Travel Brochure Finds: The Best Key Lime Pie And More From Florida

Travel Brochures

Travel brochures found at any given destination compete for our attention. Local tour operators want us to choose them over others. Convention and visitors bureaus work to highlight all their city has to offer. Florida, the land of theme parks, beaches and year-round sun is no exception.

Racks of colorful point-of-travel brochures can be found in airports, at hotels, highway rest stops and just about any other place that travelers are likely to gather. On a road trip from Orlando to Miami, we stopped at turnpike rest areas along the way and picked up some of the travel brochures that crowds of visitors seemed most interested in.

travel brochuresKissimmee, Florida is home to must-see theme parks Walt Disney World Resort, Seaworld and Universal Studio’s Orlando Resort. From world-class resorts to RV campgrounds, Kissimmee offers a variety of choices for any age or interest.

Special events held throughout the year range from June’s Silver Spurs Rodeo to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights coming up November 3 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, running through January 3.

travel brochuresKey West, Florida calls itself America’s Island Paradise for a number of reasons. Walking tours are a good way to see some of the island’s best attractions but trolley tours are also popular.

The Key West City Cemetery offers a quiet tour of Key West’s past, featuring a memorial to American sailors who died in the explosion of the USS Maine in 1898 along with legendary headstones that read, “I told you I was sick,” and, “At least I know where he’s sleeping tonight.”

A visit to Key West Audubon House and Gardens, Key West Harbour and the Florida Eco-Discovery Center make for a nice day and don’t forget a piece of Key Lime Pie, served at a variety of locations. Download a Key West vacation planner here.

travel brochuresButterfly World in Coconut Creek, Florida, is one of a number of attractions that host aviaries filled with butterflies and free-flying birds. This one lets visitors enter their man-made tropical rain forest, a living habitat with a mist-filled cave and a cascading waterfall.

Butterfly World features six aviaries, live butterflies, Hummingbirds, an Insectarium, a Butterfly museum and more. Open seven days a week, Butterfly World is the largest butterfly and bird park in the world.

travel brochuresMiami Seaquarium is a 38-acre tropical paradise that is home to Lolita The Killer Whale, Salty the Sea Lion and everything else one might expect from an aquarium located minutes from the ocean.

At Dolphin Harbor, visitors can connect with one of the ocean’s most intelligent creatures doing a deep-water swim that has no swimming or height restrictions.

In addition to sea life from sea turtles and manatees to sharks and stingrays, unique to Miami Seaquarium are a number of animal and tourism experts on hand to share information and answer questions.

Here’s more about Florida, featuring Florida swamps, working cattle ranches, beautiful lakes and streams, and incredible wildlife.



[Photo Credit: Chris Owen]

Killer whale devours great white shark

As if to show the world which ocean predator is actually in charge, a killer whale annihilated a great white shark–in front of a boat-load of people. Just off the coast of San Francisco, the surprise killing caught whale-watchers off guard. According to National Geographic, the whale came to the water’s surface with a great white shark hanging from its mouth.

The interesting part? The whale is said to have held the shark in its mouth for about 15 minutes. And, to thicken the already unlikely plot, biologist Peter Pyle was in the area and able to get underwater footage, which revealed two whales feeding on the shark.

This unbelievable twist of nature was dubbed ‘The Whale That Ate Jaws’ by National Geographic and the footage was aired on the National Geographic channel for the Nature Untamed series. Check out the original story here.




[Thanks, National Geographic ‘Nature Untamed’]

Tommy Lee wants to make SeaWorld sex tape

Tommy Lee continues his campaign against SeaWorld's whale breeding practices

Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee has thought a lot about whale masturbation this week.

Lee contends that to obtain sperm for breeding purposes, SeaWorld has someone “masturbate” Tillikum, a killer whale at the theme park who was responsible for the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau earlier this year.

Lee says it is “sick and twisted,” and that it violates SeaWorld’s own policies regarding trainer and whale interaction, which were revised after Brancheau’s death.

On Wednesday, SeaWorld responded to the rocker’s letter complaining about whale breeding practices by saying that Lee needs to “spend more time checking his facts.”

So, in a second letter — which PETA sent to Gadling today — Lee suggests that the best way to check his facts would be to come to Orlando and see the collection of whale semen for himself.

“To settle this, how about PETA and I come to SeaWorld and videotape the process, and then people can decide how natural it is?” Lee writes.

“It might make your dramatic news releases about a new orca pregnancy or birth less appealing, but the public deserves to know. And they’ve undoubtedly never seen a sex tape like this.”

Manual stimulation of animals is a regular breeding practice used with livestock and with some species at zoos and aquariums.

[Image credit: Flickr user Bread & CBG]

Rocker Tommy Lee angered over whale masturbation *UPDATED*

tommy lee whale

Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee is angry — really angry — about the way Shamu is being treated at SeaWorld.

In a letter to SeaWorld Orlando, Lee complains about the methods used by the theme park to obtain sperm from Tillikum – the orca responsible for the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau this spring.

Tillikum was brought to SeaWorld Orlando specifically for breeding purposes in 1998. He continues to appear in Shamu shows there and to be used in killer whale breeding programs.

PETA, an organization which Lee has long supported, has called for the whale’s release back into the wild.

Lee calls Tillikum SeaWorld’s “chief sperm bank.”

“We know from SeaWorld’s own director of safety (as well as videos on the web) that the way you get his sperm is by having someone get into the pool and masturbate him with a cow’s vagina filled with hot water,” Lee wrote in the letter obtained by TMZ.

“Even in my wildest days with Motley Crue, I never could’ve imagined something so sick and twisted.”

As bizarre as it may sound, manual stimulation of animals is a regular breeding method used by zoos and aquariums for certain species.

Thomas French’s 2010 book Zoo Story documents the manual stimulation of a bull elephant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to obtain the sperm used to impregnate a female elephant at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.

UPDATE: SeaWorld Orlando has responded to the breeding methods mentioned in Lee’s letter, and they say he’s got it all wrong.

Fred Jacobs, vice president of communications for SeaWorld told E! News that 25 of the 27 orca calves born at the theme park were conceived naturally, and the process of collecting semen for the two calves born through artificial insemination is similar to that used in breeding livestock or in programs at zoos.

Lee “contends that semen is collected from Tilikum using a ‘cow’s vagina filled with hot water.’ This is beyond ludicrous. Whatever his views on SeaWorld, Mr. Lee would be wise to spend more time checking his facts,” Jacobs said.

[Image credit: Flickr user Hyku]

SeaWorld to open new Shamu show next spring

Shamu will get a new show next spring at the SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego.

The killer whale show will replace “Believe,” which debuted four years ago. There’s no word yet as to whether SeaWorld’s killer whale trainers will be in the water with the orcas in the new show.

The trainers have been out of the water since the February death of Dawn Brancheau at SeaWorld Orlando, forcing a hasty rework of “Believe,” a show which focuses on the interaction between killer whales and humans. I have seen the show twice since the rework, and the storyline just doesn’t work now, because the trainers were such a big part of it.

SeaWorld Parks President and CEO Jim Atchison told the Orlando Sentinel that the new show was in the works before Brancheau’s death, but the timetable for launching the new show has been accelerated. Atchison also said the safety review launched in February has influenced the new show’s development.

More details about the show are expected to be released in the next few weeks.

[Image credit: Flickr user Abi Skipp]
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