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If there’s anything that makes you long to be a kid again, it’s this totally awesome 150-acre interactive theme park specifically designed for kids 2 -12 years old. With more than 50 unique rides, 10 theme zones and all kinds of really cool attractions, it is the absolute bomb! Lots of special events here, too. FYI: The water ride, “Quest For Chi” is an absolute blast! Find it at 1 Legoland Way in Winter Haven. 877-350-5346; legoland. com/Florida. Legoland Properties - Legoland Hotel, Legoland Beach

Ivy On The Square

Southern food is synonymous with comfort food so it’s not surprising that great Southern recipes, passed down from one generation to the next, are cherished and protected. And that brings us to Marjorie ”Mimi” Hale - the matriarch of the award-winning “Ivy House Restaurant & Catering” in Williston as well as the new, hip “Ivy On The Square” in downtown Ocala. Two restaurants, two different vibes but both share the same authentic Southern specialties created from Mimi’s cherished family recipes. You’ll find perennial favorites like homemade Pimento Cheese, Fried Green Tomatoes, Shrimp & Grits and Mimi’s signature Baked Krispy Chicken. Everything here is outrageously good!

In Ocala at 53 S Magnolia (352-622-5550); and in Williston at 106 NW Mail St (352-528- 5410).

The Veranda

You are going to be totally wowed by The Veranda, Tampa Bay Downs’s new laid back viewing lounge. The Downs pulls out all the stops with an expansive appetizer bar and private bar. Located on the second floor of the racetrack’s Clubhouse, this open-air, covered hang is directly across from the Winner’s Circle and offers spectacular views of some of the country’s most exciting Thoroughbred racing. Grab a seat, grab a bite and get a ringside view of all the action.

Find it at Tampa Bay Downs,11225 Race Track Rd, Tampa. Reservations and info: 813-855-4401;

Shula’s Steak House

If you love Don Shula’s famous steaks, you’ll really flip over his fresh, juicy char-grilled burgers. The legendary NFL Coach raises the bar with a big beefy patty that is always made fresh from his own signature blend of Premium Black Angus Chuck, Short Rib and brisket, perfectly seasoned and served with lettuce, tomato, pickle and your choice   of cheese on a   brioche style bun. Once you’ve tackled one of these bad boys, you’ll never suffer another “Mac-Attack” again.

At the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center, 1714 SW 34th St., Gainesville (305-664-2321). Info:


Corona Cigar Tampa

With 5,000 square feet of humidified space, this smoking-hot cigar emporium showcases a unique collection of premium cigars, must-have accessories and curated pieces. But what really puts it over the top are the added amenities which include multiple indoor-and-out smoking lounges, private lockers and an elegant full service bar with top shelf libations. Yowza!

Find it at the Metwest International Shopping Center, 4142 Boy Scout Blvd. near Tampa’s International Mall and Airport. Info: 813-513-7560;


ZooTampa at Lowry Park

With more than 1300 resident animals, ZooTampa is famous for having one of the most beautiful, tropical zoological settings in the world. You’ll experience unforgettable, natural connections and get closer to wildlife than ever before. Touch a giant tortoise, feed a giraffe, go nose-tohorn with an Indian rhino, hand-to-fin with slippery stingrays and a whole lot more! You and your family can also splash in the fun water play areas, climb aboard thrilling rides and take in fascinating educational shows. Love manatees? At the David A. Straz Jr. Manatee Hospital, the Zoo’s veterinary and animal-care staff treat sick, injured and orphaned manatees before returning them to the wild after rehabilitation. Don’t miss this one!

ZooTampa is open daily from 9:30am - 5pm. Find it at Lowry Park, 1101 W Sligh Ave, Tampa, Fl 33604. Info: 813-935-8552;

STRAZ Center

If you love Broadway musicals, the STRAZ Center is just the ticket. This extraordinary 335,000 square foot performance center stages some of Broadway’s greatest hits Including Cabaret, Wicked, An American In Paris, and other Tony Award-winners, as well as grand opera and a variety of concerts, performances and events. With five halls, three restaurants, a coffee shop and the Patel Conservatory, it’s the second largest performing arts center in the U.S.

Find it at 1010 N.W. C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. Info 813-229-7827;


Bascom’s Chop House

It’s hard not to love everything on Bascom’s menu. The seafood which is delivered daily and beautifully prepared, is always top drawer and the center cut prime chops are as good as they get. But it’s the glorious, 16 oz bone-in Ribeye that has us hooked. Hand cut from Certified Angus midwestern grainfed steer, this rich, well marbled steak is served charred outside with an intense, rich steak flavor that’s hard to find. If you like great steak, put this one on your bucket list!

Find it at 3665 Ulmerton Rd., Clearwater. 727-573-3363;


La Cuisine

Located in historic downtown Ocala, this charming French restaurant is like taking a trip to Paris without having to pack. Owners Patrice and Elodie Perron source super fresh, high quality ingredients for their sensational European creations. Specialities include Organic Half Roast Chicken with fresh herbs, black truffle and black truffle au jus; Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with celery root au poivre and a cognac cream sauce; and Herb & Dijon Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb with demi glace sauce. Save room for dessert because the sweet endings here are the “piece de resistance!”

Find it at 48 SW 1st Ave in Ocala.352-433-2570;


Jackson’s Bistro Bar & Sushi

It doesn’t get better than award-winning sushi, and a panoramic view of the sparkling downtown Tampa skyline. The unforgettable waterfront views make Jackson’s Bistro the perfect place to click your chopsticks and revel in an extensive lineup of fresh sashimi, signature specialty rolls, and an impressive selection of American dishes. Some of our favorite rolls: the Lobster Tempura Roll (lobster meat, cucumber, sushi rice, tempura fried and served with eel sauce and spicy mayo) along with the Happy Sumo Roll (blue crab, spicy tuna, cream cheese & cucumber topped with eel and tempura chips – yum!). Other than sushi, our favorite items include Calamari Rings with sweet chili aioli, and some of the biggest and tastiest coconut shrimp on the planet.

Find it at 601 S. Harbour Island Blvd., Tampa. Info: 813-277-0112;



Every Third Friday Music Walk

River District, Fort Myers: From 6pm to 10pm there is a wide variety of live music throughout the streets of the historic downtown Fort Myers River District, including restaurants, art galleries and bars. For more information visit



Climb to the Moon

Ponce Inlet: Experience spectacular views of the sunset and moonrise at the top of Florida’s tallest lighthouse. The lighthouse

keeper will lead you on your journey into the past to discover the unique history of this National Historic Landmark. Reservations

are a MUST and limited ticketing up to 25 people. This is a rain or shine event. Takes place on the date of the full moon at Ponce

Inlet Lighthouse, 4931 S. Peninsula Dr. Call for times. Info: 386-761-1821 ext 10;


April 19 - 28

42nd Annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration

Key West: This raucous annual event commemorates the founding of our Conch Republic. The celebration includes a ton of fun events,

including a big Kick-Off Party, Conch Republic Music Party, Boat Parade, Art & Craft Fair, Pirates’ Ball, Red Ribbon Bed Races, a wacky

“Drag Queen” Race,and much more. Info: 305-296-0213;


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