Physically, celadon porcelain from the Ming and Qing Dynasties and a 13-foot skeleton of the giant ground sloth don’t have too much in common. But both explore how our world has evolved and how we perceive it—making both perfectly suited for display in the eclectic exhibits of the Museum of Arts & Sciences. The 100,000-square-foot museum—which perches on a 90-acre nature preserve—houses a planetarium alongside myriad exhibits that delve into art, history, and science.
The museum’s particularly impressive assembly of Cuban art draws visitors through 300 years of history with more than 200 rare maps, paintings, and ceramics. Nearby, the exhibit of Chinese art glimmers with gemstones, bronzes, and cloisonné. Visitors also peruse crafts made closer to home in the 4,000-square-foot gallery of American art, where portraits by Gilbert Stuart and landscapes by George Bonfield hang on walls, rather than on the traditional horse’s withers. In addition to its traditional art galleries, the Museum of Arts & Sciences also hosts more fragile objects inside the Helene B. Roberson Visible Storage Building, a 4,400-square-foot glass-fronted space designed to maintain exhibits in a climate-controlled state.
Younger museum-goers can gaze longingly at the 800 teddy bears on display in the Americana-focused Root Family Museum before heading to the Charles and Linda Williams Children’s Museum to explore ever-changing, hands-on science exhibits. In addition to assembling and testing model racecars, whippersnappers strum the 16 laser beams of a laser harp and try the "Pull Yourself Up" exhibit. Daily shows in the planetarium continue scientific education by unlocking the night sky’s mysteries, such as why stars don’t go out when you blow on them.
Lucky’s, a hybrid restaurant and fun-center, marries burgers, salads, and sandwiches with games such as bowling and billiards. Guests can eat their fill of entrees that include Cajun rib-eye steak and pan-seared shrimp while flinging orbs down 14 polished lanes. During bowling games the alley’s sound and lighting system evokes a dance-club vibe while a Qubica AMF scoring system keeps track of strikes and splits, enabling players to leave their CPAs at home.
Next to the bowling alley, more than 50 redemption, video, and novelty games challenge guests and include Lazer Frenzy, an interactive maze of light beams like the ones that guard a bank’s best ballpoint pens. Game credits earn prizes such as Legos, Nerf toys, and even Xbox 360s. Lucky’s keeps their atmosphere lively late into the night by hosting lounge events such as Karaoke Wednesdays and by having DJs spin on the weekend.
The family-friendly attractions at Daytona Lagoon are always buzzing, whether it's swimsuit season or windbreaker weather. Visitors zip through wet twists and turns on the waterpark's pirate-themed slides and climb the nets on the Castaway Bay play structure, which unleashes a downpour of water every two minutes. Visitors don tubes and drift down the lazy river before hopping into a 500,000-gallon wave pool. Upper-level bamboo cabanas let sun-soaked visitors unwind in privacy and shade.
The park's water-free attractions include go-carts, 18 holes of mini golf, a 30-foot rock wall, Island Hopper kids bounce ride, an arcade, and a 3,000-square-foot laser-tag arena where Dirty Harry wannabes can invite challengers to "go ahead, scan my barcode." Gilligan's Sports Bar & Grill offers refreshments and friendly games of pool.
Pebbles constantly skip and bounce along the pavement surrounding Speed Park Motorsports, stirred from their inert rest by the constant thrum of engines. Stratos Karts—miniature vehicles capable of speeds up to 45 miles per hour—grapple with sharp turns and lean straightaways on three tracks known as the Sprint Indy Style, the 1,200-foot Grand Prix, and the elliptical Thundermania course. In Nitro Alley, real dragsters with amateur drivers explode from 0 to 75 miles per hour over 200 feet. Inside the venue, the simulated sounds of engines drown out the real thing in the 7,000-square-foot classic arcade. In addition to walk-in fun, the staff also arranges and hosts birthday parties for speed lovers of all ages.