Fun Things to Do in Florida

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Life in Florida doesn’t all have to be about amusement parks and costumed mice. Residents will be the first to tell you there are plenty of other fun things to do in this sunny state.

Free Fun

If you are looking for something free and fun in southern Florida, your free fun can be centered around the beach, which doesn’t cost anything. Be sure to research the beach first to make sure it is not a clothing-optional one, especially around Miami. You can also spend some time on Miami’s boardwalk watching street performers without paying a cent. If you are in the Orlando area, you can find free options as well. The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida in Maitland (www.holocaustedu.org) is open free and has a minimum amount of graphic images, making it a way to introduce this tragic time to your kids without trauma.

Educational Fun

Florida has numerous children’s museums, so there is likely one near you. in the Miami area, visit the Miami Children’s Museum (www.miamichildrensmuseum.org), which has 14 colorful and interactive permanent exhibits. Orlando visitors will want to check out the multi-storied Orlando Science Center (www.osc.org), which has everything from a tot spot to a dinosaur gallery. The Young at Art museum in Davie (www.youngatartmuseum.org) gives aspiring artists plenty or room to create using a variety of mediums. In Lakeland, the Explorations V Children’s Museum (www.explorationsv.com) offers yet another option, with three stories of interactive exhibits and learning experiences.

Environmental Fun

You cannot discuss environmental fun in Florida without mentioning Everglades National Park (http://www.nps.gov/). This is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, and here you might catch a glimpse of some of our most rare and most endangered species. Plan to visit during the dry season from December through April, when more areas of the expansive park are open, and plan your visit around ranger programs to make the most of the experience. The state also has several zoos, including top-rated Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa (www.lowryparkzoo.com), the Jacksonville Zoo (www.jacksonvillezoo.org), and the Brevard Zoo (www.brevardzoo.org) in Melbourne.

Seasonal Fun

For the ultimate Christmas experience, take your kids to the town of Christmas, Florida. It stays decorated year-round, and you can bring your holiday cards to the local post office to be postmarked from “Christmas, Florida.” Picking your own citrus is another fun family activity in the winter in parts of Florida. Consider a visit New River Groves in Davie (www.newrivergroves.com). For fall fun, head to Williston in October for the Central Florida Peanut Festival (http://www.willistonfl.com/).

Just for Mom Fun

Spas and shopping are both abundant throughout Florida. For a luxury spa experience, visit The Spa at Turnberry Isle in Aventura (http://www.fairmont.com/turnberryisle/). Also in Ventura, visit the Aventura Mall (http://www.aventuramall.com/), the fifth-largest shopping mall in the country.

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