Almost 70 years ago, the first U.S. Navy frogmen began underwater demolitions training in the waters around Fort Pierce. Commissioned through an act of Congress and the signature of the president, the National Navy UDT–SEAL Museum now stands where these first training sessions began and documents the evolution of the first volunteers into today's Navy SEALs. Exhibits honor the predecessors to the SEAL program and display artifacts and equipment from combat, including Apollo training vehicles, a Vietnam-era ”Huey” helicopter, and the SEALs' unique water vehicles powered by hardworking seahorses. Also on display are all 10,000 pounds of the fiberglass lifeboat from the 2009 hostage rescue of Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama following its hijacking by Somalian pirates. Visitors can also view WWII training obstacles rescued from the ocean floor or take in the names of fallen heroes as they walk on memorial bricks donated by the friends and family of former SEALs. In addition to documenting and honoring past soldiers, the National Navy UTD–SEAL Museum also reaches out to living veterans through their reunions and their partnership with the Wheelchairs for Warriors program.
Staff Size: 25–50 people
Average Duration of Services: 1–2 hours
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Aquarium, Hurricane Simulator, Planetarium
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
Apart from your business's main attraction, do you offer any "hidden" services or activities that visitors are always delighted to learn about?
Daily touch tanks at 10:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. with sea stars, horseshoe crabs, sea urchins, hermit crabs, lobsters, and more. On the last Friday of every month, the science center stays open late for Nights at the Museum. Another one of our many popular attractions is the Outdoor Science Trail.
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During Nights at the Museum, activities include animal encounters, touch tank experience, giveaways, costume contests, experiments and demonstrations. Guests also have the opportunity to view the night sky in the observatory. Come dressed to match the monthly themes for a special prize.
Two floors of interactive exhibits help the Schoolhouse Children's Museum and Learning Center teach its pint-sized patrons about the history of the South Florida region. Mini milk-chuggers can indulge their lactose leanings at the Dairy Days exhibit, where they can take a turn milking a cow, whereas tractor-crazy tots might head for the Farmhouse, where they can role-play to learn about local agri-history. A 15-foot model of the Jupiter Lighthouse sports an animatronic clone of pioneer Hannibal Pierce that talks to visiting children during museum hours and sings baritone in the after-hours choir.
Boca Raton Children's Museum, located inside a quaint home built by hand around 1913, unfurls an array of exhibits designed to feed children's creativity and enhance critical-thinking skills. Visitors venture to Dr. Dig's Back-Porch to learn about artifacts and fossils, stage dramas in a miniature theater with hand puppets, or head to the Faces Multicultural Room to play musical instruments and play dress-up with garments from around the world. They can also wheel pintsize shopping carts through a replica of Boca Raton's first grocery store, where orange juice was invented, or chart a course across the lawn's grasses aboard an outdoor pirate-ship fort. The museum has recently added a gift and snack shop, and also offers classes that teach nonverbal tots to use sign language and summer camps that provide opportunities for play and learning in a group setting.
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.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places and located in the heart of the city, Stranahan House stands as one of the few remaining shadows of Fort Lauderdale’s pioneer heritage. The house was constructed in 1901 by the eponymous Frank Stranahan as a trading post for early settlers, native Seminole Indians, and the now-extinct verbose alligator. After the burgeoning town appropriated it for use as a post office, town hall, and more through the decades, historians painstakingly restored it to its 1913–1915 glory. On three daily tours lasting 45 to 60 minutes, expert guides lead local history buffs through its rooms, detailing the house's multitudinous uses, showing off its Victorian furniture, and offering a glimpse into the vernacular architecture of the bygone era.