Posts Tagged ‘things to do’

Melbourne Florida Local Community

Melbourne Florida Local CommunityMelbourne, Florida is definitely a tourist attraction.  For anyone who lives in the cold and frozen northern section of the US, the beautiful sunny beaches alone are worth the trip.  But as beautiful as they may be, the beaches may not necessarily hold the attention of member of the family for every day that you’re here.  So – for those days that you may want to do something just a little different from the surf and sand, here are a few suggestions.

For the animal lover:  Hop on by the zoo.  The Brevard zoo has more than 120 different animal exhibits.  You can feed some of the animals and can also ride the train or take a paddleboat or kayak ride.  If you get to the rhino exhibit at the right time and provided the rhinos cooperate, you can actually get up and close and personal to a real rhino!

For the adventurer: Treetop Trek is the way to go.  They have multiple zip line courses going over wetlands and alligators where you can zip from tree top to tree top.  They also have obstacles courses, bridges and tightropes and cater to all ages and inclinations, including the younger children and those who wish to stay closer to the ground! 

Extra note:  You can purchase a zip and zoo value ticket at a discounted price, which provides admission to both Treetop Trek and the Brevard zoo and can be used over a two day span.

For the culturally inclined: Check out the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts, which is operated as a non-profit subsidiary of Eastern Florida State College.  In 1990, the King Center officially became a Florida state cultural institution.  The King center has a gleeful mixture of different types of performing art shows, including operas, jazz, dance, rock, lecture, comedy and more. 

For the sports lover:  The Space Coast Stadium, official home to the minor league baseball team Brevard County Manatees is the place to go.  Since 2005, the MLB team Washington Nationals have also used the Space Coast Stadium as its spring training home.  Tickets are available for a day of fun-filled day of baseball. 

For anyone who loves the beach:  If you want to be part of something that literally takes your breath away, head to the Sea Turtle Preservation Society. Learn more about these turtles and their unique egg-laying and nesting process.  During certain months, you may be able to take part in a sea turtle walk or nesting watch where you head to the beach and see this unique experience with your own eyes.  But – remember – no touching and no interfering!

Brevard County zoo

Brevard County zooOne of the major attractions in the Melbourne area is the Brevard County Zoo.  Opened in 1984 after the local community raised 3.5 million dollars, the zoo now houses over 600 animals in over 120 animal exhibits.  These include the Red Wolf, White Rhinoceroses, Cheetahs, Giraffes and of course – all kinds of water animals.  Not content to stay as is, the zoo continues to grow and develop.  In fact, they’ve recently made several very exciting announcements.

The brand new meerkat exhibit is now open!  This exhibit, called the Meerkat Hamlet, has lots of tunnels for these burrowing creatures.  Meerkats live in underground warrens and have a pretty complex and active social life with each other.  Kids of all ages love to watch the meerkats stand on their hind legs, scurry through their tunnels and play with each other.  In fact, the kids can now crawl through their own tunnel and watch the meerkats as they move around underground. Following a name-the-meerkat contest, the alpha male is now known as Jasper, while the alpha female is known as Kiki.  And the best news of all: Kiki is thought to be pregnant!

 

The zoo has upgraded their existing boardwalk and added new sections that allow up close and personal viewing into the new meerkat exhibit as well as an active termite mound.  This boardwalk is designed to be extremely durable with a natural hardwood finish. It simply makes it easier for the guests to move around and is much nicer on the eyes.

Some of the newest zoo babies include swans and capybaras.  Six Coscoroba swans were born to mom Cinderella and dad Prince Charming!  In addition, six capybara pups were born to Baily and Clancy. Capybaras are a close relative to guinea pigs, but are much larger than the average guinea pig.

The zoo celebrated its 20th anniversary during the weekend of March 15th and March 16th.  During this weekend celebration, guests enjoyed special music, a parade, animal encounters, games and crafts as well as free gifts or free admission to some lucky guests.  It is important to remember that twenty years ago, 16,000 volunteers pitched in with hammers, nails and muscle power to help build the zoo in only 16 weeks!

On a much sadder note, a giraffe named Duncan had to be euthanized in late 2013.  Although only 11 years old, he suffered from what’s known as capture myopathy – a disorder that obliterates muscle tissue.  Because this disorder is life-threatening and because Duncan was not responding to any treatment, the sad decision was made to euthanize the animal in order to relieve its suffering. 

If you’re in the area, come by and enjoy all that the Brevard Zoo has to offer!

Right Whale Melbourne Florida

Just a few days ago, a momma right whale and her young calf were seen off the shores of Melbourne Beach.  During the few days they will be passing through this area, many people will flock to Melbourne beach and surrounding areas in the hopes of not only catching sight of this beautiful whale, but perhaps even getting a picture.  This is a fun trip to take, but if you are one of the individuals on your way out to the beach with camera in hand, make sure to take note of the following:

Right Whale Melbourne FloridaAccording to Federal law, individuals must stay at least 500 yards away from the whales. It doesn’t matter if you are in a boat, on a paddle-board, or even in a plane, the gap must be 500 yards.  A violation of this federal law could cost you up to $500,000 and a year in jail. The Florida Fish and Wildlife commission has stated they would prefer to educate people instead of imposing citations, but will bring criminal charges if needed.

