5 new takes on Florida

Date Posted: 25/11/2014

Roller coasters and seaside isn’t all there is to Florida, USA. Discover its other sides on a group holiday.

Florida is famous as both the Sunshine State and the theme park capital of the world. But there are more sides to this southern state than meets the eye.

Here are five alternative ways to spend the time in Florida...

1. Unearth the mystery of ‘Florida’s Bigfoot’ in the Everglades.

While driving through the Everglades, stop by the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters located in Ochopee on the Tamiami Trail, part of US Highway 41. Much like Bigfoot, the Skunk Ape is Florida’s local myth - a smelly cryptid ape said to roam the Everglades.

The centre is run by Dave Shealy, a man who believes as many as nine skunk apes exist in the Everglades. Exhibitions showcase the mysterious story of this elusive creature alongside local reptiles and exotic birds.

2. Greet the inmates of St Augustine’s Old Prison.

Take a trip to discover historic St Augustine on the A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway, and visit the inmates on a tour of the Old Jail.

The building, on the National Register of Historic Places, has a deceptively picturesque exterior but step inside and you’ll discover that it was created by the same company that built Alcatraz!

Today, actor inmates recreate the prison’s atmosphere from behind bars while guns, weapons and courtyard displays bring to life a fun, educational experience.

3. Discover space legends at the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

No outing to Florida’s Space Coast is complete without a visit to the Astronaut Hall of Fame, located towards the top of the Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway.

Honouring America’s most noteworthy flight controllers, historians and journalists who contributed to space exploration, the Hall is home to the world’s largest collection of astronaut memorabilia.

Artefacts include space suits, statues and Sigma 7- the mercury space craft which succeeded in orbiting the earth six times in 1962 during the ‘Space Race’ with the Soviet Union.

4. Miami’s Monkey Jungle, ‘where the humans are caged and the animals are free’.

Just south of Miami, explore Monkey Jungle – America’s only habitat for endangered monkeys which is open to the public.

Uniquely, visitors can walk through a tunnel of cages in the monkeys’ 30-acre habitat, learn more about them and witness scheduled feeding times.

There are over 400 primates here including 30 different species such as the Java Troop, Golden Lion Tamarin, Spider Monkeys, Gibbons and Guenons.

5. Drive out to the Bubble Rooms of Captiva Island.

Take a drive to Captiva Island from mainland Florida (approximately an hour’s drive via the Sanibel Causeway from Cape Coral) to find out what makes the Bubble Rooms so special.

Established in 1979, the colourful multi-themed restaurant boasts unusual signature dishes such as Flaming Socra Cheese, Bubble Bread and Carolina Moons.

Elaborate decorations, artefacts, lights and moving model trains populate the rooms. Photographs of stars who have visited adorn the walls, and this winter travellers will find multiple Father Christmases and Elves.

These ideas were compiled by Magic Holidays, which takes group bookings on most of their getaways. 

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