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.
Within Art Connection's 45,000-square-foot factory, showroom, and production facility, patrons can sift through a vast collection of decorative prints and posters that include both classic and contemporary art. Enlist a 30"x24" print of Monet's Impression, Sunrise ($16.99) or Picasso's Violin and Guitar ($17.99) to teach dry wall about Impressionism, Cubism, and cultural elitism. A 35"x35" museum-quality print of Tuscan Summer ($60.99) can help to gussy up a drab cubicle, whereas a 22"x34" poster featuring The Office characters ($9.99) can bring workday doldrums into a painstakingly pleasant living room. Attract two-dimensional bees with a poster from Art Connection's extensive floral collection, then peruse the vast collection of frames for a portrait protector to keep it safe from roaming dust mites and ice-cream-wielding 4-year-olds.
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.