in Everglades National Park. Although primarily nocturnal, this small (15 - 25 lb.)
short-tailed feline is frequently seen during daylight hours. It may be seen walking the
Bear Lake Trail, the Snake Bight Trail, and the Main Park Road.
The West Indian manatee is a marine mammal that grows to 1,000 pounds and roams U.S.
coastal waters from Louisiana to Virginia. In winter months they seek the warm waters of
Florida Bay, where they are often seen by visitors. They can be frequently seen in
Whitewater Bay, Hells Bay and along the west coast. Alligators are common throughout the
fresh water marshes of the park, and occasionally enter the brackish waters of Florida
Bay. The best time to see alligators in the park is during the winter dry season. At that
time, they get together near the deeper water holes. All sizes and ages, from ten-inch
babies to an occasional twenty-year-old, ten-foot-long adult, can be seen lounging on the
bank along the Anhinga Trail.
To get to Everglades National Park take Florida's Turnpike south to its end in Florida
City. Turn right on Southwest 344th Street (Palm Drive), follow signs on Florida Highway
9336 to Everglades National Park.
South Florida and Miami in particular is a magnet that draws shoppers from South &
Central America and the Caribbean. It seems as if at every neighborhood in the city there
is a mall and there is variety in the malls. There are strip malls, regular malls, outlet
malls. Shopping in Miami is year round but seems to reach a fever pitch on the 3rd
Friday in November which is the day immediately after the American Thanksgiving holiday.
Known as Black Friday because the hordes of shoppers are expected to drive retailers into
the black (profit). Black Friday is a day of deep discounts that marks the start of the
Christmas shopping season. At some malls shopping starts at midnight, while at others the
shopping begins at 5am. As soon as the stores open the hordes descend.
South Florida is also a magnet for migratory and Neotropical birds. Located along the
Atlantic Flyway, Florida is in the pathway of birds migrating from their summer breeding
grounds in northern and central U.S.A. to their winter grounds in Central or South America
and the Caribbean. For some species Florida is their winter home. An abundance of ponds,
lakes and waterways means that Florida is especially good for waterbirds.
This dual magnetic force means that during Thanksgiving you can combine two passions;
shopping and birding. Or husbands can accompany wives to the mall and while the wife shops
the husband indulges in some bird watching. Dolphin Mall located on NW 12th
Street off the Florida Turnpike is a good location. The Mall has a huge selection of
stores with a wide variety of items. The mall also has two ponds along 12th
Street next to the mall parking lot. Among the birds that can be seen in those ponds are
Anhingas, Coots, Grey Herons and Snowy Egrets.
At other malls, the desire to introduce greenery into an asphalt and concrete jungle
has resulted in trees around and within parking lots. These trees have in turn attracted
various bird species. So simply wandering the parking lots gives you the opportunity to
see different species of birds.
Even if you do not go near the malls on Black Friday, it is easy to indulge in bird
watching in South Florida. The numerous lakes and ponds in residential areas attract
birdlife particularly waterfowl. Among the most easily seen Florida waterfowl are
Double-crested Cormorant, Pied-billed Grebe, Common Moorhen, Green (Green-backed) Heron
and the most common waterfowl found in Floridas suburban areas, Muscovy Ducks. The
Intracoastal Waterway and other canals along the highways and roads are also good
locations for spotting avian life and it is easy to stop at an attractive spot. For the
more dedicated birdwatcher South Florida has an abundance of state and national parks.
So when next you are planning a trip to South
Florida, remember, you can combine shopping and bird watching.
Stepping off the Miami charter bus and into the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
is like stepping into a whole new, different world. The sight and sound of
the Italian Renaissance era museum and garden is simply breathtaking, and
the word 'breathtaking' is not even adequate to describe the feeling,
especially if this is the first time you are here in Miami. The European
castle is so awesome that visitors could end up snapping tons of pictures to
bring home with them. Some others would describe is as nothing short of
being a beach lovers' paradise wishing that they could have spent the whole
week there really instead of the limited time permitted during a weekend
Vizcaya is considered as one of Miami's most treasured historical landmark
which has been nationally preserved and known as a wonderful tourist magnet,
which spells good news for the local tourism industry. Vizcaya was first
thought of and built by a highly imaginative agricultural industrialist man
called James Deering way back in 1916. With a picture-perfect image of a
dream-like, serene and stunning image in his mind, he set about to gather
funds and resources and like they always say, the rest is history. Here,
today, we have Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
Vizcaya is the first attraction of its kind to offer a full audio tour which
last about ninety minutes in all, and it is available in several languages,
namely English, Spanish, Portuguege, French and Haitian.
Visitors are encouraged to purchase their tickets, especially if they are
heading over in a group, online or beforehand; for those who are using
credit cards, there is a minimum charge requirement of $20 per person (this
is the admission fee at the point of writing this article, as always, please
do log into their website for the latest admission fee structure).
garden is always the prettiest early in the morning so, visitors are
encouraged to start exploring the attraction at the gardens, stop at the
shades for a good few hours before going on to the next part of the museum
and garden. After a good walk-around, enjoy the delicious fanfare that the
museum's exclusive cafe on the ground floor where there is option of indoor
seating with air-conditioning (great option in the summer when the heat
outside can get to you), and outdoor patio seatings.
