Category: Florida

Lake Buena Vista, Florida

A- Overview:
“Zippy Doo Dah, Zippy Ay, My Oh My What A Wonderful Day”!!! And what a wonderful day (or week or two) for anyone visiting this magical place. If you are one of the lucky millions of people who will visit this fabulous “world”, get ready to have the ride of your life. It has been said that if you were to visit every attraction in the area, by the time you finished, a new one would have been built.

What many visitors think of as Orlando, is actually Lake Buena Vista, the Orlando suburb that lies at the heart of Disneyworld. Visitors from around the globe flock to this destination to experience the magic that is Disney in the form of Animal Kingdom, Fort Wilderness, Epcot, MGM Studios, and the park that started it all: the Magic Kingdom. Additionally there is Downtown Disney, three water parks, Pleasure Island, five championship golf courses, Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex, a racetrack and restaurants to satisfy anyone’s taste. All of these wonders have become synonymous with Orlando, and, indeed, have made the young city of Orlando the world’s most popular vacation spot.

The area enjoys year round mild weather. There are no “snow days”!!!. If you are trying to avoid the crowds, the period from the Sunday after Thanksgiving until the week before Christmas tends to be the least crowded. Christmas and spring vacations, and of course, summer, when school is out, are all popular seasons for the Lake Buena Vista/ Orlando area. Summer can be very warm and humid. Shorts are acceptable wear at all of the major attractions and at most restaurants. Summer is also the perfect time to enjoy one of the numerous water theme parks in the area. Jump in and cool off, the water’s fine!

Orlando itself is a city of great beauty. Summer rains and the warm climate produce lush vegetation. Palm trees, pines, and oaks draped with Spanish moss provide nature’s decoration. Brick-paved streets add a gracious touch. Landscaped gardens display a profusion of flowers and exotic plants. Orlando is in the midst of central Florida’s lake country and is surrounded by numerous parks offering hiking, biking, and water sports. Outdoor living is great for the whole family, but be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen for those sunny Florida days.

Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando Science Center, Flying Tigers Warbird Restoration Museum, and Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Garden are just a few of the outstanding local cultural attractions. The nationally recognized Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival, the Orlando Opera Company, Orlando Philharmonic, and the Southern Ballet Theatre are just a few of the seasonal favorites. Numerous other attractions are within an easy drive of Orlando, including the Disney World Resort, Sea World, Wet ‘n Wild, Universal Studios, Orlando Speedworld Speedway, and others.

Dinner theaters provide a unique form of entertainment. There are a variety of venues including a Pirate adventure, Medieval Times, Arabian Nights, (complete with horses), a Dixie Stampede, and even a Sleuths’ Mystery. What a great way to relax and unwind after an invigorating day at the parks.

Shopping in the Orlando area has as much variety as the local attractions. Souvenirs and mementoes for the family and for friends back home are easy to find. Outlet centers and factory stores abound and offer some of the best bargains in town for everything from shoes and clothing to household appliances and fine china. Shopping areas in Orlando and Kissimmee are popular for their fun environments, such as the Disney Village Market Place and Old Town in Kissimmee.

Whatever brings you to the area, whether business or leisure, Orlando provides an unforgettable setting.

At every Disney attraction, there is an opportunity to see the world through a child’s eyes. That look of amazement each and every time a Disney character makes an appearance or a child takes that exciting ride for the first time, is an experience to remember and to cherish. The wonders of Orlando, Lake Buena Vista, and Kissimmee are magical, and in these enchanting places, everyone gets to be young and carefree.

B- City Information:
Population: 47,814 (included with Kissimmee)

Elevation: 70 Feet Above Sea Level

Land Area: 16.7 Square Miles

Location: Lake Buena Vista is located 77 miles east of Tampa, 220 Miles northwest of Miami and 162 miles southwest of Jacksonville. Major interstates–I-95, I-75, and I-10–provide access into Florida from the north, with connections directly into the area via I-4, the Florida Turnpike, and US 192. I-75, I-95, and the Florida Turnpike provide quick access from south Florida.

Time Zone: Lake Buena Vista is located in the Eastern Time Zone (when it’s noon in Lake Buena Vista, it’s 11:00am in Chicago and 9:00am in Los Angeles). Lake Buena Vista observes Daylight Savings Time from April – October.

Weather:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Average temp. (°F)
59.8
61.1
65.4
70.0
75.6
80.3
81.8
82.0
80.4
74.5
67.7
61.7

High temperature (°F)
71.6
73.2
77.5
81.8
86.8
90.2
91.6
91.6
89.7
84.5
78.8
73.1

Low temperature (°F)
47.8
48.8
53.3
58.2
64.4
70.4
71.9
72.3
71.1
64.5
56.7
50.1

Precipitation (in)
2.4
2.7
3.3
2.0
3.8
6.1
6.6
7.3
6.0
3.1
2.4
2.2

Climate:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Days with precip.
6
7
7
6
8
14
17
16
14
9
6
6

Wind speed (mph)
9.0
9.6
9.9
9.4
8.8
8.0
7.3
7.2
7.6
8.6
8.6
8.5

Morning humidity (%)
88
88
89
88
88
90
91
93
92
90
90
89

Afternoon humidity (%)
57
53
50
47
49
58
59
60
61
57
56
58

Sunshine (%)
63
65
71
75
75
67
62
61
61
65
64
61

Days clear of clouds
9
9
9
10
9
4
3
3
4
9
10
10

Partly cloudy days
10
9
10
11
14
14
17
17
15
11
10
9

Cloudy days
12
11
12
9
9
12
11
11
12
11
10
12

Snowfall (in)
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0

Local Seasons:

Snow Days – None!!!!

Lake Buena Vista enjoys a year round warm climate. The winter is popular with many tourists as the temperatures average in the low-mid 60’s F, making this home of Disney World the perfect time to enjoy this truly remarkable world known attraction as well as the numerous other sites and attractions which make up this number 1 tourist area in the world. In the spring, fall and winter, it is usually less crowded with the exception of spring break and when large convention groups are in town. Summer is the season for Kissimmee as a result of children being off from school. This includes not only visitors from the United States but worldwide as well. Summer can also be very warm and humid so be sure to dress accordingly. Shorts are acceptable wear at all of the major attractions and most restaurants. It is also the perfect time to enjoy one of the numerous water theme parks in the area. Jump in and cool off, the waters fine!

How to Get There

By Air

Orlando International Airport

407/825-2001

Offers direct or nonstop service from 60 U.S. cities and two dozen international destinations, serving more than 30 million passengers on the average annually. All major car-rental companies are located at or near the airport.

Airport Transportation

Orlando International is 25 miles east of Walt Disney World and 20 miles south of downtown. At rush hour (7-9am and 4-6pm), the drive can be a torturous hour or more; at other times, it’s about 30 to 40 minutes.

Driving to Walt Disney World

To get from the airport to the attractions, take the North exit out of the airport to Highway 528 West. Follow signs to I-4; it takes about 30 to 40 minutes to get to Walt Disney World if the traffic isn’t too heavy (double or worse in rush hour or when there’s an accident). When you get to I-4, follow the signs west toward the attractions.

An Alternative: Orlando Sanford International Airport

407-585-4000

Is much smaller than the main airport, but it has grown a bit in recent years. The airport has most of the major car rental desks on site. Mears Transportation shuttles also serve it.

Kissimmee Gateway Airport

301 N. Dyer Blvd., Suite 101
Kissimmee, FL 34741
407-847-4600

Located near Orlando, just eight miles from Walt Disney World and ten miles from the Orlando-Orange County Convention center, Kissimmee Gateway Airport (ISM) accommodates general aviation air service 24 hours a day with two paved airport runways, 5,000 and 6,000 feet. The airport is owned and operated by the City of Kissimmee and its air traffic control tower operates from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

By Car:

Driving to Disney is easy, too! Major interstates–I-95, I-75, and I-10–provide access into Florida from the north, with connections directly into the area via I-4, the Florida Turnpike, and US 192. I-75, I-95, and the Florida Turnpike provide quick access from south Florida.

Heavy traffic and numerous crisscrossing highways make driving in the Orlando area challenging. Be sure to arm yourself with a good map and avoid traveling during rush hours—7-9 am and 4-6 pm—particularly on I-4 north from downtown. The area’s most traveled highway, I-4 runs southwest to Tampa and northeast to Daytona Beach. (Official signs say “West” or “East.”) I-4 provides access to almost any part of the city and its suburbs.

By Bus:

Greyhound Bus Terminal
103 East Dakin Avenue
Kissimmee, FL 34741

407-847-3911

By Train:

Amtrak
111 Dakin St.
Kissimmee, FL 34741

407-425-9411or 800-872-7245

Getting Around:

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Lake Buena Vista and Disney

Blizzard Beach

Walt Disney World Resort

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-934-7639

Days of operation and hours vary, call for exact information.

Admission Charged

Ski Disney. Whether it’s bobsledding down the “snowy” slopes of Mt. Gushmore or plunging straight down Summit Plummet at 55 mph, Walt Disney World guests get all the spine-chilling thrills of a northern ski resort! The 66-acre Blizzard Beach water adventure park is all part of a “zany” combination — a water park with the atmosphere and excitement of a major ski resort in the midst of sunny Florida.

Disney – Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World Resort

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-W-DISNEY

Open daily, call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

A whimsical place where storybook fantasy becomes everyday reality. Journey through seven themed lands incorporating more than forty attractions. NEW: Disney music meets Disney magic in the new 3-D “sym-funny”, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, starring Mickey, Donald and their friends. Gather most evenings for the “Wishes” nighttime spectacular.

Disney – MGM Studios

Walt Disney World Resort

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-824-4321

Open daily, call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

Come take center stage as the star of your own adventure at Disney-MGM Studios. The world of showbiz comes alive, from rock ‘n’ roll fantasy to Broadway-style stage spectaculars; from the silver screen to the TV screen to behind the scenes. That’s entertainment! Attractions include: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Fantasmic, Playhouse Disney, and many live, on stage performances.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Walt Disney World Resort

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-934-7639

Open daily, call for hours of operation

Wild adventures, thrilling attractions, dinosaurs, Disney characters, and spectacular shows are a winning combination. Walt Disney World Resort’s fourth and largest theme park is 500 Central Florida acres of vast jungles, lush grasslands and rainforests, plus a savannah and dinosaur dig site. The park is home to more than 1,000 animals representing some 250 species.

Downtown Disney

Walt Disney World Resort

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-939-2648

Call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

The best of big cities with more than 70 shops, restaurants and clubs. Home to Pleasure Island, Cirque du Soleil, House of Blues, Planet Hollywood, World of Disney, Rainforest Cafe and Disney Quest.

Downtown Disney Pleasure Island

Walt Disney World Resort

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-939-2648

Open daily, call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

Visit an island filled shore-to-shore with spectacular clubs, live entertainment, an Island-wide street party and a New Year’s Eve celebration every night. You’ll find something for everyone: smooth jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, ’70s disco and ’80s favorites, high-tech dance, Top 40 and improv comedy.

Epcot

Walt Disney World Resort

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-824-4321

Open daily, call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

From world travel to wide-eyed excitement, a day at Epcot will set your spirits soaring. At the new Mission: SPACE attraction, you’ll rocket through space on the most thrilling Disney attraction ever! On Test Track, experience high-speed excitement as you run a test car through its paces. Take a trip around the globe in World Showcase and enjoy the wonders of eleven festive nations. At night, cap it all off with the amazing laser and light spectacular, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

Richard Petty Driving Experience

Walt Disney World Speedway

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-939-0130

Call for reservations and hours of operation

Admission Charged

Do you have the need for speed? Do you have what it takes? Find out by riding shotgun or driving a 600-horsepower NASCAR style stock car at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando. It truly is the thrill of a lifetime! The sights, the sounds and the power of these race cars is truly amazing.

