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Summertime Fun In Florida!

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Summertime Fun In Florida!

Ladies & Gentlemen, now is the time to make your way down to South Florida! It’s known for its Latin-American cultural influences and notable arts scene, as well as its nightlife, especially in upscale South Beach. Orlando is famed for theme parks, including Walt Disney World! South Florida has tons of fun to offer & is the best place to be in the summer time! We’re going to list a variety of places you’d love to take the family to. Enjoy!


1. Universal Orlando

Universal Studios Florida is composed of themed areas and attractions based on the film industry. Visitors get themed dining and shopping, a variety of special events throughout the year, and may even catch an actual film crew at work on the backlot. The original theme park in the resort, Universal Studios Florida opened on June 7, 1990, as a theme park that let visitors “Ride the Movies.” The themes of Universal Studios Orlando are targeted at making guests feel like they are on a movie set with rides, shows, and attractions inspired by popular film, television, and music productions. The park consists of eight themed areas – Hollywood, Production Central, New York, San Francisco, Diagon Alley/London, World Expo, Springfield, and Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone. This park also has a section called “Islands of Adventure” which Visitors start off in the Port of Entry and make their way through the various islands. Islands such as  Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Lost Continent, and Seuss Landing. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, based on the popular Harry Potter franchise, is the only island added after the park opened; it opened to the public on June 18, 2010. Universal “CityWalk” Orlando opened in 1999, over the former parking lot and entrance, as part of the expansion that created the Universal Orlando Resort. Guests arrive at the resort park in one of two multi-story parking structures, then travel via covered moving sidewalks over Universal Boulevard into CityWalk. From there, guests can proceed into either of the theme parks, Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure. Some notable locations are The Cowfish, Hard Rock Cafe, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Emeril’s, and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Casual dining locations include: Moe’s Southwest Grill, Burger King Whopper Bar, Panda Express, Red Oven Pizza Bakery, and Fusion Bistro Sushi & Sake Bar.

2. Walt Disney World

The resort is owned and operated by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, a division of The Walt Disney Company. It was initially operated by Walt Disney World Company. The property covers 27,258 acres (43 sq mi; 110 km2), housing twenty-seven themed resort hotels, nine non–Disney hotels, four theme parks, two water parks, several golf courses, a camping resort, and other entertainment venues, including the new Disney Springs. Magic Kingdom was the first theme park to open in the complex, in 1971, followed by Epcot in 1982, Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1989, and the most recent, Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 1998. Designed to supplement Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which had opened in 1955, the complex was developed by Walt Disney in the 1960s. “The Florida Project”, as it was known, was intended to present a distinct vision with its own diverse set of rides. Walt Disney’s original plans also called for the inclusion of an “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow” (EPCOT), a planned community intended to serve as a test bed for new city living innovations. After extensive lobbying, the Government of Florida created the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a special government district that essentially gave The Walt Disney Company the standard powers and autonomy of an incorporated city. Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966, before construction began. Without Disney spearheading the construction, the company created a resort similar to Disneyland, abandoning experimental concepts for a planned community.

 

3. Gatorland

Ahhh Gatorland! A 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve in Florida, located along South Orange Blossom Trail south of Orlando. It was founded 68 years ago by Owen Godwin on former cattle land in 1949, it has been privately owned by his family since then. Billed as the “Alligator Capital of the World,” Gatorland features thousands of alligators and crocodiles, a breeding marsh with boardwalk and observation tower, reptile shows, aviary, petting zoo, swamp walk, and educational programs. The park is known for buying and rescuing nuisance alligators from trappers that would otherwise be killed for their meat and skin. The Breeding Marsh area of the park was used in the filming of the 1984 movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The operation also has an active road show providing alligator wrestling, pythons, lizards and other animals with an informative animal talk for private parties and benefits. In addition, Gatorland manages the live alligator display at the Gaylord Palms resort in Kissimmee. This park also has a snakes of Florida exhibit, with species like indigo snakes, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes. The park is also known for its leucistic alligators. The Gatorland Express, known as Ol’ Iron Horse Express prior to 2001, is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge railroad attraction inside the park, which first opened in 1961 and was originally built by the Allan Herschell Company. The park claims that the Gatorland Express is the oldest amusement attraction in Central Florida. The original locomotive was retired in 2000 and put on static display, while a brand-new locomotive built by Train Rides Unlimited was purchased and put into operation the following year.

 

4. Florida Keys

This is more of the vacation type of vibe. The lazy kind. Unless your into water sports of course. The Florida Keys are a coral cay archipelago located off the southern coast of Florida, forming the southernmost portion of the continental United States. They begin at the southeastern coast of the Florida peninsula, about 15 miles (24 km) south of Miami, and extend in a gentle arc south-southwest and then westward to Key West, the westernmost of the inhabited islands, and on to the uninhabited Dry Tortugas. The islands lie along the Florida Straits, dividing the Atlantic Ocean to the east from the Gulf of Mexico to the northwest, and defining one edge of Florida Bay. At the nearest point, the southern part of Key West is just 90 miles (140 km) from Cuba. The Florida Keys are between about 23.5 and 25.5 degrees North latitude. The climate of the Keys is defined as tropical savanna according to Köppen climate classification. More than 95 percent of the land area lies in Monroe County, but a small portion extends northeast into Miami-Dade County, such as Totten Key. The total land area is 137.3 square miles (356 km2). As of the 2010 census the population was 73,090 with an average density of 532.34 per square mile (205.54/km2), although much of the population is concentrated in a few areas of much higher density, such as the city of Key West, which has 32% of the entire population of the Keys.