After fueling yourself up with good food, take the audio tour. Looking a the
dream-like atmosphere in and around the museum and garden, it isn't a
surprise at all that the garden is teeming with couples in their wedding
dresses together with their photographers.
is a part of US Coachways Inc., a leading Miami charter bus rental,
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In a lot of ways, Grapeland Water Park cannot be compared to other larger and
more popular water theme parks in Miami, but it is most definitely a great
alternative for tourists and other vacationers who do not like large crowds,
long lines and exorbitant prices. Admittedly, the scale of the water park is
a big comfort for those long, relaxing weekends where we just want to simply
get away so that we can bring the kids outdoors to do something fun and
fantastic. Well, if that is what you are looking for in Miami FL, organizing
a fun outdoor weekend gathering together with your family and friends to
Grapeland Water Park!
One can tell that the management of the park pays special attention to safety
and cleanliness... after all, when it comes to kids, those are of major
concern for parents. There are life guards guarding each for each of the
features at the park and the staff are mostly friendly and helpful. The park
underwent some rather major changes since it has been operating and the
slides and features are creative and artfully created.
The Shipwreck Island is a huge hit with toddlers (understandably so) who are
less than forty eight inches tall. The shallow water is great for toddlers
who do not yet know how to swim or tread water. What is fun for the kids is
when the large bucket located at the top of a huge, tall fixture, which will
sound loudly whenever it is ready to topple a huge bucket of water on the
kids. That is the time when the kids either run off screaming (in
excitement) or stand directly under the bucket to experience the
As fun as the lazy river is, some contend that it might be a little short compared
to the lazy river in other theme parks around Miami and Florida.
Anyone under the height of forty eight inches is also welcomed at the Pirate's
Plunge. The kids need to climb up the tall tower and then slide down into a
fun pool where parents are waiting and other kids are splashing around. The
Pirate's Plunge is located near Shipwreck Island so this means that the kids
can alternate easily between one water feature to another!
The Captain's Lagoon is basically an elaborate swimming pool designed for older
kids and waiting parents who prefer to hang out under the hot, friendly
summer sun while the small toddlers enjoy the water slides and pools.
As far as features and fanfare is concerned, Grapeland is a basic water park but
what is important is that it is safe, clean, well-maintained and of course,
affordable when compared to other larger theme parks without compromising on
the fun factor.
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Florida has been a destination of choice for centuries. Ponce de Leon came,
looking for the Fountain of Youth, in 1513. Since then, six cultures left
their mark on the peninsula. Native Indians fought Spanish, French and
English explorers. American settlers brought agriculture, industry and
slavery. After the Civil War, rail barons like Henry Flagler promoted
Florida's climate. By the 1900's Florida was THE winter destination for many
Florida developed, so did tourist attractions. Today, those same places
provide a look at Florida's yesteryear. Interestingly, every Florida
destination is no more than eighty miles from the Atlantic or the Gulf of
- Spain claimed the nation's "Oldest City" 42 years before England landed at
Jamestown. It had a rocky history until Flagler picked St. A as his first
tourist project. His famed hotels are now Lightner Museum and Flagler
College. St. Augustine is an eclectic mix of historic, vintage and modern
attractions to delight any traveler. Tour Castilla de San Marcos, the
historic district and the famous striped lighthouse. Immerse yourself in the
culture of St. Augustine. Book rooms at an historic inn, bed & breakfast or
- Ringling Bros. Circus picked Sarasota for its winter quarters. The
Ringling complex includes a world-class art museum and Ca d'Zan (House of
John) mansion. Its Circus museum features a popular miniature circus. Jungle
Gardens' vintage zoological park opened in 1940. Other attractions include
two classic car museums, Marie Selby Botanic Gardens, and Myakka River State
Park. Sarasota is a "gem of the Gulf coast" with pristine white sand beaches
along the mainland and nearby barrier islands.
- Winter Haven is an inland paradise, surrounded by more than 30 lakes. No
wonder it is the water-skiing capital of the world. It is also the home of
Cypress Gardens, Florida's first theme park (1936). CG is famous for
spectacular water-skiing shows and beautiful gardens. (Cypress Gardens is
closed for renovation. It will reopen in March 2009.) Other popular sites
include Bok Sanctuary with its famous carillon, and Fantasy of Flight.
Midway between Orlando and Tampa, Winter Haven lives up to its name. It's
away from the crowds but convenient to many major attractions.
- "The Sunshine City" boasts 360 days of sunshine per year. Tour Sunken
Gardens, Florida's oldest tourist attraction and a historic landmark. More
than 50,000 plants, representing 500 species, thrive here. The Pier is a
popular spot. Visit the aquarium and the replica of the HMS Bounty. MGM
built the ship for the 1962 movie. It was also used in one of the Pirates
of the Caribbean films. Nearby John's Pass Village is a former pirate
retreat and fishing village. It is now a tourist stop with quaint shopping &
dining. St. Pete also boasts a number of excellent museums. The beaches here
are some of the best in the US.
- Another classic Gulf coast resort is Ft. Myers/Ft. Myers Beach. The area,
plus nearby Sanibel and Captiva Islands, is known for some of the best
shelling in the world. The slope into Gulf waters is so gentle, the beaches
here are among the safest, as well. Thomas Edison and his friend, Henry Ford
picked Ft. Myers for their winter homes. Tour their adjacent estates with a
single admission. Visit the Cypress Preserve, Manatee World, Babcock
Wilderness Adventures and the shell museum. Drive along McGregor Boulevard,
lined with 1800 palm trees. The stately trees give Ft. Myers its nickname,
"City of Palms".
