Florida Events for July
Whatever your passion, Florida has something for you. Here are just some of the major events (both live and virtual) scheduled in the Sunshine State. Please check individual websites for more details:
STATE PARKS OPENING! – As the state undergoes various stages of reopening, so are most of the Sunshine State’s beautiful 175 state parks. The parks folks have been busy during the closings, repairing hundreds of buildings and other facilities and treating large patches of invasive exotic plants. Parks Director Eric Draper is looking forward to visitors returning and enjoying the parks while demonstrating proper safety procedures. At parks where camping is offered, there may also be measures in place such as reduced density. Meanwhile, if you can’t make it in person, check out the “Parks from Anywhere” program, a web-based way for you and your family to learn more about Florida’s wildlife and includes coloring sheets, park webcams and other activities.
Where: Throughout Florida
UNDERWATER MUSIC FESTIVAL – Another live event! Be among the hundreds of divers and snorkelers who go deep each year at this quirky concert (in its 35th year) that emphasizes reef preservation and also is a whole lot of fun. Classic rock is piped in underwater via speakers suspended from boats hovering above the third largest reef in the world. Contact any of the local dive shops to reserve a spot on their vessels and enjoy their costume parties. Here’s your chance to also see Looe Key Reef, North America’s only coral reef that is still alive.
When: July 10-11 (The festival is on the 11th and there is a party the night before on the 10th
Where: Florida Keys National Sanctuary off Big Pine Key for the underwater festival and Kiki’s Sandbar on Little Torch Key for the party
A NIGHT (OR DAY) AT THE MUSEUM – The Nova Southeastern Art Museum in downtown Fort Lauderdale allows you to peruse its world-renowned contemporary art with a virtual tour. Check out the current exhibition "Happy!” It’s meant to spark joy and a range of emotions with its floating cloud balloons and colorful rainbows. The museum is encouraging virtual guests to select a piece that resonates with them and then share how it makes them feel with a friend or loved one.
JUDITH LEIBER: MASTER CRAFTSMAN, A VIRTUAL TOUR – This exhibit at the Jewish Museum of Florida at Florida International University in Miami honors the life of the late Holocaust survivor-turned mega handbag designer Judith Leiber. It features photographs, biographical information and, of course, some of her gorgeous ornately beaded handbags. She made handbags go viral – on the red carpet and off – long before social media even existed. Madonna, Beyoncé, Katie Perry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Lopez and Blake Lively are just some of the current A-Listers who have worn her bags, as did Greta Garbo, Barbara Walters and former First Ladies Mamie Eisenhower, Lady Bird Johnson, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush and Hillary Clinton.
When: Now through mid-August
FLORIDA REP STAGE@HOME SERIES –After canceling the remainder of the 2020 season, the Florida Repertory Theatre has begun this new weekly program, hosted live on Zoom and streamlined to Facebook each Friday. The shows will feature a panel of experts and theater artists talking about a different aspect of producing professional theater.
Where: Florida Repertory Theatre, Fort Myers
FROST SCIENCE @HOME – This new digital platform learning series presented by the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami is perfect these days, with children having to stay home and not go to school. It gives visitors the opportunity to explore free educational resources, videos, DIY science activities and behind-the-scenes content. It also offers a 360 degrees exploration of a museum’s top exhibitions and a close look into the world of its resident rehabilitated loggerhead turtle, Miko. The museum also offers virtual tours of its current exhibits.
ARSHT@HOME – Stay connected with Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center, the arts and one another. You will be able to unleash your create your own masterpiece with your family, alongside local teaching artists. Watch as Miami actors perform monologues from your favorite plays and musicals. Sing along to Spotify playlists curated by staff members and artists from across Miami. “Living Room Live” gives front-row access to intimate performances by Miami musicians. The “From Our Resident Companies” (ballet, opera and symphony) program will keep you entertained while staying safe at home.
KRAVIS @ HOME – The Kravis Center has launched its digital stage, featuring a line-up concerts, dance performances, lectures, dramatic play readings, arts educations activities for kids of all ages. New experiences are added every week so be sure to vist often.
DRY TORTUGAS NATIONAL PARK – Dive a shipwreck, swim through the third-largest coral reef in the world and tour a Civil War-era fort. You can do all this without leaving home, thanks to the virtual tour of this this secluded, 100-acre national park that sits 70 miles west of Key West. One of the most awe-inspiring sights at the park is the historic Fort Jefferson and its natural beauty that just might inspire a trip there in the future.
THE HENRY MORRISON FLAGLER MUSEUM -- Experience this National Historic Landmark in Palm Beach, as you take a virtual tour of Whitehall, Henry Flagler’s Gilded Age estate that was built in 1902. The mansion is 100,000 square feet and has 75 rooms. You’ll see some of the rooms on the first and second floors of the museum, the Pavilion, the library, the music room, the billiard room and several bedrooms.
VIZCAYA MUSEUM AND GARDEN – This beautiful estate of former agricultural industrialist John Deering on Biscayne Bay in Miami gives visitors a glimpse into a unique part of Miami’s history. Your virtual tour of this National Historic Landmark allows you to explore the grounds of the waterfront East Terrace, formal gardens (including the Orchidarium), ground floor of the estate, as well as the rooms along the north, south and east galleries.
BONNET HOUSE MUSEUM & GARDENS VIRTUAL AND VINTAGE TOUR – This is a beautiful and serene sanctuary across from the beach in Fort Lauderdale. If you’ve never seen it, take this virtual tour, which includes a four-part video series. The vintage videos offer special tours inside the home, historic lore told by the late Bonnet House owner Evelyn Bartlett and Irene Hart (who as a child lived at and near the Bonnet House) and extended clips from the Bartletts’ home movies. It’s a way to relive much simpler times, until the home reopens for tours.
