Sunshine Villa Florida

Gator Night Shine – Are You Brave Enough? Beyond The Parks Edition

When you think of Florida, what comes to mind? Sunshine? Oranges? How about gators?  In this edition of Beyond the Parks, we talk about Gatorland.

Gatorland lets you get up close and personal with the Florida natives in a nighttime experience- Gator Night Shine.

Gator Night Shine adventure takes you deep into the domain of Florida’s most famous reptile, the alligator!

Armed with only a flashlight and gator food, you bravely make your way along the winding wooden walkways of Gatorland’s Alligator Breeding Marsh. The sounds of the night come alive around you as the rustle of feathers overhead and the splashing of water nearby signal that you are not alone.

Turning your flashlight towards the water, you suddenly become aware of hundreds of hungry, glowing, red eyes slowly making their way closer…

Tour Length: 1 – 1.5 Hour (Tour begins at dusk, please meet at the far south end of the parking lot)

Number of People: Minimum 5, Maximum 25

Admission Policy: This guided tour is an after-hours special Gatorland event and is restricted to Gatorland’s Breeding Marsh. Gatorland will provide the flashlights, insect repellent, and some alligator food.

Tickets are $24.99 + tax

Of course Gatorland has plenty of day time encounters as well.  You can see alligators, crocodiles of all sizes along with the extremely rare white leucistic alligator.  They also have a free flight aviary, & petting zoo.

Gatorland Experiences:

Stompin Gator off road adventure: Board one of three, 12-foot-high custom-made, off-road monster vehicles for a 15-minute rugged and hilarious adventure like no other theme park ride anywhere.

Screamin Gator Zip Line: Soar across five intense zip lines ranging in length from 230 feet to more than 500 feet, and carefully cross a swinging bridge over the park’s main walkway.  Fly over alligators and crocodiles at speeds near 30 miles per hour.

Animal Shows: Thrills and chills abound as some of the largest alligators in the world jump four feet or more out of the water in this one-of-a-kind show. Learn more about alligators and crocodiles and their awesome powers.

Adventure Hour: Hand feed giant gators. Home to hundreds of alligators, you’ll have the opportunity to safely venture within a few feet of hungry, giant alligators and create a thrilling feeding frenzy.

Meet a gator: Get up close and personal with a gator for a photo opportunity

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Gatorland is open everyday from 10-5 rain or shine.

14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32837 (407) 855-5496

Beyond The Parks – Get Up Close And Personal With Florida’s Wildlife

beyond the parks

In another Beyond The Parks edition, we explore Homosassa Springs State Park.

Want to get up close and personal with Florida’s Vibrant wildlife? Discover the wild-side of Florida with endangered Florida panthers, red wolves, manatees and whooping cranes, plus black bears, bobcats, and, of course, alligators.

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park occupies almost 200 acres around Homosassa Spring, which is the primary source for the Homosassa River. The main entrance to the Park is along US19 in the town of Homosassa Springs where you will find ample parking, a visitor center, snack bar and gift shop. From that location, you can take a tram or pontoon boat to the west entrance about a half mile away. The central feature of Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is the main spring, where you can view the spring from the “Fish Bowl” floating underwater observatory, where East Indian manatees are almost always present. A unique underwater structure, the Underwater Observatory, allows visitors to “walk underwater” beneath the spring’s surface and watch the various fish and manatees swim about. An astounding number of fresh and saltwater fish still congregate in the natural spring bowl—large jacks, snapper, snook and others. The Park serves an important role of being a rehabilitation center for orphaned or injured manatees that recuperate in the spring waters before being released again to the wild.

The park also features a variety of captive animals such as alligators, black bears, red wolf, key deer, flamingos, whooping cranes and the oldest hippopotamus named Lu in captivity. The native wildlife that reside in the park serve as ambassadors for their species, providing visitors face-to-face connections between the diverse Florida habitats and the animals that call those habitats home

Paved, wheelchair accessible paths wind throughout the park, allowing easy access for viewing black bear, Florida panther, bobcats, deer, alligators, and many other species. In addition to the animals that are housed at the park – most of which have been injured, or for some other reason cannot survive in the wild – a large number of wild birds and other species call the Park home.

