Florida Events for January and February 2021
Whatever your passion, Florida has something for you. Here are just some of the major events (both outside and virtual) scheduled in the Sunshine State. Please check individual websites for more details.
J.N. “DING” DARLING WILDLIFE REFUGE – You can still drive, hike or bike through the four-mile wildlife drive every day. (Except Friday, to give wildlife a day off!) The Indigo Trail and the Bailey Tract are the trails still open. Sightings can include a large variety of wading birds and shorebirds, raccoons, marsh rabbits, alligators and occasionally otters and bobcats.
When: Any time
Where: J. N. “Ding Darling Wild Life Refuge, Captiva Island
FORT MYERS SCAVENGER HUNTS – Let’s Roam has some good ones for Fort Myers and all the stops are outdoors. You’ll walk from landmark to landmark to discover art, culture and history. Search plaques, statues and art to solve riddles that can only be found on location. Work with a team to answer trivia questions and complete photo challenges. Earn extra points for each hidden treasure and photo your team takes.
When: Any day you want, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: Fort Myers
TWILIGHT GREEN MARKET AT WELLINGTON – It’s focused on growing a true community market which will feature unique, locally-sourced fresh farm-to-fork produce from farmers and growers, ranging from fruits and vegetables, herbs, spices and fresh flowers to everyday favorites like fresh baked goods and local Florida honey. In addition, the Market will showcase artisan foods, seafood, flowers, breads, and pastries, an eclectic array of locally grown herbs, cooking demos, artists and crafters and incorporate plant-based and vegetarian products. Exhibitors and attendees are required to wear masks. Exhibitors will have hand sanitizers available.
When: Every Friday evening through March 26
Where: Town Center Boardwalk (with Lake Wellington as a backdrop), Wellington
FORT LAUDERDALE SCAVENGER HUNT: BY THE NEW RIVER – Download an app and take this self-guided scavenger hunt. It will be easy to social distance and there are no inside locations. Walk from landmark to landmark to discover art, culture and history. Search plaques, statues and art to solve riddles that can only be found on location.
When: Any day you want, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: Along the New River in Fort Lauderdale
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
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.
FLORIDA LOBSTER SEASON – There’s the mini season that lasts two days and the regular season that lasts eight months. The start of the regular season means that this is the time when restaurants can start serving up delicious lobster creations. An annual Lobsterfest in Key West scheduled for August was canceled due to Covid-19. But you can still go catch the crusty crustaceans and enjoy great lobster meals prepared in a variety of ways. There are good tips on how to catch the critters at the website below.
When: The regular season runs through March 31, 2021.
Where: All over Florida
A DAY AT THE MUSEUM – Museums, thankfully, are starting to let visitors in for live shows. Here are some of the new exhibitions:
· Real Bodies: The Exhibition -- Visitors will see real, perfectly preserved human bodies (bones, organs and muscles) and hundreds of anatomical specimens. The goal of the exhibition is to connect audiences to a deeper sense of what it means to be alive. You’ll come away with an understanding of how various anatomical systems work together to comprise the human experience.
When: Now through April 3
Where: South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, West Palm Beach
· Collecting Stories – This exhibit focuses on works pulled from the Morikami Museum’s 8,000-piece permanent collection and is its first new exhibition since March. You can explore how Japanese visual culture has reflected changes in society, politics and modernization and learn how everyday functional objects can express deep spirituality. Masks must be worn inside and outside when six-feet of social distancing is not possible.
When: Nov. 21 through April 3
Where: Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach
SOUTH FLORIDA FAIR – It will be scaled back a bit this year due to Covid-19, but there’ll still be plenty of fun: midway rides, live music, yummy fair food (corn dogs, cotton candy, funnel cake, etc.), science exhibits and competitions, including pig races. Highlights include the always popular pig races, a sea lion show and an ice skating show. The theme this year is “An Earthly A-Fair” in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Changes from previous years include more strolling acts and fewer indoor stage acts and shorter, more frequent entertainment shows. Face coverings are mandatory except when you are experiencing an attraction or a ride and when you are eating and drinking.
When: Jan. 15-31
Where: South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach.
KELLY McGILLIS CLASSIC WOMEN & GIRLS FLAG FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSIPS – These women and girls have game! Teams from the USA, Jamaica, Pakistan and a Central American team comprised of players from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala will compete in four divisions: Women’s Higher, Women’s Lower, Juniors and Girls. In addition to the games, there will player and officiating clinics. Players do not have to wear masks while playing, but all sideline players, coaches and fan attendees do have to mask up. And, yes, Kelly McGillis (a former Key Wester) starred in the movies “Top Gun” and “Witness” and she will be on hand.
When: Jan. 19-25
Where: Wicker Field Sports Complex, Key West
BOAT SHOW TRIO – Check out the newest and/or previously owned models (motor yachts, cruisers, center consoles, speedboats, sport fishers and pontoons) and marine accessories at three events in SoFla in January. On the east coast there is the Stuart Boat Show and the Island Boat Show & Festival and on the west coast there is the Naples Boat Show.