BILTMORE HOTEL VIRTUAL 360 TOUR -- Wander through the historic Biltmore Hotel in Miami without leaving the comfort of your couch. Featuring a sizable library of 360 degree panoramic views, the Biltmore’s virtual tour takes you through the shared guest areas, including the Main Lobby ballrooms, the Palme D’Or Restaurant, the Fontana Courtyard and the iconic pool. And if you’re planning a conference or meeting once everything gets back to normal, some of the hotel’s meeting spaces are covered in the virtual tour.
When: Now through Dec. 31
ART DECO WEEKEND AT HOME – One of the highlights of the annual Art Deco Weekend on Miami Beach is the lecture series at Wolfsonian-FIU. The theme of this year’s weekend celebration and the lecture series was “Sheroes: Woman Who Made a Difference.” You can hear all seven of the lectures. Some of the subjects include publisher and artist Conrado Massaguer, trailblazing aviatrix Amelia Earhart, designer Hildreth Meiere, women architects of the Art Deco era and the fight for women’s suffrage.
When: Now through Dec. 31
PEREZ ART MUSEUM MIAMI (PAMM) DIGITAL MUSEUM -- PAMM is open 24/7 via its Digital Museum, offering guided video tours of works from its permanent collection and special exhibitions, art-making activities for kids and art talks. “Virtual Local Views at PAMM” features Miami artists discussing works on view at the museum. The “Live Virtual Scholl Lecture Series” offers conversations with art world figures.
DEERING ESTATE VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS – The Learning Programs of the Deering Estate in Miami remain eager to continue the mission of delivering informal learning opportunities for students, through engaging hands-on/minds-on activities. This collection of virtual tours and trips would usually be offered to visiting field trip groups, and have been modified to provide an at-home experience.
When: Now through Dec. 31
CONCERTS FROM YOUR COUCH – Gobs of musical artists are streaming performances from their houses while they are practicing social distancing and that is great. But, the BB&T center in Sunrise has assembled a list of amazing full concerts from around the world that you can also watch from the comfort of your couch. Here’s the list: Lady Gaga, John Legend, Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake, Elton John, Queen, the Dead & Company and Linkin Park.
VIRTUAL TOURS WITH FLORIDA STORIES -- With history dating back centuries, Florida has many stories to tell. From Miami to the Panhandle, you can uncover the rich history of the Sunshine State with the Florida Stories app. It features story scripts written by history experts that are designed to increase your knowledge about local communities. The Florida Stories app is free to download on both the Apple Store and Android’s Google Play Store.
When: Now through Dec. 31
WYNWOOD WALLS VIRTUAL GALLERY TOUR – If you’ve already seen Wynwood’s graffiti-inspired walls and are hankering to see them again (and who wouldn’t want that?) or if you never have seen them, then check this out from the comfort of your own home. You can watch Wynwood Walls history unfold and witness the area’s transformation into a sprawling outdoor gallery featuring murals by internationally renowned artists.
When: Now through Dec. 31
Where: Wynwood district, Miami
BIKE 305 A.K.A BIKE THE WILD SIDE – Guided by the Zoo Miami staff, groups of nine cyclists will be led on a leisurely stroll around the zoo for approximately three miles. Each group will have the opportunity to stop and learn about the habits and habitats of some of the animals, with a special viewing of the zoo’s life-sized animatronic dinosaurs.
When: July 18
Where: Zoo Miami, Miami
ANNUAL BUTTERFLY COUNT AT EDISON FORD WINTER ESTATES – You can see some beautiful butterflies and help researchers monitor butterfly population trends across the country. The count offers butterfly enthusiasts the chance to observe different species and practice their identification skills. Wear a hat and sunscreen and bring drinking water! You can also see a demonstration on how to start your own butterfly garden. Masks are recommended for the butterfly count and if you go inside any of the buildings on the estates, they are required.
When: July 24 (July 17 is the deadline to register for the count. Register with Lisa Wilson at LWilson@edisonford.org.)
Where: Edison Ford Winter Estate, Fort Myers
HMM ON DEMAND – HistoryMiami Museum is, literally, a treasure. It has more than 37,000 three-dimensional artifacts that cover anything from prehistoric archaeological finds to 20th century Afro-Cuban folk art. You can see some of their exhibits on line and/or take advantage of the HMM on Demand program. Content for HMM on Demand changes every Thursday.
When: Now through Dec. 31
Where: HistoryMiami Museum
Web: historymiami.org/digital-museum for HMM on Demand and historymiami.org/online for the online exhibits
PALM BEACH COUNTY VIRTUAL CULTURAL EXPERIENCES, TOURS & CLASSES – Although many cultural organizations are closed, you can still enjoy what they have to offer. The broad categories are music and theater performances; history experiences and lectures; museum, art and gallery tours and lessons; science and nature experiences and dance classes.
Where: Various locations in Palm Beach County
LITTLE HAVANA LIVE – You will need Instagram for this one, but it’s certainly worth it. Every day at 4 p.m., you can hear live broadcasts about different aspects of life in Little Havana and its architecture, art, music, food, people, culture and history.
When: Now through Dec. 31
Where: Little Havana, Miami
VIRTUAL BLUEGRASS CONCERTS – Every once in a while the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach has live entertainment and such was the case back in April when two top blue grass bands were scheduled to perform. That, of course, was canceled, but you can still see the two groups perform. The headlining act was to be Grand Ole Opry members and multiple-Grammy award nominees Dailey & Vincent and the opening act was2019 International Bluegrass Association Entertainers of the Year Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers. The folks at Flagler have compiled a list of websites where you can watch both perform.
Where: Flagler Museum, Palm Beach
ZOO MIAMI’S ZOOCADEMY VIDEOS -- Yes, it is closed, but Zoo Miami is bringing the zoo to you with its new online program spotlighting resident wildlife and behind-the-scenes footage. The videos can be seen on YouTube and three new ones are posted each week. Some of the animals featured so far are giraffes, the Eurasian eagle owl, Galapagos tortoise, African elephants, Burmese pythons, black rhinos and the touching story of Hope, the first koala born in the zoo in more than 20 years, sharing tender moments with his mother.