Typhoon Lagoon

Walt Disney World Resort

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-934-7396

Open seasonally, call for hours and dates of operation

Admission Charged

Surf Disney! A surfside playground left behind by a “great storm”, Typhoon Lagoon — with its breaking waves and saltwater shark reef — ushers in tropical water adventures for Walt Disney World guests. Located near Downtown Disney West Side, the 56-acre Typhoon Lagoon includes a man-made watershed mountain with eight twisting-and-turning water slides and roaring streams. A two-and-one-half acre wave-making lagoon features surfing-size waves.

Cirque DuSoleil La Nouba

1478 E. Buena Vista Drive

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-939-7600

Hours: 6pm and 9pm shows Tues.-Sat., call for reservations

Admission Charged

Experience La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil, a mesmerizing live production for the whole family that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. To see it is unbelievable, to miss it, unthinkable.

Kissimmee

Arabian Nights Dinner Attraction

6225 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway

Kissimmee, FL 34747
407-239-9223

Open daily, call for show times

Admission Charged

Arabian Nights, voted the #1 dinner show in Orlando, Florida, features a magical tale of romance, adventure and excitement. More than 60 of the world’s most beautiful horses and 30 dazzling performers combine with special effects, thrilling music and incredible stunts to create a unique and spectacular Broadway-style production. Savor a three-course prime rib, grilled chicken breast or vegetable lasagna dinner served with unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks.

Flying Tigers Warbird Restoration Museum

231 N. Hoagland Boulevard

Kissimmee, FL 34741
407-933-1942

Open year round, Monday – Friday. Call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

A working restoration facility and aviation museum that allows visitors to see, smell and touch the history many have only heard about. Tour the restoration projects with knowledgeable guides. Dozens of WWII and vintage airplanes on display; as well as memorabilia, armament displays, and gift shop. Warbird Flights available adjacent to the Museum.

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament

4510 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway

Kissimmee, FL 34746
407-396-1518

Open year round, call for show times

Admission Charged

Medieval Times is more than a dinner attraction – it’s a window in time where the glory, chivalry, valor and honor of old burst to life in thrilling authentic tournament action. While guests enjoy a medieval banquet six brave knights compete in games of skill astride magnificent Andalusian stallions. Lances splinter against shields of steel, broad swords spark and a champion emerges, to the cheers of the enthusiastic crowd. Voted “Best Dinner Show” by the readers of Florida Living Magazine.

Old Town

5770 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway

Kissimmee, FL 34746
407-396-4888

Open daily 10am-11pm.

Charge for Rides

Come stroll along the brick-lined streets of Old Town Boulevard capturing the imagination and heart of the 50’s and 60’s. This 10 acre open-air shopping, dining, and entertainment attraction features over 75 specialty shops, 8 delicious restaurants, 18 thrilling amusement rides, and The Saturday Nite Car Cruise, America’s largest weekly car cruise showcasing over 300 pre-1973 classic cars cruising down the brick streets of Old Town.

Atlanta Braves

700 Victory Way

Kissimmee, FL 34747
407-939-GAME

Call for schedule

Admission Charged

Major League Baseball Spring Training site. Located at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex.

Houston Astros

1000 Bill Beck Boulevard

Kissimmee, FL 34744
321-697-3200

Call for schedule

Major League Baseball spring training site for the Houston Astros at Osceola County Stadium.

Boggy Creek Airboat Rides East

3702 Big Bass Road

Kissimmee, FL 34744
407-344-9550

Call for additional information

Admission Charged

Florida’s Ultimate Scenic Airboat Ride minutes from Orlando attractions. Learn more about the Headwaters to the Everglades on a safe and modern U.S. Coast Guard approved airboat & Master Captains. Continuous half-hour educational tours viewing area wildlife, including the Florida Alligator. 1 Hour Night Tours available. Parasail, Restaurant & Gift Shop. Closest Airboat Ride from Orlando Attractions.

Orlando

Blue Water Balloons

566 Buckminster Circle

Orlando, FL 32803
407-894-5040

Call for reservations and additional information

Admission Charged

Sunrise champagne balloon flights over Central Florida. All flights include approximately one-hour flight, traditional champagne celebration picnic with a variety of fruit, pastries, cheese and crackers and of course, champagne with fresh Florida orange juice (non-alcoholic beverages also available). Each passenger receives a souvenir champagne glass and first flight certificate presented by the pilot. All flights are weather permitting. Reservations are required.

Discovery Cove

6000 Discovery Cove Way

Orlando, FL 32821
407-370-1280

Call for reservations, hours, and additional information

Admission Charged

Welcome to a world all its own…Discovery Cove. At this exclusive island oasis you’ll swim with dolphins, snorkel with tropical reef fish, glide with rays and hand-feed exotic birds. Indulge your senses and frolic under majestic waterfalls, float in blue lagoons, relax on sugary white beaches and enjoy a delightful lunch. Attendance is limited at this reservations-only adventure. Discover the feeling of Discovery Cove Orlando.

Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner & Show

8251 Vineland Ave.

Orlando, FL 32821
407-238-4455

Call for reservations and additional information

One of Orlando’s most exciting dining and entertainment experience. Dixie Stampede features: magnificent horses; American Buffalo; world-famous racing ostriches and racing pigs; music; singing and dancing; a spectacular patriotic finale written by Dolly; and audience participation. A fabulous four-course feast is served during the show. Beginning in November and continuing through December, Dixie Stampede is transformed into a holiday fantasy with twinkling lights, old-fashioned Christmas costumes and holiday music. Elves from the North and South Poles compete in a friendly rivalry while serving up a festive Christmas feast.

Fun Spot Action Park

5551 Del Verde Way

Orlando, FL 32819
407-363-3867

Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Charged

Family Fun with 4 unique, multi-level Go-Kart tracks, 7 family and thrill ride, 6 Pre-school Rides, and Orlando’s largest arcade with 120+ games. Free Admission. Free Parking. Great for family reunions, because we have something for all ages. Team Building programs. 5 acres of fenced in Fun. Just off International Drive. Exit 75A off I-4. More Tracks, More Rides and More Fun!

Gatorland

14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail

Orlando, FL 32837

407-855-5496

Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Charged

Explore your wild side at Orlando’s only theme park with bite & attitude! Get up-close and personal with gators & crocs, birds & bears, emu and parrots, turtles and iguanas and much more at the “Alligator Capital of the World”. Stroll through the 10 acre alligator breeding marsh and ride the Gatorland Express train ride. Enjoy the one-of-a-kind reptilian shows and the laid back atmosphere at Gatorland.

Harry P. Leu Gardens

1920 N. Forest Ave.

Orlando, FL 32803
407-246-2620

Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Charged

Harry P. Leu Gardens is a 50 acre of botanical wonder five minutes from downtown Orlando. Among the largest camellia collection in Eastern North America, you will find the Leu House Museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Winding pathways lead you on a sightseeing expedition of a beautiful oasis in the tropical stream garden, rose garden, butterfly garden, palm garden and the New Home Demonstration Garden.

The Holy Land Experience

4655 Vineland Rd.

Orlando, FL 32811
407-872-2272

Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Charged

Experience an exciting, living, biblical history museum. Walk the Jerusalem Street Market as it appeared 2000 years ago. The Wilderness Tabernacle recreates the one carried for 40 years by the Jewish people. Visit the Garden Tomb to reflect upon the Savior’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Enjoy live dramas at the six-story Herodian Temple. Enter an ancient Byzantine Church to visit The Scriptorium and see the world’s largest private collection of ancient biblical artifacts.

The Mennello Museum of American Folk Art

900 E. Princeton Street

Orlando, FL 32803
407-246-4278

Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Charged

The Mennello Museum of American Folk Art is Florida’s only museum dedicated to preserving and exhibiting works created by American folk artists. The Museum houses paintings by self-taught artist, Earl Cunningham, Sybil Gibson, Elijah Pierce and many others. The Museum also hosts traveling exhibitions and has an outdoor sculpture garden.

Orange County Regional History Center

65 E. Central Blvd.

Orlando, FL 32801
407-836-8500

Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Free

Housed in the restored 1927 Orange County Courthouse, the Orange County Regional History Center combines the charm of Florida’s rich history with the grandeur of the changing metropolis in downtown Orlando. Voted “Best Museum” three years in a row, the History Center has become one of Central Florida’s premiere cultural attractions with interactive children’s programs, evening receptions and events for the entire family.

Orlando Museum of Art

2416 N. Mills Avenue

Orlando, FL 32803
407-896-4231

Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Charged

Cited by Newsweek as one of the best art museums in the south. The Orlando Museum of Art’s outstanding permanent collections of American art, art of the ancient Americas and African art, world-class temporary exhibitions, interactive gallery activities, educational programs and fascinating Museum Shop appeal to visitors of all ages.

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure

6400 Carrier Drive

Orlando, FL 32819
407-248-0590

Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Charged

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure is an energetic and adventurous, interactive dinner experience, captivating audiences of all ages. Set sail on the high seas on-board a pirate ship for swashbuckling thrills, combined with the perfect blend of comedy, romance, action and adventure. Enjoy breathtaking feats of aerial agility and spectacular musical talent as you dine on The Port of Call Feast. Pirate’s Dinner Adventure is a bounty of hidden treasure waiting to be explored, truly making it “World’s Most Interactive Dinner Show”.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando Odditorium

8201 International Drive

Orlando, FL 32819
407-345-0501

Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Charged

If you think the building looks crazy, wait until you see what’s inside! Explore an amazing variety of exhibits, artifacts and displays in 16 galleries that pay tribute to the odd, bizarre and unbelievable. Marvel at the collection of weird and unusual relics and rare treasures. Discover that truth is indeed stranger than fiction! Self-guided, self paced tour.

SeaWorld Orlando

7007 SeaWorld Drive

Orlando, FL 32821
407-351-3600

Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Charged

There’s no place in the world like SeaWorld® Orlando. Where else can you touch and feed dolphins, count the teeth on a shark and come face-to-face with a polar bear. Challenge Kraken®, Orlando’s only floorless coaster. Don’t miss Journey To Atlantis®, a super-charged water coaster of mythic proportions. And, just try to stay dry when the world famous Shamu comes a splashing! At SeaWorld Orlando, it doesn’t get any closer than this!

Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows

Located on Universal Blvd. – near Universal Studios

Orlando, Florida 32819
407-363-1985

Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Charged

Enjoy a delicious dinner with unlimited beer, wine, and soft drinks while watching a hilarious whodunit with improvisation and audience participation. Mingle with outrageous characters! Observe anything suspicious! Interrogate the suspects! Solve the crime!

Universal CityWalk

6000 Universal Boulevard

Orlando, FL 32819
407-363-8000

Open daily, 1100: am – 2:00am

Admission Charged

Universal CityWalk® is Orlando’s hottest spot for entertainment — a dazzling 30-acre complex where you can experience the best of the best in live music, casual and fine dining, dancing, shopping, movies and more. No matter what kind of entertainment you’re in the mood for, CityWalk® has it all!

Universal Orlando Resort

1000 Universal Studios Plaza

Orlando, FL 32819
407-363-8000

Open daily, call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

Universal Orlando® Resort – the vacation destination with two theme parks that define state-of-the-art entertainment, and non-stop nightlife. Get inside the action of the movies at Universal Studios Florida® and experience the adventure of a lifetime at Universal’s Islands of Adventure®. Enjoy the dining and nightlife of Universal CityWalk.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure

1000 Universal Studios Plaza

Orlando, FL 32819
407-363-8000

Open daily, call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

Experience innovative thrills and unexpected adventures at Universal’s Islands of Adventure®, where the world’s most cutting-edge rides, attractions and interactive shows challenge every one of your senses. You’ll take an unforgettable journey through five uniquely themed islands where all your favorite stories, myths, legends, children’s books, cartoons and comic book characters come to life before your eyes.