When & Where: Respectively, Jan. 15-17 along NW Dixie Highway in Stuart; Jan. 22-24 at Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key and Jan. 21-24 at the Naples Municipal Airport and Naples City Dock
Web: Respectively, stuartboatshow.com, islandboatshow.com and miacc.org/events
ARTS & CRAFTS GALORE – Even in these difficult times, you still won’t be able to swing an easel in SoFla in January without running into an outstanding arts, crafts or arts & crafts fair. You’ll be able to see (and of course, purchase) works in a variety of media: painting, photography, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, clay, glass, wood and more. Many of the fairs also feature yummy food and/or live music. They are all outdoors and Covid-19 measures will be in place, with masks recommended and in some cases required. Here’s the lineup:
· ArtFest Naples: Jan. 16-17 at Fleischmann Park in Naples; artfestnaples.com
· Boca Raton Fine Art Show: Jan. 23-24 at Sanborn Square Park in downtown Boca Raton; hotworks.org/events/
· Downtown Delray Beach Festival of the Arts: Jan. 16-17 on East Atlantic Avenue in downtown Delray Beach; artfestival.com/festivals/downtown-delray-beach-festival-arts/artist
· Downtown Venice Craft Festival: Jan. 23-24 in downtown Venice; artfestival.com/festivals/downtown-venice-craft-festival/artist
· Naples Uptown Art Festival: Jan. 23-24 in the Naples Design District; artfestival.com/festivals/naples-uptown-art-festival-presented-united-arts-council
· Punta Gorda Sullivan Street Craft Festival: Jan. 16-17 along Sullivan Street in Punta Gorda; artfestival.com/festivals/Punta-gorda-sullivan-street-craft-festival
· Venice-Nokomis Rotary Club Fine Art & Craft Fair: Jan. 16-17 at Venice Airport Festival Fairgrounds; venicenokomisrotary.org/art-fest
VOICES AND VOTES: DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA – The exhibit is based on a major exhibition currently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. This adaptation includes many of the same dynamic features: historical and contemporary photos, educational and archival video, engaging interactive multimedia activities with short games and additional footage and photos. Masks are required.
When: Dec. 19-Feb. 6
Where: Haitian Heritage Museum, Miami
(Note: The exhibit also will be at the Florida Historic Capital Museum from Feb. 13-March 27.)
MANOLO VALDES: THE LEGACY – Valdes is a noted Spanish artist who works in paint, mixed media and sculpture. Eighteen of his larger-than-life sculptures will be presented in 12 locations in Miami for six months, with several programs organized around the exhibition, such as guided tours, educational programs for students, public workshops, pop-up performances and the publication of a special-edition book.
When: Now through the end of May, 2021
Where: Various locations in Miami
KEY WEST HOME TOURS – This event has been held for 60 years and the organizers are not going to let Covid-19 cancel the 61st. Tour elegant and unique private homes, from exquisite restorations to creative renovations, and the interior design that complements each. You’ll also see beautiful gardens. The number of visitors in each home will be limited and masks are required.
When: Jan. 15-16
Where: Various homes in Key West
NEW ART SOUTH FLORIDA – This exhibit presents the work of 13 preeminent South Florida artists who are recipients of the South Florida Cultural Consortium awards. The exhibition’s artists work in a wide range of mediums. The artists are Nathalie Alfonso, Itzel Basualdo, Franky Cruz, Michel Delgado, Shane Eason, GeoVanna Gonzalez, Mark Hedden, Ates Isildak, Nicholas Lobo, Monica Lopez de Victoria, Andriana Mereuta, Kareem Tabsch and Antonia Wright. Masks are required and there will be limited capacity.
When: Now through February 21
Where: Nova Southeastern University Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale
ALLIED WITH POWER: AFRICAN AND AFRICAN DIASPORA ART – This art exhibit consists of a sizable selection of African and African Diaspora artists and highlights artists whose work embody the possibilities and complexities these contemporary times. It showcases a wide range of practices and themes, including abstraction, politics, spirituality and race. Face coverings are required and there will be a reduced capacity to help contribute to social distancing.
When: Now through July 31
Where: Perez Art Museum, Miami
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS – Hunt Slonem’s work can be seen at some of the finest museums in the country and around the world – and now in South Florida in a world premiere exhibit. He is best known for his series of bunnies, butterflies and tropical birds, as well as large-scale sculptures and restorations of forgotten historic homes. Hunt’s new collection of flora and fauna morphs into three-dimensional contemporary works of art. You’ll see pieces in casted bronze, blown glass, neon and multimedia-based au-courant artistry. Masks are required and the gallery is asking patrons to practice appropriate social distancing.
When: Jan. 22-Feb. 21
Where: New River Fine Art, Fort Lauderdale
VINTAGE AMERICAN GLASS & POTTERY SALE -- Elegant vintage goblets! Mid-century barware! Glass lamps and glass animals! You’ll find them all and much more at the 47th Vintage American Glass and Pottery Show & Sale, an annual extravaganza hosted by the South Florida Depression Glass Club. You can enjoy unique displays from national and local dealers in styles that include Art Deco, Depression Era, Mid Century and more; discover a special piece of glass or pottery for your home or collection; or get glass repaired onsite. The first 100 visitors on Saturday and the first 50 on Sunday will receive free gifts.
When: Feb. 6-7, 2021
Where: Lauderhill Performing Arts Center, 3800 NW 11th Place, Lauderhill
DELRAY BEACH FASHION WEEK – It’s not quite a week long, but who’s counting? It still is an amazing event that showcases local, national and international designs found in the downtown boutiques. It features high energy fashion design events, beauty experiences, in-store designer trunk shows, makeovers and art expositions. This year, however, it will look a little different, with all events being held outdoors. And, masks are required for all events.
When: Feb. 24-28
Where: Various locations in downtown Delray Beach
UNDERWATER BURLESQUE SHOWS – You’ll be able to enjoy living mermaids from MeduSirena and her pod of Aquaticats performing from a porthole view while enjoying a tropical cocktail and dining on fresh seafood. Recently added is a show with The Aquamen. Admission to the show is $60 per person, with a credit of $45 toward food and beverages during the show. Patrons are required to wear masks except while eating and drinking. There will be no bar seating and no dancing. Tables will be spaced out and capacity has been cut by 50 per cent.