When: Now through Dec. 31
Where: Zoo Miami, Miami
FGO GO – Every week, Opera lovers can settle in and enjoy a little bit of music courtesy of Florida Grand Opera’s online programming, newly designated as FGO GO. The company is company is creating a wealth of content so online viewers can enjoy all aspects of opera, such as highlights from Rigoletto and El Matrimonio Secreto (The Secret Marriage).
When: Now through Dec. 31
Where: Florida Grand Opera, Miami
MIAMI SEAQUARIUM@HOME – Even while the Seaquarium is closed, you can explore the wonders of the ocean. The Kids Corner features activity sheets, fun facts and the Reef Ranger Apprentice program. Keep checking back as more activity sheets will be uploaded on an ongoing basis.
When: Now through Dec. 31
Where: Miami Seaquarium, Miami
O CINEMA VIRTUAL THEATER PROJECT– Until it O Cinema opens again, you can still see new and exciting films from around the world. Some of the movies you can rent now are Spaceship Earth, Pahokee, Deerskin, The Infiltrators, The Times of Bill Cunningham, The Booksellers and Other Music.
When: Now through Dec. 31
Where: O Cinema, South Beach
$10 MONDAYS AT ZOO MIAMI – The zoo has re-opened and is offering a good deal: Come on a Monday and the price is just 10 bucks, less than half the usual price. Take in some fresh air and enjoy all the animal wonders, plus the Dinosaurs LIVE! exhibit. Note: Attendees will have to wear a face covering to enter the zoo, but can remove it outdoors while practicing social distancing. Due to capacity restrictions, please purchase one-day passes on line.
When: Mondays until Aug. 17
Where: Zoo Miami, Miami
SHAKESPEARE BY THE SEA – In the mood for some live Shakespeare? Live? Of course you are. The folks who run this great program are still working out the details, but they are hopeful it will, indeed, be live. It’s the 30th anniversary of the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival and this year’s play is A Midsummer Night’s Dream (a perfect name for the event, no?) For two weekends in July, audience members are invited to BYOB (bring your own blanket), beach chair or picnic basket to these free outdoor performances. There may be some restrictions due to Covid-19 that will have to be observed, so check the website for updates and more information as the dates approach. It will also be available to watch from your home starting in August.
When: July 16-19
Where: Seabreeze Amphitheater, Jupiter
LOWER KEYS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE DOLPHIN FISHING TOURNAMENT – It’s being held the same weekend as the Underwater Music Festival and there is a $20,000 prize for the largest Dolphin caught over 50 pounds (only the first 50 boats to register are eligible to win the prize). The entry fee (which includes a banquet for four) is $450 per boat if you register before July 1 and $500 per boat after that. Please note that refunds will be given only if Monroe County has to shut down again due to the Covid-19 virus.
When: July 10-12
Where: The Atlantic Ocean off the Lower Keys
KEY WEST MARLIN TOURNAMENT – It's the 38th edition of this Key West tradition and offers $50,000 in guaranteed cash prizes. This year's tournament is limited to the first 75 boats that register to enter. In addition to the tournament, there are also cocktail parties and dinners, including a fish fry and a pig roast. Reserve your slip at the Stock Island Marina (the home base of the tournament) and you can get special room rates at the Perry Hotel and 10% off fuel.
When: July 22-25
Where: Stock Island Marina, Key West
HEMINGWAY DAYS – The celebration goes on in earnest again – with one exception --during this six-day Papa fest honoring the great writer who spent so much time in Key West. Scheduled events include a three-day marlin tournament (recalling Hemingway’s passion for deep sea angling), a symposium, poetry readings, a street fair, a museum exhibit of rare memorabilia, a commemoration of the 121st anniversary of the author’s July 21 birth and a 5k run. Alas, the famous Hemingway Look-Alike contest at Sloppy Joe’s has been canceled this year, but is expected to return in 2021.
When: July 21-26
Where: Various locations in Key West
VIRTUAL FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK – It’s a tradition in Delray Beach that has shifted gears due to the Covid-19 virus. It used to be in person, but now takes place on a virtual basis. Each month several downtown galleries create virtual tours with stories behind the art. This is your chance to explore them from the comfort of your own home.
When: First Friday of each month, probably through at least October, depending on conditions on the ground.
Where: Downtown Delray Beach
VIRTUAL CULTURE: MIAMI BEACH ARTS & CULTURE – Miami Beach brings the culture and arts to you with a recently launched virtual hub for the city’s countless online cultural experiences. Browse through for online art exhibitions, master theater workshops, live-streamed concerts, art salon programs and DIY art projects. Featured cultural institutions include The Bass Museum, the Wolfsonian, Miami New Drama, Miami Beach Urban Studios, New World Symphony, O Miami Poetry Festival, the Rhythm Foundation, Oolite Arts, O Cinema, Nu Deco Ensemble, Miami Jewish Film Festival, Miami City Ballet, Miami Beach Botanical Garden, Miami Design Preservation League, the Holocaust Memorial, Ballet Flamenco and the Jewish Museum of Florida. For updates on new virtual offerings, follow on Instagram using the hashtag #MBArtsAndCulture or sign up to receive weekly email newsletters.
When: Through Dec. 26
Where: Various locations in Miami Beach.
YOUTH FAIR FROM HOME – The annual fair had to be canceled this year, but it is going virtual and you can see a lot and stay safe at the same time. You can take virtual fair rides, do kid-friendly activities, visit the animal barn, see student exhibits and even try fair-food recipes.
When: Through Dec. 31
ART IN THE GARDEN – It is the 10th edition of this event and features, as always, sculptures by local artists spread throughout a beautiful botanical garden and tropical forest. The sculptures are all made of recycled and/or natural material, such as wood and stone. There will be some covid-19 restrictions, such as limited access and attendees will be asked to wear face masks. Fun fact: It’s the only frost-free tropical garden in the continental United States.
