Florida’s biggest Christian music festival, Rock the Universe, is coming up Sept. 7 and 8, 2012 at Universal Orlando Resort and you can see some of the most exciting bands in Christian rock. This promises to be a special weekend of fun and fellowship that is unlike anything else. You'll get to hear more than a dozen bands, including Skillet – which was awarded a Billboard Music Award for “Top Christian Album” in 2011. Plus, you can check out the FanZone where you can meet up-and-coming bands, sing karaoke, get autographs and shop for merchandise. For a complete lineup of the music, visit RockTheUniverse.com or call 1-866-RTU-INFO. Insider tip: If you want to stay onsite , Universal has three hotel options to choose from – and this is a fantastic time to visit because it’s a whole lot less crowded than most of the year! Make plans to attend Rock the Universe 2012 and be moved!
If you’re planning to spend time in Orlando between now and the end of June, here is a deal where you can save 15% to 20% off your stay at three different Orlando resorts. With this “More is Less” offer, if you stay three nights you’ll save 15%; save 20% off a four-night or longer stay. The hotels offering this special are the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld , Orlando World Center Marriott and JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes . Just make your reservations by May 1 for travel between now and June 30, 2012. Use this rate code when you book: D3Q . You can also call 1-800-MARRIOTT or visit OrlandoMarriottDeals.com
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium offers ferry service to its visitors, on the Dolphin Racer, a speedboat that carries 128. The water taxi will start off free on a trial basis, looping every hour between Winter's Dolphin Tale Adventure at the mainland Harborview Center, and the aquarium, located on the waterfront of Island Estates.
The Sunshine State boasts astronomical societies and observatories from Pensacola to Key West, and from the Atlantic to the Gulf. They offer a cast of thousands of stars, clusters, planets and galaxies that take center stage for a romantic evening, a family outing or an educational observance.
My boys and I made these adorable (and very Florida!) hard-boiled snorkelers last year after seeing them in my FamilyFun Magazine. We created an entire beach scene with blue and beige felt, then added seashells. They are relatively easy to make, and definitely fun. It was hard to throw them out after Easter but they sat on the table for days so we had to! Display them on your holiday table this year and you will crack up your guests for sure… Materials Needed: Egg dye Hard-boiled white eggs Permanent marker 3/4-inch round white adhesive labels 1-inch-wide water bottle lids Small rubber bands (colored ones add pizzazz!) White glue or glue gun Bendable straws Self-adhesive foam or foam sheets Small clear glasses or bowls (optional) Small pitcher (optional) Instructions: 1 For each snorkeler, dye the bottom third of an egg, then let it dry. 2 Draw eyes on a label and adhere it to a water-bottle lid. Slip the rubber band around the egg, about a quarter of the way down. Glue the lid over a rubber band. 3. Trim a straw 1 inch above and 2 inches below the flexible section. Bend it into a snorkel shape and glue it in place. 4. Cut foam flippers ( trace their template ). Glue them to the egg, adhesive side down, and let dry. Stick the adhesive side to the display surface, or, if you like, to the inside of a small glass or bowl. With the pitcher, gently pour in dye until the egg is partly submerged. Notes: A hot glue gun gets the job done but that’s an adult’s job. Reprinted with permission from FamilyFun Magazine. Have fun!
Beyond the saloons filled with guitar-strumming revelers, Key West offers art, culture, music and history. For visitors on a quick road trip, take note: there are serene and chic locales popular with families, singles and couples.
Do you fancy yourself an amateur photographer? The Museum of Discovery and Science in Ft. Lauderdale encourages you to participate in its Everglades photography contest. Just visit the Everglades , take photos of your trip then post your favorites to their Facebook fan page . All ages are welcome to participate and you can win prizes. The contest runs through Sept. 30, 2012. The reason the Museum is having this amateur photo contest is to bring awareness to the unique eco-system of the Everglades and its Everglades Forever project. The project is amazing and a must-see for families visiting South Florida. It includes their new 34,000 square foot EcoDiscovery Center, a guest speaker series, and other Everglades-themed experiences throughout the museum. Your kids won’t want to leave, and either will you. It is fantastic.
This Friday, march 30, 2012, is the first-ever Family Night at the Museum at the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando. Bring your sleeping bag for a sleepover complete with food, fun, contests and prizes. The night begins with pizza and board games in the atrium and continues into the night with: Scavenger hunts Mock trial of “The Bear Family vs. Gold E. Locks” in the 1927 courtroom Pioneer activities Building competition with LEGOs and erector sets Exclusive shopping deals at their Emporium store Wind down with a snack and watch a Disney movie before climbing into your sleeping bag for the night. You'll even enjoy breakfast together in the morning. The fun begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 8 a.m., Saturday morning (March 31). Families must bring their own sleeping bags. Price is $10 for members per person and $15 for non-members per person. Free parking included. For reservations, call 407-836-8580.
Big buzz going on in Miami. The newly renamed Miami Marlins have a new ballpark in the midst of downtown Miami, called Marlins Park. This venue is over-the-top with a retractable roof, natural grass and “La Playa,” a private seating and lounge area that even includes access to a pool behind the left field wall! Very Miami chic. For those who want to experience a home game in high style, take advantage of the “I Love Marlins” package at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami. This luxurious packages includes: Two nights in a luxury suite Chauffeur ride to and from Marlins Park Two Marlins baseball jerseys Two Marlins baseball caps Two Therapeutic spa treatments In addition to being pampered in pure luxury on Biscayne Bay, the Mandarin Oriental, Miami is less than two miles from the Marlins Park so it’s super convenient. Rates for the “I Love Marlins” package are from $2450, based on double occupancy. This package is valid during the 2012 regular season for home games from April to September and is subject to availability. For more info or to make your reservations, call 305-913 8383 or visit www.mandarinoriental.com . Go Marlins!