Centre of Tallahassee – Tallahassee – 2017. On its way to becoming the city’s hub for all things cultural, arts, retail and dining – the Centre of Tallahassee (formerly known as the Tallahassee Mall) phase one redevelopments are underway and include cobblestone streets, three murals curated by Street Art Tallahassee, a 10,000-seat amphitheater, the campus of Tallahassee’s School of Arts and Sciences (a top ranked charter school), Dreamland BBQ, Barnes and Noble and Urban Food Market. Once complete, the complex will include everything from a local brewery and movie theatre to a wide variety of restaurants and retail shops.
Capital City to the Sea Trails – Tallahassee – 2017. Expanding on its vision to make the capital city a prime destination for hikers, bikers, runners and paddles, Tallahassee is constructing a best-in-class trail that runs through town all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. The network of spacious, multi-use trails is named “Capital City to the Sea Trail” and weaves together segments of the area’s more than 600 miles of trails. The corridors allow pedestrians and cyclists – from avid runners to children on tricycles – to explore the natural beauty of the destination in comfort and safety. Within the city, the trail will link to the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail, an existing 20-mile-long, rails-to-trails route that runs from the Tallahassee to St. Marks on the Gulf Coast. Over the next few years, the trail network will extend into other neighboring counties, along the abandoned Georgia, Florida & Alabama Railroad corridor, the U.S. 98 coastal highway and Ochlockonee Bay Trail.
Photographer Clyde Butcher at The Museum of Florida History – Tallahassee – February 1 – April 30, 2017. The Museum of Florida History showcases award-winning landscape photographer Clyde Butcher’s work Feb. 1 – Apr. 30, 2017. For more than 50 years, Butcher has captured the untouched natural landscapes of North America in a stunning editorial display of black and white photographs. His art, consisting mostly of the Florida Everglades, shows his compelling personal connection to nature while also inviting the viewer to explore their own.
Catamaran Ferries – Pensacola – Spring 2017. In late spring of 2017, two 75-foot, double-decker, 150-passenger catamaran ferries will begin services around Pensacola Bay. The ferries will travel between Downtown Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Fort Pickens located at the Gulf Islands National Seashore on Santa Rosa Island. Both ferries will feature a climate-controlled enclosed main deck and a shaded upper deck for observation, will be equipped with a snack bar for food and beverage service, restrooms, passenger storage, flat screen TVs and a sound system for on-board interpretation by NPS rangers. The boats will be fully accessible, meeting all ADA standards, and will have bike racks for those wishing to explore Fort Pickens or Santa Rosa Island by bicycle.
Dressing Downton at the Lightner Museum – St. Augustine – October 4,2017 – January 7, 2018. St. Augustine’s Lightner Museum will host Dressing Downton, Changing Fashion for Changing Times an exquisite exhibition of 36 authentic Victorian Era costumes and accessories from PBS’s most popular television drama in history, Downton Abbey® paired to perfection in engaging vignettes, immersed amongst Otto Lightner’s collection of turn of the century fine art and furniture. The exhibition Dressing Downton has become a phenomenon in its own right, selling out at many of the museums it has been hosted in. This remarkable exhibition pairs history with fashion and popular culture with fine art.
Hombre Golf Club – Panama City Beach – Summer 2017. Host of the PGA Tour Qualifying School, Hombre Golf Club will complete a major renovation to its 27 championship holes – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – in early summer 2017.
TreeUmph! – Hernando County – February 2017. New to Nature’s Place to Play is a TreeUmph! Adventure Course. This attraction will span fifty acres of wooded landscape, opening in February, 2017. Fans of zip lines, wobbly bridges and other tree-top connections can take I-75, exit 301 west, and find TreeUmph! less than ten minutes away. All skill levels and ages, starting at age seven, are invited to find out why “The Ground is Overrated!”
LEGO NINJAGO World – Winter Haven – January 12, 2017. Kids are invited to enter a magical martial arts kingdom where you become the ninja in your very own LEGO® NINJAGO® [NIN-JAH-GO] adventure when a whole new theme park land opens at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort. LEGO NINJAGO World will add an immersive area filled with several hands-on, outdoor activities where kids can sharpen their ninja skills before the ultimate showdown on LEGO NINJAGO The Ride, a dazzling new attraction that blends 3D computer animation, “4D” effects and groundbreaking technology never seen outside a LEGOLAND theme park.
