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.
As one of the only dedicated art houses in Daytona Beach, Cinematique's all-digital theater and surround-sound system immerse theatergoers in national, international, and local independent flicks. In addition to the latest celluloid, Cinematique screens cultural events, pairs indie movies with live improv comedy, and hosts a Saturday-night showcase for local filmmakers, musicians, poets, and Oscar-statue impersonators. Through its Daytona Beach Film Festival, Cinematique supplies audiences with a vast assortment of movies, from internationally acclaimed directors to local and student filmmakers. The theater also illumes an inflatable screen with cinematic classics at free outdoor showings at Riverfront Park, commencing each film at dusk so patrons and cinephilic fruit bats can relish its crystalline picture quality.
At Daytona Beach Bingo, up to 300 guests compete for bingo supremacy in a spacious gaming facility with a slew of games and specials each evening. Patrons can settle into lengthy bingo tables and try their luck at progressive jackpots that increase each night when there isn’t a winner. Visitors can also match up winning images in pull-tab games or bet on George Washington’s winning record in presidential elections to help conquer quarter games.
Oceanside Paddlesports' knowledgeable instructors—who are professional standup-paddleboard racers—hook customers up with rental equipment and teach them how to skim across the waters around Daytona Beach in standup paddleboards. The outfit also specializes in surfing, outrigger canoeing, and kayaking, offering lessons and tours with each activity. For those who want their own equipment, the shop sells gear by brands such as Piranha, Kialoa, and Boga.
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.
Although the 12-ounce Delmonico steak is the house specialty at The Blue Grotto, the baked stuffed flounder is the owner's favorite dish on the menu. Guests have their choice of sitting in the azure dining room, where the decor is inspired by the Blue Grotto sea cave on the island of Capri, or the dog-friendly outdoor deck that overlooks the marina. The venue turns into a nightclub in the late-night hours, with DJs, dancing, and free drinks for manatees.