- This tip of the keys has been America's "Margueritaville" for decades.
Even Ponce de Leon started here before sailing north to St. Augustine. Tour
Hemingway's 1920's home and Truman's 1949-era Little White House. Visit
Pirate Soul and the Key West Shipwreck Treasures museums to learn about the
buccaneering heritage of the island. Nature lovers will enjoy the Tropical
Forest & Botanical Garden, and the Butterfly & Nature Conservatory. Several
US presidents have vacationed on Key West; so should you. It has all the
flavor and laid-back charm of a Caribbean island.
- Like all of Florida, Miami has a rich history to balance her modern side.
South Beach is known worldwide for its Art Deco buildings. Take a walking
tour or guided tour. The oldest building in the Western Hemisphere was
moved, stone by stone, from Spain to Miami by Randolph Hearst in the 1950's.
Jungle Island, (formerly Parrot Jungle c. 1936), is an animal show and zoo
sure to please everyone. There's also the Seaquarium, Miami Zoo and several
museums. Cruise Biscayne Bay past Millionaire Row. Many of the estates date
to Miami's heyday in the early 1900's.
- This central Florida city is synonymous with Silver Springs, a nature park
on the Silver River. The artesian springs pump enough fresh water daily to
supply New York City. It is one of the largest in the world. Famed
glass-bottom boats take visitors through the park, just like they did in the
late 1800's. There are other boat tours, plus a jeep ride. The waters are so
clear that several movies have been filmed in the waters of Silver Springs.
Divers will enjoy Paradise Springs for cave diving. Nature lovers should
visit Juniper Prairie Wilderness in Ocala National Forest.
course, all of Florida offers exceptional travel opportunities, whether you
want sun, sports, history, or entertainment. Just don't forget these gems
when you plan your trip to The Sunshine State.
more than three decades, Ruth Seebeck and her husband, Ed, have been
encouraging, coaching, mentoring and teaching friends, family, neighbors and
strangers to find a more enjoyable and fulfilling lifestyle. As avid
travelers, they enjoy sharing their travel experiences with others. You can
also find inspirational articles on Christian living at
to spend time in a true blue American beach town? Then you should plan a
visit to Florida's Fort Myers Beach. The town is situated on the
southwestern section of the state, along the banks of the Caloosahatchee
River. It particularly sits on a barrier island that stretches for seven
Beach lovers will not get tired of enjoying the soft sand stretches that go
for miles and miles. Here the beaches are not only long but also wide and
very gradually sloping. Some of the beach-oriented places to explore include
Tarpon Bay Beach and Bowman's Beach. In addition, Fort Myers has a
reputation of having an upbeat and pleasant atmosphere ideal for visiting
families, honeymooners, and all types of tourists.
People exploring Fort Myers usually have no need for a car. You can easily
get around on foot or by bike. The island has a number of trails that lead
to major areas, including the very picturesque coastline. Aside from being
the kind of place where you can just sit and relax on the sand all day long,
For Myers is also the kind of place where you can engage in various kinds of
outdoor and watersports. You will always see a game of beach volleyball,
tennis and gold being played. Parasailing and fishing charters are also
equally popular to beach goers. If you are interested in canoeing or
kayaking, make your way to the Great Calusa Blueway, where 40 miles of kayak
and canoe trails are waiting to be conquered!
Myers is also a very convenient location to do some island excursions. Just
off its coast, lie the islands of Captiva and Sanibel, which make wonderful
day trip destinations. But if you want to go farther, you will be happy to
know that the town is actually surrounded by about 100 coastal and barrier
Myers also has a number of companies that offer dolphin watching cruises.
This type of cruise will take you to the main playground of bottlenose
dolphin, and you will witness these adorable creatures in action. And since
dolphins are very friendly and playful animals, there's a good chance that
you will get to see them up close! Back on dry land, the main spot for
activities and leisure is the Fort Myers Pier in Lynn Hall Memorial Park.
This hotspot extends into the ocean for an incredible length of 600 feet. So
it is not really a wonder why several restaurants, shops and other
establishments were built around the area to take advantage of gorgeous
ocean views. Fort Myers is the perfect place to have a lovely stroll and
watch people go about their day.
Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum is one of the must-see attractions in Fort
Myers area. Situated on Sanibel Island and dedicated to shell preservation;
the museum also features all an impressive collection of not only exquisite
shells found in the region, but also those found all over the world.
Because of its popularity, there is a lot of accommodation that can be found
in Fort Myers, and their offered prices can match a wide range of budget.
Aside from hotels and resorts, beach vacation home rental is quite popular
for those who would like to stay in Fort Myers for a considerable amount of
Florida is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. Its
sandy beaches and theme parks are always brimming with tourists. Be it
college students eager for scary roller coaster rides or newlyweds looking
for a romantic dinner on a moonlit beach, everyone's dream place is Florida.
But you'll be surprised that there's more to Florida than that.
are some facts and magical places in Florida which I bet this is no one told
Florida has a rich cultural heritage: Florida is home to America's oldest
city - St. Augustine and the Native American Seminole tribe. Guess where the
Kennedy Space Center is? Florida! "The Greatest Show on Earth" - the
Ringling Circus is also based in Florida. St. Augustine has an alligator
farm which opened in 1893!
Is summer the best time to be in Florida? Turns out, it's the worst time to
do touristy things in Florida. May to September is really hot and humid but
unfortunately, that's where everyone heads to Florida. What's the best time,
you ask? The ideal weather is either mid-October to late November or March
to early May. So plan your trip over Thanksgiving or spring break.
