Florida Events for February and March 2021
Whatever your passion, Florida has something for you. Here are just some of the major events (both outside and virtual) scheduled in the Sunshine State. Please check individual websites for more details.
OUTDOORS / SOCIALLY DISTANCED EVENTS
J.N. “DING” DARLING WILDLIFE REFUGE – You can still drive, hike or bike through the four-mile wildlife drive every day. (Except Friday, to give wildlife a day off!) The Indigo Trail and the Bailey Tract are the trails still open. Sightings can include a large variety of wading birds and shorebirds, raccoons, marsh rabbits, alligators and occasionally otters and bobcats.
When: Any time
Where: J. N. “Ding Darling Wild Life Refuge, Captiva Island
BLACK THEATER MATTERS – These two events are in February, at the same location:
· Sacred Fire – It explores a range of Western classical music by composers of African descent by merging engaging visual elements and sound. Take a chronological musical journey from Afro-British to Afro-Brazilian music, narrated with poetic prose and accompanied with elements of ballet and visual art.
· Lift Every Voice: Black Women Speak – This will feature the reading of 14 monologues that unleash the thoughts and experiences of black women playwrights from across the country. From an unwanted pregnancy to the fear of a traffic stop, the monologues provide a glimpse into the lives of these women.
When: Respectively, Feb. 13 and Feb. 19. At the live shows, face masks are required and there will be limited capacity.
Where: In person at the Sandrell River Theater in Miami and virtually online for one month after the live event.
Web: www.sandrellriverstheater.com/calendar; for the online showings, see www.facebook.com/ftfshows
FORT MYERS SCAVENGER HUNTS – Let’s Roam has some good ones for Fort Myers and all the stops are outdoors. You’ll walk from landmark to landmark to discover art, culture and history. Search plaques, statues and art to solve riddles that can only be found on location. Work with a team to answer trivia questions and complete photo challenges. Earn extra points for each hidden treasure and photo your team takes.
When: Any day you want, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: Fort Myers
TWILIGHT GREEN MARKET AT WELLINGTON – It’s focused on growing a true community market which will feature unique, locally-sourced fresh farm-to-fork produce from farmers and growers, ranging from fruits and vegetables, herbs, spices and fresh flowers to everyday favorites like fresh baked goods and local Florida honey. In addition, the Market will showcase artisan foods, seafood, flowers, breads, and pastries, an eclectic array of locally grown herbs, cooking demos, artists and crafters and incorporate plant-based and vegetarian products. Exhibitors and attendees are required to wear masks. Exhibitors will have hand sanitizers available.
When: Every Friday evening through March 26
Where: Town Center Boardwalk (with Lake Wellington as a backdrop), Wellington
FORT LAUDERDALE SCAVENGER HUNT: BY THE NEW RIVER – Download an app and take this self-guided scavenger hunt. It will be easy to social distance and there are no inside locations. Walk from landmark to landmark to discover art, culture and history. Search plaques, statues and art to solve riddles that can only be found on location.
When: Any day you want, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: Along the New River in Fort Lauderdale
STATE PARKS OPENING! – As the state undergoes various stages of reopening, so are most of the Sunshine State’s beautiful 175 state parks. The parks folks have been busy during the closings, repairing hundreds of buildings and other facilities and treating large patches of invasive exotic plants. Parks Director Eric Draper is looking forward to visitors returning and enjoying the parks while demonstrating proper safety procedures. At parks where camping is offered, there may also be measures in place such as reduced density. Meanwhile, if you can’t make it in person, check out the “Parks from Anywhere” program, a web-based way for you and your family to learn more about Florida’s wildlife and includes coloring sheets, park webcams and other activities.
Where: Throughout Florida
DRY TORTUGAS NATIONAL PARK – Dive a shipwreck, swim through the third-largest coral reef in the world and tour a Civil War-era fort. You can do all this without leaving home, thanks to the virtual tour of this this secluded, 100-acre national park that sits 70 miles west of Key West. One of the most awe-inspiring sights at the park is the historic Fort Jefferson and its natural beauty that just might inspire a trip there in the future.
FLORIDA LOBSTER SEASON – There’s the mini season that lasts two days and the regular season that lasts eight months. The start of the regular season means that this is the time when restaurants can start serving up delicious lobster creations. An annual Lobsterfest in Key West scheduled for August was canceled due to Covid-19. But you can still go catch the crusty crustaceans and enjoy great lobster meals prepared in a variety of ways. There are good tips on how to catch the critters at the website below.
When: The regular season runs through March 31, 2021.
Where: All over Florida
A DAY AT THE MUSEUM – Museums, thankfully, are starting to let visitors in for live shows. Here are some of the new exhibitions:
· Real Bodies: The Exhibition -- Visitors will see real, perfectly preserved human bodies (bones, organs and muscles) and hundreds of anatomical specimens. The goal of the exhibition is to connect audiences to a deeper sense of what it means to be alive. You’ll come away with an understanding of how various anatomical systems work together to comprise the human experience.
When: Now through April 3
Where: South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, West Palm Beach
· Collecting Stories – This exhibit focuses on works pulled from the Morikami Museum’s 8,000-piece permanent collection and is its first new exhibition since March. You can explore how Japanese visual culture has reflected changes in society, politics and modernization and learn how everyday functional objects can express deep spirituality. Masks must be worn inside and outside when six-feet of social distancing is not possible.
When: Now through April 3
Where: Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach
MANOLO VALDES: THE LEGACY – Valdes is a noted Spanish artist who works in paint, mixed media and sculpture. Eighteen of his larger-than-life sculptures will be presented in 12 locations in Miami for six months, with several programs organized around the exhibition, such as guided tours, educational programs for students, public workshops, pop-up performances and the publication of a special-edition book.
When: Now through the end of May, 2021
Where: Various locations in Miami
ALLIED WITH POWER: AFRICAN AND AFRICAN DIASPORA ART – This art exhibit consists of a sizable selection of African and African Diaspora artists and highlights artists whose work embody the possibilities and complexities these contemporary times. It showcases a wide range of practices and themes, including abstraction, politics, spirituality and race. Face coverings are required and there will be a reduced capacity to help contribute to social distancing.
When: Now through July 31
Where: Perez Art Museum, Miami
DELRAY BEACH FASION WEEK, REIMAGINED – The four-day fest will look a little different this year due to Covid-19, but organizers have put together a safe, fun, all-outdoor program with limited attendance. Local designers will be the focal point. Two of the days will be devoted to shopping in two different neighborhoods, so you will be able to purchase the looks you like the very next day after seeing them on the runway. Masks are required and temperature checks will be administered upon entrance to all the events.
When: Feb. 24-28
Where: Downtown Delray Beach
UNDERWATER BURLESQUE SHOWS – You’ll be able to enjoy living mermaids from MeduSirena and her pod of Aquaticats performing from a porthole view while enjoying a tropical cocktail and dining on fresh seafood. Recently added is a show with The Aquamen. Admission to the show is $60 per person, with a credit of $45 toward food and beverages during the show. Patrons are required to wear masks except while eating and drinking. There will be no bar seating and no dancing. Tables will be spaced out and capacity has been cut by 50 per cent.
When: Ongoing. The ladies perform every Friday and Saturday night and the men are on Thursday night.
Where: Wreck Bar at B Ocean Hotel in Fort Lauderdale
SWAMP CABBAGE FESTIVAL – This will be the 54th year that the authentic Florida town of La Belle just east of Fort Myers has been celebrating swamp cabbage in this down-home festival. You can sample dishes made with swamp cabbage (also known as hearts of palm). The many activities include armadillo races, a rodeo, beauty pageants, a parade live music, a fishing tournament, motorcycle rally, beer tents, an axe-throwing contest, lawn games and beer tents. The theme for this year’s gathering is “500 Years of Florida First in Cattle Ranching.” Masks and social distancing are recommended, but not required.
When: Feb 27-28
Where: Barron Park in La Belle
PALM BEACH OPERA FRESH-AIR FESTIVAL – More and more cultural organizations are moving their events outdoors in these difficult times. At this one, some opera heavy-hitter headliners will perform, including Latonia Moore, Janai Brugger, Kathryn Lewek, Ana Maria Martinez, Isabel Leonard, Matthew Polenzani, Michael Fabiano, Robert Watson, Quinn Kelsey, Joshua Hopkins, Michael Chioldi, Ryan Speedo Green, Morris Robinson and Samuel Ramey. At press time, three operas were scheduled, La boheme, Pagliacci and The Magic Flute. Masks will be required and there will be at least six feet between each seating pod.
When: Feb. 19 and 24 for La boheme, Feb. 23 and 27 for Pagliacci and Feb. 21 and 26 for The Magic Flute.
Where: Ithink Financial Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach.