When: Now through the end of July and maybe the end of August
Where: Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden
VIRTUAL CUBA LIBRE AND MOJITO COCKTAILS – Join Grace Della of Miami Culinary Tours as she goes on Zoom and prepares two of Miami’s most signature cocktails as she mixes in stories of the city’s history, culture and food. Be transported from the comfort of your own home to the tropics and feel the Miami-Cuban Spirit.
When: Thursdays through Sundays on an ongoing basis
KEYS HISTORY & DISCOVERY CENTER VIRTUAL PROGRAMMING – They have been doing a lot of virtual programming since April and they will continue to do a limited amount of that after they reopen soon (Facebook live on Tuesdays and Field Trip Fridays) at least through the end of July. All the previous virtual programming can be found on the museum’s YouTube channel.
When: At least through the end of July
Where: Keys History & Discovery Center, Islamorada
A TASTE OF DORAL – It used to be a week, but with the city starting the re-opening process it has been expanded to a month. Diners can experience specially-priced lunch and dinner menus or other promotions. Of course, there will be some restrictions, such as limited access, depending on CDC guidelines at the time.
When: July 1-31
JUNGLE ISLAND HOSTS WEEKLY #CHATSWITHCHATSFIELD – Every Thursday at 3:30 Dr. Jason Chatfield will be joined by such special guests as Rocco, a baby capuchin monkey, and Luna, a black and white lemur. Visit Jungle Island’s Facebook page on the designated day and time to watch the live stream on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Following Dr. Chatsfield’s presentation, Marisela Guitierrez will conduct the discussion in Spanish.
When: Thursdays at 3:30 p.m. through Dec. 31
Where: Jungle Island, Miami
FACTS ON THE TRACKS – The Gold Coast Railroad museum sends out interactive lessons that include facts about Florida railroad history, general railroad history and the museum’s history. Lessons begin with a video, text, a quiz and even a recipe.
When: Every two weeks on Fridays
Where: Gold Coast Railroad Museum, Miami
VISIT THE DALI MUSEUM – Art lovers from all over the world have long enjoyed St. Petersburg’s fascinating Dali Museum, which has an astounding collection of over 2,400 Salvador Dalí works, including nearly 300 oil paintings, watercolors and drawings, as well as more than 2,100 prints, photographs, posters, textiles, sculptures and objets d’art. Now, anyone can view these works through a free 360-degree tour of the museum, as well as some special online-only exhibits and various tours, lessons, lectures, art classes and other stimulating activities for all ages.
FLORIDA AQUARIUM’S SEA-SPAN – Wondering what the Florida Aquarium’s penguins, sting rays, seahorses and a large Goliath grouper named Cleatus are up to while all the guests are away? Tune in to SEA-SPAN, the Aquarium’s new Facebook Live broadcast that keeps us connected to our underwater friends in Tampa until we’re able to return to pet the jellyfish and splash in the water park. Learn about conservation and get up-close insight into feedings, cleanings, care and other behind-the-scenes peeks. The videos are all posted on the Aquarium’s website.
When: Daily at 10 a.m.
GATORLAND’S SCHOOL OF CROC – If you’re into reptiles and other swampy creatures, be sure to check out footage of the daily feedings, encounters and other cool interactions at Gatorland, a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve located along South Orange Blossom Trail. Each morning at 10 a.m., the park airs “School of Croc,” which features fun up-close lessons on the resident gators, arachnids, wildcats, birds and more. Then check out the video blog posts, which are streamed each afternoon on YouTube.
When: Daily at 10 a.m.
Web: facebook.com/gatorland and youtube.com/channel
FLORIDA HOLOCAUST MUSEUM EDUCATIONAL SERIES – The Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg is a historical gem, bringing awareness and enlightenment to visitors as it honors honors the memory of millions of innocent men, women and children who suffered or died in the Holocaust. Take a virtual tour of the museum and then tune in to its three-days-a-week interactive educational series on Facebook.
When: Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays
Web: flholocaustmuseum.org/virtual-tour and facebook.com/TheFHM
24/7 IN MY GARAGE VIRTUAL CAR SHOW – Car enthusiasts who love seeing classics and antiques can still get their fix with Lead Foot City’s free, innovative virtual car show, which invites collectors and mechanics to display photos of their restored classic Chevys, antique trucks, race cars and other vintage vehicles to preserve this well-loved showcase of Americana until it’s safe to gather to see the cars, in Brooksville, in real life again.
When: Thursdays and Fridays
LIVE FROM BUSCH GARDENS – While Tampa’s famous, safari-centric theme park is closed to visitors, see and interact love with animals, rides and other favorite exhibits and areas from a new vantage point. Busch Gardens has been taking its Facebook fans along to an elephant birthday party, snack time for sloths, a flaming flock walk, a ride on Cheetah hunt and more.
When: Multiple times weekly
SHINE MURAL FESTIVAL VIRTUAL TOUR – In recent years, St. Petersburg’s colorful urban murals have become internationally revered, in part thanks to the SHINE Mural Festival, which takes visitors on several stops via foot or bike. Now, you can enjoy the 90-plus murals from the comfort of your home, complete with vivid descriptions of the artwork, info on the artists and other fun facts.
FLORIDA ORCHESTRA CONCERTS – As a special treat to classical music fans, the Florida Orchestra is now broadcasting live recordings that you can enjoy while taking a bath or making dinner. Experience some of the more powerful moments from the Tampa Bay Times Masterworks series, which includes Ravel’s Bolero, Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3 and Mason Bates’ Mothership. If you miss a radio broadcast, no worries – the concerts will be shared on-demand 45 days after they air.
When: Thursdays at 7 p.m.
MOTE GOES #REMOTE – One of Florida’s top sea life research labs is aiming to keep its fans and supporters connected by offering a number of virtual events, exhibit tours and programs, as well as featuring live web cams so you peer into the daily activities of its resident sharks, manatees and otters. For parents teaching or entertaining little ones at home, Sarasota's Mote is hosting virtual story times, providing Google Classroom content and doing Wednesday livestream lessons. Check out the Mote’s various social media pages, which stay active with adorable animal photos, videos and behind-the-scenes tours.