Wet ‘n Wild

6200 International Drive

Orlando, FL 32819
407-351-1800

Open year round, call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

Experience the world-class rides, quality service and more multi-passenger rides than any other water park in Orlando, and you will see why Wet ‘n Wild is consistently voted America’s number one water park. Drift under rope bridges and past breathtaking waterfalls on the all-new Lazy River or get soaked down a ruptured pipeline on The Blast. Open year-round with pools heated seasonally, Wet ‘n Wild is the perfect place for the entire family to relax, have fun, and soak up the warm Florida sun!

WorkSpring Discovery Center

11221 John Wycliffe Boulevard

Orlando, FL 32832
407-852-3626

Open most days, call for exact days and hours of operation

Admission Free

WordSpring Discovery Center offers you an opportunity to see the world and the Word in a whole new way. Immerse yourself in a living cultural adventure as you explore the history of the Bible; the world’s cultures and languages; and the on-going work of Bible translation. Multimedia presentations, interactive computer simulations, audio dramas, and hands-on activities for all ages.

Orlando Magic

8701 Maitland Summit Boulevard

Orlando, FL. 32810
407-89-MAGIC

Call for schedule

Admission Charged

NBA games held at RDV Sportsplex.

Orlando Miracle

600 W. Amelia Street

Orlando, FL 32801
407-916-WNBA

Call for schedule

Admission Charged

WNBA games held at the Orlando Arena.

Orlando Predators

600 W. Amelia Street

Orlando, FL 32801
407-648-4444

Call for schedule

Admission Charged

Arena football held at the Orlando Arena.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Disney and Lake Buena Vista

Blizzard Beach

Walt Disney World Resort

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-934-7639

Days of operation and hours vary, call for exact information.

Admission Charged

Ski Disney. Whether it’s bobsledding down the “snowy” slopes of Mt. Gushmore or plunging straight down Summit Plummet at 55 mph, Walt Disney World guests get all the spine-chilling thrills of a northern ski resort! The 66-acre Blizzard Beach water adventure park is all part of a “zany” combination — a water park with the atmosphere and excitement of a major ski resort in the midst of sunny Florida.

Disney – Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World Resort

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-W-DISNEY

Open daily, call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

A whimsical place where storybook fantasy becomes everyday reality. Journey through seven themed lands incorporating more than forty attractions. NEW: Disney music meets Disney magic in the new 3-D “sym-funny”, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, starring Mickey, Donald and their friends. Gather most evenings for the “Wishes” nighttime spectacular.

Disney – MGM Studios

Walt Disney World Resort

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-824-4321

Open daily, call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

Come take center stage as the star of your own adventure at Disney-MGM Studios. The world of showbiz comes alive, from rock ‘n’ roll fantasy to Broadway-style stage spectaculars; from the silver screen to the TV screen to behind the scenes. That’s entertainment! Attractions include: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Fantasmic, Playhouse Disney, and many live, on stage performances.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Walt Disney World Resort

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-934-7639

Open daily, call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

Wild adventures, thrilling attractions, dinosaurs, Disney characters, and spectacular shows are a winning combination. Walt Disney World Resort’s fourth and largest theme park is 500 Central Florida acres of vast jungles, lush grasslands and rainforests, plus a savannah and dinosaur dig site. The park is home to more than 1,000 animals representing some 250 species.

Downtown Disney

Walt Disney World Resort

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-939-2648

Call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

The best of big cities with more than 70 shops, restaurants and clubs. Home to Pleasure Island, Cirque du Soleil, House of Blues, Planet Hollywood, World of Disney, Rainforest Cafe and Disney Quest.

Downtown Disney Pleasure Island

Walt Disney World Resort

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-939-2648

Open daily, call for hours of operation.

Admission Charged

Visit an island filled shore-to-shore with spectacular clubs, live entertainment, an Island-wide street party and a New Year’s Eve celebration every night. You’ll find something for everyone: smooth jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, ’70s disco and ’80s favorites, high-tech dance, Top 40 and improv comedy.

Epcot

Walt Disney World Resort

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-824-4321

Open daily, call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

From world travel to wide-eyed excitement, a day at Epcot will set your spirits soaring. At the new Mission: SPACE attraction, you’ll rocket through space on the most thrilling Disney attraction ever! On Test Track, experience high-speed excitement as you run a test car through its paces. Take a trip around the globe in World Showcase and enjoy the wonders of eleven festive nations. At night, cap it all off with the amazing laser and light spectacular, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

Richard Petty Driving Experience

Walt Disney World Speedway

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-939-0130

Call for reservations and hours of operation

Admission Charged

Do you have the need for speed? Do you have what it takes? Find out by riding shotgun or driving a 600-horsepower NASCAR style stock car at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando. It truly is the thrill of a lifetime! The sights, the sounds and the power of these race cars is truly amazing. Call 1-800-BE-PETTY for more information or visit www.1800bepetty.com. Reservations required for driving experiences but not for ride-alongs.

Typhoon Lagoon

Walt Disney World Resort

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-934-7396

Open seasonally, call for hours and dates of operation

Admission Charged

Surf Disney! A surfside playground left behind by a “great storm”, Typhoon Lagoon — with its breaking waves and saltwater shark reef — ushers in tropical water adventures for Walt Disney World guests. Located near Downtown Disney West Side, the 56-acre Typhoon Lagoon includes a man-made watershed mountain with eight twisting-and-turning water slides and roaring streams. A two-and-one-half acre wave-making lagoon features surfing-size waves.

Cirque DuSoleil La Nouba

1478 E. Buena Vista Drive

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-939-7600

Hours: 6pm and 9pm shows Tues.-Sat., call for reservations

Admission Charged

Experience La Nouba(TM) by Cirque du Soleil®, a mesmerizing live production for the whole family that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. To see it is unbelievable, to miss it, unthinkable.

Nearby Kissimmee

Arabian Nights Dinner Attraction

6225 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway

Kissimmee, FL 34747
407-239-9223

Open daily, call for show times

Admission Charged

Arabian Nights, voted the #1 dinner show in Orlando, Florida, features a magical tale of romance, adventure and excitement. More than 60 of the world’s most beautiful horses and 30 dazzling performers combine with special effects, thrilling music and incredible stunts to create a unique and spectacular Broadway-style production. Savor a three-course prime rib, grilled chicken breast or vegetable lasagna dinner served with unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks.

Flying Tigers Warbird Restoration Museum

231 N. Hoagland Boulevard

Kissimmee, FL 34741
407-933-1942

Open year round, Monday – Friday. Call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

A working restoration facility and aviation museum that allows visitors to see, smell and touch the history many have only heard about. Tour the restoration projects with knowledgeable guides. Dozens of WWII and vintage airplanes on display; as well as memorabilia, armament displays, and gift shop. Warbird Flights available adjacent to the Museum.

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament

4510 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway

Kissimmee, FL 34746
407-396-1518

Open year round, call for show times

Admission Charged

Medieval Times is more than a dinner attraction – it’s a window in time where the glory, chivalry, valor and honor of old burst to life in thrilling authentic tournament action. While guests enjoy a medieval banquet six brave knights compete in games of skill astride magnificent Andalusian stallions. Lances splinter against shields of steel, broad swords spark and a champion emerges, to the cheers of the enthusiastic crowd.

Old Town

5770 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway

Kissimmee, FL 34746
407-396-4888

Open daily 10am-11pm.

Charge for Rides

Come stroll along the brick-lined streets of Old Town Boulevard capturing the imagination and heart of the 50’s and 60’s. This 10 acre open-air shopping, dining, and entertainment attraction features over 75 specialty shops, 8 delicious restaurants, 18 thrilling amusement rides, and The Saturday Nite Car Cruise, America’s largest weekly car cruise showcasing over 300 pre-1973 classic cars cruising down the brick streets of Old Town.

Water Mania

6073 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway

Kissimmee, FL 34747
407-396-2626

Open daily, closed November through February. Call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

Water Mania, Florida’s Water Theme Park where you can enjoy a spectacular wet day of fun at an affordable price. With over 36 fun acres of wild raft rides, stimulating slides, twisting flumes, kiddie pools, volleyball courts and a 3-acre wooded picnic area. Challenge the mystifying heights of the New RainRock Mountain, our waterfall rock climbing wall. There’s something for every family at Water Mania.

Atlanta Braves

700 Victory Way

Kissimmee, FL 34747
407-939-GAME

Call for schedule

Admission Charged

Major League Baseball Spring Training site. Located at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex.

Nearby Orlando

Discovery Cove

6000 Discovery Cove Way

Orlando, FL 32821
407-370-1280

Call for reservations, hours, and additional information

Admission Charged

Welcome to a world all its own…Discovery Cove. At this exclusive island oasis you’ll swim with dolphins, snorkel with tropical reef fish, glide with rays and hand-feed exotic birds. Indulge your senses and frolic under majestic waterfalls, float in blue lagoons, relax on sugary white beaches and enjoy a delightful lunch. Attendance is limited at this reservations-only adventure. Discover the feeling of Discovery Cove Orlando.

Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner & Show

8251 Vineland Ave.

Orlando, FL 32821
407-238-4455

Call for reservations and additional information

One of Orlando’s exciting dining and entertainment experiences, Dixie Stampede features: magnificent horses; American Buffalo; world-famous racing ostriches and racing pigs; music; singing and dancing; a spectacular patriotic finale written by Dolly; and audience participation. A four-course feast is served during the show. Beginning in November and continuing through December, Dixie Stampede is transformed into a holiday fantasy with twinkling lights, old-fashioned Christmas costumes and holiday music. Elves from the North and South Poles compete in a friendly rivalry while serving up a festive Christmas feast.

Fun Spot Action Park

5551 Del Verde Way

Orlando, FL 32819
407-363-3867

Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Charged

Family Fun with 4 unique, multi-level Go-Kart tracks, 7 family and thrill ride, 6 Pre-school Rides, and Orlando’s largest arcade with 120+ games. Free Admission. Free Parking. Great for family reunions, because we have something for all ages. Team Building programs. 5 acres of fenced in Fun. Just off International Drive. Exit 75A off I-4.

The Hold Land Experience

4655 Vineland Rd.

Orlando, FL 32811
407-872-2272

Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Charged

Experience an exciting, living, biblical history museum. Walk the Jerusalem Street Market as it appeared 2000 years ago. The Wilderness Tabernacle recreates the one carried for 40 years by the Jewish people. Visit the Garden Tomb to reflect upon the Savior’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Enjoy live dramas at the six-story Herodian Temple. Enter an ancient Byzantine Church to visit The Scriptorium and see the world’s largest private collection of ancient biblical artifacts.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando Odditorium

8201 International Drive

Orlando, FL 32819
407-345-0501

Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Charged

If you think our building looks crazy, wait until you see what’s inside! Explore an amazing variety of exhibits, artifacts and displays in 16 galleries that pay tribute to the odd, bizarre and unbelievable. Marvel at our collection of weird and unusual relics and rare treasures. Discover that truth is indeed stranger than fiction! Self-guided, self paced tour.

SeaWorld Orlando

7007 SeaWorld Drive

Orlando, FL 32821
407-351-3600

Call for days and hours of operation

Admission Charged

There’s no place in the world like SeaWorld® Orlando. Where else can you touch and feed dolphins, count the teeth on a shark and come face-to-face with a polar bear. Challenge Kraken®, Orlando’s only floorless coaster. Don’t miss Journey To Atlantis®, a super-charged water coaster of mythic proportions. And, just try to stay dry when the world famous Shamu comes a splashing! At SeaWorld Orlando, it doesn’t get any closer than this!

Universal Orlando Resort

1000 Universal Studios Plaza

Orlando, FL 32819
407-363-8000

Open daily, call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

Universal Orlando Resort – the vacation destination with two theme parks that define state-of-the-art entertainment, and non-stop nightlife. Get inside the action of the movies at Universal Studios Florida and experience the adventure of a lifetime at Universal’s Islands of Adventure . Enjoy the dining and nightlife of Universal CityWalk.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure

1000 Universal Studios Plaza

Orlando, FL 32819
407-363-8000

Open daily, call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

Experience innovative thrills and unexpected adventures at Universal’s Islands of Adventure®, where the world’s most cutting-edge rides, attractions and interactive shows challenge every one of your senses. You’ll take an unforgettable journey through five uniquely themed islands where all your favorite stories, myths, legends, children’s books, cartoons and comic book characters come to life before your eyes.