Wild Life, anyone? Here's a safari park with walking and cycling trails.
Spend time with alligators and bisons and head onwards to an introspective
stroll. Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park in Micanopy (near Gainesville) is
a National Natural Landmark.
What can one man do? Visit Solomon's Castle in Ona, FL to witness a
legendary architecture created single-handedly by one man. Great place to
find some inspiration to follow your own dreams.
Floridan etiquette: Along with your dirving license, don't forget to carry
your rental car contract to avoid running into police. If you're taking a
taxi or dining out, don't the tip fall below 15%.
Looking for friends? Good news is that Florida is one of the friendliest
states in America. Odds are against rude encounters and unhelpful passersby.
In search of spirituality? Visit the 12th-century Spanish monastery with a
very interesting history. In the 1920s, it was purchased by William Randolph
Hearst who tried to move it to California but failed because of shipping
complications. A successful attempt was made again in the '60s when the
monestry was moved piece by piece to North Miami Beach.
Forget the beach, let's explore some caves: Explore some air-filled caves in
the Florida Caverns State Park, Marianna. The limestone caverns were formed
over time, as water seeped into and dissolved local bedrock. Once you're
done with the caves, the park also offers hiking and horse trails, fishing,
canoeing, kayaking, camping and dancing to the tz anthem! It's like hitting
a holiday jackpot.
Swimming underground? Everyone swims in lakes and pools but few venture to
swim underground. This underground swimming hole in Williston, is a gift of
nature. Best part: it's open for scuba diving and snorkeling.
Want to know a secret? There's a State Park and beach in
South Florida that no one seems to know about.
Beautiful surroundings, a gorgeous sun-splashed beach...that you might just have all to
Where is this secluded Florida park and beach? It's actually within easy reach!
...John D. MacArthur Beach State Park. It's a little-known gem north of Singer Island
and south of Jupiter Beach on the Atlantic Ocean.
This totally amazing Florida state park boasts a tropical dune trail and a beautiful
beach. Urban sprawl hasn't reached here so the beach and the park is quiet most of the
year. You might not even see anyone else!
The Park's Interesting Past
The beach has some interesting history, dating back when it was called Air Force Beach
during World War II. What is now Palm Beach International airport was an Air Force base
back then. Apparently servicemen threw some pretty wild beach parties, so it was
(unofficially) named Air Force Beach!
Some time later, John D. MacArthur bought the land, wanting to keep a pristine part of
southern Florida safe. He donated the land in the 1970's and the park (named after him)
publicly opened in 1989.
Barrier? What Barrier?
MacArthur Beach State Park is located on a barrier island, which is long and narrow,
separating the mainland from the sea. Although condominiums and hotels have taken over
many of Florida's beautiful barrier islands, not this one - it's still "au
Be on the Lookout For...
...Sea turtles! Rare species of sea turtles are known to nest here, including the
endangered loggerhead and the much rarer leatherback. You probably won't see the turtles
themselves but you might see evidence that they have been around. If you'd really like to
see the turtles, there are ranger-led walks in May and June. Make advanced reservations
through the office -- these tours are popular.
You might see some roseate spoonbills at the park. Huh? Roseate spoonbills are
fascinating birds; their feathers are rose tinted ("flamingo pink") and the ends
of their bills are spoon shaped.
Birding tours are also occasionally available, for the ornithological inclined.
The most amazing single thing about this glorious Florida state park is that very few
people come here. Possibly because there are loads of public beaches just to the north and
the south, MacArthur Beach State Park is quiet. Serene. And you are likely to have the two
miles of sandy beach all to yourself!
Swim the waters, snorkel the reef or even try one of the park's surfing clinics -- the
beach holds all kinds of possibilities!
Want to find out more about this hidden gem (and see photos) located in South Florida?
During the winter Central Florida in general and the
Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge in particular is considered to be one of the country's
premier birding destinations. So, if you are planning a vacation in Orlando, and you are a
bird watching enthusiast, then you are in for a big treat.
If you are novice you can enjoy the spring nesting season in Gatorland and if you are a
more experienced birder then you will probably want to head straight to the Merrit Island
This is a NASA owned site and it also includes the Kennedy Space Centre. For birding
the Black Point Wildlife Drive is an excellent place to view waders herons, and marsh
species. This is a six-mile drive around lagoons and ponds where you don't even have to
leave the car. You can spend an entire day at Merrit Island. While you are there keep a
lookout for these species: Florida Scrub-jay, Reddish Egret, Roseatte Spoonbill and Black
Skimmer. To get to Merrit Island just take SR50 east to Titusville then north on the US1
shortly before going east on SR406 across the Indian River.
Besides Merrit Island, there are plenty of other places where you can enjoy birding in
all the seasons of the year. Here are a few places that you can visit:
Orlando Wetlands Park. This is a water reclamation system east of Orlando off SR50. It
has a small reception area and offers large open ponds with extensive fresh water marsh.
The "target" birds of this park include Purple Gallinule, Least Bittern and Wood
Black point drive is a six mile, one way drive which forms part of the Merit Island
Reserve. The target species here include: Roseate Spoonbill, Waders, Terns and Black
Skimmer. If you are looking you may also be able to spot alligators and manatees as well.
This spot is also ideal for scenic photography.
