Wondering what to do this spring? With the temperature warming up, spring time is the perfect time to explore the latest attractions, newest hotels and the exciting special events the Sunshine State has to offer. (Listings are
organized by city from North to South)
• Visit www.VISITFLORIDA.com for Florida vacation information or
• Call 1 888 352 4636 for a free copy of the 2006 Official Florida Vacation Guide
ATTRACTIONS AND MUSEUMS
TALLAHASSEE– – In celebration of the only Southeast stop of the new exhibit, Napoleon: An Intimate Portrait, Feb. 6 through April 30, 2006.
Tallahassee welcomes the emperor with gracious southern hospitality. The complimentary exhibit, showcasing more than 250 rare personal possessions from his famous cocked military hat and the ceremonial sword used at his coronation to a lock of Empress Josephine’s hair, comes to the Museum of Florida History, directly after its debut in Washington, D.C. www.tallahasseemuseum.org (850) 245-6400.
CAPE CANAVERAL- At The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, guests can now go behind the scenes to see modules being processed for the International Space Station. Discover the contributions of the space station and observe the final check-out of the next components to fly in space. www.kennedyspacecenter.com (321) 449-4444.
WINTER HAVEN– Cypress Gardens Adventure Park marks its 70th anniversary in Central Florida with a yearlong bash that pays tribute to the park’s rich and storied past. The celebration began during the winter with the return of the world-famous pyramid to the water ski show and the introduction of 2,000 exotic butterflies to the Wings of Wonder exhibit. The new “Shake, Rattle & Roll” show began in January with a collection of nostalgic ‘50s songs, and the newly refurbished Cypress Belle, an old-fashioned paddle boat, set sail on the waters of Lake Eloise with scenic daytime excursions and a dinner cruise.
Cypress Garden’s sister water park, Splash Island, hosts its official grand opening in March beginning its first full operating season. Featured are the Kowabunga Bay wave pool, Polynesian Adventure water-play area, Paradise River, Tonga Tubes and Voodoo Plunge slide. www.cypressgardens.com (863) 324-2111.
ORLANDO – A new adventure begins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom where a legion of fans are already excited at the introduction of Expedition Everest, a high-speed train adventure that combines coaster-like thrills with the excitement of a close encounter of the hairy kind. Ancient legend holds that high in the Himalayan Mountains lives an enormous creature that fiercely guards the route to Mount Everest. Visitors will discover for themselves the fearsome lore of the yeti when Expedition Everest peaks in April 2006. Aboard rebuilt tea plantation railcars racing forward and backward, adventurers swoop into the unknown, braving twists, turns and drops inside and outside a mighty mountain leading to an unforgettable encounter. www.disneyworld.disney.go.com (407) 939-7675.
ORLANDO – SeaWorld Orlando premieres the park’s most ambitious killer whale show in its history. This spring, “Believe,” will showcase majestic killer whales with awe-inspiring choreography, an elaborate 3-story set, an original music score and panoramic screens. The new show creates a breathtaking “killer whale ballet” of grace and agility as the animal’s every movement is matched to the corresponding beat of an original music score. In May, SeaWorld also unveils three new kid-friendly additions to Shamu’s Happy Harbor, a kids’ play area. The additions include a family-friendly roller coaster themed after its most famous resident, a jellyfish-themed samba tower ride and a beach bucket-themed teacup ride. www.seaworld.com (407) 363-2280.
ORLANDO – The 11th annual Mardi Gras celebration returns to Universal Orlando every Saturday from February 11 to April 22, 2006. During the celebration, the streets of Universal Studios will come alive with festivities, special concerts and parades.
www.universalorlando.com (407) 363-8000.
KISSIMMEE– Fantasy of Flight unveiled “They Dared To Fly,” an exhibit dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. The exhibit celebrates the human potential displayed throughout aviation history as well as showcasing the achievements, struggles and stories of the airmen. www.fantasyofflight.com (863) 984-3500.
MELBOURNE– Brevard Zoo opened a new exhibit named Extreme Dinosaurs on February 15, 2006, featuring 12 life-sized animated, robotic dinosaurs. The temporary exhibit runs February 15 to May 14, 2006 and is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost to experience Extreme Dinosaurs is $3 per person for members and non-members. This does not include admission into the zoo. www.brevardzoo.org (321) 254.9453.
