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Florida is known as the sunshine state due to the warm climate. It is located in the southeastern part of the United States. It's borders are Georgia and Alabama and was the 27th state admitted to the United States. Florida was named by Juan Ponce de Leon who was a Spanish conquistador. He named the land when he discovered it on April 2, 1513 just six days after Easter. Florida is the oldest surviving European place-name that is still in the United States. The Florida weather is usually the same throughout the year with an exception to November and December for the winter months. It is usually always warm and the sun is almost always shining, hence the name the sunshine state. Florida is a main tourist destination for vacations for many reasons. One being the sunshine so the beaches are always a popular place to go along with of course Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens, the Disney Water Parks, and much more.

The Florida State capital is Tallahassee which is located in the northern part of Florida. The states bird is a Mockingbird and their flower is an Orange Blossom. Some of the major cities in the state include Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Saint Petersburg, Orlando, Hialeah, Fort Lauderdale, Tallahassee, Hollywood, and a few more. In the early days for Florida, there weren't many people who could even afford to vacation there except for the wealthy and famous. Some of those wealthy and famous people liked Florida so much they decide to stay there and farm or start a business. In 1883 it started to become a little easier for people to travel to Florida because of Henry S. Flagler who invest his wealth into Florida by building hotels and railways. Tourist then started to come to Florida more often to stay in the new hotels, enjoy the warm weather, and some even came to recover from illnesses. Then there was the invention of the automobile and people had more leisure time and they wanted to go on vacation so they would bring their own food and beds or sleep in their cars. These people were called "tin-can tourists" mostly because they ate most of their food out of tin cans.

The State of Florida has many things to offer to anyone who is interested in visiting for vacation. Of course there are the famous beaches in Key West, Siesta Key, Clearwater, and many more. Then there is of course Walt Disney World which is probably the most popular destination for tourist in Central Florida. There are Water Parks all over the state of Florida along with zoos, museums, theme parks, aquariums, shopping malls, and so much more.

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Characters at Walt Disney World in Florida

Attractions in Florida

  Walt Disney World is the main attraction in Central Florida for most tourist. They love to take their families to see Mickey Mouse and all of the Disney characters. There are four main parks in Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. Then there are also two water parks included on Walt Disney property which are Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Each amusement park has rides, shows, food, shops, and much more for everyone to enjoy. The Magic Kingdom theme park is mainly about the enchanting entertainment, it has classic attractions and all of the beloved Disney Characters and amazing parades and fireworks. In Epcot the attractions and entertainment is mainly about technological innovation and the culture and cuisine of 11 nations. Disney's Animal Kingdom is the world's largest animal themed park that is also full of attractions, adventure, and awesome animals. Disney's Hollywood Studios has shows, attractions, and tours that go behind the scene and show glimpses of Hollywood style action. Disney's Blizzard Beach is a water park covered in snow which makes it for a unique experience. Disney's Typhoon Lagoon is a water park that has 6 foot waves snorkeling at the Shark Reef, waterslides, and much more fun in the sun. Walt Disney World is a place of fun for the whole family.

Universal Orlando is made up of two theme parks, nightclubs, restaurants, a movie theater, and shops. The two theme parks are Universal Studios and Universal's Islands of Adventure. The nightclubs, movie theater, restaurants and shops are all located in City Walk which provides a one of a kind family vacation. Universal Studios is mainly themed about Hollywood movies and has 3D movie rides, a brand new roller coaster called Rip, Ride, Rocket that features music. The riders get to choose what kind of music they want to listen to before taking off on their fast and exciting adventure. Depending on the time of year you visit, Universal usually has special events around holidays which is very exciting as well. 

The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, Florida is not only an aquarium but a Center for Conservation along with a place of fun for the whole family. The Florida Aquarium combines learning with having fun which makes it a great family attraction. The Florida Aquarium is in the Top 10 Aquariums in the country says as well as ranked at number 5 in the "kid Friendly Aquariums" by Parents Magazine. The Galleries at the aquarium include Wetlands, Bays and Beaches, Coral Reef, and Ocean Commotion. The different activities offered at the aquarium are Explore A Shore, Penguin Promenade, Behind the Scenes Tour, Dive with the Sharks, Ecotour Photos, Shark Feeding Behind the Scenes Tour, Swim with the Fishes, and Wild Dolphin Ecotours. The exhibits include Aquariumania and No Bone Zone.

