Marineland of Florida, on the coast between Saint Augustine and Daytona Beach, is the world’s first oceanarium. It includes saltwater tanks containing live porpoises, sharks, whales, and other rarely seen forms of marine life. There are similar marine life aquariums at Miami, Islamorada, Titusville, Saint Petersburg Beach, and near Fort Walton Beach. Saint Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park, situated near Saint Augustine, has one of the largest collections of captive alligators in the world. Hialeah Park, in Miami, is one of the country’s famous horse-racing tracks. In North Miami Beach is a reassembled 11th-century monastery from Spain. It is a major tourist attraction. Places of interest noted for their exotic plant and animal collections include Busch Gardens, in Tampa; Caribbean Gardens, near Naples; Parrot Jungle and Gardens, near Miami; and Everglades Wonder Gardens, near Bonita Springs. Recreational centers that have excellent plant life collections include Cape Coral Gardens; Fairchild Tropical Gardens, near Miami; and Cypress Gardens, in Winter Haven. Among the many outstanding natural springs located in Florida are Wakulla Springs, the deepest at 56 m (185 ft), near Tallahassee, Silver Springs, and Blue Springs.
The Oldest House, in Saint Augustine, is believed to date from late in the 16th century. The winter home of Thomas A. Edison in Fort Myers is also the site of a laboratory that was used by the inventor. The Mountain Lake Sanctuary, near Lake Wales, contains Bok Tower Gardens. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Kennedy Space Center, at Cape Canaveral, is a major tourist attraction. In 1971 Walt Disney World, with its giant amusement park, opened just south of Orlando. Disney World has expanded since then, and with other theme parks in the area, including Sea World and Universal Studios, has made the Orlando region a major tourist destination.
Florida’s professional sports teams include the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Jacksonville Jaguars football teams; the Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic basketball teams; the Florida (Miami) Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey teams; and the Florida Marlins (Miami) and Tampa Bay Rays baseball teams.
Many major league baseball teams also conduct their spring training and play preseason games in Florida. The Daytona 500 stock-car race is held every February in Daytona Beach.
Major football games are played in Florida each New Year’s Day in the Orange Bowl at Miami, in the Gator Bowl at Jacksonville, in the Citrus Bowl at Orlando, and in the Holiday Bowl in Saint Petersburg. Another event that is held annually in February is Old Island Days in Key West. The Florida Citrus Exposition is also in February, at Winter Haven. The Florida State Fair, in Tampa, is also held in February. Presentations of the Black Hills Passion Play are given from mid-February until mid-April in an outdoor amphitheater near Lake Wales. Major automobile races are held at Sebring in March and at Daytona Beach in February and July. The four-day-long Seaside Fiesta is held at New Smyrna Beach in late April or early May.
The Kingfish Derby, in March and April, and the Tarpon Round-Up, from May 1 to July 31, are held at Saint Petersburg. Later in the summer the Florida International Music Festival is held in Daytona Beach. "Florida" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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