When: Ongoing. The ladies perform every Friday and Saturday night and the men are on Thursday night.
Where: Wreck Bar at B Ocean Hotel in Fort Lauderdale
SWAMP CABBAGE FESTIVAL – This will be the 54th year that the authentic Florida town of La Belle just east of Fort Myers has been celebrating swamp cabbage in this down-home festival. You can sample dishes made with swamp cabbage (also known as hearts of palm). The many activities include armadillo races, a rodeo, beauty pageants, a parade live music, a fishing tournament, motorcycle rally, beer tents, an axe-throwing contest, lawn games and beer tents. The theme for this year’s gathering is “500 Years of Florida First in Cattle Ranching.” Masks and social distancing are recommended, but not required.
When: Feb 27-28
Where: Barron Park in La Belle
WINTER GARDEN FESTIVAL – If gardening is your passion, this one is for you. About 40 garden vendors from around the state will be on hand. Growers will have unusual tropical plants and trees, as well as Florida natives. You’ll see (and be able to purchase) palms, fruit trees, bromeliads, hibiscus, butterfly plants, orchids, air plants, herbs and succulents. A limited number of carts will be available, so guests are encouraged to bring a cart or wagon to transport their purchases. Masks are required.
When: Feb. 13-14
Where: Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers
PALM BEACH OPERA FRESH-AIR FESTIVAL – More and more cultural organizations are moving their events outdoors in these difficult times. At this one, some opera heavy-hitter headliners will perform, including Latonia Moore, Janai Brugger, Kathryn Lewek, Ana Maria Martinez, Isabel Leonard, Matthew Polenzani, Michael Fabiano, Robert Watson, Quinn Kelsey, Joshua Hopkins, Michael Chioldi, Ryan Speedo Green, Morris Robinson and Samuel Ramey. At press time, three operas were scheduled, La boheme, Pagliacci and The Magic Flute. Masks will be required and there will be at least six feet between each seating pod.
When: Feb. 19 and 24 for La boheme, Feb. 23 and27 for Pagliacci and Feb. 21 and 26 for The Magic Flute.
Where: Ithink Financial Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach.
THE COURTYARD SERIES – This outdoor series has two events in February: God of Isaac, a comedy in two acts, by James Sherman, and the Kultur Festival, featuring Aaron Kula and the Klezmer Company Jazz Orchestra. Face coverings are required and there will be limited outdoor social distance seating protocols in place.
When: Feb. 4-21 for God of Isaac and Feb. 17 for Kultur Festival
Where: The Sandler Center Courtyard at The Adolph and Rose Levis Jewish Community Center, Boca Raton
PALM BEACH JEWELRY, ART & ANTIQUE SHOW – It’s one of the largest shows of its kind in the United States and also one of the most luxurious and sophisticated as well. It will showcase high-end items spanning every genre, juxtaposing many periods and movements. It also includes a lecture series with industry experts offering their extensive knowledge. Specialists such as curators, skinners and conservators will provide an abundance of information. Masks are required.
When: Feb. 11-16
Where: Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach.
Web: palmbeachshow.com and palmbeachshow.com/safety/
BONITA SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – About 70 carefully curated narrative, documentary, animation and short films from around the world will be presented. Also included will be a variety of workshops, demonstrations and Q & A sessions with filmmakers, writers and actors. Masks are required and there will be reduced capacity at all events to insure proper social distancing.
When: Feb. 26-28; masks will be required; social distanced reduction
Where: Moe auditorium and Hinman Auditorium at the Center For Performing Arts, Bonita Springs
VINTAGE AMERICAN GLASS AND POTTERY SHOW & SALE – You can purchase unique items in many styles, including Art Deco, Depression Era and Mid Century. You will find everything from vintage elegant goblets and barware to funky ceramic cookie jars, from punch bowls to mixing bowls and from glass lamps to glass animals. In other words, something for everyone! There will be a hall full of treasures all made in America from such great glass companies as Cambridge, Duncan, Fostoria, Heisey, Steuben, Tiffin, Pairpoint, Viking, Blenko, Fire-King and Pyrex. This is an indoor event and there will be Covid-19 precautions in place. Masks are required.
When: Feb. 6-7
Where: Lauderhill Performing Arts Center, Lauderhill
ARTS & CRAFTS GALORE – Outdoors is the place to be these days, for sure. These shows are all outdoors, except where noted.
· Artigras Fine Arts Festival, Feb. 15-17 at Gardens North District County Park in Palm Beach Gardens. Masks required. artigras.org
· Art Wynwood, Feb. 11-15 on Biscayne Bay, Miami. Exhibits will be in tents that are outdoors. Masks required. artwynwood.com
· ArtFest Fort Myers, Feb. 6-7 along the water front, downtown. Masks and tickets in advance are required. artfestfortmyers.com
· Coconut Point Mall Art Festival, Feb. 20-21 in the mall parking lot in Estero. Masks required. ArtFestival.com
· Downtown Stuart Art Festival, Feb. 20-21. Masks required. ArtFestival.com
· Hobe Sound Festival of the Arts, Feb. 6-7 on SE Dixie Highway, Hobe Sound. Masks required. ArtFestival.com
· Naples National Art Show, Feb. 21-22 at Cambier Park. Masks required. naplesart.org
· Old Island Days Art Festival, Feb. 27-28 at Truman Waterfront in Key West. Masks required. keywestartcenter.com
THE VIRTUAL BASS – No, not the fish, the museum. Access all the interactive educational resources The Bass has to offer from your home via the museum’s virtual tour and video series. From virtual tours of select exhibits to thought provoking artist interviews and talks, there’s something for all to enjoy. If you’re interested in additional art-inspired home activities, check out @BassCreativityCenter on Instagram
When: At your convenience
Where: The Bass Museum, Miami
FORT LAUDERDALE VIRTUAL RECREATION CENTER – You’ll find free, fun and educational activities and resources for people of all ages. Visit the center often or follow the city’s social media channels for a variety of instructor-led classes, at-home activities and great ideas to keep you and your loved ones healthy, entertained and informed.
