In 1989, Young At Art began as a small, 3,200-square-foot children’s museum dedicated to shaping young minds and enriching the community through the transformative power of art. Since then, the tiny workshop has grown into a 55,000-square-foot collection of activities celebrating the diverse influences of art on our lives and imaginations, garnering a rare accreditation by the American Association of Museums for its efforts. At ArtScapes—one of the four main exhibits—kids and their parents travel through The Cave, a frantic slideshow of images conveying 5,000 years of human history, step into a replica of a New York City subway car, and view examples of graffiti as a means of creative expression against the oppressive forces of aluminum spray cans.
Elsewhere, WonderScapes transports children up to 4 years old to a world inspired by the illustrations of DeLoss McGraw, whose version of Alice in Wonderland won the Society of Illustrators Book of the Year award in 2002, and GreenScapes demonstrates the immutable intersection of art and the environment as visitors build sculptures from natural materials. Never ones to ignore their creativity, teenagers can find refuge in the Teen Center, where a graphic design lab with Mac computers and a recording studio let them convert their pre-calc homework into digital form before it’s too late.
Arthur Stone spent six decades assembling the collection of classic Packard autos that makes up the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum. His love for the Packard's combination of engineering and elegance has resulted in the United States' largest Packard collection, containing one model from each year of the company's 58-year existence. The museum's 30,000-square-foot space mirrors the look of a 1920s Packard showroom, with heraldic-style gas-station signs hanging above gleaming specimens of auto history, all restored to full working order.
Models such as the 2201 Woodie wagon from 1948 demonstrate the manufacturer's innovation amid changing times, and the 1909 18 Speedster evokes an era when saddled cheetahs shared roads with cars. Original concept-design drawings line the walls, and an expansive library contains shelves laden with periodicals and fascinating reading materials.
The Museum of Discovery and Science ensures that adults as well as children have opportunities to explore diverse fields in the natural and physical sciences. Museum visitors who prefer to experience action on the big screen can drop into the AutoNation IMAX 3D Theater, which boasts a 15,000 watt, 42-speaker digital surround sound system. Opened in 1992, the 300-seat theater dazzles audiences via a five-story-hight screen that features both 2D and 3D films. Crowds view the latter using lightweight XR 3D glasses for highly evolved thrills.
The ISHOF Museum houses the world's largest collection of aquatic memorabilia and is the single-largest source of aquatic books, manuscripts, and literature. More than forty exhibits and displays illustrate the history of the aquatically ambitious, recognizing the world's greatest swimming, diving, polo, and synchronized swimming performers and their spotlight-worthy accomplishments. Videos ranging from short informational pieces to coverage of the Olympic games are also available for viewing. Current exhibits include photo murals of the RMS Titanic, the largest collection of Olympic medals won by merpersons dating back to 1896, and a shrine dedicated to the swoonable swim legend Mark Spitz, which consists of a life-size wax statue of the mustached god-among-mortals, seven of his gold medals, and the starting block he used in the 1972 Munich games.
The goals of the instructors at Intensity Dancers' Studio go far beyond dance—the team aspires to help their students become well-rounded individuals as they grow. That can even be seen by the number of students using their talents outside the studio, with some competing on teams at the national level. Children can participate in lessons that cover classic or modern dance styles at the school, where ballet gets equal billing with hip-hop and acrobatics options. As dancers progress, they not only learn proper technique and execution, but how to cultivate discipline and self-confidence, tools intended to help them success off the dance floor too.
More than 130 cast members pirouette across a wintry stage to recreate the classic, fantastical children's ballet tale that has drawn sold-out crowds for the last 12 years to the Coral Springs Arts Center. From enclosed balcony seats inside the 1,471-seat theater, audiences follow Clara, a young girl who shrinks into a dreamscape beneath her family's tree on Christmas Eve. The enchanting score by Tchaikovsky whisks ears through flakes that flutter and zambonis that drive Clara and the Nutcracker Prince across the Land of Snow. Eyes chase the elaborate choreography as dancers leap over the stage during famed scenes such as the battle between the toy soldiers and evil Mouse King. When the Sugar Plum Fairy escorts Clara and her prince through her own kingdom in the second act, hearts will swoon and tongues will mimic doormats before the pixie monarch's sugar-encrusted slippers.
The Gold Coast Railroad Museum began in 1956, when train enthusiast William J. Godfrey chanced upon the miles of abandoned railroad track snaking through the pineland of University of Miami’s southern campus. He imported a newly retired steam engine to the premises, and a tribute to railroading history began.
Now in a new location in Miami proper, the museum continues to honor trains’ role in American history, with nine exhibits on locomotives, passenger cars, and the Richmond’s Naval Air Station’s fleet. Visitors can hop aboard a full-size diesel locomotive passenger coach, or take a ride a miniature children’s railroad that’s ideal for transporting shipments of Lincoln logs. Alternatively, they can run motorized or free-wheeling trains through a model railroad, which zips through mountain tunnels and circles around to-scale landscapes.