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South Florida Attractions

South Florida attractions are the next stop for us, along the Atlantic Ocean. Southeast Florida can be quite interesting, because of the many different kinds of people living and visiting. It can also be very frustrating because of the many different kinds of people living and visiting here. The winter months especially can frazzle the nerves at times - that's when we have the most visitors. But oh, those winters! Blue sky, sunshine, makes you glad to feel alive. So, I'd say that it all balances out.

South Florida Attractions, Lion Country SafariBut you want to know about the South Florida attractions! We've got some interesting ones, and at least one is truly unique. So let's get to it! I've arranged them so they are roughly north to south -- starts in West Palm Beach and goes south to Key West, Florida.

  • Lion Country Safari: 500-acre, drive-through wildlife preserve and Safari World amusement park. Narrated boat cruise, carousel, petting zoo and animal exhibits. Check the website for discount coupons. Open daily 9:30 AM through 5:P0 PM (although the last vehicle entry is 4:30 PM). Please note: No convertible vehicles are allowed. West Palm Beach, FL (561) 793-1084

  • Dreher Park Zoo: This zoo in West Palm Beach was pretty much detroyed in 2004 by the combination of hurricanes Frances and Jeanne (the animals were OK though).  Dreher Park is now re-built and it's better than ever, with a "tropical Americas" theme.  Open daily 9 AM to 5 PM.  West P alm Beach, FL  (561) 547-9453. (Check out some pictures of Dreher Park Zoo from a recent trip I took.)

  • Butterfly World: Like butterflies, hummingbirds and flowers? You'll love this place, with its tropical setting. Gardens with orchids and passionflowers. Check the website before you go - sometimes they have on-line discount coupons. Open Mon. - Sat. 9 AM to 5 PM, Sun. 1 PM to 5 PM. Coconut Creek, FL (305) 977-4400

  • Jungle Queen: A BBQ and shrimp dinner cruise. Come hungry, because it's an all you can eat dinner of ribs, chicken, shrimp. Cruise the New River to the sounds of a Vaudeville Show and sing-along. There are also daily sight-seeing cruises that might tickle your fancy. I think I'm going to have to try this one out for myself -- sounds like fun! Daily cruises at 10 AM and 2 PM; dinner cruise daily at 7 PM. Fort Lauderdale, FL (954) 462-5596

  • Sawgrass Recreation Park: Everglades airboat tours, alligator and reptile exhibit. Also has a replica of an18th century Seminole Indian village (kinda neat). Open daily. Fort Lauderdale, FL (888) 4-AIRBOAT

  • Flamingo Gardens: A not-for-profit garden and wildlife sanctuary. And I'm always surprised at how much they have to offer! Free-flight aviary, wildlife encounter, tram tour, tropical plant house and more. Open daily 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM, except closed on Mondays from June through September. Davie, FL (305) 473-2955

  • Miami Seaquarium: A marine life park with spectacular shows featuring Killer Whale Lolita, "Flipper" dolphins and sea lions. See endangered manatees, American crocodile, exotic birds and reptiles of all kinds. Open daily 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM. Check the website for discount coupons. Miami, FL (305) 361-5705

  • Monkey Jungle: Their slogan is "Where humans are caged & monkeys run wild". Hmm, and to think it all evolved because someone let 6 monkey loose in Southeast Florida in 1933 (I am not kidding). Open daily, 9:30 AM to 5 PM. Miami, FL (305) 235-1611

  • Jungle Island: A bird sanctuary featuring tropical birds. Three different shows daily, botanical gardens shops, exhibits. One neat thing is that you can purchase tickets online, saving time once you're there. Kind of a hefty admission price, though -- do check out the website to make sure you'd like to go & to check for any coupons. Open daily 10 AM to 6:00 PM. Miami, FL (305) 666-7834

  • Wings Over Miami: If you like restored planes, you'll like this place. Lots and lots of planes like the PT-22, Tiger Moth and Ikarus. As I recall when I went there, if was quite hot and you will be walking out on the tarmac, so if heat isn't your thing....don't plan to see this in the summer! Otherwise a good time. Miami, FL (305) 233-5197

  • Coral Castle: This place is about unique as it gets. A gentleman by the name of Ed Leedskalnin built the rock garden himself; garden isn't a descriptive enough term for it though! It's beyond a garden. Anyway, no one ever saw him work on it, so the legend grew that he did it by magic. On the National Register of Historic Places. Open daily 7AM to 8 PM. Homestead, FL (305) 248-6344

  • Everglades Alligator Farm: South Florida's oldest alligator farm - shows, exhibits, airboat rides. Actually started as just an airboat ride, and then it just evolved... Open daily 9 AM to 6 PM Homestead, FL 33090 (305) 247-2628

  • Theater of the Sea: I really liked this one, especially the bottomless boat ride! (Why is it bottomless? Guess you'll have to go and find out.) Shows, swim with the dolphins, guided tours, all kinds of neat stuff. Islamorada, FL (305) 664-2431

  • Conch Tour Train: A 90-minute fully narrated tour showing off the amazing city of Key West. Trains leave at regular intervals from Mallory Square on Front Street and also at 901 Caroline Street. By the way, "conch" is pronounced "conk". Open daily, 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Key West, FL (305) 294-5161

  • Key West Aquarium: Feel like petting a shark? Daily shark and turtle feedings and touch tank offer guests hands-on encounters with sea life. Before you go, check out their three web cams -- cool!  Open daily, 10 Am to 6 PM.  Key West, FL  (305) 296-2051 

Something to Think About...

Most of these are outdoorsy type attractions, and summers get hot around these parts. If you have a choice, you might want to avoid June through September. Some of the zoos can get, ahem, aromatic during the middle of the day during Summer (fair warning).

If you do come during the summer, bring a small umbrella because you may need it - it's our rainy season.

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