When: At your convenience
Where: Anywhere you are
#THEPLAYGROUND – The Miami-Dade Parks Recreation and Open Space department will present interactive videos you can watch from anywhere in order to enjoy the county’s parks. Videos will include fitness classes, tours of the parks and interactions with Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill. Programs change often, so check the web site below for updates.
When: At your convenience
Where: Anywhere you are
LIVE TURTLE CAM – Learn about sea turtle conservation and rehabilitation via a live turtle cam. The newest patient is Te Fiti, a sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle that was found in St. Lucie with a deep wound on its right front flipper. The wound is being treated with antibiotics and topically with honey and a therapeutic laser.
When: Whenever you want
Where: Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Juno Beach
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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, ongoing
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
FLAMCAM AT THE EVERGLADES WONDER GARDENS – Who doesn’t like looking at beautiful flamingos? Well, now you can do that from the comfort of your own home, via the Flamingo FlamCam. Watch Amigo the Flamingo and the rest of the flamboyance (the official word for a gathering or flock of flamingos!) as they feed, preen and explore the flamingo lagoon and the beach. Other feathered friends, such as a white ibis and the gardens’ peafowl collection, including Picasso the Peacock (he’s the big blue one) and Prince Pierre (the white one). It’s best to check in at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the flamingos are fed.
When: 24 hours a day
Where: Everglades Wonder Gardens, Bonita Springs
JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE – Using interviews and rare archival footage, this film chronicles the recently-deceased civil rights icon’s 60 years of social activism and legislative action on voting rights, gun control, health care reform and immigration. Filmmaker Dawn Porter explores his childhood, his inspiring family and his fateful meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957. In addition to interviews with Lewis and his family, the movie also features interviews with political leaders, congressional colleagues and other people who figured prominently in his life.
When: At your convenience.
Where: Streaming in support of Tower Theater in Miami
J.N. “DING” DARLING WILDLIFE REFUGE – #DingAtHome, established because of Covid-19, includes virtual experiences that all ages can enjoy from home. Keep in touch often with this ever-evolving web page. There are Wildlife Webcams to help you enjoy nature from your home. The Official Refuge Facebook page offers daily themed activity videos.
When: Any time
Where: J. N. “Ding Darling Wild Life Refuge, Captiva Island
NORTON FROM HOME – You can’t visit this West Palm Beach County museum at present but you can still see a whole lot that it offers. There are highlights of exhibits that appeared at the museum throughout the year before the closing, videos and podcasts of talks and behind-the-scenes features, activities inspired by the works of art and artists and you can explore highlights from the museum’s five curatorial departments (European, American, Chinese, Contemporary and Photography).
When: Whenever you want
FESTIVAL OF BIRDS – It’s a month-long bird-a-palooza of online activities and virtual adventures for nature and bird lovers. With a Festival of Birds Pass, you will receive exclusive access to eight expert speaker presentations, virtual experiences broadcast live from a Southwest Florida birding hotspot and other live-streaming nature activities.
When: Jan. 1-31
Where: Presented by the Rookery Bay Research Reserve, Naples
AFRICA: YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW – It’s an exhibition focused on a dialogue between established African artists born on the continent and those living in the Diaspora. Drawing on post-colonial themes, artists explore a range of issues such as national identity, economic disparity, spirituality and migration in various styles and mediums.
When: Now through Feb. 28
DRIVE-IN MOVIES – Drive-in movie theaters are enjoying a renaissance, catering to those who like to enjoy the group film-watching experience while also keeping a car’s length distance. The Central Florida region has a number of old fashioned drive-ins showing movies old and new, and patrons wearing masks can buy popcorn, soda and Twizzlers at the snack bars. Load up the family – some venues even allow pets – and check out some of the classics under the stars.
When: Five days a week to daily; check hours online
Where: Dade City, Ruskin, Lakeland, Ocala
Web: silvermoondrivein.com and ocaladrivein.info and joylandrivein.com and ruskinfamilydrivein.com
LAKE APOPKA WILDLIFE DRIVE AUDIO TOUR – Go on your own mini-safari through the restored former farm fields of Lake Apopka North Shore, where you’ll find lots of native birds, turtles, alligators, bobcats, snakes and other wildlife, as well as spotting rare Florida plant species. The St. Johns River Water Management District created a cool audio tour, which you can access with your mobile device, as you drive along the 11-mile stretch and soak in the scenery and solitude.
When: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from sunrise to sunset
Where: Lake Apopka North Shore farmlands, Orange County
LUKAS NURSERY BUTTERFLY ENCOUNTER – This year-round butterfly and bird conservatory is a fun and memorable experience for kids and adults alike, offering up-close encounters with stunningly graceful butterflies, chirping finches, Chinese button quail and lots and lots of beautiful plants and flowers. Learn about butterfly gardening and life cycles from the on-site experts and feed these fluttering friends right from your fingertips before peak season ends in late September. Can’t make the trip? The nursery offers virtual tours via its YouTube channel: youtube.com/lukasnurserybutterflyencounter.