ST. PETERSBURG- In addition to the nightly Ghost Tour of St. Petersburg, a special Tuesday evening tour at Jungle Prada in St. Petersburg is now available. This tour explores the area where the Conquistadors first landed, a mystical place said to be haunted by spirits of Native Americans and early settlers. Tales of buried treasure, bootleggers, burial grounds, and modern day hauntings. Tour includes refreshments at Saffron's Caribbean restaurant in their famous Al Capone room. Bring your camera. Meet at 8:00 pm, outside Saffron’s, 1700 Park Street St. Petersburg. $18/person. Reservations required. www.ghosttour.net (727) 894-4678.
MIAMI- Refreshed and rejuvenated, The Miami Seaquarium is announced its re-opening on February 11, 2006. As the park celebrates the next 50 years, it welcomes back South Florida with a new look, new shows and a special reopening offer. Guests who visit during the month of February will receive a free annual pass with a full price paid admission. www.miamiseaquarium.com (305) 361-5705.
GRASSY KEY- The Dolphin Research Center has just launched an exciting new interactive program called Researcher for a Day. Participants spend the day as part of the research team, getting an inside look and taking an active role in research projects that explore the intelligence of our dolphins and sea lions. In addition to hands-on responsibilities with research sessions, guests enjoy playtime with dolphins and interact in the Dolphin Splash wade-in program. The Dolphin Research Center is open daily with
continuous fun-filled, exciting dolphin and sea lion presentations and a wide-range of interactions including dolphin swims and Trainer for a Day. www.dolphins.org (305)289-1121.
HOTELS AND RESORTS
SANDESTIN – Known as Sandestin’s most popular golf course for 20 years, Baytowne Golf Club located at The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, is scheduled to reopen late February. The golf club’s fresh face still winds through its familiar layout, but now includes such highlights as new views of the bay and beach, new water features, new bunkers and elevation changes, new hole locations and lengthened fairways. Baytowne Golf Club also now features junior tee boxes and certification as a U.S. Kids Golf “Family Friendly Course,” becoming one of the only courses in the country designed specifically with juniors in mind. www.sandestin.com (800)622-1038.
PANAMA CITY – Majestic Beach Towers, the newest upscale accommodations on Florida’s Gulf Coast, has recently opened the first of two towers adding a new tier of luxury to the destination. Situated on the sugary white sands and emerald green waters of the Gulf, Majestic Beach Towers is just a few sandy steps away from dining, boutique shops,162 holes of golf and entertainment venues. This lavish resort covers more than 650 feet of waterfront in Panama City Beach, truly capturing the spirit of “life on the beach”.
Available to guests are two hot tubs, steam room, sauna room, on-site spa and fitness center, movie theater with stadium seating, game room and four enticing pools including a heated indoor pool, wading pool with a waterfall, large outdoor tropical pool with poolside snack bar, and baby pool. www.majesticbeachtowers.com (866) 494-3364.
PALM COAST- Discover the elegance and romance of Europe at Palm Coast’s newest resort, Florida's European Village Resort. Set amid lush gardens and sparkling fountains stands the centerpiece for lively entertainment, exclusive shops, galleries, bars, and restaurants; the dramatic "Piazza del Fontana". Vibrant by day, and breathtaking in the moonlight, it is nestled among graceful colonnades and tile roofs, providing the ideal spot for festival events and marketplace romances. www.evresort.com (386) 597-5238.
DAYTONA BEACH – The Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort presents guests with refined luxury in a classic beach setting with superior accommodations due to a $20 million refurbishment project. The North and South Towers have been redecorated with new furniture, bedding, carpeting, wall coverings and bathroom fixtures. Some rooms are furnished with dark wood, plush furniture and a mix of mellow gold, greens and reds, while others are endowed with the style of a typical Floridian summer home using distinct shades of blue, yellow and light green. The grand re-opening debuts 742 guest rooms, suites and cabanas, seven spectacular restaurants and lounges, including the delectable Doc Bales Restaurant, a specialty shop, fitness centers and indoor/outdoor pools. www.daytonahilton.com (850) 668-2222.