Wet ‘n Wild

6200 International Drive

Orlando, FL 32819
407-351-1800

Open year round, call for hours of operation

Admission Charged

Experience the world-class rides, quality service and more multi-passenger rides than any other water park in Orlando, and you will see why Wet ‘n Wild is consistently voted America’s number one water park. Drift under rope bridges and past breathtaking waterfalls on the all-new Lazy River or get soaked down a ruptured pipeline on The Blast. Open year-round with pools heated seasonally, Wet ‘n Wild is the perfect place for the entire family to relax, have fun, and soak up the warm Florida sun!

E- Events & Entertainment:
Events

January

January 1-Florida Citrus Bowl

Top college teams from the Southeastern Conference and the Big Ten Conference compete at Citrus Bowl Stadium.

1610 W. Church St.

407-423-2476.

First Thursdays

Themed exhibits by local artists, live music by local bands and DJs, and refreshments at one of the best art museums in the southern U.S. Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave. For information,

Call 407-896-4231

Throughout January—Orlando-UCS Shakespeare Festival

Professional actors perform plays by Shakespeare and other playwrights.

Margeson and Goldman Theaters, Lowndes Shakespeare Center, 812 E. Rollins St. and the Lake Eola Amphitheater, downtown.

For information call 407-447-1700 Continues through late April

Throughout January—Dance

The Orlando Ballet (formerly the Southern Ballet Theatre) performs several productions each year at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St.

For information, call 407-426-1733

Throughout January—NBA Basketball

The Orlando Magic play regular-season home games at the TD Waterhouse Centre, 600 W. Amelia St.

For information, call 407-916-2400. Season continues through mid April

Throughout January—Opera

The Orlando Opera holds regular concerts at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St.

For information, call 407-426-1700, or toll-free 800-336-7372. Continues through mid April

Throughout January—Concert

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s season includes classical and pops concerts and performances by small chamber ensembles and soloists. Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St., and Margeson Theater, Symphony Square, 812 E. Rollins St.

For information, call 407-896-6700. Continues through mid May

February

First Thursdays

Themed exhibits by local artists, live music by local bands and DJs, and refreshments at one of the best art museums in the southern U.S. Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.

For information, call 407-896-4231

Throughout February—Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival. Professional actors perform plays by Shakespeare and other playwrights. Margeson and Goldman Theaters, Lowndes Shakespeare Center, 812 E. Rollins St. and the Lake Eola Amphitheater, downtown.

For information, call 407-447-1700. Continues through late April

Throughout February—Art Exhibit

Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.

407-896-4231. Continues through June

Throughout February—Dance. The Orlando Ballet (formerly the Southern Ballet Theatre) performs several productions each year at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St.

For information, call 407-426-1733. Continues through late May

Throughout February—Concert. The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s season includes classical and pops concerts and performances by small chamber ensembles and soloists. Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St., and Margeson Theater, Symphony Square, 812 E. Rollins St.

For information, call 407-896-6700. Continues through mid May

Throughout February—Opera. The Orlando Opera holds regular concerts at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St.

For information, call 407-426-1700, or toll-free 800-336-7372. Continues through mid April

Throughout February—NBA Basketball. The Orlando Magic play regular-season home games at the TD Waterhouse Centre, 600 W. Amelia St.

For information, call 407-916-2400. Season continues through mid April

March

First Thursdays. Themed exhibits by local artists, live music by local bands and DJs, and refreshments at one of the best art museums in the southern U.S. Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.

For information, call 407-896-4231

Throughout March—Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival.

Professional actors perform plays by Shakespeare and other playwrights. Margeson and Goldman Theaters, Lowndes Shakespeare Center, 812 E. Rollins St. and the Lake Eola Amphitheater, downtown.

For information, call 407-447-1700. Continues through late April

Throughout March—Concert. The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s season includes classical and pops concerts and performances by small chamber ensembles and soloists. Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St., and Margeson Theater, Symphony Square, 812 E. Rollins St.

For information, call 407-896-6700. Continues through mid May

Throughout March—Art Exhibit.

Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.

407-896-4231. Continues through June

Throughout March—Opera. The Orlando Opera holds regular concerts at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St.

For information, call 407-426-1700, or toll-free 800-336-7372. Continues through mid April

Throughout March—Dance. The Orlando Ballet (formerly the Southern Ballet Theatre) performs several productions each year at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St. For information, call 407-426-1733.

For information, call 407-426-1739, Continues through late May

Throughout March—NBA Basketball

The Orlando Magic play regular-season home games at the TD Waterhouse Centre, 600 W. Amelia St.

For information, call 407-916-2400. Season continues through mid April

April

First Thursdays. Themed exhibits by local artists, live music by local bands and DJs, and refreshments at one of the best art museums in the southern U.S. Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.

For information, call 407-896-4231

NBA Basketball. The Orlando Magic play regular-season home games at the TD Waterhouse Centre, 600 W. Amelia St.

For information, call 407-916-2400. Season concludes mid April

Early-Mid April—Opera. The Orlando Opera holds regular concerts at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St.

For information, call 407-426-1700, or toll-free 800-336-7372. Concludes mid April

Throughout April—Art Exhibit.

Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.

407-896-4231. Continues through June

Throughout April—Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival

Professional actors perform plays by Shakespeare and other playwrights. Margeson and Goldman Theaters, Lowndes Shakespeare Center, 812 E. Rollins St. and the Lake Eola Amphitheater, downtown.

For information, call 407-447-1700. Concludes late April

Throughout April—Dance. The Orlando Ballet (formerly the Southern Ballet Theatre) performs several productions each year at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St.

For information, call 407-426-1733. Continues through late May

Throughout April—Concert. The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s season includes classical and pops concerts and performances by small chamber ensembles and soloists. Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St., and Margeson Theater, Symphony Square, 812 E. Rollins St.

For information, call 407-896-6700. Continues through mid May

May

Early-Mid May—Concert. The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s season includes classical and pops concerts and performances by small chamber ensembles and soloists. Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St., and Margeson Theater, Symphony Square, 812 E. Rollins St. For information, call 407-896-6700. Concludes mid May

First Thursdays. Themed exhibits by local artists, live music by local bands and DJs, and refreshments at one of the best art museums in the southern U.S. Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.

For information, call 407-896-4231

Throughout May—Dance. The Orlando Ballet (formerly the Southern Ballet Theatre) performs several productions each year at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St.

For information, call 407-426-1733. Concludes late May

Throughout May—Art Exhibit.

Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.

407-896-4231. Continues through June

June

Art Exhibit

Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.

407-896-4231

First Thursdays

Themed exhibits by local artists, live music by local bands and DJs, and refreshments at one of the best art museums in the southern U.S. Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.

For information, call 407-896-4231

July

Independence Day

Lake Eola’s annual Fourth of July celebration includes games, entertainment and, of course, fireworks.

For information, call 407-246-2287 or 407-246-2827.

First Thursdays

Themed exhibits by local artists, live music by local bands and DJs, and refreshments at one of the best art museums in the southern U.S. Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.

For information, call 407-896-4231

August

First Thursdays

Themed exhibits by local artists, live music by local bands and DJs, and refreshments at one of the best art museums in the southern U.S. Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.

For information, call 407-896-4231

Numerous dates in August
Best of Florida Festival

Thousands of brightly hued caladiums and coleus fill the glass atrium at Gaylord Palms & Convention Center during this celebration of Florida flora. Gardening seminars, tours, sand sculptures, food and entertainment.

For more information, call 407-586-2000. Continues through early September

September

Best of Florida Festival

Thousands of brightly hued caladiums and coleus fill the glass atrium at Gaylord Palms & Convention Center during this celebration of Florida flora. Gardening seminars, tours, sand sculptures, food and entertainment.

For more information, call 407-586-2000

First Thursdays

Themed exhibits by local artists, live music by local bands and DJs, and refreshments at one of the best art museums in the southern U.S. Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.

For information, call 407-896-4231

Art Exhibit

Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.

Phone 407-896-4231

October

Mid-Late October—Concert. The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s season includes classical and pops concerts and performances by small chamber ensembles and soloists. Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St., and Margeson Theater, Symphony Square, 812 E. Rollins St.

For information, call 407-896-6700

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

Visitors sample tastes from more than 30 countries and regions in 25 marketplaces. Highlights include wine and cooking demonstrations, the Eat to the Beat concert series and interactive exhibits.

Epcot Center, Disney World

407-939-6244

First Thursdays

Themed exhibits by local artists, live music by local bands and DJs, and refreshments at one of the best art museums in the southern U.S.

Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.

For information, call 407-896-4231

Silver Spurs Rodeo

The largest rodeo east of the Mississippi draws top bull riders, cowboys and other entertainment. Silver Spurs Arena, Osceola Heritage Park, 1875 Silver Spurs Lane, Kissimmee (22.5 mi/36 km south of Orlando).

For information, call 407-677-6336.

Golf

Top professional golfers and amateurs compete in the FUNAI Classic at Walt Disney World. Disney’s Magnolia and Palm Courses, Lake Buena Vista (18 mi/29 km south of Orlando).

For information, call 407-824-2250.

Late October—NBA Basketball

The Orlando Magic play regular-season home games at the TD Waterhouse Centre, 600 W. Amelia St.

For information, call 407-916-2400. Season continues through mid April 2005

Early-Late October—Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival

Professional actors perform plays by Shakespeare and other playwrights. Margeson and Goldman Theaters, Lowndes Shakespeare Center, 812 E. Rollins St. and the Lake Eola Amphitheater, downtown.

For information, call 407-447-1700. Continues through late April

Early-Late October—Dance

The Orlando Ballet (formerly the Southern Ballet Theatre) performs several productions each year at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St.

For information, call 407-426-1733. Continues through late May

November

Early November—Fall Fiesta in the Park

More than 500 booths showcase regional arts and crafts.

Lake Eola Park, North Rosalind Avenue and East Washington Street.

For more information, call 407-246-2827

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

Visitors sample tastes from more than 30 countries and regions in 25 marketplaces. Highlights include wine and cooking demonstrations, the Eat to the Beat concert series and interactive exhibits. Epcot Center, Disney World.

407-939-6244

First Thursdays

Themed exhibits by local artists, live music by local bands and DJs, and refreshments at one of the best art museums in the southern U.S. Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.

For information, call 407-896-4231

Veterans Day

Public holiday. Approximately 75 units participate in a parade to honor veterans and active-duty military personnel. Lake Eola Park, Rosalind and Washington streets.

For information, call 407-246-2827

Osceola Art Festival. Kissimmee hosts this annual art festival featuring exhibits by local, student and national artists. Downtown Kissimmee (22.5 mi/36 km south of Orlando).

For more information, call the Osceola Center for the Arts at 407-846-6257.

Mid-Late November—Opera.

The Orlando Opera holds regular concerts at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St.

For information, call 407-426-1700, or toll-free 800-336-7372

NBA Basketball

The Orlando Magic play regular-season home games at the TD Waterhouse Centre, 600 W. Amelia St.

For information, call 407-916-2400. Season continues through mid April 2005

December

First Thursdays

Themed exhibits by local artists, live music by local bands and DJs, and refreshments at one of the best art museums in the southern U.S. Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.

For information, call 407-896-4231

Christmas in the Park

The Morse Museum lights up its century-old Tiffany windows to set the stage for a free concert of holiday favorites by the Bach Festival Society choir. Morse Museum of American Art, 445 N. Park Ave., Winter Park.

407-645-5311 or 407-645-5324

Jacksonville, Florida

A- Overview:
Located in the double loop of the sparkling St. Johns River in Northeast Florida, at the crossroads of two transcontinental highways, Jacksonville offers unlimited cultural and recreational opportunities for visitor and resident alike. Jacksonville is the largest city in the contiguous United States in land area. It is a major port, the site of U.S. Navy bases, the home of the National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars, and the location of the annual Gator Bowl. Downtown Jacksonville is a vibrant city center offering waterfront dining, world-class entertainment, exciting nightlife, and a wide variety of sporting events.