Kraken Virtual Reality (VR) Roller Coaster – SeaWorld Orlando – Summer 2017. SeaWorld will debut its first digitally enhanced ride experience as the legendary Kraken roller coaster is transformed into a virtual reality (VR) roller coaster experience. This thrill ride will be the only VR coaster experience in Florida. Guests will embark on a deep sea mission alongside sea creatures inspired by extinct and legendary animals of the past, including the mighty Kraken. A custom digital overlay with uniquely designed headsets, fully integrated both mechanically and electronically into the coaster train, delivers a new one-of-a-kind adventure. The addition of VR to this fan-favorite brings a new level of excitement and interest in Kraken, for both new and returning guests.
Dolphin Nursery – SeaWorld Orlando – Summer 2017. SeaWorld Orlando’s Dolphin Nursery will become more interactive in 2017, giving guests the opportunity to see mother and baby dolphins up close like never before. Large-scale acrylic windows will be created offering better guest viewing, including multiple levels to provide children a face-to-face perspective with baby dolphins. New slide out areas and a lifting floor will allow for easier access to mom and baby for the veterinary and animal care teams. The next generation of multi-purpose digital displays will allow SeaWorld educators to share information about dolphin behavior, biology and conservation with guests in new ways by interacting with education and animal care video content.
Flamecraft Bar – SeaWorld Orlando – Summer 2017. Continuing the park’s food and beverage focus, a new dining location adjacent to the SeaFire Grill along the waterfront area will provide a great place to pause for a drink in a casual atmosphere. The Flamecraft Bar will feature 16 seasonal craft brews and a new menu to tempt the taste buds.
Aquatica Pass Member Pavilion – Orlando – Spring 2017. As part of SeaWorld’s ongoing commitment to Annual Pass Members, the Aquatica Pass Member Pavilion will open just in time for spring break. The exclusive pavilion will feature concierge service, complimentary sunscreen, a private entrance to Banana Beach, private animal encounters and additional offers.
Volcano Bay – Orlando – June 1, 2017. Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort is an all-new water park promising innovative, thrilling attractions, peaceful moments of relaxation and an entirely new guest experience. A highly themed, completely immersive environment is planned, inspired by postcard-perfect tropical islands, set to open on June 1, 2017.
Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon – Orlando – 2017. Universal Orlando Resort will also open a new ride in 2017, “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon”. The attraction invites guests to join the Tonight Show’s studio audience on the ultimate race through the streets—and skies—of New York City, from the deepest subway tunnels to the tallest skyscrapers, with colorful characters, famous landmarks and more from the mind of Jimmy Fallon.
Pandora: The World of Avatar – Orlando – 2017. Pandora – The World of AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will open is set to be the largest expansion in the park’s history. Based on the popular James Cameron film, the new land will feature floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and a Banshee flying attraction, as well as new after-dark entertainment.
Miss Fortune Falls – Orlando – Spring 2017. Miss Fortune Falls at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is a new family-style raft ride, set to open spring of 2017.
Guests will embark on a splashing journey aboard treasure rafts, ascending to the top of the attraction before plunging into a white-water adventure. With a ride time of two minutes, Miss Fortune Falls will be among the lengthiest attractions at both Disney Water Parks.
Multipurpose Soccer Stadium – Orlando – 2017. Orlando’s Multipurpose Soccer Stadium is scheduled to open prior to the 2017 Major League Soccer season. The stadium is located in downtown Orlando in a developing entertainment center a block away from the Amway Center. The stadium will seat 19,500 and serve as home to the Orlando City Lions and Orlando Pride soccer teams.
Contemporary Art Exhibit at MoTA – Sebring – Feb. 10, 2017. The Highlands Museum of the Arts (MoTA) is pleased to announce its newest exhibit “Broad Spectrum” by abstract artist Nathan Beard will open on Friday, Feb. 10 with an Opening Reception from 5-7 PM. Beard’s work is an abstract representation of the fleeting moments of everyday life. It is based upon a recollection of the sensations, colors and space he perceived in those moments.
Frida Kahlo at The Dalí – St. Pete – December 17, 2016. The Dali Museum debuts an exhibit with Frida Kahlo, one of the 20th Century’s most renowned artists. The collection includes 15 paintings, a series of drawings and personal photographs, and extends out doors, where a collection of flowers and plants representative of Kahlo’s own garden will grace the grounds of the Dali’s Avant-Garden. The exhibit runs Dec. 17-April 17, 2017.
