A visit to the Florida Oceanographic Center affords you unlimited access to a stingray tank and much more, though the stingrays remain the favorite. The Center offers daily feeding times where you can grab a shrimp by the tail and a stingray will come along a suck it out of your hand. Awesome, but not if you’re allergic to shrimp. If you are, like me, then please maintain a shrimp-free experience. If you are a preschooler, you might also be just as interested in the sensation of water as you are the stingrays, which is just a win-win as far as I’m concerned.
Also there to explore are touch tanks with star fish, anemones, snails and such. The “one finger only” rule applies here. Note: If your preschooler likes to carry a toy with them, try not to have the toy visit the touch tank. It happens.
Hands on exhibits can be found outside under a shaded area and inside as well. The grounds are accessible to strollers and wheelchairs alike. You can bring coolers for lunch at a picnic table. If not bringing lunch, definitely bring drinks to stay hydrated. If you forget, there are vending machines for drinks but no snacks for sale.
The second most watched exhibit was the Lagoon Fish Feeding Program. There is a large man-made pond that houses a variety of local fish. At feeding time, they come out to play. There are more fish on display inside in small tanks and aquariums. Keep an eye out for the moray eel.
We like to walk the trails on our trips and many trails in Florida lead to a view of the water, in this case, the beautiful Indian River Lagoon.
The Center offers many educational opportunities throughout the year and hosts a popular summer camp as well. There are numerous opportunities to extend the learning experience, or just take a simple day trip like we did. Either way, a visit to the Florida Oceanographic Center is a day well spent.
Visit Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center for more information. Print out their Animals on Display page and create your own scavenger hunt form!
We have been to the Loggerhead Marine Center in Juno Beach numerous times and have enjoyed every trip. Who isn’t enamored by a sea turtle? Most recently we signed up for a summer sea turtle walk at a cost of $17 per person. They do not promise a sighting however, but you will see an informative but looong 2 hour powerpoint slide show while you wait to see if a sea turtle comes ashore and begins to lay eggs.
We experienced a few “false crawls” where the turtles come ashore and then retreat. The center has spotters on the beach in “walkie talkie” contact with the presenter in the center where the group waits. So be prepared to wait until midnight at a slide show for a sighting. We were falling asleep come 11:30pm and still had a 40 minute drive home, so we left early. We learned a lot about turtles though! We brought my 8 year old niece and the age limit is 8 and up with good reason – much late-at-night patience needed and no guarantees. Kids can get disappointed with all the build up and no turtles : (
On day trips you are guaranteed to see the turtles in the tanks and they are an awesome sight to see. The tanks are set up so all ages can peer in and observe the rescued sea turtles, most of them injured in some way and recouperating. On days they release the turtles out to sea, crowds of over 1000 can gather on the beach to watch, so go early if you choose to view a release.
Mostly we just tour the small edu-info center and then visit with the turtles in the tanks outside. They added a fun hands-on “turtle hospital” exhibit that the kids loved. They put on lab coats and, with measuring tapes and calipers in hand, they tend to plastic sea turtles. The little ones lingered there a while day-dreaming about becoming turtle doctors. The entrance fee is a $5 donation per person.
Out back is a park, covered picnic table, and across the street just behind the center is the beach.
You don’t see sea turtles every day, so when you do – it will be a day well spent.
Airboating the Everglades should be on everyone’s bucket list, and who doesn’t want to see some live Gator wrestling? You can do both at Everglades Holiday Park in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Yes, this is home base to the “Gator Boys” show as seen on Animal Planet. We were happy to see a few familiar faces from the show on our trip.
Tre was our airboat driver, Scott was hanging out, and Ashley the great gator girl, performed the gator wrestling show and we got to take a picture with her! On our 2nd trip, we got to see Mike who also performs a great show.
We had to wait in line to purchase our tickets for the Airboat Ride. It’s a popular place! Cost was about $24 for adults and $13 for kids. (You can print out a coupon online for $3 off adults and $2 for kids. We did : ) Then we pulled out our cooler and staked claim at a picnic table out front as we waited a bit for our turn on the airboats. We had an audience…a couple peacocks joined us for lunch as well as more than a few other hungry birds.
We waited about 15 minutes for our number to be called and walked across the parking lot to the dock. These airboats seat about 25 people. The boat has four benches with backrests and is covered and has open sides. The ride was breezy and beautiful even in mid August and the views had us breathless. In November, it was a bit chilly but just as beautiful.
After the airboat ride comes the gator wrestling show…rain or shine! And by this time, it was pouring rain but Ashley didn’t let that stop her!
Even though it ended with rain, a day at Everglades Holiday Park was most definitely, a day well spent!
We have been back many times and Tre is still our favorite driver.