Jacksonville’s riverbanks are connected by a water taxi service and lined with pedestrian areas, restaurants, and shops. The Jacksonville Landing shopping and dining complex is located on the north bank of the St. Johns. On the south bank is the pleasant Riverwalk which connects Jacksonville Historic Center and the Museum of Science and History. On the opposite bank is the Cummer Museum of Art. The surrounding residential district contains an amazing array of Revival Style architecture.

Jacksonville boasts 28 miles of beaches as well as fresh water lakes inland in a number of the 350 beautiful parks. Near Jacksonville Beach, island parks offer pristine beaches, sand dunes, and marshlands. Visitors to the area enjoy kayaking, sailing, canoeing, hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, surfing, bird watching and camping.

Every fall, Jacksonville Beach is the site of an extraordinary parade and the return of the whales. Endangered whales visit the area to calve in Florida’s warm coastal waters. Just a short ferry ride across the St. Johns River is Big Talbot Island, where a bird sanctuary, rock-like outcroppings and fallen trees have become bleached and weathered with time, making the island a dramatic sight and a popular spot for artists and photographers. Little Talbot Island is a 2,500-acre island devoted entirely to a protected state park containing wide beaches and high dunes. Fishing is excellent in the island’s small ponds and salt marshes.

At the Fort George State Cultural Site, huge oyster shell mounds are evidence of Timucuan Indian habitation dating back more than 7,000 years. Another strange phenomenon is Mount Cornelia, which at 65 feet above sea level is the highest point along the Atlantic coast south of North Carolina. Comprised of more than 46,000 acres along Jacksonville’s river and oceanfront, the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve protects important wetlands and historic sites.

North of the Timucuan Preserve lies Amelia Island. At the center of the park is a Civil War era fort where the park rangers dress in authentic uniforms and conduct candlelight tours reminiscent of 1864. Nature trails guide visitors through areas of sand dunes, overwash plains, and estuarine tidal marshes.

Even in downtown Jacksonville, nature trails are found at the 40-acre Tree Hill Nature Center and in the University of North Florida’s 12 miles of trails which provide examples of every type of terrain found in Northeast Florida.

South of Jacksonville Beach, Guana River State Park sits on 2,400 acres of undeveloped Atlantic seacoast. Among the preserve’s special features are a five-mile coastal strand, an ancient Spanish well and 2,000-year-old Indian shell bluffs. Families can mountain bike along nine miles of old service roads or boat through nearby rivers.

The weather, the native flowers and trees, the riverfront, the ocean beaches, the architecture, the local theater and Symphony Orchestra, the sporting events, the many recreational possibilities, all add up to an ideal vacation at any time of the year for visitors of all ages and interests.

B- City Information:
Population: The City of Jacksonville ranks as the 14th largest city in the United States in population with about 750,000 residents.

Greater Jacksonville Area: The Jacksonville metropolitan area, which includes three beach cities, Clay, Baker, Nassau and St. Johns counties, has a population of more than 1,000,000 residents.

Area: Jacksonville covers 841 square miles

Location: on the northeastern coast of Florida.

Elevation: 20 feet

Time Zone Jacksonville is in the eastern time zone. When it is noon in New York City; it is also noon in Jacksonville.

Weather: (904) 630-0500

Temperatures:

Month
High
Low

January
65F
44F

February
67F
46F

March
72F
50F

April
79F
57F

May
85F
64F

June
88F
70F

July
90F
74F

August
90F
72F

September
86F
70F

October
79F
62F

November
71F
51F

December
66F
45F

Business Hours

Banks are usually open weekdays 9 to 3 and some Saturday mornings; the post office from 8 to 5 weekdays and often on Saturday mornings. Shops in urban and suburban areas, particularly in indoor and smaller malls, typically open at 9 or 10 daily and stay open until anywhere from 6 to 10 PM on weekdays and Saturdays, and until 5 or 6 on Sundays.

Holidays

New Year’s Day Jan. 1

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day 3rd Mon. in Jan.

President’s Day 3rd Mon. in Feb.

Memorial Day last Mon. in May;

Independence Day July 4

Labor Day 1st Mon. in Sept.

Thanksgiving Day 4th Thurs. in Nov.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dec. 24 and 25

New Year’s Eve Dec. 31.

Emergencies

Ambulance, Fire , Police (Phone: 911).

Police (non emergency (904) 630-0500.

Taxes

The sales tax in Clay and Nassau, and Duval counties is 7%, and is 6% in St. Johns county.

Tipping

At restaurants, a 15% tip is standard for waiters; up to 20% may be expected at more expensive establishments. The same applies to taxi drivers, bartenders, and hairdressers.

Telephones

The country code for the United States is 1. The area code for Jacksonville is 904.

Getting There

By Automobile

Two interstate highways, I-10 and I-95 intersect in the Jacksonville downtown area. I-10 runs east and west from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, while I-95 is the north-south highway that covers the east coast of the United States between Maine and the Florida Keys.

State Route A1A closely follows the coast through Jacksonville. It is the most scenic, though not the swiftest road to Jacksonville. US 17 from the west, and US 1 from the north are also important roads by which to enter the city.

Driving Distances to Jacksonville:

Forty minutes from Fernandina Beach/Amelia Island

Thirty-five minutes from historic St. Augustine

Two and a half hours from Orlando (Disney World)

Six hours from Atlanta

By Plane

Jacksonville International Airport

Jacksonville, FL 32218

904-741-4272

1-866-448-6600 toll-free

904-741-4874 fax

JIA is located 13 miles north of downtown near the northern junction of I-95 and I-295 (the city bypass). With 15 airlines making 250 daily arrivals and departures, non-stop and direct service is available from most of the nation’s metropolitan areas.

By air, Jacksonville is:

Sixty minutes from Atlanta

Forty-five minutes from Orlando

Two hours and 15-minutes from New York

By Bus

The Greyhound Bus Terminal is located at 10 N.Pearl Street. There is also a sub-station at 5532 Normandy Blvd. The main number is (904) 356-9976. The number for fares and schedules is (800) 231-2222.

By Train

The Amtrak station is located at 3750 Clifford Lane, 5 miles northeast of downtown. The telephone number is (904) 766-5110. Amtrak’s main number is 1-800-872-7245..

By Boat

River taxi service along the St.Johns River is available from SS Marine Taxi at 904-630-3181.

General Transportation:

In addition to planes, trains and automobiles, you can visit shops and restaurants by water taxi, search for craft treasures via the monorail skyway system or catch a quick lift on a downtown trolley.

Ground Transportation

JTA

100 N. Myrtle Avenue

Jacksonville, FL 32204

(904) Ride JTA (743-3582)

904-630-3166 fax

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority, an independent state agency serving Duval County provides varied mass transit services. These include express and regular bus service, a downtown Skyway monorail, The Trolley service, and JTA Connexion for the disabled and elderly.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Adventure Landing

1944 Beach Blvd

Jacksonville Beach, FL

904.246.4386

Located just east of the Intracoastal Waterway, this family entertainment center features go-karts, laser tag, bumper boats, mini-golf, batting cages, video arcade and multiple snack bars. Waterpark features a new 18,000 sq. ft. wavepool, eleven waterslides, 65-foot pirates play village and lazy river.

Alexander Brest Museum

Located on the campus of Jacksonville University, this fine arts museum specializes in Steuben glass, B & G porcelains and 18th through 20th century cloisonné. It also includes a fabulous collection of ivory.

American Lighthouse and Maritime Museum

An intimate museum offering the history of lighthouses. It includes paintings, authentic scale models of lighthouses, rare photos, architectural drawing, lighthouse artifacts and navigational aids.

Annabelle Lee River Boat

Take you and your friends on a one of a kind tour of the Florida First Coast waterways. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of a real, old-time paddle boat ride down the beautiful St. Johns River.

Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour

111 Busch Drive

Jacksonville, FL

Come see the Budweiser brewing process in the open-air gallery overlooking the floor of our new Brew Hall. You’ll enjoy an excellent look at the brewing process and marvel at our high-speed packaging operations. Guests 21 and over can enjoy complimentary tasting of Anheuser-Busch beers. Hourly guided and self-guided tours are available.

Contemporary Art Gallery In Riverside.

1827 N. Pearl Street

Jacksonville, FL

Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens

829 Riverside Drive

Jacksonville, FL

904.356.6857 ext 241

A fine art museum with an interactive teaching gallery situated on the St. Johns River. Collection covers western art from 2,000 BC to the present. The 12 galleries are arranged in chronological order, featuring great European and American works. The Wark Collection of Early Meissen porcelain is unique. The Italian garden is modeled after the gardens of Villa Gamberaia in Florence, Italy. English gardens on the St. Johns River are also a favorite place for a stroll.

The Museum and its award-winning education center, Art Connections occupy adjacent buildings overlooking the three acres of the Cummer Gardens. The museum campus is situated on the banks of the St. Johns River.

Fort Caroline National Memorial

13 miles east of Jacksonville

904-641-7155

Daily 9-5. Donation.

The Fort Caroline National Memorial was created to memorialize the Sixteenth Century French effort to establish a permanent colony in Florida. A one-mile trail helps explain the site’s history.

Friendship Park and Fountain

Situated at the west end of the South bank Riverwalk and adjacent to the Museum of Science and History is Friendship Fountain. Dedicated in 1965, it is one of the largest self-contained fountains built, pumping 3,500 – 6,500 gallons of water per minute to a height of 100 feet, with 265 lights molding the water into a sparkling mist.

The Jacksonville Landing

2 Independent Drive

Jacksonville, FL

Riverfront marketplace featuring retail shops, restaurants and regularly scheduled live entertainment in the courtyard. CVB Visitor Center is located at the main entrance.

Jacksonville Maritime Museum

1015 Museum Circle

904-398-9011.

Mon.-Fri. 10:30-3:00. Sat., Sun. 1-5. Free Admission.

Scale model ships, paintings, and photographs emphasize the importance of the St. Johns River and the Port of Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art

701 Fisk Street

Jacksonville, FL

Contemporary museum with a permanent collection presenting modern and contemporary exhibitions, special events and educational programs for adults and children. Permanent collection includes art by Louise Nevelson, a sculpture garden and pre-Columbian art.

Jacksonville Princess

accommodates up to 149 passengers.

Jacksonville Zoo

Travel to the Jacksonville Zoo for the only walking safari in Northeast Florida. Open a whole world of opportunities, encounter wildlife wonders and interactive experiences.

8605 Zoo Parkway – Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville Zoological Gardens

8605 Zoo Parkway

Jacksonville, FL

Birds of the Rift Valley exhibit, dozens of exotic animals in the Plains of East Africa. a new Reptile House, Elephant swimming pool and the Great Apes of the World. Ride the expanded train route. Enjoy lunch at the Zambezi River Restaurant or a cool drink at Kikuyu Kooler and finish the day with a shopping stop at Mombasa Import-Export, Co.

Karpeles Manuscript Library

101 W. First Street

(904) 356-2992

Tues.-Sat. 10-1. Children’s area: Wed. and Sat. 10-1.

Museum Admission free. Small charge for children’s area.

Displays rotate and include letters written by figures of history, documents such as constitutions and treaties, and other significant historic documents.