BONITA SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – About 70 carefully curated narrative, documentary, animation and short films from around the world will be presented. Also included will be a variety of workshops, demonstrations and Q & A sessions with filmmakers, writers and actors. Masks are required and there will be reduced capacity at all events to insure proper social distancing.
When: Feb. 26-28; masks will be required; social distanced reduction
Where: Moe auditorium and Hinman Auditorium at the Center For Performing Arts, Bonita Springs
ARTS & CRAFTS GALORE – Outdoors is the place to be these days, for sure. These shows are all outdoors, except where noted.
· Artigras Fine Arts Festival, Feb. 15-17 at Gardens North District County Park in Palm Beach Gardens. Masks required. artigras.org
· Art Wynwood, Feb. 11-15 on Biscayne Bay, Miami. Exhibits will be in tents that are outdoors. Masks required. artwynwood.com
· Coconut Point Mall Art Festival, Feb. 20-21 in the mall parking lot in Estero. Masks required. ArtFestival.com
· Downtown Stuart Art Festival, Feb. 20-21. Masks required. ArtFestival.com
· Naples National Art Show, Feb. 21-22 at Cambier Park. Masks required. naplesart.org
· Old Island Days Art Festival, Feb. 27-28 at Truman Waterfront in Key West. Masks required. keywestartcenter.com
PALM BEACH INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW – If you want a boat, need a boat or you like to fantasize about boats, this one’s for you. You’ll see an amazing array of vessels – from Cigarette, Comanche, Super Cat, inflatables, cruisers, runabouts, fishing boats, high performance, bow riders and, of course, 150-foot super yachts. You’ll also find a full lineup of accessories and nautical fashions. It all adds up to one of the top boat shows in the country, especially with the newly added Superyacht Show Palm Beach as part of the festivities. There will also be a free kids (ages 4-16) fishing clinic, jetpack demos, electric surfboards, paddleboards and Hobie kayaks. For an enhanced experience, check out the Windward VIP Club. Face masks are required and temperatures will be taken at admittance.
When: March 25-28 in 2021
Where: Lake Worth Lagoon in downtown West Palm Beach and the Flagler Museum
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY FAIR & EXPOSITION – It’s one of the top fairs/expositions in the country, drawing about 600,000 people each year. It might not draw as many this year due to Covid-19, but those that do attend are sure to have a good time. The organizers are planning to include a full fair experience, including heart-pounding rides, two huge Kiddielands, yummy fair food, livestock and agricultural competitions, pig races and live music. Masks are required and temperatures will be taken upon entrance.
When: March 18-April 11, except March 22-24 and April 5-7
Where: Fair Expo Center, Miami
SOUTH FLORIDA GARLIC FEST – The event known as the “Best Stinkin’ Party in South Florida” is not letting Covid-19 stop the annual community celebration of garlicky food, art and live local music. The festival will showcase its world-renowned Gourmet Alley (featuring more than 100 garlic-infused menu items), full beer and liquor bars, children’s amusement rides, live music and some 180 exhibitors selling art, products and home made goods. Safety will be a premium. Masks are required while inside the festival premises and capacity will be limited. Also 10-feet by 10-feet pods will be drawn on the lawn by the main stage, with six feet separating them and four to six guests permitted per pod.
When: March 6-7
Where: Wellington Green Park, Wellington
COLLIER COUNTY FAIR – All the county-fare staples are included: livestock shows and competitions, arcade games, carnival rides, live music, kids’ activities, and all the cotton candy you could ever want. Masks are not required (but recommended) outdoors but they are required for indoor events. Temperatures will be taken at the entrance gate.
When: March 18-28
Where: Collier County Fairgrounds, Naples
PLAY BALL! (hopefully…) – At press time, Spring Training for the four Major League Baseball teams in Palm Beach County and the two in Lee County was still scheduled to start on time. Check the web sites below for schedules and Covid-19 requirements.
When: Starting at the end of February and then throughout the month of March
Where: For the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins, Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. For the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros, Ball Park of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach. For the Boston Red Sox, JetBlue Park in Fort Myers. For the Minnesota Twins, CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers.
Web: rogerdeanstadium.com for the Cardinals and Marlins; ballparkpalmbeaches.com for the Nationals and Astros; redsox.com/jetbluepark for the Red Sox; twinsbaseball.com for the Twins.
THE HONDA CLASSIC – The Professional Golfers Association is slowly dipping its toes into the some-fans-allowed waters and such will be case at this stop on the tour. There will be a limited number of fans allowed in each of the four days of the tour and the pro-ams before it. At press time that number had not yet been determined. The Honda Classic is known for its iconic “Bear Trap,” consisting of one the most famous three-hole stretches on tour (15th, 16th and 17th). The tournament always attracts the top golfers in the world, but the field had not yet been announced at press time. Check the web site below for updates. Face coverings are required.
When: March 15-21
Where: PGA National Resort & Spa, Palm Beach Gardens
THE ART HEIST EXPERIENCE – It’s an outdoor walking show based on a true story about an art caper. You will move through five locations to pick up clues about who did the dastardly deed, interacting with folks portraying criminals, con men, art experts and detectives. The plot borrows a lot from a ripped-from-the-headlines scandal in 1990, when two thieves dressed up as police and went into the Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and stole $500 million worth of works by such biggies as Rembrandt, Manet and Vermeer. Even though the event is outdoors, face coverings are required.
When and Where: Tuesdays through Sundays March 16-April 4 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale and March 18-April 4 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami
Web: BrowardCenter.org and ArshtCenter.org
BROWARD COUNTY WATERWAY CLEANUP – Here is a good way to go outdoors and do a good deed at the same time. It used to be a crowded one-day event but now has been expanded to all weekends in March to spread the participants over multiple days. Even if you don’t have a boat, you can help clean up shorelines. Masks are not required because you will be outdoors, but organizers recommend you bring one just in case you are in a situation where you can’t socially distance. Unfortunately, the opening party and closing Trash Bash have been cancelled this year.
When: Every Saturday and Sunday in March
Where: Various locations in Broward County
ARCADIA ALL-FLORIDA CHAMPIONSHIP RODEO – The 93rd version (no wonder it is called “The Granddaddy of ’Em All”) of this Stetson hat-studded event includes saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, steer wrestling, calf roping and bull riding. There are kids’ events, too: mutton bustin’, calf scramble, barrel racing and steer and bull riding. The event is under roof cover, but it is not a fully enclosed facility. Masks are not required, but they are recommended.
When: March 11-14 in 2021
Where: Mosaic Arena, Arcadia
CULTURE FOR FREE EVERY THURSDAY EVENING! – The Museum of Art & Design in Miami offers groundbreaking exhibitions and programs that aim to foster a reimagined Miami. Currently on exhibit is Body Electric, a major show that looks at our fraught relationship with technology, particularly the increasingly inescapable interface between our bodies and screens.
When: Thursday evenings from now through at least the end of March
Where: The Museum of Art and Design in the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami
SATURDAY AFTERNOON POLO – Bring your family and friends and a picnic basket and enjoy an afternoon of polo in a beautiful setting. There are two matches, at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Masks are not required, but bring one just in case you come across a situation where you can’t be socially distanced from somebody.
When: Every Saturday afternoon through the end of June
Where: Hobe Sound Polo Club, Hobe Sound
ARTS & CRAFT SHOWS – The scene starts to slow down a bit in March, but there are still some good ones from which to choose (All are outdoors. Masks required for all of them, except the last one. For that show masks are recommended.):
· Las Olas Art Fair, Part II, March 6-7, in downtown Fort Lauderdale; artfestival.com
· Bonita Springs National Art Festival, Riverside Park, March 6-7; artcenterbonita.org
· Palm Beach Gardens Medical ArtFest by the Sea, March 13-14, Juno Beach; artfestival.com
· Punta Gorda Sullivan Street Craft Festival, March 13-14; artfestival.com
· Original Boca Art Show at Boca Center, March 20-21, in Boca Raton; artfestival.com
· Downtown Naples Art Show, March 20-21; naplesart.org
· Downtown Stuart Craft Fair, March 27-28; artfestival.com
· Naples Open Air Fine Art Show, March 27-28, at the Naples Italian American Club, Naples; hotworks.org
MIAMI FILM FESTIVAL – Things will look a little different this year, as it will be both live-in-person and virtual. This fest always offers an eclectic array of feature films, shorts and documentaries and this year is no exception. The opening and closing night films are directed by Miamians: Edson Jean’s “Ludi” and Jayme Gershen’s “Birthright.” Various awards will be given out: including to legends Rita Moreno and Pedro Almodovor and hot new actors Riz Ahmed (“The Sound of Metal”), Aldis Hodge (he portrays football great Jim Brown in “One Night in Miami”), singer-turned-actress Andra Day (she plays Billie Holliday in “(The United States vs. Billie Holliday”). When you purchase tickets, the two seats to the left and the two seats to the right of your group will be automatically blocked out and there is plenty of room between rows. Masks are required.
