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Florida's Classic Family Summer Vacations
A Dozen Florida Family Travel Destinations

summer sunNo dishes, no homework, no carpools – while on a summer vacation in Florida it's just families enjoying themselves and playing past sunset.

The Sunshine State is the ideal destination for a family vacation with a variety of adventurous and educational activities, tours, attractions and exhibits.

Florida tourist attractions includes much more than the Disney theme parks and the attractions in the Orlando area, although they are some of the most popular places for kids - of all ages!

There are plenty of other spots that both children and adults will enjoy offering the perfect combination for plenty of happy memories at the end of your vacation. This is just a sampling of what families can find in Florida this summer...

Dolphin Research Center
Grassy Key, FL
The Dolphin Research Center has expanded the very popular "Hands on Training" and "Play with a Dolphin" to run seven days a week. The programs run in addition to the week-long "Dolphin Lab" and "Dolphin Camp" programs, and their daily dolphin excitement. This summer, try the all-day experience of "Trainer for a Day" or go "Behind the Scenes with Sea Lions" for a close-up look.

visiting the Florida aquarium
Fun for kids of all ages
at the Florida Aquarium.

EPCOT at Disney World
Orlando, FL

Disney's theme parks include the Magic Kingdom at Disney World, Disney's Animal Kingdom Park, the Epcot Center plus Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon Water Parks. They are all worth a visit. For instance, you can take a rollicking ride through the Imagination Institute at the EPCOT Center, where that playful purple dragon Figment really puts you to the test. Climb aboard a train of thought in the Sound Lab. Use your Common Scents in the Smell Lab. Watch your world turn upside down in Figment's house. There's no journey like the Journey into Imagination!

Florida Aquarium
Discover Explore A Shore a 2.2 acre aquatic discovery zone for kids. Kids can climb on aquatic animal models, climb aboard a two story pirate ship, slide down a waterslide, play in water jet sprays and watch live shows while socializing with family and friends. This summer, “Swim with the Fishes” or put on scuba gear to "Dive with the Sharks" at the Florida Aquarium.

Grass River Adventures
Everglades, FL
Grass River Adventures offers private airboat charters of up to six people. Experience the thrill of skimming across Florida's very own “River of Grass,” the Everglades. The Florida Everglades is one of the largest wetland habitats on the planet and is home to various plant and animal species, including migrating birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Grass River Adventures offers narrated tours designed to showcase different kinds of habitats that make up this fragile ecosystem.

Ghost Tours of St. Augustine
St. Augustine, FL
Ghost Tours of St. Augustine presents your choice of spooky fun. A Ghostly Experience Walking Tour is held every night (including holidays) rain or shine at 8:00 PM. If walking isn't on your agenda you can make reservations to set sail aboard the magnificent 72' Schooner "FREEDOM" for a one hour cruise on the bay to meet the Ghosts of the Matanzas. Coupons offering a discount are available on the web site...A haunting good time will be had by all!

Kennedy Space Center
Cape Canaveral, FL

Guided by veteran NASA astronauts, the new Astronaut Training Experience immerses participants in an exhilarating combination of hands-on training and preparation for the rigors of space flight. From the 1/6 gravity chair to operating a full-scale Shuttle mock-up, ATX provides a realistic look at what astronauts and Mission Control achieve together every time NASA launches a manned mission. You may even be able to time your visit to watch a launch! Dates are available on their Web site.

Lion country safari, FL
Lions are on view at the
Lion Country Safari near
West Palm Beach.


Lion Country Safari
Loxahatchee (near West Palm Beach)

In July 2004, world famous Lion Country Safari in West Palm Beach will complete some exciting new renovations.  The renovations began in June 2003 with new kiddie rides in Safari World at the El Paso Express train ride and Bulwagi's Flying Adventure, an elephant ride. A wild safari maze has also been added. Other plans for expansion of the thirty-eight acre Safari World include a 55-foot ferris wheel, children's wet play area, giraffe feeding exhibit, new tortoise exhibit, new paddle boat lake and a large group facility.

Miami Seaquarium
Miami Seaquarium has opened a new children's wet/dry playground area called "Salty's Pirate Playground." The attraction consists of a two-level pirate ship located at the center of a shark-filled moat. The pirate ship, featuring water blasters, cargo nets, punch bags, padded areas and a spiral slide, is geared to entertain kids ages two through twelve. In addition to this permanent themed structure, two more play areas have been added surrounding the pirate ship; one for kids ages five through twelve; and another for children ages two through five. 

Offshore Sailing School
Fort Myers
Offshore Sailing School recently completed a “Junior Captain’s” course, offered at the beautiful South Seas Resort on Captiva Island, Florida. The Junior Captain’s course is for kids between ages seven and eleven staying at the resort with their family. It coincides with a Learn to Sail course that parallels the Junior course so kids can learn at their level while parents and older siblings are taking their own course. Taught by US SAILING certified instructors, these courses emphasize fun, while building skills and confidence. Junior captains sail on safe, stable Hunter 90’s (9’6” dinghies,) while teens and adults learn on spirited Colgate 26 sport boats.

Jungle Island
Miami, FL
As parents stroll through Jungle Island enjoying a relaxing day of entertaining shows, fascinating exhibits and spectacular vistas of Miami’s skyline, kids can participate in Parrot Jungle Island’s one-day Ed-Venture Camp. Ed-Ventureis a unique experience to the park combining a fun-filled day of up-close animals with the basics on animal education. Children can interact with primates, reptiles, amphibians, insects and, of course, parrots and many other different varieties of birds. Ed-Venturers will not only learn about the different animals in the park, but also about the importance of animal conservation around the world. Other activities included in the camp are arts and crafts, Kodak photos, educational sessions and daily animal shows: Winged Wonders, Reptile Giants and Wild Encounters.

killer whale at seaworld orlando
Killer whales perform
at Seaworld Orlando.

Orlando, FL

Once the sun sets below the horizon, the majesty of the sea comes to life in SeaWorld's largest nighttime finale, Mistify. SeaWorld's center lake is stage to the spectacular experience featuring larger-than-life marine creatures on 60-foot mist screens, 100-foot fountains, flames on water and dazzling fireworks. From the shores of The Waterfront seaport village, “Mistify” soars against a backdrop of stars. Blue Horizons also presents an extravaganza of graceful dolphins, ominous false killer whales and a rainbow of exotic birds including blue and gold macaws, Andean condors and sun conures, in a show filled with action both above and under the water, a cast of divers and aerialists – dressed in elaborate costumes and symbolizing sea and sky – plunge off the elaborate set into, and also propel out of, the deep blue water.

For more information, visit Florida’s official web site.

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