RINGLING’S MUSEUM FROM HOME – While the Ringling’s beautiful gardens, museum exhibits and education center in Sarasota are closed to foot traffic through the end of May, people can still view nearly 45,000 objects in the Ringling collection online, including circus artifacts, outdoor sculptures, stunning paintings and artwork and opulent furniture in the Ca' d'Zan house. Check out the interesting Art Chats series on YouTube or visit the Ringling’s social media pages for insights about popular museum features, staff favorites, objects of the week and tours.
ORLANDO VIRTUAL TOURS – Orlando is one of the world’s top playgrounds for theme parks, water parks, entertainment and attractions and the COVID-19 shutdown has left many craving the comfort and fun of their favorite spots. With this in mind, Visit Orlando now provides more than 100 virtual experiences including 360-degree tours, Facebook Live broadcasts, theme park thrills and more. Ride SeaWorld’s Mako, float down a lazy river at the Four Season, zip-line over alligators, take a walk through Universal Orlando Resort and take a swan boat ride on Lake Eola to get your Orlando fix while you’re waiting to visit in real life.
CENTRAL FLORIDA SCENIC DRIVES – When your eyes begin to blur from looking at the laptop or cell phone, your kids are getting antsy and you’re craving a connection to the outside world, hop in the car and take advantage of the cheap gas prices and sparse traffic. Central Florida is known to have a number of well-traveled scenic drives and one-tank trips over arching bridges connecting communities across bays, through funky beach towns, past natural wildlife refuges and through historic towns. Clearwater’s Courtney Campbell Causeway, Anna Maria Island’s Palma Sola Scenic Highway and the eastern coast’s Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway are favorites among road trippers. The Florida Scenic Highway Program provides an excellent tool to map out your drive and check out the top features of each region and roadway as you plan.
VIRTUAL WALT DISNEY WORLD – While you’re waiting for your favorite Disney theme parks to reopen to visitors, or until you’re ready to visit, get your fix by take virtual tours through Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom and more – with no lines or crowds, and only a few workers wandering the grounds. Stroll down Main Street, gaze at the Valley of Mo’ara in a stunning nighttime view and visit the various countries at Epcot from the comfort of your couch. It’s a great way to map out your next trip to the parks and see some surrounding attractions as well.
When: Anytime in June
Where: Lake Buena Vista, Orlando
SAFARI WILDERNESS TOURS – After several weeks cooped up at home, how fun does a romp through wild animal territory sound? Safari Wilderness offers tours across its 260-acre property that houses 450 animals representing over 50 different species including zebra, camels, ring-tailed and red-ruffed lemurs, red lechwe, nilgai, watusi cattle, as well as native Florida wildlife. The new social distancing guidelines are a plus that make for a more intimate touring experience.
When: Daily through June; reservations required
CRACKER COUNTRY VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS – Typically open only select days during the year, this fascinating rural Florida history museum has opened its virtual doors to folks any time by introducing some food and culture learning programs for school-age kids, plus games, activities and an archive of videos for all ages to delve more into the lives of our Sunshine State pioneers. Listen to bluegrass, get a washboard music lesson, play “all aboard bingo” while learning about the Florida railroad system and watch some old fashioned food prep that sustained our Floridian ancestors.
TAMPA THEATRE VIRTUAL CINEMA – While its historic auditorium remains dark, Tampa Theatre has launched Virtual Cinema, a collection of new, first-run movies released via streaming platforms exclusively for art-house audiences. Pop your own popcorn, pour your own wine and for $12, get a three-day rental of new titles such as “Clementine,” “Between Shadow and Soul,” “Deerskin” and “ROAR.”
GLAZER CHILDREN’S MUSEUM FROM HOME – Bring the Glazer Children’s Museum’s hands-on activities and science experiments into your kitchen or living room by delving into its at-home offerings for kids of all ages. Make solar oven s’mores and homemade butter, build a canister rocket or two-ingredient slime, watch videos of staff interacting with a blue-tongue skink or going bird watching and participate in a yoga session or ukulele singalong.
SARASOTA MYSTIC FAIRE – Metaphysical and mystic fanatics come from all over the state to find healing, enlightenment and natural health products and techniques at this fascinating fair. Visit with psychics, tarot card readers, mediums and alternative health practitioners or shop for various hard-to-find items and gifts such as crystals, crystal bowls, raw honey, jewelry, clothing, books, sacred art, angel art, mandalas and more.
When: July 25-26
Where: Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, Sarasota
CALADIUM FESTIVAL & PLANT EXTRAVAGANZA – Celebrate Florida’s rich soil and natural beauty and support local farming at this three-day fest honoring the vibrant and hearty caladium plant. This year’s event includes bus tours, plant and bulb markets, samples of wine showcasing the area’s growing grape industry, an art competition, a floral arrangement contest, a car show, arts and crafts vendors and food trucks.
When: July 24-26
Where: Devane Park, Lake Placid
IMSA WEATHERTECH SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP – A longtime summer tradition dating back to the 1960s is making its way back to the iconic Daytona International Speedway – this time with a new twist: No audience in the stands, in order to follow state safety protocols. Auto racing fans can tune in to a live television broadcast on NBCSN and feel like they’re there watching the two-hour, 40-minute race will consist of three classes – Daytona Prototype international (DPi), GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona – all from the comfort of their home.
When: July 4
Where: Daytona Beach; broadcast on NBCSN
CRYSTAL RIVER SCALLOP FESTIVAL – Citrus County’s official scallop season kicks off in July, and what better way to ring in the scalloping than with live Florida-style music, cold beer, water slides and a scallop cook-off? Let the kids hit the bounce house, sing your heart out at karaoke and sample local flavors from the various food vendors. Don’t miss a special dance performance and the Miss and Mr. Kings Bay Pageant.
When: July 25-26
Where: Kings Bay Park, Crystal River
TAMPA BAY COMIC CON – Florida’s comic book, video game and anime fans look forward to this all year, planning their stunning cosplay looks for months. Tampa Bay Comic Con is a fun, geeky, family-friendly spectacle of characters, Hollywood stars, comic book authors and illustrators. Buy new toys and games to add to the collection or get photos and autographs from celebrities such as Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter films), Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Walter Jones (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers).