When: March 5-14
Where: The 17-auditorium Silverspot Cinema in downtown Miami for the in-person showings and from where ever you are for the virtual part of the festival
Web: miamifilmfestival.com for general information and miamifilmfestival.com/tickets-faq/ for information on how to enjoy the virtual events
HAPPY 110TH BIRTHDAY, TENNESSEE WILLIAMS – The great playwright visited and worked in the Keys from 1942 until his death in 1983 and you can celebrate his 110th birthday and his life at this multiple-events festival. Highlights include a series of classic movies adapted from his award-winning plays, a short story contest, a poetry contest, a plein air painting contest and a tour of the Tennessee Williams Museum. The films that were adapted from his plays at this year’s fest are: “Suddenly Last Summer,” “The Fugitive Kind,” “The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone,” and “The Rose Tattoo.” Masks and social distancing are required for all the live events. The virtual highlight of the festival is “Tandy Talks Tennessee,” featuring actress Tandy Cronyn, daughter of legendary actors Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn. Ms. Cronyn will talk about her mother (she starred as Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire”), father and Williams. She will also read from playwright’s poetry collection, share reminiscences and participate in a conversation about her family and Williams with Steven Kitsakos of the Tennessee Williams Museum.
When: Various dates in March
Where: Various locations in Key West and from where ever you are for the virtual events
EGG-VENTURE – Zoo Miami is calling all explorers to come and discover in a whole new say. While enjoying a stroll through the park families can use clues to find 12 fun eggs hidden throughout the walkways. You’ll be able to use an app on your phone to help you find the clues. Once finished, guests can redeem a prize of eight treat-filled eco- friendly eggs. Egg-Venture is included with admission to the zoo.
When: March 4-April 4
Where: Zoo Miami, Miami
THE VIRTUAL BASS – No, not the fish, the museum. Access all the interactive educational resources The Bass has to offer from your home via the museum’s virtual tour and video series. From virtual tours of select exhibits to thought provoking artist interviews and talks, there’s something for all to enjoy. If you’re interested in additional art-inspired home activities, check out @BassCreativityCenter on Instagram
When: At your convenience
Where: The Bass Museum, Miami
THE PALM BEACH BOOK FESTIVAL – It’s an all-virtual event this year and there will be three panels. The first is “World War II Heroines in the Shadows: Codes, Cunning and Covert Ops.” It will include Larry Loftis, author of The Princess Spy and Kristin Harmel, author of The Book of Lost Names. The second features George Sanders, author of A Swim in a Pond in the Rain. The panel will be moderated by O Magazine editor Leigh Haber. The third is titled “You Don’t Have to be Jewish to Love This Panel!” It features movie director Barry Sonnenfeld, author of Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother! And Patricia Marx, author of You Can Only Yell at Me For One Thing at a Time. Florida Atlantic University is a co-host of the festival and the first 50 books by each participating panelist that are sold through the school’s bookstore will be signed by the author.
When: March 19-20.
Where: All three panels will be on Zoom
FORT LAUDERDALE VIRTUAL RECREATION CENTER – You’ll find free, fun and educational activities and resources for people of all ages. Visit the center often or follow the city’s social media channels for a variety of instructor-led classes, at-home activities and great ideas to keep you and your loved ones healthy, entertained and informed.
When: At your convenience
Where: Anywhere you are
#THEPLAYGROUND – The Miami-Dade Parks Recreation and Open Space department will present interactive videos you can watch from anywhere in order to enjoy the county’s parks. Videos will include fitness classes, tours of the parks and interactions with Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill. Programs change often, so check the web site below for updates.
When: At your convenience
Where: Anywhere you are
LIVE TURTLE CAM – Learn about sea turtle conservation and rehabilitation via a live turtle cam. The newest patient is Te Fiti, a sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle that was found in St. Lucie with a deep wound on its right front flipper. The wound is being treated with antibiotics and topically with honey and a therapeutic laser.
When: Whenever you want
Where: Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Juno Beach
A NIGHT (OR DAY) AT THE MUSEUM – The Nova Southeastern Art Museum in downtown Fort Lauderdale allows you to peruse its world-renowned contemporary art with a virtual tour. Check out the current exhibition "Happy!” It’s meant to spark joy and a range of emotions with its floating cloud balloons and colorful rainbows. The museum is encouraging virtual guests to select a piece that resonates with them and then share how it makes them feel with a friend or loved one.
FLORIDA REP STAGE@HOME SERIES – After canceling the remainder of the 2020 season, the Florida Repertory Theatre has begun this new weekly program, hosted live on Zoom and streamlined to Facebook each Friday. The shows will feature a panel of experts and theater artists talking about a different aspect of producing professional theater.
Where: Florida Repertory Theatre, Fort Myers
FROST SCIENCE @HOME – This new digital platform learning series presented by the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami is perfect these days, with children having to stay home and not go to school. It gives visitors the opportunity to explore free educational resources, videos, DIY science activities and behind-the-scenes content. It also offers a 360 degrees exploration of a museum’s top exhibitions and a close look into the world of its resident rehabilitated loggerhead turtle, Miko. The museum also offers virtual tours of its current exhibits.
ARSHT@HOME – Stay connected with Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center, the arts and one another. You will be able to unleash your create your own masterpiece with your family, alongside local teaching artists. Watch as Miami actors perform monologues from your favorite plays and musicals. Sing along to Spotify playlists curated by staff members and artists from across Miami. “Living Room Live” gives front-row access to intimate performances by Miami musicians. The “From Our Resident Companies” (ballet, opera and symphony) program will keep you entertained while staying safe at home.
KRAVIS @HOME – The Kravis Center has launched its digital stage, featuring a line-up concerts, dance performances, lectures, dramatic play readings, arts educations activities for kids of all ages. New experiences are added every week so be sure to vist often.
THE HENRY MORRISON FLAGLER MUSEUM -- Experience this National Historic Landmark in Palm Beach, as you take a virtual tour of Whitehall, Henry Flagler’s Gilded Age estate that was built in 1902. The mansion is 100,000 square feet and has 75 rooms. You’ll see some of the rooms on the first and second floors of the museum, the Pavilion, the library, the music room, the billiard room and several bedrooms.
VIZCAYA MUSEUM AND GARDEN – This beautiful estate of former agricultural industrialist John Deering on Biscayne Bay in Miami gives visitors a glimpse into a unique part of Miami’s history. Your virtual tour of this National Historic Landmark allows you to explore the grounds of the waterfront East Terrace, formal gardens (including the Orchidarium), ground floor of the estate, as well as the rooms along the north, south and east galleries.
BONNET HOUSE MUSEUM & GARDENS VIRTUAL AND VINTAGE TOUR – This is a beautiful and serene sanctuary across from the beach in Fort Lauderdale. If you’ve never seen it, take this virtual tour, which includes a four-part video series. The vintage videos offer special tours inside the home, historic lore told by the late Bonnet House owner Evelyn Bartlett and Irene Hart (who as a child lived at and near the Bonnet House) and extended clips from the Bartletts’ home movies. It’s a way to relive much simpler times, until the home reopens for tours.
PEREZ ART MUSEUM MIAMI (PAMM) DIGITAL MUSEUM -- PAMM is open 24/7 via its Digital Museum, offering guided video tours of works from its permanent collection and special exhibitions, art-making activities for kids and art talks. “Virtual Local Views at PAMM” features Miami artists discussing works on view at the museum. The “Live Virtual Scholl Lecture Series” offers conversations with art world figures.
CONCERTS FROM YOUR COUCH – Gobs of musical artists are streaming performances from their houses while they are practicing social distancing and that is great. But, the BB&T center in Sunrise has assembled a list of amazing full concerts from around the world that you can also watch from the comfort of your couch. Here’s the list: Lady Gaga, John Legend, Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake, Elton John, Queen, the Dead & Company and Linkin Park.
PALM BEACH COUNTY VIRTUAL CULTURAL EXPERIENCES, TOURS & CLASSES – Although many cultural organizations are closed, you can still enjoy what they have to offer. The broad categories are music and theater performances; history experiences and lectures; museum, art and gallery tours and lessons; science and nature experiences and dance classes.
Where: Various locations in Palm Beach County
VIRTUAL BLUEGRASS CONCERTS – Every once in a while the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach has live entertainment and such was the case back in April when two top blue grass bands were scheduled to perform. That, of course, was canceled, but you can still see the two groups perform. The headlining act was to be Grand Ole Opry members and multiple-Grammy award nominees Dailey & Vincent and the opening act was2019 International Bluegrass Association Entertainers of the Year Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers. The folks at Flagler have compiled a list of websites where you can watch both perform.