Where: Lukas Nursery, Oviedo
FLORIDA GULF COAST CLUSTER DOG SHOWS – Bring your camping gear, RVs and lawn chairs and settle into one of the largest multi-day dog show events in the U.S. which includes American Kennel Club All-Breed shows, agility trials, junior showmanship, obedience trials, puppy competition and coursing ability tests. Visitors can enjoy the vast outdoor space as they learn more about the breeds and their handlers, shop for pet products, attend seminars and meet other dog lovers.
When: Jan. 14-24
Where: Florida Classic Park, Brooksville
BREVARD RENAISSANCE FAIR – History meets fantasy meets old Florida landscapes in this 16th century time-travel adventure, complete with live armored jousting, sheep tossing, dancing gypsies and fairy contests. Each weekend has a different theme – fantasy, Celtic, pirate or Highland – and there are 70 shows daily with various types of revelry, food and fun. This year’s fair requires masks and proper distancing, and guests who are creatively following the guidelines will be entered into daily contests and could receive random spot rewards.
When: Jan. 16-18, 23-24, 25-27, 30 & Feb. 1, 6-7
Where: Wickham Park, Melbourne
TAMPA BAY BLACK HERITAGE FESTIVAL – Celebrate African-American history and culture with 10 days of music, dancing, cultural events, business seminars, food, health tutorials, and uplifting speakers. This year’s event will be a little bit different, with many of the events going virtual, including the Leadership Luncheon and 5K Run/Walk, and the popular two-day Music Fest taking place in April due to the pandemic.
When: Jan. 9-17, Music Fest coming in April
Where: Multiple locations in Tampa
FLORIDA MANATEE FESTIVAL – Celebrate Florida’s beloved gentle giant with arts and crafts, live music, a beer garden and live manatee viewing at the nearby Three Sisters Spring. The event is a favorite among locals and visitors alike and has something for everyone, including boat tours, dance performances, a “hippie village” and more, all enjoyed in the great outdoors during one of the state’s cooler months of the year.
When: Jan. 16-17
Where: Downtown Crystal River
YEEHAW MUSIC FEST – Enjoy Florida’s cooler outdoor weather, bring your camping gear and dance along to bluegrass, folk and country music by the The Bellamy Brothers, Moe Bandy, The Grascals, A Deeper Shade of Blue and other great bands. Jam with other musicians, play bingo, attend music workshops or just hang out and listen to tunes throughout the week at this family-friendly event.
When: Jan 19-24
Where: Okeechobee Agri-Civic Center, Okeechobee
NATURE JOURNALING AT THE DALI – In collaboration with the community literary and arts group Keep St. Pete Lit, The Dali Museum will host a late-morning, outdoor guided walk to surrounding waterfront parks and grassy areas and help teach guests how to journal about the experience. Leave some room in the day for a visit to the museum, which is currently showing a spectacular immersive Van Gogh exhibit with larger-than-life works.
When: Jan. 16
Where: The Dali Museum, St. Petersburg
LOCALTOPIA – St. Petersburg’s largest outdoor celebration of local businesses and organizations had its biggest attendance yet last year, shortly before such events became a rarity due to the pandemic. Now the festival is returning with some new health and safety guidelines in place as it promises another full day of music, food, drinks and tons of unique and cool local shops, boutiques, charities, wellness booths, artists and other businesses offering their products and services. The event will once again take place in downtown St. Pete’s beautiful, centrally located Williams Park.
When: Feb. 20
Where: Downtown St. Petersburg
DAYTONA 500 – One of auto racing’s most famous contests will look a little different this year with limited capacity and socially distanced fan seating, as well as limited attendance for the Speedweeks events and restricted camping. But the high-thrill, 63-year-old race will still deliver all the adrenaline, fun and memorable excitement for both its live and TV audiences and visitors from all over will enjoy lots of sunshine, beach time, restaurants and more along the way.
When: Feb. 14
Where: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach
MOUNT DORA ARTS FESTIVAL – Returning for a 46th year, this outdoor arts festival takes full advantage of February’s cool and sunny weather, drawing visitors from all over the country to Mount Dora’s quaint streets to showcase artists of all disciplines, including clay, digital, glass and photography. Along with the artwork, there will be plenty to eat and drink, and bring some dollars to shop at the various booths selling crafts and gifts. Leave yourself some extra time to explore the town’s parks, museums and tours.
When: Feb. 6-7
Where: Downtown Mount Dora
PINE CASTLE PIONEER DAYS – Local historians honor a fascinating piece of Central Florida history – the Pine Castle neighborhood between Orlando and Kissimmee – with a recreation of the area’s turn-of-the-century events. This year’s living history event honors citrus, a key crop and industry that once employed many of the area’s residents through the 1940s. Actors play out old scenes and give history lessons, folk bands play and vendors sell handcrafted wares.
When: Feb. 27-28
Where: Cypress Grove Park, Orlando
PASCO COUNTY FAIR – Get a glimpse of Florida country living and circus-like oddities at the Pasco County Fair, which highlights pig races and a bull & heifer show, followed by days of unforgettable entertainment such as a high wire balancing act, a magic and comedy act, alligator displays, an ironworks demonstration, pageants and lots of spinning rides and sugary treats. This year’s fair will mandate CDC distancing and mask guidelines. Feel like being a part of the show? Enter the karaoke or talent contests for cash prizes.
When: Feb. 15-21
Where: Dade City
DOWNTOWN SARASOTA FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS – More than 200 artists showcase their paintings, sculptures, metalwork, jewelry, wood, glass art and other mixed media and pieces at this free, two-day outdoor festival covering several blocks of downtown Sarasota. While strolling the city, check out some of the surrounding cafes, sweet shops, museums and other attractions to make your visit even more memorable.