Mayport Lighthouse

The existing lighthouse was completed and opened on January 1, 1859. It was preceded by two other lighthouses that were damaged by tides and weather. During the Civil War, the lighthouse saw enemy action but remained on duty. Union gunboats used the beacon light as a navigational aid as they attempted to lay siege upon Jacksonville. The lighthouse was abandoned in 1929, when a bigger and better lightship took its place. In 1976, the lighthouse was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Music Manuscript Exhibit

Jacksonville, FL 32206

904-356-2992

Travel through time via music, from the Age of Enlightenment to the Romantic and Neoclassical periods, up until the Industrial Age and beyond at the Karpeles Music Manuscript Exhibit. Admire original manuscripts penned by master composers. Among the works on display are: Handel’s ‘Messiah,’ written in the hand of his protégé Ludwig Van Beethoven; ‘The Marriage of Figaro,’ penned by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; ‘The Rite of Spring’ by Igor Stravinski; Puccini’s ‘Madame Butterfly’ and Bach’s ‘St. Matthew Passion,’ written in the hand of Felix Mendelssohn, who not only edited the work, but conducted it in 1929.

Museum of Science and History

1025 Museum Circle

Jacksonville, FL

904.396.7062

Mon.-Fri. 10-5 Sat. 10-6. Sun. 1-6

Admission charged.

Galleries offer a variety of exhibits, including “Atlantic Tales: Whales, Dolphins and Manatees of Northeast Florida,” the story of the majestic but threatened marine mammals that inhabit the waters of Florida’s First Coast. The newest exhibit, “Currents of Time: A History of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida,” explores the rich human drama of the region through unique artifacts, period furnishings and costumes, architectural facades, and rare photographs and documents.

Museum of Southern History

4304 Herschel St.

Jacksonville, FL

A locally operated museum dedicated to preserving the lifestyle and culture of the Ante-bellum south through a variety of displays and artifacts.

Naval Station Mayport

Naval Station Mayport is the third largest naval station in the continental U.S. Mayport was commissioned in 1942, and was first used by patrol craft, rescue boats and Jeep carriers. Private tours of the base, its cruisers, destroyers, carriers and frigates can be arranged. Mayport is home to more that 13,000 active duty military and the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy.

Pablo Historical Park

Enjoy guided tours of historic buildings and the Beaches’ railway beginnings in San Pablo (which became Jacksonville Beach in 1925). The museum features a collection of artifacts and photographs. On the grounds, see two Henry Flagler structures, Florida East Coast Railway track and a marker honoring aviation pioneer Jimmy Doolittle’s record-setting flight from then San Pablo Beach to San Diego.

Riverwalks: Southbank and Northbank

The northbank is anchored by the Jacksonville Landing and the riverfront and features historic street lamps, benches, docking facilities and two Victorian style gazebos. The southbank contains Friendship Fountain, restaurants and a marina. The boardwalk is also an ideal place to take photographs of Jacksonville’s downtown skyline and bridges or catch a water taxi ride.

Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Visitor Center at Junction of Monument and Fort Caroline Roads

(904) 641-7155.

9-5 Daily. Donations accepted.

The Visitor Center has displays describing the area’s marine environment, the Timucuan Indian era, early attempts at colonization, and a satellite image of present day northeast Florida.

Tree Hill Nature Center

7152 Lone Star Road

Mon.-Sat. 8:30-5.

(904) 724-4646.

Minimal Admission charge.

A 50 acre nature preserve located in the midst of a Jacksonville suburb. It showcases Florida’s native plants and animals. The preserve offers four nature trails, wildflowers, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, and a small natural history museum in the shape of a pyramid. The museum contains a collection of snakes, animal skulls, and fossils. Turtle Town provides protection for the endangered gopher tortoise. Another exhibit describes the Florida black bear.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Adventure Landing

1944 Beach Blvd

Jacksonville Beach, FL

904.246.4386

Located just east of the Intracoastal Waterway, this family entertainment center features go-karts, laser tag, bumper boats, mini-golf, batting cages. Waterpark features a new 18,000 sq. ft. wavepool, eleven waterslides, 65-foot pirates play village and lazy river.

Art Connections at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens

829 Riverside Avenue

(904) 356-6857

Admission free Tues. evenings 4-9.

Children can use computers to study the principles of design, actually doing a rubbing or a collage. They can also learn about Florida history through paintings in the Cummer Museum collection.

Jacksonville Fire Museum

1406 Gator Bowl Blvd.

(904) 598-6504

Displays include glass balls designed in the 1800’s to be filled with water and thrown at the fire.

Kids Kampus

1410 Gator Bowl Blvd.

(904) 573-3153

Free Admission

10 acres of open space as well as state of the art playground equipment. Includes an area called “Safe City” which contains a child-sized city in miniature. This amazing miniature version of 4 blocks of Jacksonville features stores, schools, and Little Tyke houses. Tricycles and helmets are available for children to borrow and ride through the “city.”

The park contains a water park complete with squirt guns, sprinklers, jungle gyms, and a water slide.

Peterbrooke Chocolate Factory

1470 San Marco Avenue

(904) 398-2489

Watch chocolate made into many delectable shapes and sizes. Free samples.

Sprinkles’ Museum

101 W. First Street

(904) 356-2992

Tues.-Sat. 10-1. Children’s area: Wed. and Sat. 10-1.

Museum Admission free. Small charge for children’s area. The children’s wing of the Karpeles Manuscript Library is an educational, hands-on play area for ages 1-10.

E- Events & Entertainment:
Sports

Jacksonville Kennel Club

186 Pecan Park Road

Greyhound racing.

Alltel Stadium

Alltel Stadium also continues to host the annual NCAA University of Florida vs. University of Georgia, and Gator Bowl football games. Alltel Stadium seats 73,000, but additional temporary seats are added behind the South End Zone – expanding the capacity from 73,000 to well over 80,000 – for the annual Florida-Georgia game.

Greater Jacksonville Fair

The Jacksonville Fairgrounds are located in the sports complex adjacent to Alltel Stadium, the Jacksonville Coliseum, and Wolfson Baseball Park.

Gator Bowl Association

One Gator Bowl Blvd

Jacksonville, FL 32202

(904) 798-1700

(800) 374-BOWL toll-free

(904) 632-2080 fax

The Gator Bowl Association, a non-profit organization that hosts Toyota Gator Bowl on January 1, as well as 33 other year round Events. Each year the Gator Bowl brings 35,000 visitors to Jacksonville to ring in the New Year.

Barracudas Hockey

5740-1 Spring Park Road

Jacksonville, FL 32216

904-367-1ICE(423)

904-367-1424 fax

Barracudas will take the ice at home early in November each year.

Theaters

Alhambra Dinner Theatre

The Alhambra has been performing professional, Broadway style musicals and comedies in Jacksonville for more than 30 years. The intimate 400 seat theatre offers a wonderful dinner buffet with a full selection of beverages.

The Florida Theatre

128 East Forsyth Street

Jacksonville, FL

From ballet and opera to contemporary pop, jazz, rock, country and blues, the Florida Theatre offers 200 cultural and entertainment events annually for every taste and age.

Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra

300 West Water Street

(904) 354-5547

The Orchestra offers a Family Series each season that introduces children to the classics. The symphony plays outdoors in Metropolitan Park during spring and summer. Special concerts every year include Halloween “Symphonic Spooktacular” and Holiday Pops in December.

Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Performing Arts

11901 Beach Blvd.

FCCJ South Campus, Building M1

Jacksonville, FL 32246

904-646-2222

A variety of national productions have put the Wilson Center on their schedule bringing to town opera, dance and multidisciplinary productions, as well as creative theater for all ages. Since it’s not a large performing arts center, each experience is more intimate.

Times Union Center for the Performing Arts, Moran Theatre

300 Water St

Jacksonville, FL 32202

904-633-6110

The Moran Theater is finished in warm wood tones and rich red colors providing a royal setting for the large productions that grace this hall. Jacksonville’s traveling Broadway shows, are held here. The theater’s capacity is 3,000.

Theatreworks, Inc.

1 east Independent Drive

(904) 353-3500

A nonprofit organization that brings live, professional children’s touring productions to Jacksonville. Reservations are required as most performances are sellouts.

Events

January

Toyota Gator Bowl Classic

(800) 374-BOWL toll-free

(904) 632-2080 fax

The Gator Bowl Association, a non-profit organization hosts Toyota Gator Bowl at Alltel Stadium on January 1 each year.

“A Slave Ship Speaks: The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie”

An exhibit of historical artifacts recovered from an English Merchant ship that carried human cargo from Africa to America for 3 years before sinking off the Florida Coast in 1700. Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum, 829 N. Davis Street, Jacksonville. For more information call 904-632-5555.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade

Mid-January

(904) 775-0540

Annual parade Marching bands from all over the northeast honor Dr. King’s dream for America.

Symphony Sampler

End of January

Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra performs at Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, 300 Water St Jacksonville. Call 877-662-6731.

Jacksonville (call for schedule)

Jacksonville Barracudas match up at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 1145 East Adams Street, Jacksonville. For more information call 904-367-1423.

February

Ritz Voices Black History Jazz Concert

February

Enjoy the sounds of the Ritz Voices and celebrate Black History Month. Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum, 829 N. Davis St., Jacksonville. Call 904-632-5555.

Jazz in Dixieland

Late Feb.

a half-century of classic jazz, along with colorful stage sets and costumes, vintage musical instruments, and tap dancing. Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, 300 Water St., Jacksonville. Call 904-354-5547.

Jacksonville Scottish Highland Games

Late February

Clans from all over the world come together to celebrate Scottish culture. Dance and athletic competitions are just part of the fun. University of North Florida, Jacksonville. Call 904-725-5744.

Much Ado About Books

February 22

Jacksonville’s annual celebration of reading and writing. Prime Osborn Convention Center, 1000 Water St., Jacksonville. Call 904-630-2665.

March

Monster Truck Show

Early March

Experience the excitement of the U.S. Hot Rod Superbowl of Motorsports. ALLTEL Stadium, 1 Stadium Place, Jacksonville.

Call 630-3900.

Opera Season Opens

Early March

FCCJ Artist Series, Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, 300 Water St., Jacksonville. Call 904-632-3373.

Concours d’ Elegance

4750 Amelia Island Parkway

(904) 636-0027

One of the nation’s largest classic car shows. Ritz Carlton,Amelia Island and The Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach.

Bob Hayes Invitational Track Meet

Mid March

The Bob Hayes Invitational Track Meet is the largest one-day track event in the nation. The meet honors Jacksonville native Bob Hayes, the only man to win an Olympic Gold Medal and an NFL Super Bowl ring. Athletes will be competing at William M. Raines High School. For more details, call 904-924-3049.

St. Johns River Celebration

Mid March

Every March, hundreds of volunteers spend a Saturday morning removing trash from the St. Johns River as part of the annual St. Johns River Celebration, one of many environmental efforts to protect Northeast Florida’s natural resources. Call 904-630-3690.

The Players Championship

End of March

The Tour’s richest tournament and premier spring event in Jacksonville is played at the famed TPC at Sawgrass Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach. Call 904-285-7888.

Stars On Ice

Late March

The multi-million dollar Stars on Ice production combines a cast of the most versatile and exceptional figure skating stars in the world with state-of-the-art lighting and sound technology, cutting edge costume designs, progressively innovative staging and choreography, and a mix of American standards to the most contemporary tunes in all genres of today’s music. Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 1145 E.Adams St., Jacksonville. Call 904-630-3900.

April

Springing the Blues Festival

Early April

Nationally recognized blues festival featuring blues performers, great BBQ and seafood, childrens’games and rides. Arts and Crafts Show. Sea Walk Pavillion, Jacksonville Beach, Call 904-247-6100.

Jacksonville Jazz Festival

Mid April

The Jacksonville Jazz festival returns larger and better than ever in the spring with a variety of jazz genres represented, multiple locations and expanded list of performers. Metropolitan Park 1410 Gator Bowl Blvd., Jacksonville. Call 904 630-3690.

Blessing of the Fleet

Mid April

The Office of Special Events and Captains’ Club join together to present the annual “Blessing of the Fleet,” Northbank Riverfront Park. Jacksonville. Call 904 268-3419 or 904 630-3690

Earth Day Celebration

Third weekend in April

Come and enjoy two stages of live entertainment and interactive children’s activities. Jacksonville Landing, Jacksonville. Call 904-630-3692.