Where: Flagler Museum, Palm Beach
VIRTUAL CUBA LIBRE AND MOJITO COCKTAILS – Join Grace Della of Miami Culinary Tours as she goes on Zoom and prepares two of Miami’s most signature cocktails as she mixes in stories of the city’s history, culture and food. Be transported from the comfort of your own home to the tropics and feel the Miami-Cuban Spirit.
When: Thursdays through Sundays, ongoing
FACTS ON THE TRACKS – The Gold Coast Railroad museum sends out interactive lessons that include facts about Florida railroad history, general railroad history and the museum’s history. Lessons begin with a video, text, a quiz and even a recipe.
When: Every two weeks on Fridays
Where: Gold Coast Railroad Museum, Miami
FLAMCAM AT THE EVERGLADES WONDER GARDENS – Who doesn’t like looking at beautiful flamingos? Well, now you can do that from the comfort of your own home, via the Flamingo FlamCam. Watch Amigo the Flamingo and the rest of the flamboyance (the official word for a gathering or flock of flamingos!) as they feed, preen and explore the flamingo lagoon and the beach. Other feathered friends, such as a white ibis and the gardens’ peafowl collection, including Picasso the Peacock (he’s the big blue one) and Prince Pierre (the white one). It’s best to check in at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the flamingos are fed.
When: 24 hours a day
Where: Everglades Wonder Gardens, Bonita Springs
JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE – Using interviews and rare archival footage, this film chronicles the recently-deceased civil rights icon’s 60 years of social activism and legislative action on voting rights, gun control, health care reform and immigration. Filmmaker Dawn Porter explores his childhood, his inspiring family and his fateful meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957. In addition to interviews with Lewis and his family, the movie also features interviews with political leaders, congressional colleagues and other people who figured prominently in his life.
When: At your convenience.
Where: Streaming in support of Tower Theater in Miami
J.N. “DING” DARLING WILDLIFE REFUGE – #DingAtHome, established because of Covid-19, includes virtual experiences that all ages can enjoy from home. Keep in touch often with this ever-evolving web page. There are Wildlife Webcams to help you enjoy nature from your home. The Official Refuge Facebook page offers daily themed activity videos.
When: Any time
Where: J. N. “Ding Darling Wild Life Refuge, Captiva Island
NORTON FROM HOME – You can’t visit this West Palm Beach County museum at present but you can still see a whole lot that it offers. There are highlights of exhibits that appeared at the museum throughout the year before the closing, videos and podcasts of talks and behind-the-scenes features, activities inspired by the works of art and artists and you can explore highlights from the museum’s five curatorial departments (European, American, Chinese, Contemporary and Photography).
When: Whenever you want
AFRICA: YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW – It’s an exhibition focused on a dialogue between established African artists born on the continent and those living in the Diaspora. Drawing on post-colonial themes, artists explore a range of issues such as national identity, economic disparity, spirituality and migration in various styles and mediums.
When: Now through Feb. 28
BOCA FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS – As they say, the show must go on and this year’s fest will do that, albeit virtually. The organizers have put together another power packed lineup. The concerts and author discussions will be streamed only once on the festival’s web site. The concerts are: Boca native and Metropolitan Opera star soprano Nadine Sierra and friends; Grammy Award-winning Florida-based violinist James Ehnes and friends; the Festival of the Arts Boca All-Stars featuring Constantine Kidsopoulos and musicians from the Festival Orchestra, and Grammy Award-winning South Florida favorite jazz flutist Nestor Torres and his band. The authors will be retired four-star Naval officer Admiral James Stavrides, who will talk about leadership; Top-10 New York Times best seller Bruce Feiler (his latest is Life Is In The Transitions: Mastering Change At Any Age), and science journalist Sonia Shah (The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move and the very timely Pandemic: Tracking Contagions from Cholera to Coronavirus and Beyond).
When: March 6-13
Where: Anywhere you are
OUTDOORS/SOCIALLY DISTANCED EVENTS
DRIVE-IN MOVIES – Drive-in movie theaters are enjoying a renaissance, catering to those who like to enjoy the group film-watching experience while also keeping a car’s length distance. The Central Florida region has a number of old fashioned drive-ins showing movies old and new, and patrons wearing masks can buy popcorn, soda and Twizzlers at the snack bars. Load up the family – some venues even allow pets – and check out some of the classics under the stars.
When: Five days a week to daily; check hours online
Where: Dade City, Ruskin, Lakeland, Ocala
Web: silvermoondrivein.com and ocaladrivein.info and joylandrivein.com and ruskinfamilydrivein.com
LAKE APOPKA WILDLIFE DRIVE AUDIO TOUR – Go on your own mini-safari through the restored former farm fields of Lake Apopka North Shore, where you’ll find lots of native birds, turtles, alligators, bobcats, snakes and other wildlife, as well as spotting rare Florida plant species. The St. Johns River Water Management District created a cool audio tour, which you can access with your mobile device, as you drive along the 11-mile stretch and soak in the scenery and solitude.
When: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from sunrise to sunset
Where: Lake Apopka North Shore farmlands, Orange County
LUKAS NURSERY BUTTERFLY ENCOUNTER – This year-round butterfly and bird conservatory is a fun and memorable experience for kids and adults alike, offering up-close encounters with stunningly graceful butterflies, chirping finches, Chinese button quail and lots and lots of beautiful plants and flowers. Learn about butterfly gardening and life cycles from the on-site experts and feed these fluttering friends right from your fingertips before peak season ends in late September. Can’t make the trip? The nursery offers virtual tours via its YouTube channel: youtube.com/lukasnurserybutterflyencounter.
Where: Lukas Nursery, Oviedo
PINE CASTLE PIONEER DAYS – Local historians honor a fascinating piece of Central Florida history – the Pine Castle neighborhood between Orlando and Kissimmee – with a recreation of the area’s turn-of-the-century events. This year’s living history event honors citrus, a key crop and industry that once employed many of the area’s residents through the 1940s. Actors play out old scenes and give history lessons, folk bands play and vendors sell handcrafted wares.
When: Feb. 27-28
Where: Cypress Grove Park, Orlando
ART FIESTA – New Smyrna Beach delivers again this fan-favorite outdoor annual event combining art, music, food and fun and more than 200 artists set up booths to display fine watercolor paintings, quirky Florida folk art, metalwork, glass vases and jewelry, photography and other creative endeavors. Listen to live bands and shop for interesting gifts while relaxing in historic downtown New Smyrna.
When: Feb. 27-28
Where: Old Fort Park, New Smyrna Beach
BLOOMIN’ ARTS FESTIVAL – A lively and colorful event spanning several blocks of historic downtown Bartow, the outdoor Bloomin’ Arts Festival celebrates all things spring with a focus on flowers, classic cars, quilts and quilting, kids’ activities and a student art show, live music and, of course, works by some of the region’s best artists in painting, ceramics, wood, clay and other creative media.
When: March 6-7
Where: Downtown Bartow
FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL – A tradition that hails back to 1930s to promote the local strawberry crops, this delicious fair honors the plump, in-season juicy berries by serving them up in shortcakes, pies, sundaes and milkshakes. While the usual headline concerts have been eliminated and some activities will be limited due to COVID-19, the festival will still feature entertainment such as circus performers, livestock and lumberjack shows, smaller live music acts, a parade and other family fun.
When: March 4-14
Where: Plant City
KUMQUAT FESTIVAL – Each year, the small town of Dade City celebrates what it calls “the little gold gems of the citrus industry” in its Kumquat Festival, a lively little fair featuring kumquat pies, kumquat jams, kumquat syrups, kumquat drinks and other special recipes using this oft-forgotten fruit. This year’s socially distanced event will have more than 200 vendors, a car and truck show, kids’ activities, a quilt show and live entertainment.
When: March 27
Where: Downtown Dade City
FLORIDA MANATEE FESTIVAL – Celebrate Florida’s beloved gentle giant with arts and crafts, live music, boat tours and live manatee viewing at the nearby Three Sisters Spring. The event is a favorite among locals, and with safety protocols in place this year, the fest will have its usual shenanigans including its colorful Hippie Village and an Adventure Zone with rock climbing and virtual reality racing. It’s also a great place to shop for one-of-a-kind clothing and jewelry, as well as Florida-themed artwork.
When: March 27-28
Where: Downtown Crystal River
SHRIMPFEST & CRAFT BREW HULLABALOO – Local restaurants, chefs and food trucks serve up their best and most creative shrimp dishes for the top prize at this delicious showdown and festival. The fest also features non-seafood dishes such as burgers and pizza, as well as beer from more than 20 craft and home brewers in a special Craft Beer Tasting. Guests can also enjoy live bands, educational demonstrations and arts and crafts vendors.