When: Feb. 13-14
Where: Downtown Sarasota
FLORIDA BLUEGRASS CLASSIC – Set up a tent or RV on the campgrounds and enjoy three days of some of the country’s hottest bluegrass and country artists including Atlantic City Boys, The Malpass Brothers, Teea Goans and T. Graham Brown. This family- and dog-friendly event has plenty of activities and crafts to do on-site, as well as food vendors, jam sessions, comedy acts and other off-stage fun.
When: Feb. 11-13
Where: Florida Classic Park, Brooksville
FARM FESTIVAL & QUILT SHOW – Learn more about Florida’s roots and the intricate art of quilting at this interesting showcase at the Pioneer Florida Museum, aimed at preserving the state’s rich settler history. Watch demonstrations on quilting, sugar cane grinding and syrup making, blacksmithing and other traditional crafting skills as you explore the grounds of the living history museum. Be sure to catch the midday draft horse pull and other entertainment while you’re enjoying plates of pulled pork, black beans, baked goods and other treats.
When: Feb. 6
Where: Dade City
THUNDER BY THE BAY – Raising money for the Suncoast Charities for Children each year, this huge motorcycle festival combines a bike show with live music along with various fundraising activities for bike enthusiasts. Take part in the “United We Ride” course with fellow bikers, turn it up for the motorcycle stereo competition and rock out to Molly Hatchet and Nobody’s Fool, a classic rock cover band. The fairgrounds offer plenty of space for distancing as well as camping for those looking to stay onsite during the three-day fest.
When: Feb. 19-21
Where: Sarasota Fairgrounds, Sarasota
ART FIESTA – New Smyrna Beach delivers again this fan-favorite outdoor annual event combining art, music, food and fun and more than 200 artists set up booths to display fine watercolor paintings, quirky Florida folk art, metalwork, glass vases and jewelry, photography and other creative endeavors. Listen to live bands and shop for interesting gifts while relaxing in historic downtown New Smyrna.
When: Feb. 27-28
Where: Old Fort Park, New Smyrna Beach
STRAWBERRY CLASSIC ALL-BREED DOG SHOW – Dog lovers, check out this three-day canine competition at Sun ‘n’ Fun. This year, the Lakeland Winter Haven Kennel Club will showcase skills such as lure coursing and temperament tests and barn hunt trials, featuring every breed from tiny Yorkies to Great Danes. Admission is $5 per car and vendors will be on site selling toys, treats, clothing, leashes, beds and bath products for your pooch.
When: Feb. 12-14
Where: Sun ‘N Fun Expo Campus, Lakeland
DOWNTOWN DUNEDIN CRAFT FESTIVAL – A little off the beaten path, the waterside town of Dunedin offers great restaurants and breweries all within walking distance of each other. It’s the perfect setting for a display of creative crafters and artists from all over the country, showing off (and selling) handmade items such as ceramic planters and pottery, one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, clothing, hair accessories, home décor and more.
When: Feb. 20
Where: Downtown Dunedin
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.
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.
THE RINGLING MUSEUM FROM HOME – The Ringling continues to provide remarkably engaging and educational content, artist talks, virtual tours, classes and more, even after reopening its doors to in-person guests in early July. Its Museum From Home page features nine interesting “Art Chats” with professionals from various fields, downloadable digital postcards with quirky images from the past, word searches and puzzle challenges and craft tutorials for kids. Get your circus history fix or art museum infusion right from the comfort of your couch.
Where: Virtual from The Ringling, Sarasota
FLORIDA STORYTELLING FESTIVAL – This unique festival that celebrates the art of telling colorful, humorous, sad, scary and captivating tales is going virtual this year, featuring the same great lineup of “storytelling concerts” and interactive workshops to learn how to hone your art. Enter the five-minute story slam contest, learn new ways to tell your own story or hear from the next generation of storytellers in the Youthful Voices Concert, all from the comfort of your home.
When: Jan. 28-31
SPACE COAST BIRDING & WILDLIFE VIRTUAL FESTIVAL – Hear from and meet some of the nation’s top scientists, biologists, photographers, ornithologists, naturalists, artists and authors as they honor Florida’s natural habitat and spotlight the state’s most fascinating birds and animals as this fest goes virtual for the first time. Embark on virtual kayaking tours and field trips, get photography tips from the experts, field trips and attend workshops to learn more about this critical segment of Florida’s ecosystem.
When: Jan. 29-31
ZORA! FESTIVAL – Held both in her hometown just north of Orlando and virtually for those tuning in from home, famed storyteller Zora Neale Hurston and her groundbreaking works are honored in this weeks-long celebration of public talks, museum exhibitions, theatrical productions, cooking classes and a yards and gardens tour. The fest has something for both the very young and very old and offers insight into African-American history and culture that you likely won’t find anywhere else.
When: Jan. 7-31
Where: Historic Eatonville and virtual
GHOSTS, MURDERS AND MAYHEM SEGWAY TOUR — Learn a little more about Pensacola’s dark side and the ghosts who wander the city’s old Red Light District once the moon rises. Guests will zip along the city’s streets visiting the site of a street car bombing or the first drive-through funeral home. They’ll also learn about Seville Quarter’s bartending ghost. Tours must be booked in advance and are limited to only 6 guests. Stories told on the tour vary nightly.
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
TEA FOR TWO — Missing the theater? Black C Art Gallery in Gainesville has the solution to our current woes. Tea for Two features two performers plus two audience members (you and a guest) for the ultimate 30-minute, social-distanced performance based on August Strindberg’s play, The Stronger. Guests have two performance options with the VIP option including the opportunity to name the date and time of “your” show, plus the chance to ask questions of the cast and learn more about the creative process. Tea, of course, is served.