When: July 10-12
Where: Tampa Convention Center, downtown Tampa
FLORIDA WATERMELON FESTIVAL – No summer would be complete without a slice of juicy, sweet, sticky watermelon, and this fest has you covered. Enjoy live tunes by Smooth D and The Boyz while sampling some melon recipes competing for Tampa Bay's "Tastiest Watermelon Dish" AND "Sweetest Watermelon Treat.” Enter the watermelon carving competition, shop for local, handmade arts and crafts and let the little ones run wild in the kids’ zone play area.
When: July 25
Where: SunWest Park, Hudson
TAMPA BAY JEWISH FOOD FESTIVAL – If you’re in need of some good, Jewish comfort food but not up for strolling among a sea of tents, people and food trucks in the summer heat, this is the festival for you. The Tampa Bay Jewish Food Festival will be a social distance-friendly event, handing off delicious call-ahead orders in contactless, drive-thru fashion. Get your fix of deli corned beef & pastrami, knishes, Junior’s Cheesecake, matzoh ball soup, Jewish seeded rye bread and more.
When: July 12
Where: Temple B'nai Israel, Clearwater
FLORIDA COAST2COAST CHALLENGE – Join the second stage of this cross-state virtual event, which has hundreds of people walking, running or biking – or a combo of all three – for approximately 135 miles east-to-west from the town of Clermont to the St. Petersburg coast. Participants can complete their distance anytime, anywhere, inside or outside and log their distance travelled and time into an online form. Collect your medal, T-shirt and race bib and post your pics on social media.
When: July 1-31
Where: Clermont to St. Petersburg
ST. PETE GROUPER & CRAFT BEER FEST – Laying claim to the St. Petersburg-Clearwater area’s unofficial “Grouper Capital of the World” title, this festival is a seafood lover’s dream with nearly two dozen food trucks lined up, serving up fresh grouper sandwiches and grouper nuggets, lobster rolls, shrimp tacos and other sea-inspired dishes, as well as BBQ, sliders, Asian fusion and sweet treats such as sugary-coated waffles, funnel cakes and ice cream. The pet-friendly event will also have plenty of local craft beer flowing on tap.
When: July 24
Where: Albert Whitted Park, St. Petersburg
TREASURE COAST RIBS AND WINGS FESTIVAL – Set along a beautiful riverfront on Fort Pierce’s Hutchison Island, the smell of smoked chicken and grilled pork fills the air for three days straight, mingling with two stages of live music and lots of fun for both kids and adults. Play games, ride rides, shop for handmade gifts and enter the cornhole contest while making some new friends at this small-town fest.
When: July 17-19
Where: Causeway Cove Marina, Ft. Pierce
BEER & BURGER THROWDOWN – Back for its sixth year, the Beer & Burger Throwdown is an indulgent mix of rich, gourmet burgers, locally brewed beer and rock ‘n’ roll, drawing foodies and fun-seekers to the quaint town of Safety Harbor. Sample craft beers and cast your vote for the tastiest brews, and bring your own lawns chairs, blankets and umbrellas so you can relax and enjoy burgers from more than 15 chefs competing for top honors in People’s Choice, Best Burger and Most Creative categories.
When: July 25
Where: Safety Harbor Waterfront Park, Safety Harbor
ALL AMERICAN FANCY FLEA – One of Florida’s coolest vintage markets returns with lots of antique and shabby chic home furnishings, original artwork, retro signage and garden décor, collectibles, jewelry and more. Enjoy a leisurely shopping weekend in the comfort of an indoor, air-conditioned venue and come away with some one-of-a-kind pieces that make great gifts or special touches to your home or garden. This flea’s theme has a special Americana twist.
When: July 17-18
Where: RP Funding Center, Lakeland
CATTY SHACK RANCH WILDLIFE SANCTUARY VIRTUAL NIGHT FEEDINGS — Get to know the cats (think tigers and lions) that have found their forever home at Jacksonville’s big cat sanctuary. For fans of the ranch who have attended the night feeding in person, the virtual setup is similar. Executive Director Curt LoGiudice walks viewers through the cats’ dinner time, provides background on the residents, introduces you to key staff members and shows off some of the habitat changes from the ongoing $8 million renovation project. For example, viewers will learn that the female lion Nyra, who has spent almost 18 years at the ranch, gets more frequent and smaller meals of prime beef and chicken breasts to help with her senior needs, which differs from the diet of the younger big cat residents that includes bones and more. And with all the current interest in big cat sanctuaries thanks to Netflix’s Tiger King series, it should be mentioned that Catty Shack Ranch is a true sanctuary that doesn’t breed, trade, sell or buy residents.
When: Facebook Live Virtual Night Feedings Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., Facebook Live Educational Program Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.
LIVE #ONTHELINE FROM THE FLORA-BAMA LOUNGE, PACKAGE AND OYSTER BAR — So you can’t sip your margarita with your toes in the sand while listening to live tunes. But you can find a sunny spot in your home, pop the top on the beer and join the iconic bar’s live stream daily through Facebook. It’s almost like bringing the vacation home with you. During performances, give them a shoutout from where you’re listening, make song requests and then just close your eyes — the beach isn’t as far away as you think.
When: 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. CST daily
JACKSONVILLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA — With many of our favorite musical artists performing from more intimate spaces, the musicians of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra are doing somewhat the same. With social distancing rules in place, life has changed their live performances at Jacoby Symphony Hall to feature a much smaller part of the whole; for example only a string quartet. But the orchestra is still bringing virtual life to beloved music of the past. In between their Friday live performances, members of the JSO are also releasing solo in-home performances on the orchestra’s Facebook stream. And for those who want a little insider knowledge, check out the behind-the-scenes video with music director Courtney Lewis as he walks us through his process of learning and prepping a musical score for a performance.
When: Fridays at 8 p.m.