Hours are 9:00 – 5:30

Adults (age 13+) $13, Children (ages 6-12)  $5, Children 5 and under, free

4150 S. Suncoast Blvd.
Homosassa FL 34446   (352) 628-5343

Boggy Creek Airboat Ride Through The Everglades- Beyond The Parks

beyond the parks

We know that the majority of travellers visiting Orlando come for the theme parks, but there is much more to Orlando than parks! There is no shortage of fun activities and many of them have nothing to do with theme parks.

We feature blogs we like to call “Beyond the Parks” which offers you planning options that are outside the typical roller coaster thrill rides. We will show you the vast array of recreational activities and indoor attractions beyond the parks. Like this Underwater Light Show and Orlando’s natural lazy river .

Give Boggy Creek Airboat rides a try!  Glide across the headwaters of the Florida Everglades at speeds up to 40 mph aboard six-passenger airboats. Discover territory that remains unaltered in the wilderness of the Central Florida Everglades.  You will be taking into the breathtaking beauty of nature, including wetlands and wildlife.  See alligators, turtles, birds and more in their natural environment.

Half hour tour:      $28.95 for adult and $24.61 for children

1 hour tour:          $48.95 for adult and $41.61for children

Private 1 hour:     $63 per person

Sunset tour:         $59.95 for adult and $50.96 for children

You drive:             $349 2 people, 1 hour

Feeling super adventurous? They even offer a night tour! Glide through the trails of tall grass without knowing what lurks around the bend. $59.95 adult and $50.96 for children.

You can purchase your tickets here.

TIP: The best time to see alligator’s is early in the morning, before 10AM during hot weather, and later in the day in the cold.

So if you want a different kind of Orlando experience, be sure to follow our “Beyond the Parks” edition blogs.

Florida Strawberry Festival – Beyond The Parks Edition

strawberry

The Florida Strawberry Festival is an 11-day community event celebrating the strawberry harvest of Eastern Hillsborough County. Each year, over 500,000 visitors enjoy the festival’s headline entertainment, youth livestock shows, rides, exhibits of commerce and, of course, its strawberry shortcake.

11 full days of strawberries, shortcake, big name concerts, rides, stage shows, attractions, food galore, exhibits, displays, contests, competitions and a berry sweet time for the whole family!

Their strawberry food offerings include:

World famous strawberry shortcake, strawberry milk shakes, strawberry coated nuts, fried strawberry twinkies, strawberry hand pies, strawberry lasagne, chicken strawberry tacos, jam, tacos, sandwiches, brittle, strawberry pie, cheesecake, strawberry pizza, cobbler, parfait, crepes, strawberry lemonade, kettle corn, cream puffs, fritters, and of course, fresh strawberries.  Who knew you could make so much with strawberries! Are you hungry yet?

The festival runs from March 1-11.

303 Lemon St
Plant City, Florida 33563

Schedule of events

Orlando Food And Wine Fest – Beyond The Parks Edition

Experience an array of food from more than 30 of Orlando’s restaurants, cooking demonstrations, domestic beer, international wine samples and musical performances:

Saturday, February 24th
Plain White T’s

Echosmith

Blue October

lovelytheband

Plus, some your local favorites!

Experience cuisine from some of Orlando’s best restaurants like World of Beer, LePho Kitchen, Miller’s Ale House, Kobe Steakhouse, & much more.

 

Downtown Food & Wine Fest

Saturday, February 24, 2018

12:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Additional Dates

Sunday, February 25, 2018 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Visit their website for more information.

 

Beyond The Parks Edition

Think Orlando is all about theme parks? Think again.  There’s a world of fun outside the parks and we’re here to show you the multitude of entertainment, dining & recreational options Orlando has to offer.

Perhaps Flyboarding is more your idea of fun. Paddleboard Yoga? How about Bioluminescent paddling- an underwater fireworks show? For the non-adventurous type why not try Hammock massage therapy?

Sound exciting? Look out for our “Beyond The Parks Edition” posts which will showcase these & many other options outside the parks.