Cypress Lake is located approximately 15 miles south of Kissimmee off highway 523. It
is an area of rough grassland, mixed pine forest and also has muddy fringes around the
edge of the lake. The target species at Cypress Lake include: Crested Caracara, Eastern
Bluebird, Sandhill Crane and Loggerhead Shrike. In addition to the birds you can also see
wildlife such as raccoons here.
Brinson Park is not exactly a reserve but it is so close to the main tourist areas, and
it has a good selection of species, making it an ideal destination for those with little
time for birding. Target species here include Snail Kite, Bald Eagle, White winged Dove,
Black necked Stilt. You can get to Brinson Park by driving south on US17/92 then east onto
CR525 Neptune road.
These are just some of the places in the area where birders can get up close to a wide
variety of species. For more ideas you can also use the following resources: The North
American Bird Guide by David Sibley, Birds of North America by Kenn Kaufman, Birders Guide
To Florida by Bill Pantry, and A Birdwatching guide to Florida by Derek Moore. In addition
the websites of Orange Audubon Society , the Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society, and the
Ridge Audubon Society also are rich sources of information about birding in the Orlando
area and in Central Florida.
Any significant Florida scuba diving trip has to allow for time to visit Key Largo, one
of the all time well-liked scuba diving resorts. It has long been known as "The Scuba
Diving Capital of the World" and when you start to look deeply at this place you can
see why it was recognized as one of the top scuba diving areas.
"The Keys" is an admired area for divers and you will uncover Key Largo at
the north end with Key West at the most southern point.
One of the most famed places at Key Largo is John Pennekamp State Park. The John
Pennekamp State Park was recognized as a place of remarkable beauty and was the first
underwater protected preserve in the United states. Whilst Key West may be the place to go
for an all round experience, for loads of people travelling to Florida scuba diving the
focus is on 'the diving' and Key Largo has an amazing choice.
It doesn't matter whether you are a veteran diver or lacking some skills, Florida scuba
trips to Key Largo have something extraordinary for everybody.
If you're an enthusiastic shipwreck diver your Florida scuba experience has to include
a dive of the USS Spiegel Grove. This monster of a ship is the largest wreck ever sunk in
Florida and at 510ft she is an imposing sight.
This shipwreck is located in deeper waters and can be quite a test to experienced
divers and is off limits to inexperienced divers. The restricted bottom time means this
wreck has to take more than one dive to fully survey.
Looking for a unique Florida scuba diving site? How about visiting the dive site Christ
of the Abyss? A must do dive for everybody, this 4000lb effigy can be visibly seen from
the surface by snorklers. The Underwater Society of America received the figure after it
was donated by Egidi Cressi in 1962. The statue complete with its pedestal was sunk in the
shallow waters near to the reef.
As underwater photography has improved and become easier over the years one location to
visit has to be Molasses Reef. One of Key Largo's most admired and visited scuba diving
sites this reef system is one of exceptional beauty and a must do dive for every person.
Incredible marine life delivering lovely colors makes Molasses Reef one of the most
photographed reefs in the world. The clear and fairly shallow waters means the lighting is
just right and with some striking marine life as your backdrop and subjects you cannot
help but take some fabulous underwater pictures.
Certain divers just love diving shipwrecks and any Florida scuba trip to Key Largo can
include several shipwreck dives.
Whilst the USS Spiegel Grove is a must do dive there are other exciting ship wrecks in
Key Largo including the cutters USS Duane and USS Bibb. Now well matured, these 2
shipwrecks provide an exciting experience with easy access to both ships as they were
fully prepared for scuba divers prior to their sinking.
Still one of the major scuba diving destinations it would seem that Key Largo has
something for every person, unique statues and caves, shallow reefs full of dazzling
marine life and shipwrecks so great that they take days to explore.
extreme sports aficionados are often surprised to hear that Miami has a
legitimate surfing scene. The diverse Floridian coastline, with its range of
picturesque beaches, is nothing short of a road-tripper's paradise. Don't
limit your Miami trip to wining, dinning and shopping - let your sightseeing
adventure coincide with surfing's oxy-moronic combination of relaxation and
exhilaration. If you haven't done so already, set up the roof racks, wind
down the window and let the swell chart dictate your next destination.
Miami's coast is beset with over 10 surf spots that all offer the extreme
sports enthusiast something a little different. The excellent American roads
enable travelers to reach every spot, without too much difficulty.
Beach - Miami's most renowned beach has also become a firm favorite for the
local surfers. This spot can become a bit crowded at times, but the locals
are reasonably amicable. South Beach is great for beginners because the
waves are small and surfing lessons are often given here. If you are looking
for some bigger swell, then you have to wait for a storm, or move onto a
beach a little further north.
House - This spot lies just north of Miami Beach and it's perfect for a
beginner, but can become a little annoying for someone who has been surfing
for a while. The small waves in this area make it a perfect beach for an
amateur to learn. If you are desperate for an overhead swell, then it's best
to wait for a cyclone or surf elsewhere.
South Beach - Drive just past Fort Lauderdale and find Dania South Beach.
This lesser known gem has been known to throw up some excellent
almond-shaped barrels from time to time. The spot is a little fickle, so
don't feel disheartened if you find the surf flat. The spot is relatively
uncrowded during the week, but be prepared to hustle for waves over the
- This spot is strictly for experienced surfers and it is therefore
generally uncrowded. Whereas all the other spots have a sandy bottom, this
one features the rocks and coral reef. The spot breaks very far out and you
have to be a good surfer if you even want to try and surf here. The take off
wedges and becomes very steep - you could easily end up landing face-first
on the reef if you don't know what you are doing.