 Busch Gardens and SeaWorld Adventure Park are two parks that cooperate together but Busch Gardens is located in Tampa, Florida and SeaWorld is located in Orlando, Florida. Busch Gardens is known as the ultimate family adventure park with exotic animals, world class thrill rides and live entertainment. Busch Gardens has been opened since 1959 and has been making memories ever since then as well. This is the number one tourist destination in the bay area. There are over 2,500 exotic animals and plenty of roller coaster to keep the adrenaline going. SeaWorld however, is the the world's premier marine adventure park with world class shows, thrill rides, and many amazing animal encounters. There are killer whales, dolphins, sea lions, and much more. The shows are unique and exciting, the rides are also very exciting adn thrilling. SeaWorld also owns their own water park called Aquatica which is right across the street from SeaWorld and they also own Discovery Cove which is a place to have an up close and personal experience with Dolphins.

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The United States Astronaut Hall of Fame in Florida

Things to do and see in Florida

The Lowry Park Zoo located in Tampa, Florida re-opened in its present location in the year 1988. Today the zoo is ranked the number one zoo in the United States according to Parents Magazine 2009 & Child Magazine in 2004. The zoo is also recognized by the State of Florida as a place for Florida wildlife conservation and biodiversity. The zoo contains natural outdoor exhibits with more than 2,000 animals from Florida. There are also animals that come from a Native Florida Wildlife Center and manatee hospital. There are Asian gardens, Primate World, Free Flight Aviaries, Wallaroo Station children's zoo and Safari Africa. This was Tampa's first established zoo in the late 1930's.

    The United States Astronaut Hall of Fame in Titusville, Florida used to be located in Melbourne and ran by a corporation. They let the hall of fame go into foreclosure so it was given to NASA. Now the hall of fame is located right next to the entrance of Kennedy Space Center. Now that NASA is running the hall of fame it is doing much better and people are very interested in it. This is not just an ordinary hall of fame, it is also a place of memories of all the great Astronauts and their memorabilia which is the world's largest. The Astronaut memorabilia includes Deke Slayton's Mercury survival knife which was said to be tough enough to cut through the capsule hatch. As you are walking through the hall of fame you can see Jim Lovell's boy scout sash and Buzz Aldrin's high school football jersey. Then there is Gus Grissom's controversial space suit that is standing in a glass box with a light shining on it from below. This is one very interesting attraction for the whole family.

The Coral Castle located in Homestead Florida is not much of a castle but that hasn't stopped many tourist from checking it out anyway. This building of stone was built by just one man named Ed Leedskalnin. Ed built this castle for Agnes Scuffs who was a 16 year old girl who left him the day before their wedding. He built it single handedly by excavating, carving, and erecting more than 2.2 million  pounds of coral rock. He was only five feet tall and weighed about 100 pounds himself. There are many different explanations on why Agnes would have left him, he was poor, uneducated and too old. But he thought this castle that took him 20 years to build and is just an open air compound that has rock tables and chairs and no electricity or running water would win her back. The one bad thing about buildings like this is after the builder dies there is know answers to the how or whys. Ed died in 1951 and the castle opened to tourists in 1953 with a guide named Ray Ramirez who has been researching Ed for a long time so he can sum up some things.

The Old Jail in St. Augustine, Florida is a hit for tourist visiting the town of St. Augustine. It is known as Florida's version of the Witch Dungeon in Salem, Massachusetts. This is an attraction to spook people while on the tour and make them feel uncomfortable. It used to be a jail and held criminals. There is an animatronic Sheriff Joe Perry who gives a small speech from up above the security cell block and holds a hangman's rope. The jail was originally built by the same company that Alcatraz. The outside of the building looks like a pleasant pink hotel but it held convicts inside until 1953 when it became a tourist attraction. After the speech from the sheriff the jail fills up with recorded voices of the unhappy convicts while the tourists are left to find their way out.