Florida Travel

Florida travel notes: What’s happening

Legoland is creating quiet spaces and doing more to make park more friendly to kids with autism.
Legoland is creating quiet spaces and doing more to make park more friendly to kids with autism. Legoland

▪ Legoland creating quiet spaces for guests with autism: Legoland is adding a new space and fitting it out in order to make the park more welcoming for guests with autism. It’s intended to be the first of several projects done in partnership with the organization Autism Speaks. Legoland is installing the first piece, a large panel of hands-on, sensory-stimulating activities in a quiet space. Legoland said in a statement that the project “quickly bloomed into multiple ideas among several departments to make the resort a more welcoming place for kids of all ages and abilities,” including more “quiet rooms.”

▪ Anniversary of Tamiami Trail: The Museum of the Everglades will celebrate the 88th anniversary of the opening of the Tamiami Trail, the road that connected Tampa and Miami and was the first road built across the Everglades, on April 23. The museum, in Everglades City, will also mark its own 18th birthday at the event. The day of festivities will include lectures, antique cars, live music, birthday cake and a historical walking tour of Everglades City. Details: 239-695-0008, www.colliermuseums.com.

▪ SeaWorld’s manatee rehab center: SeaWorld Orlando, which has been rescuing and rehabilitating sick or injured manatees since 1976, has opened part of its manatee rehabilitation area to park guests. The park for years has offered a $29 behind-the-scenes tour of its five-acre wildlife rehab center, but the new access to the viewing area is included in park admission. In addition to seeing manatees in rehab, SeaWorld said, guests can also see their digital medical charts, interactive exhibits, an underwater viewing camera and videos of the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team in action. Over the years, SeaWorld has rehabbed more than 500 manatees, with the goal of releasing them back into the wild. Details: https://seaworldcares.com/.

▪ Galleon replica ship in St. Augustine: The 16th century replica Spanish merchant ship, El Galeón, which visited Florida in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s naming of La Florida, has returned to St. Augustine and is available for tours through April 12. The ship, built in Spain in 2009-10, is a 170-foot authentic wooden replica of galleons that explored the world during the 16th through 18th centuries. The ship has been docked and open for tours in St. Augustine several times in recent years, including during St. Augustine’s 450th birthday celebrations. Details: www.fundacionnaovictoria.org.

▪ Tribute bands at Epcot: Disney has announced the line-up for Epcot’s Sounds Like Summer concert series, which will kick off June 5. The series features tribute bands. New this year are bands paying tribute to Fleetwood Mac, Tina Turner and Bruce Springsteen. Here’s the lineup: June 5-11: Don’t Look Back (Boston); June 12-18: Hotel California (Eagles); June 19-24: Rumours (Fleetwood Mac); June 25-July 1: Simply Tina (Tina Turner); July 2-9: Stayin’ Alive (Bee Gees); July 10-16: Bruce in the USA (Bruce Springsteen); July 17-23: DSB (Journey). Performances are included with regular Epcot admission. Details: https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2016/04/sounds-like-summer-concert-series-sizzles-at-epcot-june-5-july-23/.

▪ Construction at Edison & Ford complex: Edison & Ford Winter Estates are adding a riverside pavilion that will house educational programs and special events. The building will be a replica of the original building on Edison’s pier. Both the pavilion and pier have been destroyed by storms and rebuilt many times, so this time the pavilion will be built on land. The estates sit on the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers. Groundbreaking will be April 13. Details: 239-334-7419, www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.

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