Web: hjaxsymphony.org/live or facebook.com/jaxsymphony
BLUE ANGELS DEBRIEF — Spring is usually prime time to catch up with the country’s premiere flyers at their home base along Pensacola’s waterfront beaches while they’re prepping for the season’s air show circuit. In the past, spring breakers could attend these practices, which also include a weekly meet-and-greet with the pilots. While you’re homebound, they’re still practicing and they’re offering fans an opportunity to get to know the Angels’ top guns and learn more about their signature maneuvers. Each week, one of the pilots breaks down a maneuver and walks you through it from their cockpit vantage.
When: Fridays at 9 a.m. on Facebook
GULFARIUM MARINE ADVENTURE PARK — Did you know that gopher tortoise like strawberries, that dolphins have a belly button and that albino alligators have poor vision? Learn all this and much more through the frequent educational Facebook videos about the marine residents at Gulfarium's waterfront park in Fort Walton Beach. When the trainers can schedule a live segment they’ll announce it ahead of time.
When: varies throughout the week on Facebook
PENSACOLA MUSEUM OF ART — The museum’s team is still working hard to maintain a vibrant Facebook page with almost daily adult or child-appropriate art and craft projects using found materials — one included using socks to make stuffed bunnies, which were pretty fantastic. They’re also using this space to include Facebook Live talks with the artists whose work is currently exhibited at the museum. If you’re looking for additional inspiration or background on the artists, the museum also has created virtual tours of its exhibits at pensacolamuseum.org.
When: varies throughout the week on Facebook
OUTSIDE THE ODDITORIUM: RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT — In 1950, the original Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum opened to the public in the Warden’s Castle in St. Augustine. Since then, the museum, which maintains a collection of more than 25,000 pieces, has expanded to 12 states (plus Canada) and added aquariums to its roster. During the shutdown, the museums’ researchers, illustrators and editors are keeping their home audience entertained with live virtual events throughout the week. These include Q&As, a look at some of their oddest exhibits, drawing tutorials and more.
When: Monday through Friday, various times
ST. AUGUSTINE ALLIGATOR FARM ZOOLOGICAL PARK — From the 15-foot, 1,250-pound saltwater croc named Maximo to the mouse-sized pygmy marmosets, the zoological park, home to lots and lots of alligators, is staging weekly Facebook Live Virtual Events to educate and entertain. All events include a Q&A session and you can submit questions ahead of time through Facebook.
When: Various times
NATIONAL NAVAL AVIATION MUSEUM — Satisfy your child’s need to take flight from their homebound life while exploring some of the treasures in the world’s largest museum dedicated to naval aviation. The Pensacola museum’s 350,000 square feet of exhibit space includes 150 restored aircraft representing the Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy. Other than our military’s top flying machines, it also includes an exhibit dedicated to the Apollo space missions. Explore the space’s 360-degree tour and learn about the different flying machines on its website.
THE GROVE MUSEUM — Take a virtual walk through Florida’s antebellum history at the Call-Collins House (circa 1840) and its 10.5 acre grounds that make up The Grove in Tallahassee. The Grove has been open to the public only since 2017 and was named to the National Register of Historic Places. The staff of the museum is posting multiple videos each week, including Virtual Nature Walks through the grounds, live story time, and behind-the scenes glimpses into specific rooms. Learn more about the home’s history and the role it played in Florida’s Civil Rights movement. Visit the museum’s home page for its upcoming Facebook Live event schedule at thegrovemuseum.com.
FORGOTTEN COAST MUSEUM TOUR — Did you know the father of air conditioning was from Florida? Or, that you can hold a 20,000-year-old oyster shell in Carrabelle? The communities of Carrabelle, Apalachicola, Alligator Point, St. George Island and Eastpoint consider themselves the Forgotten Coast along the Panhandle despite their rich history. Get a chance to explore this history through a collection of short videos highlighting the Raney House Museum, Carrabelle History Museum, John Gorrie Museum and more.
CASTILLO SAN MARCOS VIRTUAL TOUR — The star-shaped fort in St. Augustine holds the key to 450 years of history, and the University of South Florida Libraries and the National Park Service have teamed up to create this 360-degree virtual tour. Visitors will understand the lay of the land and the true size of the fort from a drone view while the tour loads. From there, the map will allow you to choose your own path as your explore the fort. Tour includes video explaining what life was like for its inhabitants and as well as its long and varied history under different flags as well as through close up views of the fort’s signage. The tour includes some interactive 3-D models that are virtual reality compatible.
SEACREST WOLF PRESERVE — Get to know the wolves of this Chipley preserve which started as a small rescue effort and has expanded into a large preserve dedicated to wolf and wildlife conservation. While the preserve is still closed for VIP tours, their staff has created a robust collection of videos explaining the species covering topics like care for their pups, anatomy and pack dynamics. Seacrest is home to 30 wolves (Gray, Arctic-Type and British Columbian) as well as small Florida native species such as foxes, raccoons, skunks and foxes.
ART TALKS LIVE! & VIRTUAL ART CAMP — The Gadsden Arts Center & Museum is bringing their current exhibits to your home with a collection of live online forums about featured artists. The most recent presentation aired on May 7 and was hosted by Anissa Ford, the museum’s education director, who discussed the life and work of Gainesville artist Eddy Mumma. Mumma was a shut-in who painted more than 1,000 works but refused to sell any of them. His work was eventually discovered and 800 pieces were rescued from a dumpster and now hang in permanent museum homes. For more art from home, also check out their Facebook page for curator-led tours which include a behind-the-scenes look at their collection in the vault. The museum also will be hosting a Virtual Art Camp in June to keep kids creating.
CADE AT HOME — With home schooling wrapping up and summer camps canceled, virtual activities are a great way to keep kids engaged and active. Gaineville’s Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention has taken its “Think, Meet, Be” mission in exploring inventors and entrepreneurs to create a home-based program of easy to replicate STEAM lessons and activities for different age ranges. A Little Sparks (ages 0-4) activity may include a song and craft whereas a Tech & Design (ages 10 and up) track will teach simple 3-D coding used in Minecraft through an ongoing series of video lessons.
