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Hidden treasures for kids in Florida

Snorkel in the clear water at Wakulla Springs, Florida (courtesy Quantum Physics at Flickr CC)Many people see the state of Florida as one big tourism mashup; Disney, beaches, sun, maybe some gators thrown in. I have a new Education.com article up that attempts to reveal some of the lesser-known Sunshine State places/events that families might enjoy.

(If it seems like I’ve done a lot of these state roundups lately – Georgia, Michigan and Texas is still coming – it’s because I have, which is why my posting rate here on the Family Travel blog has slipped a bit. 🙂 )

Here are 4 highlights out of 20 in the article:

  • Wakulla Springs State Park – Perfect for a stop-off between Tallahassee and Jacksonville, the park is home to a massive freshwater spring, one of the delights of northern Florida and a great excuse to go swimming. Take one of the glass-bottom boat tours to get crystal-clear views of spring wildlife below the boat. The comfy Lodge in the middle of the Park was built in 1937, and still welcomes guests for meals or an overnight stay.
  • Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City – One of the oldest areas in Tampa, Ybor City was the center of the Florida cigar-making industry in the early 1900s, and it still has a very strong Spanish and Cuban flavor. Opened in 1905, the flagship Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City is a local landmark serving a wide variety of traditional Latin cuisine. They also have live flamenco shows twice nightly except Sunday. There is a children’s menu.
  • Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki – This excellent museum of Seminole culture is about one hour west of Fort Lauderdale, and includes audiovisual exhibits, a living village, rare artifacts and a one-mile boardwalk around the property.
  • Miami Festivals – Festival action never stops in multicultural Miami. In March, the traditional Cuban heart of the city is filled for the Calle Ocho Festival (where you may get to join the world’s largest conga line.) The Miami Children’s Museum sponsors a popular Children’s Film Festival in May, and in June the nation’s largest black heritage festival, the Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival, kicks off in nearby Coconut Grove. In November the Miami Book Fair International celebrates literary delights and has a Children’s Alley, and the Junior Orange Bowl festival is stuffed with arts and sports events in late fall and into January.

For the rest of the goodies, please visit Fun and Learning in Florida! on Education.com.

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