Paddleboard Brunch – New Smyrna – Sundays 2017. Paddleboard New Smyrna is now offering a package usually reserved for groups as an option for the public to book too. The ‘Paddle and Brunch’ package will be offered on Sunday mornings, starting with around two hours’ paddle-boarding past the waterfront houses and out to the island nature reserves, while keeping an eye open for dolphins and manatees joining the group. Then it’s time for brunch at Outriggers Tiki Bar and Grille, one of New Smyrna Beach’s most-memorable restaurants, situated on the boardwalk of the Marina. Paddleboarders will enjoy a “family style” brunch together, after the morning adventures on the waterways.
Second Saturday Artwalk – St. Petersburg – February 11. The Waterfront Arts District, Central Arts District, EDGE District, Grand Central District, and the Warehouse Arts District become one arts destination for the St. Petersburg Second Saturday ArtWalk on February 11 from 5 to 9 p.m. You can see art all month long, however ArtWalk is opening night where some 40 galleries and studios premiere new works, with artists and demos on-site. Download the map and list of participants to plan your festive art evening at www.stpeteartsalliance.org.
Mine Blower Rollercoaster at Fun Spot America – Kissimmee – Summer 2017. Roller coaster enthusiasts, take note! Mine Blower, a wooden rollercoaster, is expected to open summer 2017 at Fun Spot America’s Kissimmee theme park. The coaster will be the only wooden coaster in the Southeast United States to include a barrel roll. The track will be 2,256 feet long, 82 feet high with a top speed of 48.5 mph, featuring 11 instances of air time. Fun Spot America will be investing $6 million in the attraction.
VIP Tours at Revolution Off-Road – Kissimmee – 2017. Discover your sense of adventure on a Revolution Off-Road VIP tour. This new package is perfect for guests seeking a more intimate, outdoor experience. It includes a personal tour guide, ATV’s, beachside gazebo, USB flash drive containing digital copies of the pictures taken by the guide and unlimited soft drinks and bottled water for up to four guests.
Expansion of Boggy Creek Airboat Rides – Kissimmee – 2017. Boggy Creek Airboat Rides invites you to explore their newly-expanded Southport Park for a true Florida experience. The $1 million renovation to the park features remodeled structures and a landscape overhaul. Additions to the park include a Native Experience in which guests can explore an authentic Native American village, a new full-service restaurant with indoor and lakeside dining and Romp in the Swamp—a new, one-of-a-kind experience that puts guests in the captain’s seat of a dual-controlled airboat! Additional experiences opening later in 2017 include a fossil dig and glamping.
Memory, Mind, Matter: The Sculpture of Eduardo Chillida at the Dali Museum – St. Petersburg – May 2017. An exhibit of world-renowned Spanish sculptor Eduardo Chillida’s works in paper, alabaster, steel and stone, Memory, Mind, Matter: The Sculpture of Eduardo Chillida, opens at The Dali May 13. The Dali’s first show dedicated to sculpture since the opening of its new building in 2011 will present more than 60 Chillida works including 16 sculptures, a large-scale wall mural, numerous drawings and ‘gravitations,’ the artist’s unique approach to paper collage.
Dolphin Days at SeaWorld Orlando – Orlando – April 2017. SeaWorld Orlando will launch a new show called Dolphin Days, immersing guests into the world of the ocean’s most playful ambassadors. Dolphin Days, will debut on Saturday, April 1, replacing the popular Blue Horizons® after an eleven-year run at Dolphin Theater. In the new presentation, the audience will learn more about the individual personalities of each Atlantic bottlenose dolphin while witnessing the special bond they share with their trainers. A soaring rainbow of macaws and other tropical birds will also delight guests, uniting the mysteries of the deep oceans with the wonder and beauty of the skies above.
2017 World Rowing Championships – Sarasota – September-October, 2017. Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota County, the only International Rowing Federation-approved course in North America, will host the World Rowing Championships in 2017 – the first United States destination to host the event since 1994. The park will also be the site of the Masters World Rowing Regatta in 2018. Sarasota County is quickly gaining a reputation for hosting international competitions.
Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science – Miami – 2017. Centrally located in Downtown Miami’s waterfront Museum Park, the new museum will incorporate a state-of-the-art planetarium, dazzling exhibitions on living ecosystems, the miraculous human body, outer space, the frontiers of technology, and unlike most science centers, a vast aquarium complex.
Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens – Punta Gorda – September 2017. A 50 million year old stone fossil of a palm frond taken from a mountain top in Wyoming serves as the inspiration for the logo and signature sculpture of the new Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens, scheduled to open in September 2017. Seven large-scale sculptures will adorn the landscape of the 27-acre property. Flowering trees will bloom throughout the year and more than 15,000 sq. ft of boardwalks and docks are planned. Sculptures have been installed and the master plans for the Gardens were developed in 2010. The property is developed and primarily financed by the Roger E. and Linda A. Tetrault Foundation, a 501 c. (3) private foundation. This will be one of the largest endowments for a botanical garden in the state of Florida.
The Ballpark of The Palm Beaches Spring Training – West Palm Beach – Spring 2017. The Ballpark of The Palm Beaches will open for Spring Training 2017, welcoming the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros, along with their many fans. The state-of-the-art, two-team facility offers a fan-friendly layout with a 6,500-seat stadium as its centerpiece. The Astros and Nationals training areas each feature a six-field layout that is inviting and easily navigated by fans.
Brightline – West Palm Beach & Orlando – Summer 2017. In summer 2017, Henry Flagler’s railroad legacy will return to South Florida with the launch of Brightline, a new intercity express train service that will connect West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale in 30 minutes and to Miami in 60 minutes. The two phase project will eventually connect The Palm Beaches via its West Palm Beach station to Orlando in just two hours.
Custom House Museum – Key West – January 2017. Key West’s Custom House Museum is to showcase a new exhibit, “The Navy in Key West,” from Jan. 13 through December 2017. The museum recently celebrated the 125th anniversary the building’s completion in 1891. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of Naval Air Station Key West, the exhibit explores the relationship between Key West and the U.S. Navy by showcasing historical images, artifacts, uniforms and military memorabilia. “Key West would not exist as it does today without the Navy, and the Navy would not exist as it does today without Key West,” said Cori Convertito, museum curator. In 1993, the Key West Art & Historical Society spearheaded the historic building’s restoration, a project that is ongoing. The society also oversees its use as a museum. The Custom House, an example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture, is located at 281 Front St.
Danger Chandlery – Key West – Early 2017. Key West’s Danger Charters is to open Danger Chandlery, a 600-square-foot retail store reminiscent of a nautical chandlery that once lined working waterfronts, in late December. Plans call for the chandlery to sell nautical artwork, toys, sailboat models, books, kitchenware such as trays and cutting boards, jewelry and custom-designed boating and home accessories decorated with harbor charts. Danger Chandlery will be “an immersive maritime historical experience, with marine artifacts on display for folks to learn about our amazing nautical heritage here in Key West,” said Lara Fox, vice president of Danger Charters. Danger Chandlery is located at 255 Front St. at the Westin Key West Resort & Marina’s Sunset Shoppes. Daily hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in winter and until 9 p.m. in summer.
EcoDiscovery Center at the Museum of Discovery and Science – Ft. Lauderdale – 2017. Visitors can take a ride on the Everglades Airboat Adventure, experience hurricane force winds in the Storm Center, dig for fossils alongside a giant prehistoric megalodon, get up close to a confrontation between a saber-toothed cat and an Imperial mammoth, learn about protecting and conserving the Everglades and Florida’s natural resources, and follow the natural path water takes through Florida. Visitors can learn about Florida mammals while enjoying the playful antics of North American river otters in their two-story indoor/outdoor habitat. The second floor also features the Mangurian Foundation Lifelong Learning Center with four labs and the 100-seat Keller Science Theater with comfortable seating and technical features to support lectures, exciting science demonstrations, and presentations by community experts.
To Fly at the Museum of Discovery and Science – Ft. Lauderdale – 2017. Aviation enthusiasts of all ages will have a blast exploring the many interactive displays in the Museum of Discovery and Science’s refreshed aviation station, To Fly. This interactive exhibit immerses visitors in aviation technology. By exploring different areas within the exhibit, visitors can learn about controlled flight, fundamentals of flight, navigation, and the materials used to build planes. Then visitors can take flight in the 7D-multi-sensory theater capsule featuring moving seats, high definition 3D film and other special effects. The exhibit has been made possible by a generous gift from the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust.