Picking up lessons
are various sites on the net that offer surf lessons in the Miami area. You
could either book before your arrival; or, just stroll along the beach and
find someone surrounded by surfboards. The Miami locals are renowned for
their friendliness, so don't ever hesitate to ask someone.
something a little different
Surfing is just one of the activities that you can participate in. There are
a wide range of excellent opportunities that can meet the desires of every
traveler. When you
visit Miami, you should try to open your
mind and experience as much as possible. There are so many
things to see in Miami and you should
never let your fears stop you from enjoying a fulfilling experience. Use
your Miami holiday to reacquaint yourself with your inner-daredevil.
Florida manatees, the gentle sea cow,
are shy and harmless marine mammals. The manatees are large and weight close
to a ton. They reach a length of almost 15 feet. Since their bodies are
shaped like an elongated oval with a paddle-shaped tail, it provides them
with effective propulsion.
female manatee will mature in about five years and a male requires nine
years to mature. When they mature they'll be capable of reproduction. The
gestation period is about 13 months. Single births are most common. However,
there have been recorded records of twin births but this is rarer. Babies
are born weighing between 60-70 pounds. Calves remain with their mothers and
nurse for as long as two years. They can live up to 60 years of age.
gentle sea cows find havens in the canals and rivers. They favor the warm
waters of the Gulf of Mexico during the cooler winter months.
cluster in and around the waters of Citrus County in the city of Crystal
River and Homosassa. The water is warm and comes from the springs with an
average temperature of 72 degrees. There have been up to 476 manatees found
herding in these waters. If there is a sudden severe cold snap and the water
temperature drops severely, it can kill them.
manatees survive in salt or fresh water. They are totally vegetarian and
adults eat 10 to 15 percent of their body weight each day or about 100
pounds of watery aquatic vegetation. Since they spend about half their time
sleeping, it's a wonder that they are awake enough to eat so much
drift down to the bottom in shallow waters and sleep. They are air-breathing
mammals and take a breath at intervals as long as 20 minutes. They rise to
the surface, exhale noisily through the nostrils located on the tip of their
snot, take a deep breath and sink back down to resume their nap.
most dangerous enemy is from human activity. The fast-moving motorboat with
a propeller, spinning like a saw, cuts through their hide. Therefore, there
are strict regulations enforced for boat operators. Operators of motorboats
need to obey the slow speed, idle or no wake speed when the areas are known
to have manatees. Boaters are not allowed into the forbidden zone. There are
warnings posted in the sanctuaries.
way to know if there are manatees in the boating area is to look for a swirl
at the surface of the water or there may be the back of the mammal sticking
out of the water.
the sea cow is by nature gentle, this encourages people to swim in waters
where they gather, touching them and offering lettuce or other greens. It is
illegal to feed manatees or harass them in any way. If a person is caught
they could face paying a large fine.
mammals also get caught in water-control systems or in nets and lines
intended to catch fish and crabs. Their most serious threat comes from a
loss of their habitat.
Fortunately, the manatees are protected in the United States under federal
law. Florida passed the Manatee Sanctuary Act in 1978. Crystal River
National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1983.
refuge is for the protection of the endangered West Indian Manatee. The
refuge preserves the last unspoiled and undeveloped habitat in Kings Bay.
The bay forms the headwaters of the Crystal River. The warm water springs
are havens that provide a critical habitat for the populations that migrate
to this area each winter. It is home for more than 25 percent of the
want to swim with the manatees? Snorkeling is an excellent way to meet them
up close and personal. Usually, you'll need to hire a guide or use a tour
company that can instruct you how to carefully swim with these gentle
creatures. They will provide you with a snorkel, snorkel mask and wet suit.
need to swim with as little splashing as possible, enter the water slowly
and quietly. Don't swim after them. Instead, let them come up to you and
they'll let you take their picture. Don't poke or probe them at any time
with any object, and that includes hands, arms or feet. Don't separate a cow
from her calf or an individual from a group.
Florida manatees, the gentle sea cow, is an endangered species but you can
still have a memorable experience while protecting them.
more information on these amazing mammals and swimming with manatees, click
well known for a lot of things; it's famous for wild spring break parties,
for its pristine beaches, and for its fine, white sand. It's also known for
its humongous theme parks and resorts such as Universal studios, Walt Disney
World, and of course, Sea World. However, if there's one thing that cannot
be ignored about this place is it's unique wildlife that you simply cannot
find anywhere else in the world.
If you want to
make your Florida getaway more fun and extremely memorable, you should go
ahead and explore its swamps. After joining a huge crowd of people in theme
parks and on beaches, this is the best way to have some peace and quiet
while appreciating nature. And there's no better way to do this than riding
in airboats. These are wildlife-friendly boats that run on a huge fan
instead of traditional water propeller. Because of this, airboats do not
disturb the aquatic wildlife and allow tourists to skim across the surface
of the water to easily spot turtles and alligators.
main reasons why people go to Florida is to visit theme parks and pristine
beaches, over the years airboats and swamp exploration are growing in
popularity especially now that they're made for the whole family (there's no
age limit as long as everybody's wearing a life vest). It's also made
convenient. People who are spending at least 2 nights in an Orlando resort
can easily take an airboat trip that can be as quickly as 1-2 hours.
are tailor-fit to the specific needs and demands of tourists. For people who
just want to try it out, they can sign up for a half-hour trip. Reservations
for this trip aren't needed. Tourists can just hop on anytime of the day.