World of Nations Celebration

Late April

Annual World of Nations Celebration celebrates the rich cultural traditions and unique heritage of people from around the world. An opportunity to experience the cuisine, artistry and customs. Saturday night features a fireworks showcase choreographed to music specially chosen for the World of Nations Celebration. Metropolitan Park, 1410 Gator Bowl Blvd., Jacksonville, 904- 630-3690.

Art After Dark

Late April

Art After Dark is the community’s premiere showcase for the works of emerging visual artists. The focal point is an art exhibition and sale featuring a dozen First Coast artists working in several different media. Also features a silent auction, live music, door prizes and special showings of student artwork. Florida Theatre,

128 E.Forsyth St., Jacksonville. Call 904-355-2787.

The Official Opening of the Beaches

Late April

Featuring the Beach Music & Dance Festival, Sandcastle Building, good food entertainment, children’s activities, Arts and Crafts, Beachfest Parade,and 5k Run/Walk. Sea Walk Pavilion, Jacksonville Beach. Call 904-249-3972.

Florida Ballet

Late April

Annual spring repertory dance performance by Jacksonville’s Florida Ballet. Florida Theatre, 128 East Forsyth St., Jacksonville. Call 904-355-2787.

May

Annual Shrimp Festival

Early May

The shrimp festival is the largest event of the year on Amelia Island, attracts about 150,000 people during the weekend. The festival is rated as one of the best in Florida and one of the top 20 events in the southeast region of the U.S. Features shrimp, live music, and arts & crafts, antiques, etc., Call 1-800-226-3542.

Wave Master’s Surfing Contest

Early May

Florida’s Largest and most prestigious open amateur surfing tournament. This event attracts over 300 competitors from all over the southeast. Beach at 5th Ave. North., Jacksonville Beach. Call 904-241-0600.

Jacksonville Suns (all month) Call for schedule

7:05pm, The Baseball Park

201 A. Phillip Randolph Blvd.,

Jacksonville. Call 904-358-2846.

Pops at the Beach- Mother’s Day Concert

Mother’s Day

Pops Concert by the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. Jacksonville Beach, Sea Walk Paviliion, Call 904-247-6100.

Sail Jacksonville

Mid-May

Jacksonville’s downtown riverfront comes alive with the tall ships from around the world. The three-day festival includes a variety of activities including in-the-water events, such as the Parade of Sail, land-side demonstrations and events. Jacksonville. Call 904-630-3690.

Jacksonville Film Festival

Mid-May

Celebrate the best of local, national, and international independent films. Florida Theatre, Ritz Theatre and La Villa Museum. Jacksonville. Call 904-247-8337.

Spring Music Festival

A Memorial Day Weekend tradition in Jacksonville. A free concert, starring a national headline recording artist. Metropolitan Park 1410 Gator Bowl Blvd., Jacksonville. Call 904-630-3690.

Kuumba African Cultural Arts and Music Festival

3rd week in May

The festival hosts performances from various parts of the globe.

Including West Africa, Northeast Africa, The Caribbean, Canada, and from cities around the globe. A. Philip Randolph Park, Jacksonville. Call 904-630-3690.

June

Jacksonville Suns all month: Call for schedule

June 1

3:05pm, The Baseball Park

201 A. Phillip Randolph Blvd.,

Jacksonville. Call 904-358-2846.

Fiesta Players

June 21

Fiesta Playera dia de San Juan Bautista is an annual event in Jacksonville, Florida, and is one of the largest Latin American festivals in the country. A three-weekend long event, this festival celebrates the culture and customs of Puerto Rico with Latin American music and cuisine. Sea Walk Pavillion, Jacksonville Beach. Call 904-247-6100.

July

Freedom, FanFare and Fireworks

July 4

Metropolitan Park,

1410 Gator Bowl Blvd.,

Jacksonville. Call 904-630-3690

Liberty Fest: an Independence Day Celebration

July 4

Help celebrate America’s Birthday. The festival area will be the spot for entertainment, food music children’s, activities, skydivers,and fireworks.Sea Walk Pavillion, Jacksonville Beach. Call

904-247-1651.

September

Remembrance Ceremony

September 11

A ceremony for the victims and their families,heroes of the tragedies of September 11, 2001. 7:30pm Sea Walk Pavillion,J acksonville Beach,Call 904-249-3972

Grassroots Music Festival

Come and celebrate American grassroots music. Rooted in culture and history influenced by blues,country,bluegrass,jam and rock styles. Sea Walk Pavilion, Jacksonville Beach, Call 904-249-3972.

October

Jacksonville Sea and Sky Spectacular

Last weekend in October

Sea Walk Pavillion , Jacksonville Beach. Call 904-630-3690.

Florida Georgia Weekend

Last weekend in October

call for more information 904-630-3690

November

Veteran’s Day Parade

November 11

Call 904-630-3690

Jacksonville Light Parade

November 29

call for more information 904-630-3690

December 31

Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration call for more information 904-630-3690

Fort Myers, Florida

A- Overview:
Fort Myers, a tranquil town located on Florida’s west coast, is known the world over for the Festival of Lights that celebrates its famous resident, Thomas Edison. It is even better known for the fact that visitors can experience some of Florida’s most beautiful beaches just minutes from downtown.

The city is one of the most frequented winter destinations as people from the north escape the cold for the warm, tropical breezes of south Florida. Winter is by far the busiest season as many visitors from the cold north come to visit this tranquil Florida paradise. Any time of year is good for golf. With a variety of challenging public courses available, there is one to fit any level and with the beautiful scenery of the area, it’s a wonderful experience, regardless of the score.

With its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, one “must do” sport is the art of “shelling”. Picture a warm breeze, soft sand, the Gulf waters gently rolling onto the beach, while walking right at the water’s edge searching for that perfect shell that is about to roll in with the tide.

Of course there are many attractions, museums, restaurants, sports opportunities, and shopping available as well. Of particular interest to anyone visiting the area, is the Edison & Ford Winter Estate. As one of the nation’s most visited historic homes, the Estate includes 20 acres of historic buildings and gardens, Edison’s original rubber lab, a large museum, food and retail areas, and river cruises on a replica of his electric launch. It’s truly electrifying!

For a unique experience, the Imaginarium is the place to visit. Conveniently located in town,

the Imaginarium is a hands on museum that offers exciting interactive exhibits for all ages including live animals, a hurricane simulator, wide-screen movie theater, dino dig, and an early-childhood exploration area.

To enjoy a variety of attractions in one venue, be sure to visit The Shell Factory and Nature Park

to enjoy nature, ride the rides, ‘shop til you drop,’ or see some of Mother Nature’s finest creations.. Not only does the Shell Factory include a collection of common and rare shells, sponges, coral, fossils and sea life specimens; there are a host of other things to do and see. For the fun seeker, there are arcade games, miniature golf, and even a radar gun to test the speed of a pitch. If you want to get bumped around a little, bumper boats are available. In addition, the Nature Park features a petting zoo, environmental education center, and a botanical trail and garden. It’s a day of education and fun for the entire family.

And what visit to south Florida would be complete without seeing an alligator or two? The Everglades Day Safari offers daily departures from town to the famous Florida Everglades.

It’s an exciting adventure through the different kingdoms that make up the “Everglades.” Guests are accompanied by highly trained guides who discuss the past, present and future of this truly unique area. You’ll want to bring your camera for this one.

After a visit to this wonderfully tranquil, yet exciting Florida City, you’ll know why Thomas Edison made it his home and why Henry Ford personally opened the first Ford dealership here. It is a vacation destination you will love to visit and that you won’t want to leave.

B- City Information:
Population: 48,208

Elevation: 10 feet above sea level

Location: Located very near the Gulf of Mexico in southwestern Florida, near Interstate 75

Time Zone: Eastern Time Zone (when it’s noon in Fort Myers, it’s 11am in Chicago and 9am in Los Angeles). Fort Myers observes Daylight Savings Time from April – October.

Land Area: 31.8 square miles

Weather:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Average temp. (°F)
64.8
66.0
69.9
73.5
78.7
82.2
83.0
83.1
82.1
77.5
71.6
66.3

High temperature (°F)
75.3
76.5
80.5
84.5
89.1
91.2
91.7
91.7
90.3
86.3
81.3
76.6

Low temperature (°F)
54.4
55.3
59.2
62.6
68.3
73.0
74.1
74.4
73.8
68.5
62.0
56.1

Precipitation (in)
2.2
2.1
2.7
1.7
3.4
9.7
8.9
9.5
7.8
2.6
1.7
1.6

Climate:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Days with precip.
6
5
6
4
8
15
18
18
16
8
4
5

Wind speed (mph)
8.3
8.9
9.3
8.8
8.0
7.2
6.6
6.7
7.4
8.4
8.1
7.9

Morning humidity (%)
89
88
89
88
88
89
89
91
92
90
90
89

Afternoon humidity (%)
57
54
52
48
50
58
60
60
61
57
56
57

Sunshine (%)
65
67
73
76
74
68
68
67
66
68
66
63

Days clear of clouds
11
10
11
11
10
5
2
2
4
11
11
11

Partly cloudy days
12
11
12
13
15
16
18
19
16
13
12
12

Cloudy days
9
7
8
6
6
10
11
10
11
8
7
8

Snowfall (in)
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
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Local Seasons:

Winter is by far the busiest season as many visitors from the cold north come to visit this tranquil Florida paradise. With its numerous golf courses, proximity to the beach as well as closeness to other major Florida cities including Miami and Orlando, Fort Myers has become a haven for winter “escapees” desiring a warm beautiful day with a tropical breeze. With high temperatures near 80 F and low temperatures still in the mid-high 50’s F, this time of year allows the visitor to experience virtually anything, from a day at the beach for that perfect tan, to visiting many of the areas fine attractions. After all, Thomas Edison chose Fort Myers as home. Spring and fall are less crowded with temperatures approaching 90 F. Late spring and early fall allow visitors to enjoy many of the outdoor activities. Of particular interest is shell hunting along the beautiful nearby beaches. Summers can be hot and humid but with a breeze from the Gulf of Mexico, it tends to be a good time for shopping, and partaking of the many indoor activities available while still spending time out of doors.

How to Get There:

By Car:

Easily accessible by car from Interstate 75 from the north (Tampa) or south (Miami) to Route 80 West.

By Air:

Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW)

16000 Chamberlin Parkway

Fort Myers, FL 33913

941-768-1000

Southwest Florida International Airport’s 381,000-square-foot, two-level terminal complex is designed for passenger comfort and convenience. Many of the national airlines as well as certain regional carriers serve the airport. During the winter season, there are additional flights available.

By Train:

Amtrak

6050 Plaza Drive
Fort Myers Travel Plaza
Fort Myers, FL 33906

800-USA-RAIL

By Bus:

Greyhound

2250 Peck Street
Ft Myers, FL 33901

239-334-1011

How to Get Around:

The easiest way to get around town and visit all of the nearby towns is by either personal or rental car. Taxis are also available.

National Holidays:

New Year’s Day Jan. 1

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day 3rd Mon. in Jan.

President’s Day 3rd Mon. in Feb.

Memorial Day last Mon. in May

Independence Day July 4

Labor Day 1st Mon. in Sept.

Thanksgiving Day 4th Thurs. in Nov.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dec. 24 and 25

New Year’s Eve Dec. 31

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Edison & Ford Winter Estates

2350 McGregor Blvd.

Fort Myers, FL 33901

239-334-7419

Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9am – 5pm; Sunday, noon – 5pm. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

Admission Charged

As one of the nation’s most visited historic homes, the Estates includes 20 acres of historic buildings and gardens, Edison’s original rubber lab, a large museum, food and retail areas, and river cruises on a replica electric launch.

Fort Myers Historical Museum
2300 Peck Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901

239-332-5955

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday, noon – 4pm

Admission Charged

Ever wonder where the old fort was in Downtown Fort Myers? What was the first hotel? When did the train depot become a museum? Learn all this, and more.