The right whale population is only thought to number about 500 individuals.  They are currently a protected, endangered species.  Although they have historically lived to an average of 60 years, their lifespan has been drastically shortened due to being struck by boats, getting caught in fishing nets, and being targeted by hunters for their blubber.

In the winter, pregnant right whales swim from as far away as Canada to get to the warmer coastal waters off the Georgia and Florida coast.  Here they give birth and nurse their young.  In the early spring, they head back to their feeding areas which start in Maine and move northwards into Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.  As they migrate back north, they may be seen in one location for a few days because they are very slow swimmers.    

 

In December, 2013, permanent speed zones have been enacted in order to help protect these endangered whales.  All vessels over 65 feet are required to slow down in areas where the right whales migrate.  Since the speed zones were temporarily enacted five years ago, there have been zero reported deaths of right whales due to ship strikes. 

The Marine Resources Council runs the Northern Atlantic Right Whale Program. They currently have about 800 volunteers that look out for migrating right whales in order to help track and protect the momma and baby. It is thought that approximately 100 pregnant right whales make the trip south each year.  Each one is given a number and sometimes even given a name by the volunteers. 

If you’re interested in seeing one of these rare right whales, keep your binoculars handy and hang out at the beach. Due to the limited number of these whales and their unpredictable movements, there are no whales watching excursions.  If you’re at the beach, look for dolphins, which often travel with the whales, and flocks of sea birds in the sky.  They’re most often spotted in February and March and sometimes are tracked on line.  

Melbourne Pickleball

Melbourne PickleballA paddle sport, Pickleball combines elements of badminton, table tennis and tennis into one game. This sport takes an oversized ping-pong ball, plays on the court the size of a badminton area with a net that is tennis-sized. The greatest thing about the sport is that it can be played by many ages and it has simple rules to follow.

The history behind Pickleball started on Bainbridge Island, WA in 1965 where it was co-created by Joel Pritchard and friends. It was developed as a new sport for the whole family to play. Some say its name came from a family dog by the name of “Pickles”, who liked to chase balls and hide them in the bushes. However, it’s been revealed by Pritchard’s family that the dog actually came after the game. The source of the name is more likely to have been derived from the water, or more specifically, rowing. The inventor’s family mentioned that this could be more of a reference to “pickle boats”, which are one of the slower moving vessels. The other thought here is that it could have been a nod to those oarsmen chosen from leftovers of other boats. Either way, the sport has a name that certainly captures its fun and catchy nature.

This sport is currently recognized not just here in the US, but internationally. The USAPA (United States of America Pickleball Association) has raised awareness for the game, and it is now popular worldwide. Pickleball can now be played every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 1:30-3:30pm at the Eau Gallie Civic Center (1551 Highland Avenue Melbourne, FL 32935). The cost is $1/person per day. If you prefer to sign up for an annual membership, the cost is $15 for residents or $18 for non-residents. For questions or more information, call (321) 255-4608 or visit here.

Local Orlando Halloween

Local Orlando HalloweenAs the weather begins to cool down just a little bit, the unofficial start to the holiday season is quickly approaching, Halloween. Candy is already being stocked in local supermarkets and costumes are popping up in stores all over. In just a couple weeks, confirming that fall has truly arrived, Universal Orlando’s “Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) 23” will be open for business. Running most weeks Thursday through Sunday beginning September 20th and lasting until November 2nd (check out the HHN official website for official dates), hundreds of thousands of guests are expected from around the world!

Named the “best in the business” by the Editor of Fangoria Magazine, Orlando transforms its movie theme park into haunted houses inspired by shows and video games like “The Walking Dead”, “Resident Evil”, and “Cabin in the Woods” with live shows such as “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure” and “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. There are videos on the HHN website previewing the haunted houses and they look absolutely terrifying, a great way to really get into the season! Rides like “Transformers,” “Revenge of the Mummy,” and “Men In Black Alien Attack” are also a part of the admission.

 

Tickets to this one of a kind Halloween experience comes in all different types of packages. General admission for a single night at HHN are $91.99 plus tax. If you buy a regular day time park ticket you can purchase an add on for HHN good for the same day as the daytime ticket. These add-ons run from $38.99 to $69.99 depending on the day of the week. The best deal by far is the Rush of Fear ticket. This ticket gets you into the park as many nights as you would like for the first three weeks of HHN for $72.99. There are a number of other packages like this one and all details can be found on the HHN website. Florida residents are also in luck with significant discounts, individual ticket prices starting at $42.99 and the other available packages are also much more affordable.

Awarded the Best Halloween Event Golden Ticket Award by Amusement Today from 2008 through 2012, it is not something you want to miss and with HHN running from 6pm to midnight every night they are open (the weekend prior to Halloween HHN is open until 2am), there is no reasons not to check it out! Grab some friends, take the quick trip to Orlando, and prepare to get a good scare!