Nighttime Star Gazing Series – Hobe Sound – Jan. 20; Feb. 17; Mar. 10. Join the Hobe Sound Nature Center for some nighttime stargazing at the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Following a brief classroom orientation, Kim Mohlenhoff will lead the group outside along the nature trail to look at the nighttime sky through telescopes. Learn about wildlife at night and how artificial lighting impacts some plant and animal at night and how artificial lighting impacts some plant and animal species. If weather conditions are not conducive to viewing planets, stars, and constellations, the program will be limited to classroom activities only. Reservations are required to attend, and all ages are welcomed. Contact the Nature Center at 772 546-2067 or via our website, www.hobesoundnaturecenter.com. The Refuge & Nature Center is located at 13640 SE Federal Highway in Hobe Sound.
Beachcombing Hike – Hobe Sound – Feb. 22. On Wednesday, February 22 at 3:00 p.m., the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge and Nature Center invites you to join Nature Center naturalist Kim Mohlenhoff for a hike at the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge beach on the north end of Jupiter Island. Kim will lead you on a beachcombing adventure to find treasures brought to our shores by ocean currents and waves. Watch for wildlife and pick up litter along the way, helping keep our beaches clean! This hike is also scheduled for February 22 and March 22, also at 3:00 p.m. There is no charge to attend and all ages are welcomed. For further information and reservations, contact us at (772)546-2067 or via www.hobesoundnaturecenter.com. The Refuge and Nature Center headquarters is located at 13640 SE Federal Highway in Hobe Sound, 2 miles south of Bridge Road.
Sullivan Park and Marina – Deerfield Beach – February 2017. The City of Deerfield Beach Community Redevelopment Agency is pleased to announce that the construction of the new and improved Sullivan Park and Marina is complete. The three-acre park features 11 boat slips open to the public for transient dockage, a pedestrian promenade along the Intracoastal Waterway, a 2200 square foot splash pad for children, shaded playgrounds, a picnic pavilion, restrooms, a parking lot with 40 spaces and a new stair tower linking the park directly to Hillsboro Boulevard.
Old Town Literary Walking Tour — Key West, 2017. The Key West Literary Seminar has launched an Old Town Literary Walking Tour on weekends in Key West, departing from the Monroe County Public Library at 700 Fleming Street. Sarah Thomas, a local writer and educator, guides the tours and shares stories of writers and their works. Inspired by an original walking tour created by former Key West writer David Kaufelt, the new tour features the former homes and favorite haunts of Tennessee Williams, Shel Silverstein, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost and others. The 75-minute tour departs Fridays at 5 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m. It’s priced at $25 per person; advance purchase is required. Visit kwls.org/tour or call 305-293-9291.
Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters — Marathon, 2017. In Marathon, Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters has a new lionfish exhibit that features colorful lionfish and rocks teeming with invertebrates in a 300-gallon custom tank — billed as the only one of its kind in the Keys. The exhibit was created to illuminate the negative impact of releasing exotic species into the wild. Lionfish are an invasive specifies to the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean with a voracious appetite and no natural predators in the Keys. Lionfish are able to expand their stomach to several times its original size and reproduce year-round, spawning thousands of eggs. Aquarium Encounters is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 11710 Overseas Highway. Visit floridakeysaquariumencounters.com or call 305-407-3262.
Embracing Peace Sculpture — Key West, 2017. A giant sculpture called “Embracing Peace” created by artist J. Seward Johnson has been installed alongside the front steps of Key West’s Custom House Museum at 281 Front St. The 25-foot-tall bronze artwork was inspired by a famous photograph of a sailor and nurse locked in an immortalized kiss in New York City’s Times Square, celebrating the end of World War II. The image has been called the most famous kiss in American history. Johnson, whose works are showcased throughout the world, created “Embracing Peace” in 2005. More than 250 couples in Key West gathered at the Custom House Museum on Valentine’s Day 2017 to re-create the famous kiss. One of the island city’s premier historic sites and museums, the Custom House is operated by the Key West Art & Historical Society. “Embracing Peace” is the fourth of Johnson’s super-sized sculptures to grace the museum’s steps during the past nine years. Visit kwahs.org or call 305-295-6616.