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Florida Tourist Information


What most visitors think of as Orlando actually includes Kissimmee and Lake Buena Vista as well. Walt Disney World's theme parks are mandatory magic for Central Florida visitors. The spires of Cinderella's castle are familiar around the world as the symbol of The Magic Kingdom, Disney's original park In Lake Buena Vista. The castle is a fantastic backdrop for playful rides and roaming characters like International celebrity, Mickey Mouse.

Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's newest adventure park, is filled with the natural drama of life in the wild, Visitors have thrilling encounters with animals from real life, the distant past, and imagination. The latest addition to Disney's Animal Kingdom is Asia, which showcases the exotic wildlife and lush rain forests of the continent's southern region. Guests embark on many fascinating journeys encountering natural mysteries at every turn.

Epcot is a two-part educational and cultural attraction designed to challenge the mind and satisfy the senses. Here, you can sample a warm croissant at a bakery in France, tap your foot to an authentic oom-pah band in Germany, learn about the age of dinosaurs, and take an exhilarating trip through the human body all in one day! Disney MGM Studios allows visitors to see Disney animators creating wonderful characters and explains movie-making on an entertaining backlot tour.

Universal Studios Florida shares the movie- making theme of Disney-MGM Studios, but attractions are presented quite differently here.

At Universal, promoters say you can "ride the movies." Some rides provide an entertaining look at famous movies of the past, such as "Kongfrontation," where guests meet King Kong on the New York subway. Jaws, Earthquake, Terminator 2: 3-D Battle Across Time and the works of Hitchcock are among the perk's other movie attractions. Twister, a technological marvel, invites guests to experience the awesome live spectacle and destructive nature of an actual tornado, a mere 20 feet away.

Universal's newest park is Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. Five islands, each with a distinct personality, offer something for everyone. Experience the bustling marketplace of Port of Entry, battles between good and evil on Marvel Super Hero island, slapstick ruckuses at Toon Lagoon, prehistoric megalosaurs in Jurassic Park, mythical sorcerers on the Lost Continent, and fanciful revelry at Seuss Landing.

Visitors to Central Florida will want to explore natural attractions as well as fantastical ones, and SeaWorld is a wonderful place to start. Now guests can be Trainer for a Day, working alongside real SeaWorld animal trainers to learn training techniques, feeding, and show preparation. Attractions include the "Pacific Point Preserve," a sea lion and seal habitat which mimics the rocky, northern Pacific coastline; and "Manatees: The Last Generation?" an up-close look at the endangered sea cow.

SeaWorld's newest attraction is Wild Arctic, which takes visitors on a chilling adventure to experience the natural beauty of the artic Visitors come face to face with real polar bears, walruses, harbor seals and beluga whales. The highlight of a visit to SeaWorld is the "Shamu: New Visions" show during which killer whales interact with trainers, defy gravity in breathtaking leaps; and make a big splash (and a wet audience !) with a flick of the tall and 52-degree water.

Dinner attractions are very popular in the Orlando area and also center around themes, whether of an era or an ethnicity. Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament in Kissimmee allows you to cheer a knight on to victory. Disney's Pleasure Island celebrates New Year's Eve every night with laser lights and dancing in the streets.

Church Street Station in downtown Orlando is a nighttime smorgasbord of activities and eateries, hosting a variety of different clubs and restaurants. Universal Studios CityWalk is a colossal 80-acre entertainment mecca, where themed restaurants, nightclubs, cinemas, live entertainment, and shopping abound.

Shopping areas
in Orlando have as much variety as the local attractions. Souvenirs of your adventures for yourself and to take back home are easy to find. Outlet centers and factory stores abound here and offer some of the best bargains in town. Shopping areas in Orlando and Kissimmee are also popular for their fun environments, such as at Pointe Orlando, the Church Street Station Exchange, Disney Village Market Place or Old Town in Kissimmee.

Water fun is everywhere in Central Florida, though it's not a beach destination. Wet 'n Wild, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are water parks where visitors can beat the Florida heat & and have a slipping, sliding, good time of it! The newest, Disney's Blizzard Beach combines water with "snow" from a "freak Florida snowstorm," creating snowy slopes.

Botanical beauty flourishes in several parks, which offer breathtaking displays of lush plant life. Cypress Gardens, a short distance from Orlando in,shows off stunning outdoor floral displays as well as world-class water-ski shows daily. Bok Tower Gardens is a serene sanctuary abounding with azaleas, camellias and magnolias. A World of Orchids displays thousands of rare end exotic examples that flourish in a state-of-the-art air conditioned, tropical rain forest garden showcase.


Sarasota exudes an air of relaxed sophistication. Long considered the cultural capital of Florida, the Ringlings and other wealthy
families made Sarasota their winter playground, imparting the legacy of the arts early on.

This fair city soon became a haven for artists, thespians and musicians. The powder white sands of the keys attracted more visitors and they soon developed into rustic, laid-back beach communities.
With a cultural calendar that rivals that of any metropolis, Sarasota boasts several world-class museums and arts venues. A beautiful Italian Renaissance villa-turned-art-museum, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art houses one of the most comprehensive collections of Baroque paintings, plus exquisite 17th-century tapestries.

