We’re doing things a little different this time. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so we’re cutting this state in half with things to do in south Florida! But that doesn’t mean half the fun. It means twice the attractions! So stay tuned for part two! But for now let’s buckle up and get going. You won’t want to be late!
We’re going to start in St. Petersburg at the Salvador Dalí Museum. Salvador Dalí was born in Spain, but a good portion of his work lives in Florida. The building itself is reminiscent of his imagination and ostentatious behavior. Of his 18 masterworks, eight are housed in the St. Petersburg museum. You can see the diverse nature of his artwork, not just his surrealist works he’s most known for. The museum also displays temporary exhibits from artists with like-minded artistic creativity. With endeavors outside of painting that included theatre, sculptures, fashion, photography and literature, Dalí’s has been influential for artists today working on modern surrealism. Heck, even his mustache was surreal.
After you get your fill on art and culture, put it in drive and head 100 miles east to Gatorland in Orlando for some real-life gator greatness. A classic attraction in central Florida, Gatorland offers you and your family a chance to ride a zipline 350 feet above the gator gauntlet! Other attractions include:
- Adventure hour – A daring behind-the-scenes tour
- Gator night shine – A night walk armed with only a flashlight
- Rookie wrestling – Show ‘em what ya got
- Trainer for a day – Exactly what it sounds like
From arts and culture to gators to science and space travel. If you have all your limbs still after rookie wrestling, the Kennedy Space Center is a short jaunt farther east of Orlando. The Visitor Complex allows you to view the actual Atlantis space shuttle, touch rocks taken from the moon, and meet and have lunch with an astronaut! With tours, a play area for kids, IMAX® movies, and learning stations for all ages, the Kennedy Space Center is an ideal place for families and couples to see what happens out of this world. But remember, whenever they come back, the shuttles still need a great set of tires to get them safely on earth. And if you’ll be passing through town, a new attraction will be opening November 11, highlighting heroes and legends of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®.
Two hours south near West Palm Beach, make a stop at the Lion Country Safari African Adventure. And how often do you get to go on safari in the United States?! Lion Country Safari is a drive-through park and is known as the first “cageless zoo” in the U.S. You can drive your own vehicle at your own pace through the park while listening to an audio recording while you observe giraffes, rhinos, lions, chips, and zebras. There is also a theme park with limited zoo exhibits where kids can hit the water slides or pet some smaller, tamer animals. The safari offers educational programs, group workshops, and conservation classes to help better understand how Lion Country contributes to global efforts, inspiring those to keeping earth in the best shape possible.
From Lion Country, Ernest Hemingway’s Home and Museum is under 250 miles south in Key West. Driving there will be half the fun! Passing a long string of islands, you’ll gaze out at beautiful water as far as the eye can see, passing over the Seven Mile Bridge. In the home, Hemingway completed multiple novels while becoming obsessed with the sea. The house is filled with memorabilia, including his typewriter. What’s most peculiar, though, is that the estate houses 40-50 cats. Hemingway had a six-toed cat named snowball that he adored and so most of the cats now are descendants of that cat; therefore, most of them have six toes! The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and includes a 30-minute tour.
And after your visit, you can get dinner at the nearby Six-Toed Cat just a half-mile away. Inspired obviously by Hemingway’s cat and the subsequent offspring that still inhabit the estate, the Six-Toed Cat offers traditional American fare with boat to table fresh seafood and daily specials.
Check back to see what places we’ll visit in the north end of Florida! I have a feeling you’ll want to spend more time than you originally thought in the Sunshine State! You can always search “Road Trip Destinations Series” in the search bar at the top of the blog to see what other states we’ve visited.