When: March 19-21
Where: Riverview Park, Sebastian
TASTE OF OVIEDO – Highlighting some of the flavors of this small town outside of Orlando, the 27th Annual Taste of Oviedo event will once again feature food and drinks from local eateries and include stage performances, the Oviedo Roots Farmer’s Market and other family-activities hosted by the Oviedo-Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce and the City of Oviedo. This year’s theme: Cheese! All food vendors will feature at least one special cheese-laden dish on their menus.
When: March 27
Where: Oviedo Mall, Oviedo
BATTLE AT NARCOOSSEE MILL – Take a step back in time to the 1860s and experience what life was like during the Civil War in this two-day reenactment event. While the battle itself is fictitious and the outcome is determined by the organizers each year, the artillery, uniforms and other artifacts are authentic and the actors stay deeply in character to help tell the story of the war and life situations from the era. While a string band plays period music, guests can check out canon and musket demonstrations and visit authentic Union and Confederate camps.
When: March 27-28
Where: Chisholm Park, Saint Cloud
BUSCH GARDENS FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL – Each spring, visitors flock to sample creative cuisine, desserts, beer, wine and cocktails at one of Florida’s best theme parks. This year’s open-air Food & Wine Festival will feature more than 110 items including dozens of craft beer, wine and seltzer varieties. Busch Gardens will also be bringing back its popular concerts featuring national acts, this time in a physically distanced setting for safety.
When: Every weekend between Feb. 20-April 25
Where: Busch Gardens, Tampa
PINK FLAMINGO TOUR OF GARDENS – Gulfport’s popular springtime tour of homes is taking its event safely outdoors this year, giving guests a glimpse of its residents’ most gorgeous yards and gardens rather than bringing them inside the houses. This year’s event will expand beyond the one-neighborhood stroll, allowing participants to drive or bike around the city at their own pace to visit various properties with lush landscaping, fountains, garden décor and creative yard layouts that are sure to inspire others just in time for spring cleaning and plantings.
When: March 6
FLORIDA FARM SHOW – The former Ag Day Festival is returning bigger and better as the Florida Farm Show, designed to educate both locals and out-of-town visitors about the importance of state’s farming industry while also creating a fun atmosphere for all ages and a resourceful trade show for farmers, ranchers and suppliers. Live bands will play throughout the day and guests will have the opportunity to pet some animals, check out the latest in agriculture products and technology and develop of deeper appreciation for Florida farmers.
When: March 6
Where: Saint Cloud
VISIT THE DALI MUSEUM – Art lovers from all over the world have long enjoyed St. Petersburg’s fascinating Dali Museum, which has an astounding collection of over 2,400 Salvador Dalí works, including nearly 300 oil paintings, watercolors and drawings, as well as more than 2,100 prints, photographs, posters, textiles, sculptures and objets d’art. Now, anyone can view these works through a free 360-degree tour of the museum, as well as some special online-only exhibits and various tours, lessons, lectures, art classes and other stimulating activities for all ages.
FLORIDA AQUARIUM’S SEA-SPAN – Wondering what the Florida Aquarium’s penguins, sting rays, seahorses and a large Goliath grouper named Cleatus are up to while all the guests are away? Tune in to SEA-SPAN, the Aquarium’s new Facebook Live broadcast that keeps us connected to our underwater friends in Tampa until we’re able to return to pet the jellyfish and splash in the water park. Learn about conservation and get up-close insight into feedings, cleanings, care and other behind-the-scenes peeks. The videos are all posted on the Aquarium’s website.
When: Daily at 10 a.m.
GATORLAND’S SCHOOL OF CROC – If you’re into reptiles and other swampy creatures, be sure to check out footage of the daily feedings, encounters and other cool interactions at Gatorland, a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve located along South Orange Blossom Trail. Each morning at 10 a.m., the park airs “School of Croc,” which features fun up-close lessons on the resident gators, arachnids, wildcats, birds and more. Then check out the video blog posts, which are streamed each afternoon on YouTube.
When: Daily at 10 a.m.
Web: facebook.com/gatorland and youtube.com/channel
FLORIDA HOLOCAUST MUSEUM EDUCATIONAL SERIES – The Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg is a historical gem, bringing awareness and enlightenment to visitors as it honors honors the memory of millions of innocent men, women and children who suffered or died in the Holocaust. Take a virtual tour of the museum and then tune in to its three-days-a-week interactive educational series on Facebook.
When: Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays
Web: flholocaustmuseum.org/virtual-tour and facebook.com/TheFHM
24/7 IN MY GARAGE VIRTUAL CAR SHOW – Car enthusiasts who love seeing classics and antiques can still get their fix with Lead Foot City’s free, innovative virtual car show, which invites collectors and mechanics to display photos of their restored classic Chevys, antique trucks, race cars and other vintage vehicles to preserve this well-loved showcase of Americana until it’s safe to gather to see the cars, in Brooksville, in real life again.
When: Thursdays and Fridays
LIVE FROM BUSCH GARDENS – While Tampa’s famous, safari-centric theme park is closed to visitors, see and interact love with animals, rides and other favorite exhibits and areas from a new vantage point. Busch Gardens has been taking its Facebook fans along to an elephant birthday party, snack time for sloths, a flaming flock walk, a ride on Cheetah hunt and more.
When: Multiple times weekly
SHINE MURAL FESTIVAL VIRTUAL TOUR – In recent years, St. Petersburg’s colorful urban murals have become internationally revered, in part thanks to the SHINE Mural Festival, which takes visitors on several stops via foot or bike. Now, you can enjoy the 90-plus murals from the comfort of your home, complete with vivid descriptions of the artwork, info on the artists and other fun facts.
FLORIDA ORCHESTRA CONCERTS – As a special treat to classical music fans, the Florida Orchestra is now broadcasting live recordings that you can enjoy while taking a bath or making dinner. Experience some of the more powerful moments from the Tampa Bay Times Masterworks series, which includes Ravel’s Bolero, Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3 and Mason Bates’ Mothership. If you miss a radio broadcast, no worries – the concerts will be shared on-demand 45 days after they air.
When: Thursdays at 7 p.m.
MOTE GOES #REMOTE – One of Florida’s top sea life research labs is aiming to keep its fans and supporters connected by offering a number of virtual events, exhibit tours and programs, as well as featuring live web cams so you peer into the daily activities of its resident sharks, manatees and otters. For parents teaching or entertaining little ones at home, Sarasota's Mote is hosting virtual story times, providing Google Classroom content and doing Wednesday livestream lessons. Check out the Mote’s various social media pages, which stay active with adorable animal photos, videos and behind-the-scenes tours.
RINGLING’S MUSEUM FROM HOME – While the Ringling’s beautiful gardens, museum exhibits and education center in Sarasota are closed to foot traffic through the end of May, people can still view nearly 45,000 objects in the Ringling collection online, including circus artifacts, outdoor sculptures, stunning paintings and artwork and opulent furniture in the Ca' d'Zan house. Check out the interesting Art Chats series on YouTube or visit the Ringling’s social media pages for insights about popular museum features, staff favorites, objects of the week and tours.
ORLANDO VIRTUAL TOURS – Orlando is one of the world’s top playgrounds for theme parks, water parks, entertainment and attractions and the COVID-19 shutdown has left many craving the comfort and fun of their favorite spots. With this in mind, Visit Orlando now provides more than 100 virtual experiences including 360-degree tours, Facebook Live broadcasts, theme park thrills and more. Ride SeaWorld’s Mako, float down a lazy river at the Four Season, zip-line over alligators, take a walk through Universal Orlando Resort and take a swan boat ride on Lake Eola to get your Orlando fix while you’re waiting to visit in real life.
CENTRAL FLORIDA SCENIC DRIVES – When your eyes begin to blur from looking at the laptop or cell phone, your kids are getting antsy and you’re craving a connection to the outside world, hop in the car and take advantage of the cheap gas prices and sparse traffic. Central Florida is known to have a number of well-traveled scenic drives and one-tank trips over arching bridges connecting communities across bays, through funky beach towns, past natural wildlife refuges and through historic towns. Clearwater’s Courtney Campbell Causeway, Anna Maria Island’s Palma Sola Scenic Highway and the eastern coast’s Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway are favorites among road trippers. The Florida Scenic Highway Program provides an excellent tool to map out your drive and check out the top features of each region and roadway as you plan.
CRACKER COUNTRY VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS – Typically open only select days during the year, this fascinating rural Florida history museum has opened its virtual doors to folks any time by introducing some food and culture learning programs for school-age kids, plus games, activities and an archive of videos for all ages to delve more into the lives of our Sunshine State pioneers. Listen to bluegrass, get a washboard music lesson, play “all aboard bingo” while learning about the Florida railroad system and watch some old fashioned food prep that sustained our Floridian ancestors.