 

5. Legoland

Legoland Florida is a theme park in Winter Haven, Florida. It opened October 15, 2011. The park encompasses 145 acres (0.59 km2), making it the second-largest Legoland park after Legoland Windsor in the UK. Built on the site of the former Cypress Gardens theme park, Legoland preserved the botanical park and redecorated the water park and roller coasters along a Lego theme. Designed for families with children ages 2 to 12, the park has more than 45 rides, shows, attractions, restaurants, shops; and a botanical garden and a water park. A hotel opened on the property on May 15, 2015. On January 15, 2010, Merlin Entertainments declared its intention to build a Legoland theme park on the site of the old Cypress Gardens theme park. Six days later, a news conference was held with Florida Governor Charlie Crist and park officials. After a relatively short construction period (as compared to parks which were built from scratch), Legoland Florida opened on Saturday, October 15, 2011. Three months later, Legoland Florida announced it would add a water park.  The former Splash Island water park reopened as Legoland Florida Water Park on May 26, 2012. More than 50 rides, shows, and attractions are featured in the park based on those at other Legoland parks. The Jungle Coaster ride from Legoland Windsor was moved to the park and renamed Test Track (later renamed again to Project X).

 

6. Daytona International Speedway

Daytona International Speedway is a race track in Daytona Beach, Florida, United States. Since opening in 1959, it has been the home of the Daytona 500, the most prestigious race in NASCAR. In addition to NASCAR, the track also hosts races of ARCA, AMA Superbike, USCC, SCCA, and Motocross. The track features multiple layouts including the primary 2.5-mile (4.0 km) high-speed tri-oval, a 3.56-mile (5.73 km) sports car course, a 2.95-mile (4.75 km) motorcycle course, and a 1,320-foot (400 m) karting and motorcycle flat-track. The track’s 180-acre (73 ha) infield includes the 29-acre (12 ha) Lake Lloyd, which has hosted powerboat racing. On January 22, 2013, the track unveiled artist depictions of a renovated speedway. On July 5, 2013, ground was broken on the project that removed backstretch seating and completely redevelop the frontstretch seating. The renovation to the speedway was constructed by Design-Builder Barton Malow Company in partnership with Rossetti Architects. The project, named “Daytona Rising”, was completed in January 2016, and cost US $400 million, placing emphasis on improving fan experience with five expanded and redesigned fan entrances (called “injectors”), as well as wider and more comfortable seating with more restrooms and concession stands. After the renovations were completed, the track’s grandstands include 101,000 permanent seats with the ability to increase permanent seating to 125,000. The project was finished before the start of Speedweeks in 2016.

7. Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove is an amusement park owned and operated by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, located in Orlando, Florida. It is a sister park of SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica Orlando. Guests can interact with a range of marine animals including bottlenose dolphins. Guests at Discovery Cove can “talk, touch, play and swim” with bottlenose dolphins. Discovery Cove contains a coral reef, where guests can swim with thousands of tropical fish, Sting Rays up to 4 feet across and an underwater shark and tigerfish tank located behind protective glass. The park contains a free-flight aviary, which contains over 250 tropical birds including parrots, toucans, and over 30 other species of exotic birds. The heated Tropical River runs through the aviary and circles the park, allowing guests to float past an assortment of the Discovery Cove’s beaches, waterfalls, and rainforest landscape. The Tropical River runs into the park’s heated freshwater resort pool. A new attraction opened in June 2011 called the Grand Reef. It features a white-sand beach, palm-lined island and underwater grottos filled with moray eels, reef sharks and scores of other tropical fish. Activities range from snorkeling with eagle rays to crossing a rope bridge over a shark-filled lagoon. This attraction opened on June 10, 2011.  Three different admission options are offered by the park, including the dolphin-swim, non-dolphin-swim, and “Trainer for a Day” packages. Reservations for Discovery Cove are required.

 

8. Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Tampa (formerly known as Busch Gardens Africa and Busch Gardens: The Dark Continent) is a 335-acre (136 ha) 19th century African-themed animal theme park located in the city of Tampa, Florida. Busch Gardens Tampa is owned and operated by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and is their 2nd largest park in terms of attendance behind SeaWorld Orlando. The park officially features 15 rides, including 8 roller coasters and 2 water rides. Its newest roller coaster, Cobra’s Curse, was opened in June 2016. Alongside sister waterpark Adventure Island (30-acre (12 ha)), Busch Gardens is the anchor of Tampa’s 365-acre (148 ha) amusement multiplex. Currently Busch Gardens competes with other such parks in Florida and charges comparable fees. Busch Gardens is currently accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). In 2015, the park hosted 4.2 million people, placing 11th as the most-visited theme parks in the United States. In the summer months, the park stays open later and includes concerts by performers like David Cassidy and Starship with Mickey Thomas. The park’s Independence Day festivities add fireworks to the entertainment lineup. In 2010, Busch Gardens added a new night time show called Kinetix, the first special effect-heavy show put on in Gwazi Field. Also, they added many new special effects (i.e. Strobe, Lighting, Fog) to their existing rides just for the Summer Nights season.

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