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.
But 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.)
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.