TAMPA THEATRE VIRTUAL CINEMA – While its historic auditorium remains dark, Tampa Theatre has launched Virtual Cinema, a collection of new, first-run movies released via streaming platforms exclusively for art-house audiences. Pop your own popcorn, pour your own wine and for $12, get a three-day rental of new titles such as “Clementine,” “Between Shadow and Soul,” “Deerskin” and “ROAR.”
GLAZER CHILDREN’S MUSEUM FROM HOME – Bring the Glazer Children’s Museum’s hands-on activities and science experiments into your kitchen or living room by delving into its at-home offerings for kids of all ages. Make solar oven s’mores and homemade butter, build a canister rocket or two-ingredient slime, watch videos of staff interacting with a blue-tongue skink or going bird watching and participate in a yoga session or ukulele singalong.
THE RINGLING MUSEUM FROM HOME – The Ringling continues to provide remarkably engaging and educational content, artist talks, virtual tours, classes and more, even after reopening its doors to in-person guests in early July. Its Museum From Home page features nine interesting “Art Chats” with professionals from various fields, downloadable digital postcards with quirky images from the past, word searches and puzzle challenges and craft tutorials for kids. Get your circus history fix or art museum infusion right from the comfort of your couch.
Where: Virtual from The Ringling, Sarasota
WINTER PARK SIDEWALK ART FESTIVAL – One of the nation’s longest-running outdoor art festivals has pushed its 62nd annual event to May but offering an interactive glimpse of what’s to come in its March virtual show. From the safe comfort of their homes, art lovers will get the chance to see the brilliant work of artists from around the world and a preview of what’s to come when they attend the real thing in person.
When: March 15-17
GASPARILLA FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS – A springtime tradition for more than 50 years, the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts is moving its program to an innovative virtual platform to allow artist and guests to safely interact and appreciate beautiful artwork and activities completely online. The festival will offer livestreamed entertainment, virtual children’s activities, live demonstrations and a juried format much like the in-person art fests.
When: March 6-7
OUTDOORS / SOCIALLY DISTANCED EVENTS
GHOSTS, MURDERS AND MAYHEM SEGWAY TOUR — Learn a little more about Pensacola’s dark side and the ghosts who wander the city’s old Red Light District once the moon rises. Guests will zip along the city’s streets visiting the site of a street car bombing or the first drive-through funeral home. They’ll also learn about Seville Quarter’s bartending ghost. Tours must be booked in advance and are limited to only 6 guests. Stories told on the tour vary nightly.
KAYAK AMELIA — With Florida’s state parks now open, Kayak Amelia, which has its home base on the Big Talbot Island State Park, is back in business. The coastal barrier island, known for its boneyard beach, sits just south of Amelia Island and on Jacksonville’s far northeast corner. If you’re an experienced kayaker and want to set out on your own, they rent kayaks and paddleboards by the hour. But if you want to learn more about the coastal ecosystem join one of the guided kayak tours. Tour options include a Salt Marsh Eco Tour or an Eco Tour to Kingsley Plantation. For paddleboarders, Kayak Amelia offers an introductory class or SUP Yoga.
When: Dates vary
Where: Big Talbot Island
SALTWATER FISHING 101 — Unlike other outdoor sports, the variables fishing presents wranglers with from fly type to line weight, makes it hard to transition from fly fishing a tight mountain stream to having a wide expanse of ocean to cast a line. This series will help participants tackle the ins and outs of saltwater fishing on Florida’s coast. Topics include fish identification, tying knots, finding the best fishing locales and cleaning and cooking your catch. Participants can sign up for one week or the whole series.
When: Feb. 10, 17, 24, March 3, 10
Where: Usina Boat Ramp, St. Augustine
19TH ANNUAL SEASIDE SCHOOL VIRTUAL HALF MARATHON + 5K — Lace up your running shoes, close your eyes and imagine you’re pounding the pavement along palm-lined roads with the smell of sea salt hanging in the air. This annual charity run is going virtual for the first time and although it has a higher race fee than some virtual events, the participant goodie bags are stacked with awesome items including a customized playlist, Vera Bradely sling pack, Billie Gaffrey designed race shirt, customer finished medal and more.
When: Feb. 14-28
ST. AUGUSTINE ART & CRAFT FESTIVAL — Some of the Sunshine State’s biggest arts and crafts festivals have been virtual only for last year. St. Augustine Beach will be hosting two festivals in less than a month for artisans and crafters. Guests will once again be able to look for their next treasure in person. Guests will follow the Covid-19 protocols for St. Augustine Beach.
When: Feb. 20-21, March 13-14
Where: St. Augustine Beach
YOGA ON THE FIELD — Imagine lifting your face to sun during up dog from the Florida State Seminoles’ 50-yard line. That could be you, and some of your friends, during a sunset yoga class on the field. Pre-registration is required and face coverings must be worn at all times in and around the stadium until you take your position on your socially-distanced yoga mat. Guests must bring their own yoga mat.
When: Feb. 24, March 10
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee
WORLD OF NATIONS CELEBRATION — Jacksonville’s annual cultural celebration encourages attendees to show off the artistry of their cultural heritage by dressing up during its annual showcase of international arts, cuisine and music. The event will offer two hours of “Sensory Friendly” programming on the first day to welcome guests who process sound, light and touch differently. They also have added a small bites tasting experience so guests can sample more world flavors. Face coverings will be required in the festival area unless guests are actively eating and drinking.
When: Feb. 26-28
Where: Tailgaters Parking, Jacksonville
FEATS OF STRENGTH + HISTORY — Have you ever wanted to throw a 22-pound hammer? Or run a race with a sandbag? These two events are part Highland games, part strongman or woman competitions. But only one features the wearing of kilts.
· Northeast Florida Scottish Games & Festival (Feb. 27, Green Cove Springs): The word fest gives it away, right? The 25th annual event features lots of kilts, traditional Scottish games (like a Caber toss and that 22-pound hammer toss), Highland dancing, a bagpipe competition and more. The annual whiskey tasting has been canceled for 2021. With this being an outdoor event, mask wearing is optional, but there will be extra hand washing stations and hand sanitizer locations throughout the festival grounds. https://www.neflgames.com
· GRIT Strength Challenge (Feb. 27, Ocala): This challenge pits 3-person teams against each other to complete feats of strength and fitness using primitive objects only available in Florida during the Seminole War period. Competitors will be challenged to work together to move logs, barrels and sandbags over set distances. The Challenge takes place at Fort King, site of the start of the Second Seminole War. https://podium.boxtribe.io/web/?event_id=3604
CLEAVER AND CORK — Food Network personality and award-winning chef Geoffrey Zakarian is the 2021 guest host of the Tallahassee Community College Foundation’s four-part salute to the culinary arts. The event kicks off with a Progressive Cocktail Party with five local restaurants hosting a different course that is a spin on one of Chef Zakarian’s recipes. The food and wine journey concludes with Uncorked at Kleman: Food and Wine Festival which is a day of local food and wine tastings with cooking demos led by Chef Zakarian. All events will be following CDC guidelines, mask wearing when social distancing can’t be achieved and temperature checks to enter each event.
When: Feb. 28, March 4, 6
STRAWBERRY SALUTES — Outsiders view Florida as the land of orange groves but the state is also one of the largest strawberry producers in the country. Although most of the berries hail from Plant City, the northern berry farms all claim that their crops are just as sweet. And there are no shortage of strawberry festivals in the spring making it easy to indulge in shortcakes, buy fresh jam and pick up a flat of berries for your own culinary pursuits.
· Strawberry Fest (March 6-7, Green Cove Springs): Clay County’s fifth annual festival serves up strawberries in many forms; think creamy milkshakes, covered in chocolate, mixed with lemonade or as a wine slushie. There will be non-strawberry-related fun including live music by Endless Summer, a Beach Boys-tribute band, pony rides, face painting and more. Social distancing will be encouraged. https://www.claycountyfest.com/STRAWBERRY-FEST.php
· Timberline Farm Strawberry Festival (March 13-14, Belleview): Timberline Farm’s annual fete includes live music, hay and train rides, farm animals, horseshoes, a live bee display and, of course, strawberry desserts. https://timberlinefarm.net/event/timberline-farm-strawberry-festival
THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP — In 2020, the TPC field was stacked and pros were on the course competing for the PGA Tour’s largest prize purse of the year. And then, the sports world shut down and golf’s fifth major was canceled. When the sport returned in the summer it was with a fanless experience that was consumed solely through our tvs. This year, a limited number of fans have been welcomed back to Ponte Vedra but it will not be the ginormous large cocktail party greeting golfers with shoulder-to-shoulder crowds on Hole 17’s famous island green. The first round of available tickets sold out in less than 15 minutes. A second round of tickets will be released to the public for purchase on Feb. 16. Regardless of whether you score a chance to walk the course, you’ll still be able to watch all the action on your tv.
