Florida: 3 places for family fun


Take the plunge, the Pirate’s Plunge, at Shipwreck Island Waterpark in Panama City Beach. For a stomach-churning thrill, race a friend down this dueling waterslide that unfolds from a 60-foot-tall tower.

The park’s youngest visitors splash around Tadpole Hole, a children’s pool loaded with activities to ensure kids get sufficiently soggy. They may not be ready for the Pirate’s Plunge, but sliding down the tongue of a giant purple frog usually gets a gleeful giggle.

12201 Hutchison Blvd., Panama City Beach, Fla. 850-234-3333, shipwreckisland.com@ShipwreckIsland


Lots of aquariums have dolphins, but the dolphins at Clearwater Marine Aquarium are special: They’re movie stars. Winter, a rescued bottlenose dolphin with a prosthetic tail, was featured in the 2011 family drama “Dolphin Tale.” When the sequel, “Dolphin Tale 2,” came out in 2014, she shared the limelight with Hope, a dolphin rescued as a calf after her mother died. The aquarium rescues and rehabilitates sea mammals and sea turtles with the goal of releasing them, but Winter and Hope can’t survive in the wild, so they are permanent residents at the aquarium. Kids learn about the region’s fragile marine ecology and the importance of ocean conservation.

249 Windward Passage, Clearwater, Fla. 727-441-1790, seewinter.com@CMAquarium


Going on safari is on many a bucket list, but if your bunch can’t make it to Africa, head to Lion Country Safari in Palm Beach County — no passport needed. Drive along a 5-mile road in this wildlife preserve to see golden-maned lions napping in the sun, lightning-fast antelope with impressive horns and massive water buffaloes.

2003 Lion Country Safari Road, Loxahatchee, Fla. 561-793-1084, lioncountrysafari.com@LionCountry


Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Travel

Talk Travel: How to lessen a financial blow when you have to cancel a flight

The Washington Post's Travel section writers and editors recently discussed stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are edited excerpts:  Q: We had a long-planned trip to visit my sister's family over Memorial Day weekend and bought regular (nonrefundable) tickets on American Airlines. Completely out of the blue, her father-in-law was diagnosed...
12 days to explore the ancient wonders of Egypt
12 days to explore the ancient wonders of Egypt

Let’s hope the “mummy’s curse” isn’t real. Because I’m sweatily crouching through a claustrophobic 125-foot-long tunnel inside Egypt’s iconic Great Pyramid on my climb to its 4,500-year-old royal burial chamber. Dangling from my necklace is an amulet charm — the protective Eye of Horus — because...
Facelift of Seattle's Space Needle nears completion
Facelift of Seattle's Space Needle nears completion

SEATTLE (AP) — Tourism is booming in Seattle. Just take a look at the Space Needle.  The family-owned landmark is set to unveil the biggest renovation in its 56-year history next month, a $100 million investment in a single year of construction that transformed the structure's top viewing level with floor-to-ceiling glass.   Seattle...
A Mumbai restaurant celebrating the flavors of Goa

Despite the nostalgia for Goa, the petite state on India’s western coast, held by Mumbai residents, restaurants featuring its cuisine — seafood-forward, infused with vinegar and heat, the legacy of four centuries of Portuguese rule colliding deliciously with Indian flavors and ingredients — are scarce in the city. So when rumors began...
Best way to see Niagara Falls is up close
Best way to see Niagara Falls is up close

Niagara Falls is nature at its mightiest. More than just a look at a waterfall, a visit is a full vacation surrounded by the natural beauty of the area and the luxury that has drawn tourists from around the world. A great introduction to the Niagara Falls is from the water with a tour from Niagara Cruises. Voyage to the Falls boat tour visits Great...
More Stories