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(2022 - Winter Issue)


This is the time of year that Floridians have been waiting for—cooler temperatures all day long and into the night provide the perfect setting for ample outdoor fun. From park explorations to safari adventures to pirate escapades, in Central Florida there are plenty of ways to spend days enjoying its great outdoors.

Bonnet Springs Park

Just off the I-4, the highway that runs through Central Florida, you’ll discover the 69-hectare urban oasis, Bonnet Springs Park. The park is situated on a former railway yard, once the state’s largest train repair yard, which has been transformed into a natural space easily walkable from the town of Lakeland’s urban core.

One of the first spots to stop during a visit to Bonnet Springs Park is the Hollis Family Welcome Center. Inside, exhibits pay tribute to Central Florida’s railroad legacy and citrus heritage, as well as other regional history. The Get Well Community Nature Center and Edwards Boathouse do a fantastic job depicting the transformation of the railyard to parkland, and are certainly worth a visit.

Back outside spend time in the Ag America Heritage Garden, a linear garden of native plants and grasses filled with natural shade and sweet scents. Little ones will make a beeline for an old oak grove where a large tree house full of gadgets and views is the big draw. Called “the Kiwanis Cares for Kids Treehouse,” the kid-friendly play area overlooks the park.

Safari Wilderness

In Lakeland, around Florida’s second largest wilderness area (after the Everglades), it’s zebras and camels and ostriches, oh my! Take a guided nature tour for epic wildlife viewing at Safari Wilderness Ranch. Hop onto a customized safari truck—or stay inside your own car—and drive through 105-hectares of wilderness, hearing stories about  Florida’s natural history, including wildlife conservation efforts.  Extend your Florida safari with a stay in one of the 10 safari glamping tents found on the grounds. Overnight guests can add to their safari experiences with exclusive sundowner safaris, birdwatching safaris and mountain biking.

Pirate River Quest

Ahoy! Prepare for early next year when LEGOLAND Florida is set to debut the Pirate River Quest. The new family-friendly, swashbuckling quest seats adventurers in a boat to search for Captain Redbeard’s lost treasure. Stories of the rowdy pirate crew will keep everyone entertained while floating on waterways and spotting monkeys, flamingos and maybe even a kraken along the way.

Fun for the entire family, the new LEGOLAND attraction complements all of the other park rides. Extend the “ahoy mateys” fun with an overnight stay at LEGOLAND’s Pirate Island Hotel in Winter Haven. The family-fun hotel offers nightly entertainment, in-room treasure hunts, separate sleeping spaces, complimentary breakfast and free Wi-Fi.

Travel Planner

For more information on Central Florida, visit

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