Archive for November, 2012

Photo: Crooked River Lighthouse

Crooked River Lighthouse visitors can climb the structure from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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Photo: Crooked River Lighthouse

Crooked River Lighthouse keepers followed daily work and record-keeping procedures so the light would always function.

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Photo: Crooked River Lighthouse

A room in the Crooked River Lighthouse keeper’s home displays items from the time when tending the light was a 24/7 job.

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Photo: Crooked River Lighthouse

Gift shop manager Laurel Newman walks to shut the door of the Crooked River Lighthouse as climbing hours come to a close.

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Photo: Clewiston Museum

The Clewiston Museum contains artifacts, photos, correspondence and publications from the British Flying Training School at Riddle Field.

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Homosassa Springs Brings Manatees In From the Cold

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park once again is welcoming wild manatees to spend the winter in its warm waters. For the third year, the park has opened a gate that allows the manatees to enter the area surrounding the spring.

"With the onset of cooler weather, it is important for wild manatees to have access to the warmer spring waters," said park manager Art Yerian. "On cold mornings, it is not unusual to see dozens of wild manatees in the main spring, including many females with calves."

The Homosassa Springs park participates in U.S. Fish and Wildlife's manatee rescue and rehabilitation program. In 30-plus years, the park staff has helped rehabilitate more than 40 injured manatees.

A separation fence installed within the spring allows staff to keep the injured marine mammals segregated from their healthier brethren. In Spring 2013, when the wild manatees leave the park, the gate is closed and the injured manatees are allowed to roam the entire spring bowl.

The manatees are just one of the many natural wonders at the state park. Using a wildlife walk that navigates woods and wetlands, visitors might see black bears, foxes, river otters, cougars, key deer and hundreds of bird species.

See the park website for information on fees, boat tours and hiking opportunities. A picnic area is located in the Garden of the Springs. Make a day of it.

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Photo: Clewiston Museum

Among the RAF artifacts at the Clewiston Museum is a 1942 letter mailed from England from pilot Jack Taffs to a family in Moore Haven.

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IMAX Holiday Movie at Aviation Museum in Pensacola

This time of year, it's safe to say you'll often see the words "holiday" and "magic" in the same sentence. Here are two more favorites: "IMAX" and "Giant Screen."

From Nov. 16 through Jan. 3, 2013, families can see the stop-motion animation film The Light Before Christmas at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola

Here's a little movie preview: Young Katie and her brother Makean lose their way in a Christmas Eve blizzard only to be rescued by the Candleman, an old sage who imparts wisdom, hot chocolate, a warm cottage and stories. When the Candleman reads "The Night Before Christmas," the children find themselves transported into the poem… And away we go.

The show goes on daily at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. For a list of museum events, exhibits and attractions, visit www.NavalAviationMuseum.org or call (850) 453-2389 or (800) 327-5002.

Admission to the IMAX theater is $8.25 for children, $8.75 for adults, but museum entry is free. And remember: This is one of the world’s largest aviation museums, with more than 150 restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aviation. Among the countless things to touch, see and experience are 3D Maxflight simulators. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 
– Kevin McGeever

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WinterFEST at Adventure Landing in Jacksonville

No need to leave Jacksonville to find a winter wonderland — just head over to Shipwreck Island Water Park. Now in its second year, WinterFEST at Adventure Landing in Jacksonville Beach is the newest holiday tradition that’ll warm your soul, Nov. 17, 2012 to Jan. 13, 2013.

Everyone is invited to soak in the holiday fun, and there's plenty of it:

  • Outdoor Ice Skating Rink and Skate Rental
  • Nightly Snowfalls
  • The Alpine Racer -  a 130-foot Ice Slide
  • Elegant Light Displays
  • S'more Roasting

You can also sip gourmet coffees, hot chocolate and warm cider while noshing on sweet treats and comfort foods as you explore their version of an alpine village.

I heard all wonderful reviews from last year. Scoring high marks were Santa's Workshop, the cookie decorating and the holiday carnival games. Seasonal passes are available this year, too.

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Key West Nutcracker, an Island Fantasy That’ll Keep You on Your Toes

A Keys tradition since 2005, the Nutcracker Key West is a must-see holiday event. Instead of visiting the land of the Sugarplum Fairies, the lead character, Clara, discovers an island fantasy with “dancing snowy egrets, phosphorescent sea anemones and shimmering reef fish," says Joyce Stahl, creator of Nutcracker Key West.

Joyce is not only the imagination behind this seafaring story, she is a classically trained dancer who performed The Nutcracker and other ballets with New Jersey’s American Repertory Ballet for 38 years. And don’t think this is some small potatoes production; the principal dancer is Natalia Ashikhmina, a former prima ballerina with the Russian National Ballet. The sets and costumes designed by Stahl are valued at more than $500,000. 
 
Performances will be at the Tennessee Williams Theatre on the campus of Florida Keys Community College. Its seven-show run will begin Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. Tickets are $20 per person and you can purchase your tickets online at www.keystix.com or by calling 305-295-7676.

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