When: March 9-14
Where: TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach
EMERALD COAST CRUZIN: HOT RODS BY THE BEACH — This beachfront car show reflects the laid back vibe of the city, pairing county music with thousands of classic cars. On the musical side, the event headliners include Scott Haggard, Tommy Townsend, Todd Herendeen and Steven Phillips and Midnight Express. For auto enthusiasts, the hosts of MotorTrend TV’s Tech Garage will be holding Electrical 101 auto classes on both Friday and Saturday. Guests will be required to follow the Covid-19 safety protocols which include wearing face coverings when on site, daily temperature screenings and practicing social distancing.
When: March 11-13
Where: Panama City Beach
FORGOTTEN COAST EN PLEIN AIR — With plein air painting (and festivals dedicated to it) popping up nationwide, this 10-day fest that’s now in its 16th year has established itself as one of the top plein air events in the country. Scheduled events include public workshops led by the invited artists, live demonstrations in different environments (One will feature three artists capturing the St. George Island Lighthouse in their chosen mediums.), receptions and an open house at the Wetroom, which gives patrons a chance to purchase the works created by the invited artists.
When: March 19-28
Where: Gulf County
FLORIDA INSPIRED — Normally one of the best ways to beat the heat in July is any outing that involves air conditioning. Tallahassee’s Museum of Florida History is giving you the opportunity to explore our gorgeous state, from the Panhandle to the Everglades, without leaving your home. This 15-minute, docent-led tour features some of the key works that Ron Risner collected and commissioned to celebrate the diversity of the state’s natural beauty. It includes more than 125 landscape paintings by 98 artists. The paintings were donated to the museum’s permanent collection and will also be available for in-person viewing when the time is right for the museum to reopen to the public.
CATTY SHACK RANCH WILDLIFE SANCTUARY VIRTUAL NIGHT FEEDINGS — Get to know the cats (think tigers and lions) that have found their forever home at Jacksonville’s big cat sanctuary. For fans of the ranch who have attended the night feeding in person, the virtual setup is similar. Executive Director Curt LoGiudice walks viewers through the cats’ dinner time, provides background on the residents, introduces you to key staff members and shows off some of the habitat changes from the ongoing $8 million renovation project. For example, viewers will learn that the female lion Nyra, who has spent almost 18 years at the ranch, gets more frequent and smaller meals of prime beef and chicken breasts to help with her senior needs, which differs from the diet of the younger big cat residents that includes bones and more. And with all the current interest in big cat sanctuaries thanks to Netflix’s Tiger King series, it should be mentioned that Catty Shack Ranch is a true sanctuary that doesn’t breed, trade, sell or buy residents.
When: Facebook Live Virtual Night Feedings Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., Facebook Live Educational Program Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.
LIVE #ONTHELINE FROM THE FLORA-BAMA LOUNGE, PACKAGE AND OYSTER BAR — So you can’t sip your margarita with your toes in the sand while listening to live tunes. But you can find a sunny spot in your home, pop the top on the beer and join the iconic bar’s live stream daily through Facebook. It’s almost like bringing the vacation home with you. During performances, give them a shoutout from where you’re listening, make song requests and then just close your eyes — the beach isn’t as far away as you think.
When: 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. CST daily
JACKSONVILLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA — With many of our favorite musical artists performing from more intimate spaces, the musicians of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra are doing somewhat the same. With social distancing rules in place, life has changed their live performances at Jacoby Symphony Hall to feature a much smaller part of the whole; for example only a string quartet. But the orchestra is still bringing virtual life to beloved music of the past. In between their Friday live performances, members of the JSO are also releasing solo in-home performances on the orchestra’s Facebook stream. And for those who want a little insider knowledge, check out the behind-the-scenes video with music director Courtney Lewis as he walks us through his process of learning and prepping a musical score for a performance.
When: Fridays at 8 p.m.
Web: hjaxsymphony.org/live or facebook.com/jaxsymphony
BLUE ANGELS DEBRIEF — Spring is usually prime time to catch up with the country’s premiere flyers at their home base along Pensacola’s waterfront beaches while they’re prepping for the season’s air show circuit. In the past, spring breakers could attend these practices, which also include a weekly meet-and-greet with the pilots. While you’re homebound, they’re still practicing and they’re offering fans an opportunity to get to know the Angels’ top guns and learn more about their signature maneuvers. Each week, one of the pilots breaks down a maneuver and walks you through it from their cockpit vantage.
When: Fridays at 9 a.m. on Facebook
GULFARIUM MARINE ADVENTURE PARK — Did you know that gopher tortoise like strawberries, that dolphins have a belly button and that albino alligators have poor vision? Learn all this and much more through the frequent educational Facebook videos about the marine residents at Gulfarium's waterfront park in Fort Walton Beach. When the trainers can schedule a live segment they’ll announce it ahead of time.
When: varies throughout the week on Facebook
PENSACOLA MUSEUM OF ART — The museum’s team is still working hard to maintain a vibrant Facebook page with almost daily adult or child-appropriate art and craft projects using found materials — one included using socks to make stuffed bunnies, which were pretty fantastic. They’re also using this space to include Facebook Live talks with the artists whose work is currently exhibited at the museum. If you’re looking for additional inspiration or background on the artists, the museum also has created virtual tours of its exhibits at pensacolamuseum.org.
When: varies throughout the week on Facebook
OUTSIDE THE ODDITORIUM: RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT — In 1950, the original Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum opened to the public in the Warden’s Castle in St. Augustine. Since then, the museum, which maintains a collection of more than 25,000 pieces, has expanded to 12 states (plus Canada) and added aquariums to its roster. During the shutdown, the museums’ researchers, illustrators and editors are keeping their home audience entertained with live virtual events throughout the week. These include Q&As, a look at some of their oddest exhibits, drawing tutorials and more.
When: Monday through Friday, various times
ST. AUGUSTINE ALLIGATOR FARM ZOOLOGICAL PARK — From the 15-foot, 1,250-pound saltwater croc named Maximo to the mouse-sized pygmy marmosets, the zoological park, home to lots and lots of alligators, is staging weekly Facebook Live Virtual Events to educate and entertain. All events include a Q&A session and you can submit questions ahead of time through Facebook.
When: Various times
NATIONAL NAVAL AVIATION MUSEUM — Satisfy your child’s need to take flight from their homebound life while exploring some of the treasures in the world’s largest museum dedicated to naval aviation. The Pensacola museum’s 350,000 square feet of exhibit space includes 150 restored aircraft representing the Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy. Other than our military’s top flying machines, it also includes an exhibit dedicated to the Apollo space missions. Explore the space’s 360-degree tour and learn about the different flying machines on its website.
THE GROVE MUSEUM — Take a virtual walk through Florida’s antebellum history at the Call-Collins House (circa 1840) and its 10.5 acre grounds that make up The Grove in Tallahassee. The Grove has been open to the public only since 2017 and was named to the National Register of Historic Places. The staff of the museum is posting multiple videos each week, including Virtual Nature Walks through the grounds, live story time, and behind-the scenes glimpses into specific rooms. Learn more about the home’s history and the role it played in Florida’s Civil Rights movement. Visit the museum’s home page for its upcoming Facebook Live event schedule at thegrovemuseum.com.
FORGOTTEN COAST MUSEUM TOUR — Did you know the father of air conditioning was from Florida? Or, that you can hold a 20,000-year-old oyster shell in Carrabelle? The communities of Carrabelle, Apalachicola, Alligator Point, St. George Island and Eastpoint consider themselves the Forgotten Coast along the Panhandle despite their rich history. Get a chance to explore this history through a collection of short videos highlighting the Raney House Museum, Carrabelle History Museum, John Gorrie Museum and more.
CASTILLO SAN MARCOS VIRTUAL TOUR — The star-shaped fort in St. Augustine holds the key to 450 years of history, and the University of South Florida Libraries and the National Park Service have teamed up to create this 360-degree virtual tour. Visitors will understand the lay of the land and the true size of the fort from a drone view while the tour loads. From there, the map will allow you to choose your own path as your explore the fort. Tour includes video explaining what life was like for its inhabitants and as well as its long and varied history under different flags as well as through close up views of the fort’s signage. The tour includes some interactive 3-D models that are virtual reality compatible.
SEACREST WOLF PRESERVE — Get to know the wolves of this Chipley preserve which started as a small rescue effort and has expanded into a large preserve dedicated to wolf and wildlife conservation. While the preserve is still closed for VIP tours, their staff has created a robust collection of videos explaining the species covering topics like care for their pups, anatomy and pack dynamics. Seacrest is home to 30 wolves (Gray, Arctic-Type and British Columbian) as well as small Florida native species such as foxes, raccoons, skunks and foxes.