However, for those people who really want to get a glimpse of the wildlife,
a day trip would be more suitable. Night tours are also available as most
swamps wildlife is nocturnal.
The best time
to go on an airboat ride is during summer when the sky is very clear and at
night when the alligators feed. As mentioned before, there are no age limits
so the whole family can go. Included in the fees are hearing protection and
life vests. Although you'll be with a guide who'll take care of you, it is
still highly recommended that you exercise caution. Keep your eyes open, as
you'll never know when an alligator or other wildlife animals might be a few
airboats and aside from exploring the wildlife, other things that you can do
in Florida is going to the beach. You can swim all you want, enjoy the white
sand, and try water sports and other activities. You also don't want to miss
the Everglades, which is the 3rd biggest national park in the US. It's a
10,000 square mile area of subtropical marshes, tree islands, mangrove
forest, and prairies where you can find different wildlife animals and
is a Florida native with over 30 years of outdoors experience. His website
is one of the most popular Florida Everglades attractions.
Florida Everglades is one of the many attractions in Miami. Tourists from
all over the world come to Miami to enjoy the Miami Everglades Tours. You
are able to ride on a fan boat and check out the various animals that
inhabit this unique ecosystem.
places that can be toured while on an Everglades tour Miami are listed
Everglades Alligator Farm:
Tourists can take the Everglades shuttle and come to this farm that is
located just outside the Everglades National Park. It is one of the oldest
alligator farms in southern Florida. Tourists may travel from Miami to the
Everglades to become amazed by the thousands of alligators that live in the
farm. Over the years, cameras crews and visitors have come to this place to
tour the unique habitat and understand its many mysteries. A visit to this
farm will allow you to check out a variety of exotic snakes, rare species of
crocodiles, and of course lots of alligators!
Tourists can also avail of an airboat tour across the river of grass. You
are able to board an Everglades airboat and glide through the shallow
waterways to different places in the Everglades. This is not only an
alligator tour. You are also able to see other animals such as raccoons, bob
cats, and birds, etc. during the airboat tour. After the trip, you can check
out an animal show at the farm. It is quite exciting. The audience is also
allowed and encouraged to participate in such shows. Do not miss it!
It is situated around seven miles south of the Florida Mall. Tourists can
visit the website of this park to obtain more information, as well as proper
directions. The park initially opened as a roadside attraction in the late
1940s. Since then, it has grown to become the alligator capital of the
world. It is not only a park, but also a wildlife preserve that is spread
across 110 acres. Tourists to Gatorland will notice that the park is a
unique combination of old world charm and modern entertainment options. The
park comes with a breeding swamp for the alligators. Patrons can climb the
observation tower and check out the baby and mother alligators, and so on
(you do not want to go near the mother alligator). Additionally, you will
also come across other awesome tourist sights such an aviary, Gator Gully
Splash Park, restaurants, and a gift park. Tourists will also be able to
enjoy the best train ride in all of Florida, at this park.
Everglades National Park:
It is one of most visited tourist attractions in the state of Florida. The
park is a protected section of the Florida Everglades and offers a number of
excursions for the tourists. In addition to tours of the wetlands aboard an
Everglades airboat, visitors to the park can also engage in other activities
such as biking down various trails, ranger-led hikes along the sawgrass
marshes, camping in the wilderness, canoeing and boating expeditions,
fishing, and several such outdoor adventures. You need to visit the Ernest
Coe center at the park to acquire detailed information about the different
activities that are on the menu.
first trip to any new destination can be very overwhelming and tricky to
plan. Although a lot looks appealing, you don't know whether you're doing
the planning rightly so until you finally experience it. However, that
shouldn't stop you from traveling.
Tampa is a spectacular destination to travel to. With so many amazing
attractions to visit, you'll be spoilt with choices. Here are some places
you need to visit on your first trip to Tampa.
Anyone who has ever heard of Tampa's spectacular attractions would
definitely know about the Busch Gardens. If you are traveling with family or
a large group, this amusement park will turn out to be the perfect day out
in Tampa. There are endless adventures for tourists of all age groups at the
project of SeaWorld Entertainment, the themed rides and adventures are one
of a kind and so are the live shows. From perfect places to eat out and
shop, there are plenty of joys to experience at the Busch Gardens.
Museum of Science and Industry
If you hold an interest for science, technology and industry, this is a
museum not to be missed. The museum's gigantic size makes it a very
fulfilling experience that would be of an interest to people of all age
groups. There's endless to explore in the museum with plenty of hands-on
activities, both for the kids and adults. Children are particularly amused
when they make their way to the functional planetarium and the science
Museum of Science and Industry is an ideal place for a family day out. With
the wide choice of activities to choose from, you'd not even realize how
quickly your day will pass by!
One of the reasons Tampa is very famous among the tourists is its
waterfront. To experience that in the best manner, you need to make your way
to the Tampa Riverwalk. This is a pedestrian path that acts like a bridge
and connects Tampa's downtown to the waterfront. It runs along the
Hillsborough River and is the scenic gateway to plenty of hotels,
attractions, dining places and other entertaining options. The Tampa
Riverwalk is packed with tourists all the time and is the part of Tampa that
is never missing its hustle and bustle.