Imaginarium

2000 Cranford Avenue
Fort Myers, FL 33916

239-337-3332

Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm, Sunday, noon – 5pm

Admission Charged

The Imaginarium hands on museum offers exciting interactive exhibits for all ages including live animals, a hurricane simulator, wide-screen movie theater, dino dig, and an early-childhood area. There are daily hands-on fun shows and 3-D presentations.

Fort Myers Country Club
3591 McGregor Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33901

239-936-3126

Hours: Call for tee times and additional information

Admission Charged

Located on scenic McGregor Boulevard, the Fort Myers Country Club offers the public a challenging par 71 round. The course was built in 1916 by architect Donald Ross and opened in 1917, and the clubhouse has been rebuilt on the original site.

Eastwood Golf Course
4600 Bruce Herd Lane
Fort Myers, FL 33994

239-275-4848

Hours: Call for tee times and additional information

Admission Charged

Rated as one of the top 50 municipal courses in the country by Golf Digest, Eastwood is located off Ortiz Avenue near Colonial Blvd in Fort Myers, Florida. This challenging course is open to the public year round. A full service Pro Shop is available.

Fort Myers Yacht Basin
1300 Lee Street
Fort Myers, FL 339013

239-334-8271

Hours: Call for additional information

Admission Charged for Dockage

Located at Mile Marker 135 on the Okeechobee Waterway, Fort Myers Yacht Basin is a well designed and protected marina. It is owned and operated by the City of Fort Myers. There are 10 feet of water in the channel and 8 feet of water at some docks. The docks are in excellent condition and the staff is competent, professional, friendly and helpful.

Harborside Event Center
1375 Monroe Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901

239-332-7600

Hours: Call for schedule and additional information

Admission Charged for events

Located next to Centennial Park at the corner of Bay and Monroe Streets in beautiful downtown Fort Myers, this elegant structure provides a state of the art venue for both conventions and concerts.

Burroughs Home

2505 First Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901

239-332-6125

Hours: The Home is open to the public for guided tours, Tuesday through Friday, 11am to 3pm, on the hour, mid-October through mid-May.

Admission Charged

The Burroughs Home is a Georgian Revival Mansion built in 1901. Located in downtown Fort Myers next to the Edison Bridge overlooking the Caloosahatchee River; it was considered a prestigious area at the turn of the century.

Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium

3450 Ortiz Avenue
Fort Myers, FL. 33905

239- 275-3435

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9am – 5pm; Sunday, 11am – 5pm

Admission Charged

Various amphibians and arthropods are waiting. The museum’s interpretive displays address many issues affecting the area, from water resources to the plight of the endangered manatee. The stars are also always out in the planetarium.

The Shell Factory and Nature Park

2785 N. Tamiami Trail
N. Ft. Myers, FL. 33903

239-995-2142

Hours: Sunday – Saturday, 10am-9pm

Admission Charged

If you are in the mood to enjoy nature, ride the rides, ‘shop til you drop,’ or see some of Mother Nature’s finest creations, then you’ve certainly come to the right place! Not only does the Shell Factory include a collection of common and rare shells, sponges, coral, fossils and sea life specimens; there are a host of other things to do and see as well. For the fun seeker, there are arcade games, miniature golf, and even a radar gun to test the speed of a pitch at the pitching cage or perhaps bump into friends at the Bumper Boat lagoon. The Nature Park features a petting zoo, environmental education center, and a botanical trail and garden. It’s a day of education and fun for the entire family.

Historic Downtown Walking Tours

2300 Peck St.
Fort Myers, FL 33901
239-332-5955

Hours: Saturdays at 10am, January – April

Admission Charged

Highlights many historic points of interest in the Downtown area.

Day Trip

Everglades Day Safari

239-472-1559 or 800-472-3069

Hours: Safaris depart each morning at 7:45am and return about 5:30pm, call for location of pickup

Admission Charged

An Everglades Day Safari will be an exciting adventure through the different kingdoms that make up the “Everglades.” Guests are accompanied by highly trained guides who discuss the past, present and future of this truly unique area.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Edison & Ford Winter Estates

2350 McGregor Blvd.

Fort Myers, FL 33901

239-334-7419

Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9am – 5pm; Sunday, noon – 5pm. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

Admission Charged

As one of the nation’s most visited historic homes, the Estates includes 20 acres of historic buildings and gardens, Edison’s original rubber lab, a large museum, food and retail areas, and river cruises on a replica electric launch.

Imaginarium

2000 Cranford Avenue
Fort Myers, FL 33916

239-337-3332

Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm, Sunday, noon – 5pm

Admission Charged

The Imaginarium hands-on museum offers exciting interactive exhibits for all ages including live animals, a hurricane simulator, wide-screen movie theater, dino dig, and an early-childhood area. There are daily hands-on fun shows and 3-D presentations.

Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium

3450 Ortiz Ave.
Fort Myers, FL. 33905

239- 275-3435

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9am – 5pm; Sunday, 11am – 5pm

Admission Charged

Various amphibians and arthropods are waiting. The museum’s interpretive displays address many issues affecting the area, from water resources to the plight of the endangered manatee. The stars are also always out in the planetarium.

The Shell Factory and Nature Park

2785 N. Tamiami Trail
N. Ft. Myers, FL. 33903

239-995-2142

Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 10am-9pm

Admission Charged

If you are in the mood to enjoy nature, ride the rides, ‘shop til you drop,’ or see some of Mother Nature’s finest creations, then you’ve certainly come to the right place! Not only does the Shell Factory include a collection of common and rare shells, sponges, coral, fossils and sea life specimens, there are a host of other things to do and see as well. For the fun seeker, there are arcade games, miniature golf, or even a radar gun to test the speed of a pitch at the pitching cage or perhaps bump into friends at the Bumper Boat lagoon. The Nature Park features a petting zoo, environmental education center, and a botanical trail and garden. It’s a day of education and fun for the entire family.

Day Trip

Everglades Day Safari

239-472-1559 or 800-472-3069

Hours: Safaris depart each morning at 7:45am and return about 5:30pm, call for location of pickup

Admission Charged

An Everglades Day Safari will be an exciting adventure through the different kingdoms that make up the “Everglades.” Guests are accompanied by highly trained guides who discuss the past, present and future of this truly unique area.

E- Events & Entertainment:
Events

January

Thomas Alva Edison Regional Science and Inventors Fair

Harborside Convention Center

Usually held late January

239-334-2999

Call for additional information

Showcases over 750 student finalists from elementary, middle and high schools in the surrounding four counties. Some of the previous invention and science projects included the waistband threader, mosquito trapper, wet awake, sleep safe couch belt, ants-b-gone dog dish and manatee locator. Children get the opportunity to be creative and to work through problems and resolve them. Exhibits range from botany, computers, math, engineering, zoology, earth and space sciences, environmental sciences, medicine, health and physics.

February

City of Palms Block Party

Edwards Drive, Downtown Fort Myers

Usually held early February

239-334-2999

Admission Charged, children 12 and under free

Call for additional information

The opening ceremonies to the Edison Festival of Light are in honor of Thomas Alva Edison’s birthday with continuous musical entertainment on three stages. An expanded kids area offers rides, games and fun for all ages. Various food and beverages help round out this fun evening under the stars.

Edison Festival of Light Crafts on the River

Centennial Park

Edwards Drive

Usually held mid-February

239-334-2999

Admission Free

Call for additional information
Centennial Park is transformed into a craft lovers dream with over 100 exhibitors displaying their goods during the three-day event. Exhibitors come from throughout Southwest Florida and the entire country for an opportunity to sell their wares. Items range from jewelry, quilts, handmade crafts, paintings, ceramics, pottery and more.

Edison Festival of Lights Fireworks and Stadium Show

Edison Stadium

Fort Myers High School

Usually held mid-February

239-334-2999

Admission Charged for reserved seating

Call for additional information

This event features big band music, fireworks and a parade with floats and marching bands.

March

Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival

Usually held early March

239-463-9738

Call for additional information

Festivities include a traditional shrimp boil, parade, and the 5K Treasure Run

April

Fort Myers Beach Film Festival

Usually held end of April

239-765-0202

Call for additional information

The four-day festival provides film buffs the opportunity to see quality independent films and participate in events designed to cultivate the spirit of creativity and promote the talents of local and upcoming filmmakers. The schedule includes filmmaker panel discussions, student filmmaking workshops, and an elegant celebrity gala in addition to the film screenings at Beach Theater.

July

Fort Myers Beach Fireworks

Held on July 4th

239-454-7500

Call for additional information

One of the region’s most spectacular fireworks shows begins at dusk, accompanied by music and activity in the Times Square area.

October

Fort Myers Beach Air Show

Usually held mid-October

239-477-1820

Call for additional information

Enjoy two afternoons of stunning aerobatics and military demonstrations from one of the area’s liveliest beaches.

November

Buckler Craft Fair

Usually held early November

239-543-8368

Admission Charged, children 12 and younger free

Call for additional information

Over 200 professional, award-winning craftspeople from across the country exhibit and sell items including Country, Victorian, folk art, primitive, and wood items; furniture, miniatures, toys, dolls, bears, gourmet delights, homemade fudge, Christmas items, and more.

Taste of the Town

Usually held early November

239-277-1197

Admission Charged, children 9 and younger free

Call for additional information

The Annual Taste of the Town features samplings from more than 40 local restaurants. One of the largest food and entertainment festivals in Southwest Florida, it also features live music and children’s entertainment.

Fort Myers Beach Sandsculpting Festival

Usually held mid-November

239-454-7500

Call for additional information

Join artists from around the world as they create amazing works of art on Fort Myers Beach. This annual Gulf-front competition draws thousands of spectators to Fort Myers Beach each year.

Fiesta Latino

Usually held mid-November

239-418-1441

Admission Free

Call for additional information

Party Latino style with local salsa, meringue, and other Latin bands. Enjoy Latino food, a talent show, and children’s activities.

December

Holiday House

Usually held early December through the end of the month

239-334-7419

Admission Charged, children 5 and younger are free

More than 90,000 lights celebrate Thomas Edison’s contribution to modern life and the festivity of the season enjoyed by more than 35,000 visitors each year. Besides the miles and miles of lights, decorated trees and artistic holiday scenes decorate the former winter homes of neighbors Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.

Fort Myers Beach Boat Parade

Fort Myers Beach

Usually held mid-December

239-454-7500

Call for additional information

Boats decked out in holiday array depart from Pink Shell Beach Resort and parade beneath the high bridge and through the canals of Siesta Isles.

Winter Wonderland

Usually held the last 2 weeks of December

239-432-2034

Admission Free

Call for additional information

Join in every evening for a children’s carnival, holiday music, craft-making, food and beverages, and pictures with Santa. Carriage rides and a village train travel through the magically decorated park.

Performing Arts

Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall

8099 College Pkwy, SW
Fort Myers, FL. 33919

489-3033

Admission Charged

Call for performance schedule

Past productions have included performances of Riverdance, Phantom of the Opera and Evita as well as musical shows with stars such as Wynonna Judd, Paul Anka and Neil Sedaka, just to name a few.

Florida Repertory Theatre

2267 First St. (Arcade Theatre)
Fort Myers, FL. 33901

239-332-4665

Admission Charged

Call for schedule

Florida Repertory Theatre has a year-round season, and many education and outreach programs which benefit both the theatre and the community.

Southwest Florida Symphony and Chorus Association

4560 Via Royale Suite 2
Fort Myers, FL. 33919

239-418-1500

Admission Charged

Call for additional information

The season includes both classical and pops concerts performed in the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, located on the Edison Community College Campus in Fort Myers. The Symphony on Sanibel Chamber Orchestra Series performs at BIG Arts (Schein Hall) on Sanibel Island and the Stained Glass Choral Series are held at area churches. Overall, there are 26 performances to choose from. The organization boasts a force of over 200 strong, with 75 professional musicians, a 100-voice Adult Chorus, the Children’s Chorus and the area’s premier Youth Orchestra.