Find Fun and Sun While Exploring Florida
Not only does Florida have amazing oranges, it also has incredible attractions and destinations. Student groups can play on the sandy beaches, explore the cool museums and journey through the swamps this state has to offer.
3 Eco-adventures Perfect for Student Groups
Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson
Take a ferry 70 miles west of Key West on a day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park. Onboard the ferry, a naturalist will explain the park’s ecology, point out turtles and dolphins and tell pirate legends. The national park consists of several islands where student groups can snorkel and tour Fort Jefferson, one of the strategic deepwater anchorages in North America.
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve
Student groups can explore one of the last unspoiled coastal wetlands on the Atlantic Coast at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve in Jacksonville. Rich in human history and nature, this park has salt marshes, coastal dunes and colonial sites. Ranger-led tours will take students through Fort Caroline and Kingsley Plantation, explaining their history and importance. Groups can also take a mile-long hike up the Hammock Trail and learn about the ecology of the park.
The first butterfly house in the United States and the largest in the world, Butterfly World in Coconut Creek is home to three acres of butterfly aviaries, botanical gardens and a working butterfly farm. Student groups are led by guides through the life cycle of the butterfly, seeing everything from larva and pupa to adult butterflies. Butterfly World has exotic bird aviaries, the Butterfly Museum and a live bug zoo for students to explore.
3 Student Adventures in Florida
Shurr Adventures Company Day Tours
See the Everglades up close on a kayak tour with Shurr Adventures Company Day Tours in Everglades City. One of the tours offered takes groups through Mangrove Tunnel, where turtles, alligators and a variety of birds can be spotted. Another tour offered is the 10,000 Islands Tour, where groups can learn about the ecosystem and history of the area as well as see dolphins, manatees and sea turtles.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Not only is Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando home to over 25 roller coasters and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but it also boasts a number of educational tours. The Special FX tour teaches students how the arts and sciences are used to create special effects in motion pictures. Other tours take students behind the scenes to learn about set design, production and costuming. Music ensembles also can apply to perform onstage at the theme park.
Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
Built within a historic garden of exotic tropical plants, the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is full of animals and activities. On the Primate Expedition Cruise passengers get to see apes living in natural habitats. Safari Canyon Feature Shows display wildlife footage and animals up close.
3 Museums for Students to Explore
St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum
Student groups will be transported back 300 years into the Golden Age of Piracy while visiting St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum. Groups can learn about the lives of infamous pirates by exploring the collection of artifacts and audio-animatronics. Led by a docent, or “crew member,” students will be educated on pirate history, including tales of St. Augustine’s run-ins with pirates.
National Naval Aviation Museum
The largest naval aviation museum in the world, the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola is dedicated to teaching groups about flight and combat. Students will get a chance to experience the museum’s air-to-air combat simulators and 4D theater. Everything from earliest plane designs to the history of naval aviation is on display.
The Ringling Museum of Art
Built by circus impresario John Ringling, the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota is home to a vast collection of photography, paintings and sculptures. Student groups can go on docent-led tours of the museum.
By Caroline Rabin