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Top Attractions in Melbourne, Florida

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! 

Brevard 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!

A Whale of a Good Time!

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.    

It’s Pickleball Time! Are You Ready?

A 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 […]

Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights are Almost Here!

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.

The McKee Botanical Gardens – Peace and Beauty in the City

McKee Botanical GardenA mere thirty miles south of Melbourne, just off route 1, you will find yourself in Vero Beach. It is here that you will discover the McKee Botanical Garden, one of the oldest tourist attractions in Florida!

Originally established in 1929 as the McKee Jungle Gardens, it was developed with the help of William Lyman Phillips, often viewed as the creator of tropical landscaping. It was at this time that waterways and trails were established and both native and worldwide flora and fauna were planted. By the time the 1940’s rolled around, upwards of 100,000 tourists visited the Gardens each year. Unfortunately, with the opening of some of the bigger theme parks in the area in the 1970’s the Gardens had to close down. Of the original 80 acres occupied by the Gardens, all but 18 were sold off and developed. These final 18 acres sat around undeveloped and untouched for over 20 years. Things turned around in 1995 when the Indian River Land Trust purchased the land after leading a successful fund-raising campaign. The Garden’s formal re-opening dedication was held in 2001.

Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge – Natural Beauty in Florida

Florida RefugeThere are a number of small islands off the mainland coast of Florida. Located just north of Melbourne is the largest of these islands and on the southern tip of this island you will find Merritt Island. With the Indian and Banana Rivers located on either side, it is most well known as the location of NASA’s space launch program but it is also home to the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Established in 1963, the Refuge is 140,000 acres in size and provides habitat to over 1,500 plant and animal species. The land was originally acquired by NASA for the building of the Kennedy Space Center and other related facilities but much of the land wasn’t used and was eventually turned over to the Department of Interior.

Approximately twenty miles of the thirty-five mile refuge is open to the public to enjoy the local beauty and wildlife. The Refuge provides habitat for migratory birds, endangered and threatened species, along with an additional array of rare wildlife species. With upwards of 500 wildlife species and over 1,000 species of plants, it is no wonder it is called the “most unique wildlife refuge” and is full of things to do and see. The roads, trails, and boat ramps within the refuge are open daily from sunrise to sunset and the Visitor Information Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 4pm.

Surf’s Up in Melbourne

surfing melbourne floridaWith the longest coastline of all of the fifty states (1,350 miles), Florida has no shortage of water sports and activities to participate in. One the oldest and still most exhilarating of these is surfing. Luckily, with just a short ride over to Melbourne or Cocoa Beach, those who want to learn how to hang ten have an array of surfing schools to check out that will get you up on a board and riding waves in no time. Keep on reading to find out a little bit more on some of the best surf schools in the Melbourne area.

SurfGuys Surf School, in business since 1997, conducts its classes on Cocoa Beach and Melbourne Beach. Lessons are offered for both adults and children (ages 6 and up) by the hour or as week long camps. With the hourly lessons, you can choose to have private instruction or classes of up to three persons. For the really adventurous, Surfguys also participates in Costa Rica surfing vacations for 7 days of surfing in the warm beautiful waters, beginners through advanced are welcome!

Send the Kids to Surf Art Camp This Summer!

School is out for the summer.  The time of year which parents dread.  The kids are home all day and the parents have to work.  Who is going to watch the children?  They certainly can’t leave their children unsupervised.  What are parents to do? Send the children to Surf Art Camp!  Surf Art Camp located […]

The King Center – Music, Theater, and Comedy

The Maxwell C. King Center for the performing arts is owned by Brevard Community College and is located on the Melbourne campus at the corner of Post Road and Wickham Road. The facility was built in 1988 and is 100,000 square foot in size with six stories. The building holds both the main theatre with […]

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