When: daily availability
Where: Black C Art Gallery, Gainesville
NIGHT OF LIGHTS — Exploring 20 blocks of the nation’s oldest city during holidays when it’s aglow with three million twinkling lights is one of the state’s can’t-miss Christmas experiences. Although it’s absolutely gorgeous for an evening stroll, there are other ways to enjoy the magic.
· From the Water: Book a seat on one of the many harbor cruises available. Options can include smaller 6 to 12-person passenger vessels perfect for a family or an historic sunset sail on the Schooner Freedom. (https://www.schoonerfreedom.com/nights-of-lights-2)
· From a Lighthouse: Yes, you’ll have to climb 219 steps first. But, the bird’s eye view can’t be beat. (https://www.staugustinelighthouse.org)
· From a Horse-Drawn Carriage: We know. We know. What historic city doesn’t offer carriage rides? But how about a private tour for two that includes wine and souvenir glasses? (https://www.thetastingtours.com/nights-of-lights-in-st-aug.html)
· From a Golf Cart: It is Florida! And this is a luxury, 8-seat golf cart that comes with a tour guide. (https://staugustinelandandseatours.com)
When: through Jan. 31
Where: St. Augustine
FIRST CITY LIGHTS FESTIVAL — Downtown Pensacola comes aglow with more than a half-million twinkling lights illuminating downtown’s historic buildings, parks, galleries, store fronts and outdoor spaces. Visitors are encouraged to stroll the streets at their own pace and be prepared for pop-up live street performances, like The Nutcracker, caroling or a visit with Santa.
When: daily through Jan. 16
JURASSIC QUEST: DRIVE THRU — Step back in time and become immersed in life when dinosaurs roamed the globe on this hour-long, drive-thru tour. The show features more than 70 animatronic dinosaurs, including the fan-favorite T-Rex and Triceratops, roaring and moving. Guests will be guided through the exhibit by a digital audio tour featuring show entertainers and dino wranglers. Each car receives a free, safari-style photo and guests can choose add-ons like dinosaur surprises and take-home crafts.
When: Jan. 15-24
Where: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville
PONIES & PADDLEBOARDS — Saddle up and paddle up on a tour that includes some of the best scenery in north Florida. The day starts with a 1-hour trail ride on horseback through the lush forest landscape before a quick drive through Ocala’s rolling horse country. The next destination is Silver Spring State Park, one of the Sunshine State’s original tourist attractions. From there, guests will hit the water for a 2-hour paddleboard tour on The Fort King paddle trail that ends at the head spring. Silver Spring’s stunning waterways are home to manatees, turtles, otter, water birds, crystal clear water and first magnitude springs.
When: Jan. 16, 31
Where: Silver Springs State Park, Ocala
BUTTS & CLUCKS COOK-OFF ON THE BAY — It’s a given that the ‘cue will be award-winning with more than 40 teams registered for this annual event sponsored by the Florida BBQ Association. Yep, expect to enjoy sauced, fall-off-the-bone tender pork and chicken which has $12K in prize money to hand out to the best pitmasters. Prizes are also handed out for the best BBQ sauce, deviled eggs (named The Cluck that Came from the Butt), best rig and longest haul. And in a Chopped-style throwdown, competitors in the Mystery Box Competition will create a dish from the contents of a sealed box. Due to COVID restrictions, there will not be a People’s Choice competition this year.
When: Jan. 21-23
Where: Battery Park, Apalachicola
BLUEGRASS AND BBQ — Enjoy a night “out” on the town with an evening of bluegrass music. Tuscawilla Art Park features three acres of trails, an outdoor stage and public art. Guests will be able to relax and enjoy music by the Sunshine State’s Trinity River Band and the local band, Pasture Prime, which plays both classic and contemporary bluegrass favorites. There will be a local BBQ food truck and cash bar for food and drinks.
When: Jan. 22
Where: Tuscawilla Art Park, Ocala
HELLCAT 10K, 30K, 50K — Runners have many choices to participate in live 5Ks during our cooler weather. But if they’re looking for a more unique distance with a little Real Florida flavor, kicking up dust at historic Lee Field might check both boxes. Lee Field, home of the Navy’s F6F Hellcat fighter used in WWII, features a 6.2-mile loop course around the former base. 50K runners will loop through the course, which includes cypress swamps and native wildlife, five times.
When: Jan. 23
Where: Lee Field, Green Cove Spring
EAT UP — Savor your way through a number of meals during this celebration of the local dining scene on both sides of the North Florida coast.
· Great Southern Winter Restaurant Week (Jan. 25-31, Pensacola): For the 11th year, The Fish House, Jackson’s Steakhouse, Five Sisters Blues Cafe and Angelena’s Ristorante Italiano will each feature special three-course menus for $33. Guests will be able to choose between three options for each course — appetizer, entree and dessert. https://greatsouthernrestaurants.com
· Amelia Island Restaurant Week (Jan. 22-31, Fernandina & Amelia Island): Explore Amelia Island and Fernandina’s award-winning dining scene with prix-fixe lunch or dinners at more than 25 local restaurants. The menus (which can be viewed online) will be priced at $12 for lunch and either $21, $31 or $41 for dinner. As always, the week is bookended by two gourmet dinners. The Omni Amelia Island kicks off the week with its Tangent Tastes dinner and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island closes it out with Oysters & Pearls: A 30th Anniversary Culinary Celebration. This year, many of the restaurants are allowing guests to enjoy the special menu options for takeout and curbside pickup as well as in-person dining. https://www.ameliaisland.com/landing-pages/restaurant-week
SALTWATER FISHING 101 — Unlike other outdoor sports, the variables fishing presents wranglers with from fly type to line weight, makes it hard to transition from fly fishing a tight mountain stream to having a wide expanse of ocean to cast a line. This series will help participants tackle the ins and outs of saltwater fishing on Florida’s coast. Topics include fish identification, tying knots, finding the best fishing locales and cleaning and cooking your catch. Participants can sign up for one week or the whole series.