Next door, the Ringling residence, Ca' d' Zen (House of John), a 30-room mansion
nestled on picturesque Sarasota Bay, is modeled after a Venetian palace. The Circus Museum on the grounds contains memorabilia from the Big Top, including parade wagons, photographs end costumes.

The Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts (formerly the Asolo Center) is an outstanding regional theater, as well as a teaching conservatory. Honored by the state of Florida for its high quality of artistic production and performance, the Sarasota Opera Association presents four operas in February and March, A celebrated orchestra, the Florida West Coast Symphony, presents a stunning season with several internationally renowned guests. The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, a purple, shell- shaped landmark, Is known for its distinctive architecture and excellent acoustics.
Sarasota is also rich in lush natural beauty. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens set on Sarasota's sparkling bay, is an orchid research center with stunning grounds that showcase these and other exotic blooms.



Displays at the Mote Marine Aquarium are a means to explain the work of Mote scientists to visitors and to encourage an understanding and appreciation of the aquatic environment. The lab is world renowned for its scientific research, particularly research on sharks and the assessment of environmental pollutants. The Gulf Coast Heritage Trail, the state's first ecotourism trail, winds through Sarasota County.

Siesta Key is renowned for its ribbon of sugary beaches, the widest and most popular in the country. Since the 1987 "Great International White Sand Challenge," the sugar fine sand here has been officially top rated every year. Independent judges selected Siesta Key's sand over 29 other entries, including the Bahamas and Grand Cayman, as
the whitest and most powdery sand in the world
Siesta Village is a vibrant area filled with boutiques and eateries. Bright umbrellas dot the casual outdoor cafes and in-line skaters and bicyclists share the sidewalks with those strolling through this lackadaisical community. Board one of the colorful Siesta Key trolleys for an overview of this beautiful barrier island.

Besides sparkling beaches, Lido Key also boasts St. Armands Circle, a European-flavored Outdoor shopping area. Here more than 145 exclusive shops and boutiques carry quality merchandise from Mondi, Tiffany & Co. and Tommy Bahama. Several fine restaurants and ice cream parlors also line the circle. A horse-drawn carriage ride around the circle is the perfect evening treat.

For the more active visitor, Sarasota offers watersports, fishing and tennis galore, along with many excellent golf courses. A municipal baseball stadium is used for spring training by the Cincinnati Reds. Nearby Myakka River State Park, Florida's largest, offers sun-dappled rivers and cypress-studded paths for hikers and bicyclists.

So just kick back, relax and let your cares dissolve in Florida's premier west coast paradise.


Tampa reflects the mosaic of different cultures and influences that have made it the dynamic urban center it is today. The coexistence of the quaint historic villages with sleek skyscrapers in evidence of this rapidly growing city's success at reconciling its rich history with modern-day development The kaleidoscope of activity ranges from its bustling port brimming with shrimp boats, banana barges and cruise ships, to its festive marketplaces to its multi-ethnic restaurants and shops.
Be sure to stop by historic Ybor City, where 100 years of decayed elegance has been restored to antique splendor. Vicente Martinez Ybor and Cuban immigrants established this 'city within a city" in the 1800's building it on the cigar industry. Stroll the quaint streets and breathe in the aroma of freshly baked Cuban bread drifting out of the local bakeries and restaurants, Visit Ybor Square where
cigar makers demonstrate their ancestors' craft. At night, La Septima
(Seventh Avenue), the main stretch, Is shut off for pedestrians as revelers fill the streets of Ybor club hopping at the many trendy nightspots. Eclectic art galleries, mom-and-pop stores, wrought iron balconies and brick sidewalks enhance this delightful glimpse at Tampa's Cuban culture.



Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is listed among the nation's top four zoos. Besides exotic animals, Busch Gardens also features live shows and a variety of thrilling rides including their newest attraction Gwazi the Southeast's largest double wooden roller coaster. The water park Adventure island offers breathtaking flumes and slides us well as a leisurely tubing trail. For more family fun, stop by Lowry Park Zoo or the Museum of Science and Industry, which offers interactive educational exhibits as well as an IMAX theater.
The Florida Aquarium, set along the picturesque waterfront, displays marine life and natural Florida habitats in an educational and entertaining fashion. The Henry B. Plant Museum (now the University of Tampa), is one of the finest examples of Moorish architecture in Center offer rotating exhibits and a stunning season of performing arts. If you enjoy spectator sports, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (football), the Tampa Bay Lightning (hockey), Tampa Bay Storm (arena football), Tampa Jai Alai Fronton, Tampa Bay Downs and Tampa Greyhound Track offer a wide variety of excitement.
Tampa's restaurants reflect its cosmopolitan character. Spanish. Southwestern, Italian, Asian, continental and seafood restaurants abound. Shopping can be enjoyed in a variety of settings. Old Hyde Park Village, nestled in one of the city's oldest neighborhoods off picturesque Bayshore Boulevard, is an elite shopping area with exclusive boutiques and cafés. Brandon is home to a large shopping



district and
mall. Tampa is surrounded by several notable communities including Dover, Hamilton, Plant City, Riverview, Ruakin, Apollo Beach and Thonotasassa.


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