New penguin attraction to debut at SeaWorld
This is an especially cool time to plan a family trip to SeaWorld, where a chilling new attraction is set to open May 24. Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, is believed to be the coldest theme park attraction on the planet. The ride will include an encounter with penguins in their 30-degree habitat. Visitors can go on a voyage to the bottom of the world, to the coldest and windiest continent, and to a place of ice more than 9,000 feet thick. For more information, visit www.seaworldparks.com.
Wonder Gardens gone, but not forgotten
Lester and Bill Piper opened Everglades Wonder Gardens in 1936 to teach people about Florida’s vanishing wildlife. Lester’s grandson, David Piper, continued the 77-year-old family business until a few weeks ago, when the Old Florida roadside animal attraction with gator shows and a museum closed. David Piper made the decision to close after he was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor. The 3.5-acre waterfront property in the heart of downtown Bonita Springs is on the market for $3.95 million. Many of the animals have already been shipped off to other zoos and refuges.
Civil War time history comes to life
On June 1 and 2, you can experience Civil War fort life in Fernandina Beach. During those two days, the Union Garrison at Fort Clinch State Park on Amelia Island will be alive with powder artillery demonstrations, medical demonstrations and soldier drills. Guests can even watch an old-time blacksmith in action. For more information, call 904-277-7274 or visit www.floridastateparks.org/fortclinch.
Seaside champagne brunch for Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day is coming up, and it’s not too early to make plans. The folks at the Marenas Beach Resort & Spa Miami suggest a seaside champagne brunch at its Caracol Restaurant. For $59 per person ($25 for kids 3-10 and free for those younger than 3), you get brunch, a complimentary family portrait and live entertainment. Mimosas are $10 with free refills. For more information or reservations, call 305-503-6000 or visit www.MarenasResortMiami.com.
Suntastic Savings at Marriotts
Florida celebrates 500 years of sensational beaches and attractions this year, giving travelers yet another reason to explore the Sunshine State. As part of the celebration, Marriott is offering enticing summer savings deals.
From the powder white sands of South Beach to the crystal clear waters of the west coast, 30 JW Marriott, Renaissance, Marriott and Gaylord Hotels & Resorts are offering Summer Suntastic Savings, with benefits based on where the resort is located. The package is available from May 15 – Sept. 30. Perks range from discounted rates, to free meals for kids and complimentary amenities. Rates start at $99. For details, call 800-228-9290 or visit www.marriottsummersuntasticsavings.com.
Mary Thurwachter is a West Palm Beach freelance writer and founder/producer of INNsideFlorida.com (www.innsideflorida.com). Email: email@example.com.