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Thursday, Oct 30, 2014

6 Places to Discover in Downtown Jacksonville


As a native of Northeast Florida, I love exploring Downtown http://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/cities/jacksonville.htmlJacksonville with my children. From museums, art festivals and more – there are so many fun ways to explore Downtown as a family. Here are a few of our favorite spots –

Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville – Located in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville in Hemming Plaza, little ones will love exploring ArtExplorium with 16 interactive art stations focusing on the artworks seen within the museum itself. With artworks from the 1960s to today, there are over 1,000 pieces on display making it a true learning experience.

Downtown Jacksonville Public Library – With an enormous children’s library and plenty of family programming including story times, concerts, toddler art classes and more – the library is more than just books. Families can explore, learn and read together too. Take advantage of the peaceful patio on the third floor of the library with great views of the city.

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New Animals at Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens


The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens in Sanford recently welcomed some additions.

A new giraffe named Gage, standing close to 11 feet tall, arrived from the Brevard Zoo. Gage was born on Feb. 6, 2013 and is settling into his new home with friendly giraffes Emba and Rafiki. Gage will soon become a part of the giraffe feeding experience for guests.

Five endangered female Chacoan peccaries also recently arrived from their previous home at the St. Louis Zoo. Visitors can see these new animals on display alongside the warthog exhibit.

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New Look for Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel


The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel is gearing up for its largest makeover in its history. The upcoming multi-phase, multi-year, $125-million redesign project will transform every guest room in the 758-room Swan Hotel and the 1,509-room Dolphin Hotel.

Celebrating the resort’s 25th anniversary, this new design is inspired by the water-themed architecture and the surrounding waterways of the hotel.

Guest room updates will include upgraded furniture, including large HD TVs.  Additional outlets will provide business and family travelers more options for multiple personal electronics. The bathrooms will also receive a complete transformation, including back-lit mirrors mounted on iridescent glass tiles.

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Big Changes Ahead at the Bok Tower Gardens


Big changes are coming to Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, with the largest expansion in its 85-year history.

Here’s a look at a few of the new features coming to this National Historic Landmark:

Children’s Garden – This new 2.7-acre space will be for play and hands-on learning, where little ones can learn the importance of conservation. With a music area, a performance stage, water features and artwork, kids can get down and dirty, digging and creating.

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Discover Florida, with Family Savings


When my family travels, we love discovering places around the city where we're staying. Whether it’s the zoo, an art museum or just a few local restaurants – there’s something new around every turn.

Here's some help: With IHG’s Discover Florida package, you can book four nights or more and save up to 25 percent off. Plus, you’ll get complimentary breakfast and a relaxed, late check-out time of 4 p.m.

Check out some of the destinations you and your family can explore and discover Florida:

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Crop Mazes and Fall Fun in Florida

Published:   |   Updated: October 20, 2014 at 04:20 PM

One of my family’s favorite pasttimes in the fall is to explore corn mazes and pumpkin patches throughout the state.

Besides being a fantastic day of fun, I love for my children to learn about agriculture and experience life on a farm.

Here are a few hot spots for just that from around the state:

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Celebrate Florida Citrus Day at Bok Tower Gardens


Join the Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales for the Florida Citrus Celebration on Nov. 8-9, 2014.  

Learn about the state’s citrus industry in the pictorial exhibit "Barrels to Bins," showing continuously in the Visitor Center as part of the educational citrus exhibit, Peeled Back: Citrus Culture on the Ridge open now through Jan.15, 2015. 

Families can take guided citrus grove tours and participate in talks from field experts about what it takes to run a grove.

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SeaWorld's Spooktacular: An Underwater


This Halloween, take your family on an underwater "fantasea" at SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular.

With trick-or-treating, sea-themed arts and crafts stations and up-close animal encounters, it’s a daytime celebration perfect for families. And, it’s included with park admission.

Here’s a look at the fun you can have at this year’s Spooktacular event, Oct. 18-19 and 25-26 from noon to 8 p.m.

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New Thrill Slide Coming to Adventure Island in 2015


Thrill seekers – prepare yourself for the Colossal Curl, set to debut at Tampa Bay’s Adventure Island Water Park in 2015.

This high-adrenaline ride will take riders through corkscrews and waterfalls, surrounded by the tropical scenery of the park. Riders, the folks at Adventure Island say, will feel a sense of weightlessness as they spin through the curls and exit into the pool below.

This new addition will be the tallest ride at Adventure Island, nearly 70 feet high. It's also 560 feet in length.

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See Creatures of the Night in St. Augustine

Published:   |   Updated: October 17, 2014 at 10:50 AM

This Halloween, experience creepy, crawly insects and beasts at the 10th annual ‘Creatures of the Night’ at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park on Oct. 24, 25 and 31 from 5:30 – 7 p.m.

There'll be plenty of treats, and families are encouraged to come in costumes. Make your way through the park for trick-or-treating and collect creepy creature cards along the way.

Be on the lookout for animal encounters, too – learn about eerie bugs and other beasts – adding another creepy element to Halloween.

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