▪ Fort Mose Historic State Park in St. Augustine, one of the original sites on the southern route of the Underground Railroad, will host its annual Flight to Freedom on Feb. 13 as part of its commemoration of Black History Month.
In 1738, Fort Mose — then under the control of the Spanish — served as a refuge for slaves fleeing from the British. Flight to Freedom recreates that experience. Visitors can follow the guided Flight to Freedom Trail, where they will encounter several reenactors portraying various historical characters.
Fort Mose, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark, has a boardwalk with interpretive signage that details the life and heritage of the first free black Americans.
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▪ The 12th annual Marjory Stoneman Douglas Festival, a five-day celebration of the Everglades and Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ legacy, kicks off Feb. 23 in Everglades City.
The family-friendly festival features many activities in the Everglades — which Douglas wrote about in her 1947 book, Everglades: River of Grass — including kayak and canoe trips, swamp walks, a pontoon boat tour, Fakahatchee tram tour and a fern walk. Other activities include talks by rangers and other experts, an animal presentation, photo exhibit and more. Most events will be held at — or start at — Museum of the Everglades.
▪ Two astronauts, Brian Duffy and Scott Parazynski, have been chosen for induction into the Astronaut Hall of Fame at the Kennedy Space Center. The two men will become the 92nd and 93rd astronauts inducted in a public ceremony at the space center on May 14. Duffy, an Air Force pilot and aerospace industry executive, is a veteran of four space shuttle flights. Parazynski, a medical doctor and pilot, flew on five space shuttle missions.
▪ A manatee viewing area — closed since security crackdowns after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks — was set to re-open Saturday by the FPL power plant in Riviera Beach, along with a new center designed to educate the public about manatees. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday, leading up to the opening.
When the weather cools, hundreds of manatees are drawn to the warm water outflows of the plant. Before the 2001 attacks, the public could view the animals in the lagoon next to the old oil-fired plant. That plant was later razed and replaced with a plant that began operating in April 2014 and is powered by natural gas. As part of that project, FPL committed to reopening the viewing area.
In addition to the boardwalk where the public can watch the manatees, the new “Eco-Discovery Center” has galleries that highlight manatee anatomy, migration patterns and the ecosystem of the Lake Worth Lagoon.
Peak viewing season is November through March, but the center is open year-round, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Details: www.VisitManateeLagoon.com.
▪ Disney World has announced its lineup for Garden Rocks, the weekend concert series tied to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, which will run March 2 to May 30. Concerts run three times a day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, plus Monday, May 30, and are included in Epcot admission.
Here’s the lineup: March 4-6, The Orchestra (former members of ELO); March 11-13, Starship; March 18-20, Little River Band; March 25-27, Village People; April 1-3, Herman’s Hermits; April 8-10, The Guess Who; April 15-17, Blood, Sweat & Tears; April 22-24, Brian Howe; April 29-May 1, Georgia Satellites; May 6-8, Gin Blossoms; May 13-15, Darlene Love; May 20-22, Night Ranger; May 27-30, The Spinners.
JetBlue is going to overhaul its fleet, upgrading its entertainment system but shrinking legroom. The carrier, which flies to more than 40 destinations out of Fort Lauderdale, is replacing its old seat-back entertainment with 10-inch, high-definition touch screens that are nearly double the size of the existing screens.
JetBlue also will increase the seat capacity on its A320 jets from 150 seats to 162 seats. JetBlue’s A321 jets, which now hold 190 seats, will be reconfigured to hold 200 seats. To squeeze in the extra seats, JetBlue will rearrange and shrink the size of the galleys and bathrooms and reduce the distance between the back of your seat and the back of the seat in front of you — known as the seat pitch — from about 34 inches to 32 inches.
MIAMI HERALD STAFF AND WIRES