CLERMONT– The Florida State Parks recently introduced new cabins at the 4,500-acre Lake Louisa State Park. The spacious cabins feature two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The master bedroom has a queen-sized bed, the other bedroom has two twin beds and a sleeper sofa is in the living area. The kitchen offers dishes, glassware, a coffee pot, a microwave and a stovetop. Other amenities of the cabins include an outdoor charcoal grill, a propane gas fireplace in the living area, central air conditioning and screened-in porches overlooking Lake Dixie. The cabins are also equipped with solar-powered hot water heaters. Other typical hotel features intentionally missing from the cabins are telephones, televisions, Internet connections, radios and clocks. The cabins were designed without these amenities to encourage guests to explore the natural beauty of the state park. www.lakecountyfl.com (800) 326-3521.
ORLANDO– Orange Lake Resort & Country Club in Kissimmee is building a $50 million, 12-acre (4.9-hectare) recreational complex called River Island to be completed in spring 2006. River Island will have more than 27,000 square feet (2,508 square meters) of water recreation features including a lazy river, two beach-style walk-in pools, pool bars, spas and waterfalls. They are also building a 36-hole miniature golf course.
orangelake.com. (407) 239-0000.
ORLANDO– The Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, A Loew’s Hotel, recently completed a $5.5 million renovation on its 750 rooms and suites. The renovations include new bedding, pillows, curtains and upholstery, new artwork and lamps, new carpeting in guest rooms and corridors, as well as DVD players and CD clock radios in each room. loewshotels.com. (407) 503-1000.
JUPITER BEACH– Dedicated to continuing to serve its loyal clientele with premier facilities and service, the Jupiter Beach Resort has added a new spa to its menu of newly-renovated amenities. The Spa at the Jupiter Beach Resort recently opened with a 7,500 square foot enclave of serenity. This includes five treatment rooms and one wet treatment room, as well as a full-service salon and new fitness facility. The Spa is the latest development in the Resort’s multi-million dollar transformation that began in the summer of 2004. As a reflection to this change, the Resort has changed its name to the Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa. www.jupiterbeachresort.com (561) 746-2511.
HOLLYWOOD– Situated on the famed Broadwalk of Hollywood Beach, the recently-opened Hollywood Beach Marriott has now unveiled a new spa – The Spa on the Broadwalk. Intimate and dedicated to service, the new Spa is situated on 2,500 square feet and offers five treatment rooms including a separate area for manicures and pedicures. The Spa is the latest enhancement at the beachfront hotel which opened in 2005. www.hollywoodbeachmarriott.com (866) 306-5454.
KEY LARGO– Key Largo’s premiere beachfront resort, The Marriott Beach Resort has completed a $6 million renovation. The renovation included a new West Indies Caribbean décor in the rooms with feather top mattresses, triple sheeting, duvet covers, and seven fluffy pillows. The resort also now features a new conference and catering facility, floor to ceiling windows, with spectacular 180 degree views of the Florida Bay and can accommodate up to 300 guests. www.marriottkeylargo.com (305) 453-4445.
SPECIAL EVENTS & EXHIBITIONS
DAYTONA BEACH– The Daytona Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Spring Family Beach Break program returns for its second year featuring special offers good at Daytona Beach area hotels, restaurants and attractions. Spring Family Beach Break takes place March 13-May 25, 2006. For more information, visit www.familybeachbreak.com (866) 845-1993.
ORLANDO– This year’s Family Spring Break® celebration is even bigger with the addition of the ultimate interactive, technologically advanced and mind-stimulating event ever held for kids — the first-ever Orlando World’s Fair for Kids. This unique event is scheduled to debut at the Orange County Convention Center April 15-23, 2006. Spanning more than 1 million square feet (92,000 square meters), interactive pavilions will represent six worlds designed to engage the child’s mental, physical, creative and strategic skills.
Families looking to take part in all the action can plan their trip easily by gathering information and booking a package online at
www.orlandoinfo.com/springbreak. (407) 354-5586.
Source : Communiqué de Presse