Lowry Park Zoo
If you've animal lovers in your family, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo offers the
perfect entertainment to them. It has all the joys of any functional zoo and
beyond. What's most interesting when you make your way there is to witness
how to the zoo protects unusual creatures that are seldom found anywhere
zoo is a great home to over 1300 creatures, some of which include Florida
panthers, chimpanzees and koalas of Queensland. The zoo has done incredible
efforts to protect the endangered animals. From educational experiences to
entertainment, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo is an incredible place to be!
Gardens Tampa, like its sister park in Virginia, has a special theme.
Whereas the latter has a classic European theme, however, the former has an
African theme. At the park in Tampa, guests will get to come face-to-face
with endangered and exotic animals straight out of Africa. It's the next
best thing to actually being on an African Safari.
also a cheaper alternative. And, thanks to online discounts, you can get a
great deal on tickets. You can choose between a single day ticket, fun pass,
and multi-park pass which includes other parks in the area, such as
Adventure Island and SeaWorld.
take a look at all of the admissions options and vacation packages and
choose the one that is ideal for you. There are a variety of packages
available tailored to groups, couples, and families.
is a lot of excitement to be found at Busch Gardens Tampa. As mentioned
above, there are many exotic animals that live in the park: cheetahs,
hyenas, meerkats, elephants, etc. At the Edge of Africa, you can encounter
all of these animals - and more - in naturalistic habitats. You'll be able
to set your own pace as you wander around and explore.
group of animals you don't want to overlook is the peacocks. These gorgeous
birds can be found roaming just about everywhere at the park. You might also
find them around the Bird Gardens area.
Speaking of Bird Gardens, this area is the home of 500 or so tropical birds
from all around the world. Watch a variety of species fly around in the
free-flight aviary. There are many bright, colorful birds there, including a
flock of flamingos.
you're looking for an adventure, how about visiting King Tut's Tomb? This is
an exact replica of the infamous 1920s archaeological discovery of the boy
king who lived and died in Egypt some 3,000 years ago. Guests are allowed to
dig for replicas of the artifacts that were uncovered during the actual dig.
King Tut's Tomb is an exciting attraction for the entire family. You'll
especially want to bring your kids to this exhibit. It will be a fun,
educational experience for everyone.
suggestions will only get you started. There are many other exhibits, rides,
shows, etc, including Critter Castaways, Iceploration, and Serengeti
Railway. There are also restaurants and concession stands, which are
conveniently located throughout the park. Be sure to take advantage of any
Busch Gardens Tampa discount tickets you come across so that you'll have
extra money for shopping.
can go ahead and get started right now if you want. Even if you're still
unsure about when you want to go, you should still check out
Busch Gardens Tampa discount tickets so
that you'll be able to plan your budget. You might actually be surprised at
how affordable admission to this park can be - especially with annual
Orlando attractions available during a trip to the City of Magic are
plentiful. Theme parks and water adventures are but a small portion of the
Orlando, Florida attractions. International Drive (I-Drive to the locals)
houses many fine dining and dancing venues as well as a variety of museums
and other places of wonder to visit. Unfortunately, tours in Orlando are
primarily of the self-guided nature. Families and couples find the freedom
within the huge variety of Orlando Attractions is best left to the free
spirit to explore.
I-drive, one will find a trolley for great transportation up and down the
very busy and long avenue. I-drive is both a local favorite and a
vacationer's area for great wonderment. From automobile museums to the
upside down mansion one finds midway, it never ceases to amaze. Then, as the
sun sets and a couple strolls along the busy street, a stop in one of the
many lounges is a beckoning call beyond denial. A stop in for a cool drink
with beautiful music in the background, it is all too easy to become lost in
another's eyes. Orlando magic is sure to come true every time.
I-drive are also many locations to explore. Orlando Florida. Attractions are
not outdone by the world famous fishing in close proximity to the city.
Indeed, an exploring individual can easily find many rather small 10 to 20
acre ponds to slip away upon for sunrise or sunset angling. Of course, a car
would be required to find them and gain access, often hidden amongst the
dense brush that is the forest/swamp land found throughout the state. The
St. John's River is also nearby and there are many public areas to fish.
Kissimmee is a fishing destination of world renown also. Did I say explore?
Well, an adventurous spirit is a necessity for these types of small
journeys. Do not waste your time if you are not willing to "push the
envelope" of comfort and it is wise to have a partner. The choice always is
available to find a local guide to take you on a private adventure. Many
highly skilled captains know right where to go and find the big bass, if you
are willing to spend the money! Absolutely do not forget, if there is water
in Florida there are gators.
are gator parks, in fact. Gator parks allow one to see alligators feed and
attempt to feed upon the carcasses of the crazy individuals that make their
money wrestling these ancient creatures for the amusement of the Florida
traveler. Guaranteed to create queasiness in the strongest stomach, a gator
park truly is a "must do" activity whenever visiting any section of Florida.
visiting Orlando attractions on your next visit, look at the many other
possibilities available for your idea of fulfilling enjoyment; self-tours in
Orlando can be quite fulfilling to the adventurous heart or extremely
calming to the gentle soul. The full spectrum of emotional enjoyment waits
all around Orlando, Fla. Attractions. Creating memories is the finest asset
found in the Sunshine State; nowhere else will you find this true more than
with Orlando Attractions.
Tickets to Airlines
for discount eTickets on tours. A travel shopping experience with extensive
Florida Travel options, Universal Studios Resorts
and Orlando Attractions are among the many items listed for you to explore.
Visit, Shop, Travel, Be Happy every time as you always "Make an Informed
Decision and Travel Wise."