PENSACOLA CHILDREN’S MUSEUM & VIRTUAL TOUR — Again, the amount of great online activities that local museums are providing for children is a gold mine. The museum has 11 projects and frequently adds new ones to keep you coming back for more. Projects include making water fireworks, learning how to make your own jellyfish, or learning the basics of binary computer coding and decoding. Each activity has a downloadable activity sheet that includes a supply list, step-by-step instructions and fast facts related to that project. Did you know that 60,000 jellyfish have been in space? You didn’t, right? Not to worry, we’re all learning something new every day. Want to get out and explore? You can also do that from your computer because the site has a virtual tour of 15 downtown Pensacola historic sites.
ARTS AT HOME — Tallahassee’s Council on Cultural Arts has created a one-stop guide to virtual events in the local art, music, theater, education and literary community. From streaming a children’s storytime to offering private online arts lessons to learning a foreign language to screening an arthouse flick, there’s something for everyone in this easily searchable community calendar.
VIRTUAL SCAVENGER HUNT — Set the kids free on a virtual scavenger hunt through Jacksonville. They’ll get to explore historic sites like Kingsley Plantation and the Ritz Theatre and Museum, hot tourist spots like Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary and the Museum of Science and History, and kid-friendly favorites like Sweet Pete’s. Each attraction has a list to check off by using 360-degree video to explore the location. Find them all and win an #onlyinjax prize.
VIRTUAL ASADO — Master grilling tips will be dispensed, meats and seafood will be rendered deliciously over high (or low) heat and barbecue queens and kings can ask questions and talk virtually with other fans of the grilling community. Urban Asado, a St. Augustine retailer which specializes in Argentinian-style grills, went looking to unite a community in isolation and in doing so birthed a series of live, virtual grilling experiences that bring together local chefs and mixologists. Most of the grilling experiences are about 60 minutes. Previous videos can be viewed at facebook.com/UrbanAsado.
When: Sundays, Facebook Live
2020 SPRING MEMBERS SHOW — To allow for social distancing and quarantine rules, the annual spring members exhibit of the St. Augustine Art Association has become an online show. View more than 90 works of art created by local artists that celebrate St. Augustine, Florida’s lush natural world and the human form, many of which are available for purchase. This was a juried art show with monetary prizes awarded. Todd Lane’s sculpture “The Workin’ Man” was the best-in-show winner and Martha Ferguson’s oil painting “Afternoon Light” took first place.
MERMAID ENCOUNTERS — Sister of the Sea & The Dive Bar have brought back their Live Mermaid Encounters over the weekend. Enjoy outdoor drinks or fresh catch while watching the coastal comings and goings as mermaids also frolic in their saltwater pool. The bar has also added a Live Mermaid Cam so you can watch from your home.
When: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 3-6 p.m. in Panama City Beach
SOCIAL DISTANCING SUP EVENTS — With the state reopening for outdoor recreation, now’s the time to look at activities like stand up paddle boarding that achieve social distancing all on its own. Join V-Star Fitness, out of St. Augustine, for sunset stand up paddle tours. SUP gear rental is included in the tour price and there’s no charge if participants have their own SUP gear but everyone must have a leash, personal flotation device and lighting (if it’s night tour).
When: Ongoing in St. Augustine
FORT TO FORT CYCLING CHALLENGE — If you think you can pedal 875 miles in 12 weeks then this virtual cycling challenge already has your name on the finisher medal. Although bicycling can be a solitary event, the racing community has seen events canceled due to social-distancing challenges. To counter this and keep people moving, many new races are moving to the virtual space with wacky (and lengthy) challenges that wouldn’t exist in our pre-COVID world. Florida’s cycling challenge rewards participants for logging 875 miles (which can even be done on a stationary bike!) covering the distance along the state’s west coast from Fort Pickens in Pensacola to Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West. Finalists who log only enough mileage to either cover the northern or southern stage, will still receive a finisher medal -- it’s just not as fancy.
When: through Sept. 7
ARTOPIA 2020 — Proving that art for everyone, no matter where you live, Tallahassee is taking its annual charity art auction to the internet. The auction, which benefits Big Bend Cares, proves that even in a global pandemic, the show must go on. Buyers will be able to view the artwork online starting on June 13 and then can either pre-bid or join the Facebook webcast and bid in real time on the night of the event.
When: June 27
VIRTUAL FULL MOON CLIMB — It’s nearly impossible to social distance at the top of a lighthouse unless you’re a party of four, so the monthly full moon climb is going virtual again in July. With many Fourth of July celebrations canceled this year, join the staff of the St. George Lighthouse in Eastpoint on Facebook for a different kind of light show as the sky turns from sunset to moonlight.
When: July 4
ANCIENT CITY BEACH YOGA — It doesn’t get much cooler than working through your morning sun salutations in St. Augustine Beach’s soft sand with the waves of the Atlantic Ocean providing a natural soundtrack. Yoga trainer Karen Rogers will walk participants of all levels through a half-hour class in front of the Guy Harvey Resort on St. Augustine Beach. Due to social distancing, class size is limited and registration is necessary to hold your spot. All you need to bring is a large towel or blanket, water and sunscreen.
When: July 1-2, 8-9
Where: St. Augustine
KAYAK AMELIA — With Florida’s state parks now open, Kayak Amelia, which has its home base on the Big Talbot Island State Park, is back in business. The coastal barrier island, known for its boneyard beach, sits just south of Amelia Island and on Jacksonville’s far northeast corner. If you’re an experienced kayaker and want to set out on your own, they rent kayaks and paddleboards by the hour. But if you want to learn more about the coastal ecosystem join one of the guided kayak tours. Tour options include a Salt Marsh Eco Tour or an Eco Tour to Kingsley Plantation. For paddleboarders, Kayak Amelia offers an introductory class or SUP Yoga.
When: Dates vary
Where: Big Talbot Island
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