Florida has a pair of pirate festivals coming up on Columbus Day weekend, in Panama City Beach and Fort Myers Beach. Both run three days, Oct. 9-11. St. Augustine will hold its pirate festival Nov. 6-8; www.thepirategathering.com.
In Panama City Beach, the fifth annual Pirates of the High Seas Fest will include fireworks shows, pirate invasion, sword fight reenactments, treasure hunts, pirate parades, costume contests, music and more. Events will be at the Grand Lagoon, Pier Park and the City Pier. All events are free. Details: www.visitpanamacitybeach.com/piratesofthehighseas/
In Fort Myers Beach, Salty Sam’s 10th Annual Pirate Fest will have a pub crawl, live music on two stages, street magic, a puppet show, a “living history” pirate encampment, games for kids and more. Adults: $5 donation; kids free. Details: www.fortmyersbeach.org/piratefest/.
▪ “Ding” Darling Days: The annual birding and eco-festival at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island will kick off with Family Fun Day Oct. 18 and run through Oct. 24. Family Fun Day will have free tours of the refuge, live wildlife presentations, archery clinics, puppetry, a touch tank and butterfly house, and kids’ nature crafts. The festival will also feature birding, biking, kayaking, paddleboarding, sea life boating, and interpretive presentations. It will wrap up with Conservation Art Day, with visits from Federal Duck Stamp and Junior Duck Stamp winners and nature art workshops. Details: www.dingdarlingdays.com.
▪ Theme parks: At Disney Springs, which is in the midst of a makeover from its old identity, Downtown Disney, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar has opened in the Landing area. The aviation-themed bar is named after Indiana Jones’ pilot in the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark. In addition to seating in the “hangar,” there’s more on the patio and on a docked boat. No meals, but the appetizer menu includes sliders, bratwurst, wings, calamari and more. Details: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/.
▪ Museums: Opening Saturday at the Museum of Science & History in Jacksonville is a traveling exhibition, Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters, which explores earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes and tornadoes. Guests will be able to feel what it’s like to stand inside a roaring tornado with an interactive simulation. They also will have the opportunity to build and erupt a virtual volcano, trigger an underwater earthquake and simulate a tsunami, and examine real rock and lava specimens from geologic events, among other activities. Details: www.themosh.org.
▪ Air travel: JetBlue will begin service between Fort Lauderdale and Turks and Caicos on Nov. 19. The two-hour nonstop flights to Providenciales will be daily and year-round. They will use the Embraer E190 aircraft. Details: www.jetblue.com.
— Miami Herald Staff and wire reports