When: Feb. 10, 17, 24, March 3, 10
Where: Usina Boat Ramp, St. Augustine
TOPGOLF LIVE AT DOAK CAMPBELL STADIUM — TopGolf, which turns the seemingly mundane activity of hitting golf balls at a driving range into a game that awards players with points for hitting targets of varying distances is taking its show to stadiums around the country again this year. Doak Campbell will host four days of competitive action including lighted targets for nighttime fun. Advance ticket purchases are recommended and special safety protocols will be implemented. These include temperature checks, disinfecting of all equipment and hitting bays and social distancing.
When: Feb. 11-14
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee
19TH ANNUAL SEASIDE SCHOOL VIRTUAL HALF MARATHON + 5K — Lace up your running shoes, close your eyes and imagine you’re pounding the pavement along palm-lined roads with the smell of sea salt hanging in the air. This annual charity run is going virtual for the first time and although it has a higher race fee than some virtual events, the participant goodie bags are stacked with awesome items including a customized playlist, Vera Bradely sling pack, Billie Gaffrey designed race shirt, customer finished medal and more.
When: Feb. 14-28
FLORIDA INSPIRED — Normally one of the best ways to beat the heat in July is any outing that involves air conditioning. Tallahassee’s Museum of Florida History is giving you the opportunity to explore our gorgeous state, from the Panhandle to the Everglades, without leaving your home. This 15-minute, docent-led tour features some of the key works that Ron Risner collected and commissioned to celebrate the diversity of the state’s natural beauty. It includes more than 125 landscape paintings by 98 artists. The paintings were donated to the museum’s permanent collection and will also be available for in-person viewing when the time is right for the museum to reopen to the public.
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
SWEET SYMPHONY — Usually the summer months are the offseason for most symphony orchestras as they regroup and plan for the fall kickoff. With the 2020 season cut short, both Tallahassee and Jacksonville’s top talent are keeping fans in tune.
- Jacksonville Symphony Live (Fridays at 8 p.m. on Facebook): The Jacksonville Symphony quickly embraced the virtual space and performed social-distanced, small group concerts when live performances were canceled in March. The orchestra, led by music director Courtney Lewis, have continued to entertain fans all summer with music premieres, cocktail recipes as well as interviews with local entrepreneurs about how music inspires their lives. Viewers can find themselves trapped in a rabbit hole as they catch up on past performances, meanwhile regulars wait each week for Friday night’s Facebook watch party.
When: Fridays, 8 p.m.
- Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra (anytime): Treat yourself to an evening of live music from the orchestra’s archives as you pick and choose pieces to suit your current mood. In keeping up with the final months that would have rounded out the season, the orchestra posted weekly selections each with a personal note from a member of the organization. From Mozart to Star Wars, there’s something for everyone. When:
MOCA JAX SMART ONLINE — Jacksonville’s Museum of Contemporary Art has created a complete virtual museum experience that includes student sessions featuring University of North Florida artist spotlights, Micro Concerts which pair live music as a response to an artwork, North Florida artists’ studio tours artists and live art lessons.
MOCA JACKSONVILLE: ONLINE TOUR — Although Jacksonville’s Museum of Contemporary Art has reopened for in-person visits and tours, they understand that many might still prefer to visit from the comfort of home. Virtual visitors will embark on a live 360-degree tour of the galleries led by either one of the museum’s curators or members of the educational team. The tour includes two temporary exhibits, Project Atrium: Rina Banerjee and Multiple Ones: Contemporary Perspectives in Print Media; as well as the permanent collection.
When: Tuesdays through Thursdays
ST. AUGUSTINE FILM FESTIVAL — Cinephiles will still be able to celebrate different cultures and storytelling through the eyes of indie and foreign filmmakers at the 11th annual festival. The setting will just be a little more cozy and comfortable and there won’t be a line for the bathroom. Yes, this year the fest is going virtual. On the plus side, it also means that organizers are to offer more options with a record 129 films available for streaming during its 10-day run. Organizers have created three different price packages allowing “attendees” access to either a 5-pack, 10-pack or unlimited number of films.
When: Jan. 14 - 24
TURTLE TALK & TURTLE TRAIL — As Gulf County gets closer to sea turtle nesting season (May through October), fans can tune in for a live talk about the Loggerhead Sea Turtle’s life, habitat and migration along the Panhandle. Gulf County is home to 40 percent of the Loggerhead nests in Northwest Florida and has a Turtle Trail that guests can explore. Tune into Facebook for a live discussion to learn more.
When: Jan. 26
Web: https://www.facebook.com/VisitGulfCounty, https://www.visitgulf.com/event/turtle-talk-%26-turtle-trail/247
HOGGETOWNE AT HOME: A VIRTUAL MEDIEVAL EXPERIENCE — For more than three decades, guests have arrived for the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire dressed as knights,ladies in waiting, gypsies and warriors to watch feats of strength, old-fashioned jousting and indulge in funnel cakes and turkey legs. With a live festival on pause until 2022, Hoggetowne is taking their show to the virtual realm. Guests will be able to shop the medieval marketplace and watch festival-favorite demonstrations and performances while engaging with the cast of characters and other attendees.
When: Jan. 30-31, Feb. 6-7
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