ART TALKS LIVE! & VIRTUAL ART CAMP — The Gadsden Arts Center & Museum is bringing their current exhibits to your home with a collection of live online forums about featured artists. The most recent presentation aired on May 7 and was hosted by Anissa Ford, the museum’s education director, who discussed the life and work of Gainesville artist Eddy Mumma. Mumma was a shut-in who painted more than 1,000 works but refused to sell any of them. His work was eventually discovered and 800 pieces were rescued from a dumpster and now hang in permanent museum homes. For more art from home, also check out their Facebook page for curator-led tours which include a behind-the-scenes look at their collection in the vault. The museum also will be hosting a Virtual Art Camp in June to keep kids creating.
CADE AT HOME — With home schooling wrapping up and summer camps canceled, virtual activities are a great way to keep kids engaged and active. Gaineville’s Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention has taken its “Think, Meet, Be” mission in exploring inventors and entrepreneurs to create a home-based program of easy to replicate STEAM lessons and activities for different age ranges. A Little Sparks (ages 0-4) activity may include a song and craft whereas a Tech & Design (ages 10 and up) track will teach simple 3-D coding used in Minecraft through an ongoing series of video lessons.
PENSACOLA CHILDREN’S MUSEUM & VIRTUAL TOUR — Again, the amount of great online activities that local museums are providing for children is a gold mine. The museum has 11 projects and frequently adds new ones to keep you coming back for more. Projects include making water fireworks, learning how to make your own jellyfish, or learning the basics of binary computer coding and decoding. Each activity has a downloadable activity sheet that includes a supply list, step-by-step instructions and fast facts related to that project. Did you know that 60,000 jellyfish have been in space? You didn’t, right? Not to worry, we’re all learning something new every day. Want to get out and explore? You can also do that from your computer because the site has a virtual tour of 15 downtown Pensacola historic sites.
ARTS AT HOME — Tallahassee’s Council on Cultural Arts has created a one-stop guide to virtual events in the local art, music, theater, education and literary community. From streaming a children’s storytime to offering private online arts lessons to learning a foreign language to screening an arthouse flick, there’s something for everyone in this easily searchable community calendar.
VIRTUAL SCAVENGER HUNT — Set the kids free on a virtual scavenger hunt through Jacksonville. They’ll get to explore historic sites like Kingsley Plantation and the Ritz Theatre and Museum, hot tourist spots like Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary and the Museum of Science and History, and kid-friendly favorites like Sweet Pete’s. Each attraction has a list to check off by using 360-degree video to explore the location. Find them all and win an #onlyinjax prize.
VIRTUAL ASADO — Master grilling tips will be dispensed, meats and seafood will be rendered deliciously over high (or low) heat and barbecue queens and kings can ask questions and talk virtually with other fans of the grilling community. Urban Asado, a St. Augustine retailer which specializes in Argentinian-style grills, went looking to unite a community in isolation and in doing so birthed a series of live, virtual grilling experiences that bring together local chefs and mixologists. Most of the grilling experiences are about 60 minutes. Previous videos can be viewed at facebook.com/UrbanAsado.
When: Sundays, Facebook Live
2020 SPRING MEMBERS SHOW — To allow for social distancing and quarantine rules, the annual spring members exhibit of the St. Augustine Art Association has become an online show. View more than 90 works of art created by local artists that celebrate St. Augustine, Florida’s lush natural world and the human form, many of which are available for purchase. This was a juried art show with monetary prizes awarded. Todd Lane’s sculpture “The Workin’ Man” was the best-in-show winner and Martha Ferguson’s oil painting “Afternoon Light” took first place.
MERMAID ENCOUNTERS — Sister of the Sea & The Dive Bar have brought back their Live Mermaid Encounters over the weekend. Enjoy outdoor drinks or fresh catch while watching the coastal comings and goings as mermaids also frolic in their saltwater pool. The bar has also added a Live Mermaid Cam so you can watch from your home.
When: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 3-6 p.m. in Panama City Beach
SOCIAL DISTANCING SUP EVENTS — With the state reopening for outdoor recreation, now’s the time to look at activities like stand up paddle boarding that achieve social distancing all on its own. Join V-Star Fitness, out of St. Augustine, for sunset stand up paddle tours. SUP gear rental is included in the tour price and there’s no charge if participants have their own SUP gear but everyone must have a leash, personal flotation device and lighting (if it’s night tour).
When: Ongoing in St. Augustine
SWEET SYMPHONY — Usually the summer months are the offseason for most symphony orchestras as they regroup and plan for the fall kickoff. With the 2020 season cut short, both Tallahassee and Jacksonville’s top talent are keeping fans in tune.
- Jacksonville Symphony Live (Fridays at 8 p.m. on Facebook): The Jacksonville Symphony quickly embraced the virtual space and performed social-distanced, small group concerts when live performances were canceled in March. The orchestra, led by music director Courtney Lewis, have continued to entertain fans all summer with music premieres, cocktail recipes as well as interviews with local entrepreneurs about how music inspires their lives. Viewers can find themselves trapped in a rabbit hole as they catch up on past performances, meanwhile regulars wait each week for Friday night’s Facebook watch party.
When: Fridays, 8 p.m.
- Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra (anytime): Treat yourself to an evening of live music from the orchestra’s archives as you pick and choose pieces to suit your current mood. In keeping up with the final months that would have rounded out the season, the orchestra posted weekly selections each with a personal note from a member of the organization. From Mozart to Star Wars, there’s something for everyone. When:
MOCA JAX SMART ONLINE — Jacksonville’s Museum of Contemporary Art has created a complete virtual museum experience that includes student sessions featuring University of North Florida artist spotlights, Micro Concerts which pair live music as a response to an artwork, North Florida artists’ studio tours artists and live art lessons.
MOCA JACKSONVILLE: ONLINE TOUR — Although Jacksonville’s Museum of Contemporary Art has reopened for in-person visits and tours, they understand that many might still prefer to visit from the comfort of home. Virtual visitors will embark on a live 360-degree tour of the galleries led by either one of the museum’s curators or members of the educational team. The tour includes two temporary exhibits, Project Atrium: Rina Banerjee and Multiple Ones: Contemporary Perspectives in Print Media; as well as the permanent collection.
When: Tuesdays through Thursdays
SUNSHINE STATE BOOK FESTIVAL — In 2020, Gainesville’s annual book fest normally featured 75 authors and 3,000 readers. Instead of canceling the annual event, the festival has created a virtual festival that includes 100 authors writing across 17 genres. Avid readers can “meet” each author through videos submitted specifically for the festival that are 2 to 15 minutes in length, a brief written bio and a selection of the author’s books that are available for purchase. The festival also features five guest speakers including fiction writer Laura Lee Smith and Alachua County’s Poet Laureate E. Stanley Richardson who have recorded longer videos. Instead of just a two-day event, the website will be live through June 30.
When: through June 30
VIRTUAL NATURE WALK — The Grove Museum, Tallahassee’s historic estate and the Call-Collins House, has remained closed for tours for almost a year. To continue to bring the home’s history to visitors, the staff has been conducting live tours through Facebook. The museum’s executive director John Grandage will lead this tour of the grounds as spring begins to show itself. He’ll discuss the common migratory birds as well as the natural history of the landscape. Viewer questions are encouraged during the live tour.
When: Feb. 18
SCIFI GAINESVILLE: SHORT FILM FESTIVAL — Film Gainesville has selected their favorite SciFi short films -- each must be 20 minutes or less -- and grouped them in three online virtual viewing blocks. The first block (Friday evening) includes the Florida premiere of Transfert by French filmmaker Jonathan Degrelle. The second block (Saturday afternoon) features two Gainesville filmmakers and the third block (Saturday night) includes films by female directors, writers and producers.
When: Feb. 26-27
FLORIDA SPRINGSFEST 2021 — For more than 20 years, this annual fest has served as a celebration of north Florida’s unique springs and wild habitats. Normally, the event takes place at Silver Springs State Park. This year, anyone can join the fun on Facebook. Through the weekend there will be live events featuring exhibitors, musicians, artists as well as educational and preservation talks about Florida’s biggest natural resource: water.
When: March 6-7
VIRTUAL MEET & GREET WITH CLYDE BUTCHER — According to the art world, Florida photographer Clyde Butcher picked up where Ansel Adams left off, capturing large-format lush and austere landscapes of America in black and white. Butcher, who calls the swamps of the Everglades home, will take part in this virtual meet-and-greet and question and answer session to promote the exhibit, “America the Beautiful” at the Gadsden Arts Center & Museum. Guests can view the exhibit in person at the museum through April 3.
When: March 11
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