The acrobatic Zoppe-Zamperla family steers the reins of Cavallo Equestrian Arts, LLC, drawing on 166 years of showmanship to delight audiences as it tours the globe, standing, flipping, and hanging upside-down on galloping horses. Transporting spectators back to the age of knights, mystics, and spaceships made of wood, Cavallo Equestrian Arts' performers combine these death-defying feats with jousts amid music, dancing, and acrobatics, as well as spectacles such as fire-breathing. The Zoppe-Zamperla brothers have assembled their talents and passions into wondrous shows, earning them featured performances in movies such as The First of May and The Fisher King and opportunities to amaze in events such as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's circus.
Standing still in a cloud of free-flying butterflies, exploring the depths of a limestone cave, and gazing at the 14-foot bones of a 16,000-year-old Columbian mammoth skeleton?visitors can do all of this in just one afternoon at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Since starting in 1891 as a professor?s teaching collection of fossils, minerals, and human anatomy models, the museum has transformed into the home of more than 40 million specimens, creating a library of life that features one of the world?s largest collections of butterflies and moths.
Reflecting the museum?s impressive collection of winged beauties, some of its exhibits focus on the butterflies and moths that, unlike humans, can survive long flights without eating a single package of peanuts. At the Butterfly Rainforest, more than 1,000 butterflies from 60 to 80 species take to the air among tropical trees, orchids, bromeliads, and waterfalls cascading into a pond that bustles with fish and turtles. Feeding stations with freshly cut fruit dot the 6,400-square-foot screened enclosure, letting guests get up close as the butterflies feast. Live butterfly releases daily at 2 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. let onlookers watch them fly into an outdoor butterfly rainforest, and among the indoor butterfly exhibits, curious audiences can peer into a rearing lab where staff unpack and sort newly arrived pupae.
Rounding out the museum?s focus on Floridian biosystems, the Northwest Florida: Waterways & Wildlife exhibit invites visitors to wander through a full-scale recreation of a hammock forest, and the South Florida exhibit takes guests down the peninsula with a mangrove boardwalk and a palm-thatched Calusa leader?s house. The museum's internationally acclaimed fossil collection includes highlights such as "shark jaw row," extinction dioramas, and full skeletal mounts and sculptures. Meanwhile, outside, petals unfurl in the wildflower and butterfly garden.
An endless amount of stories flicker across the screen at these cinemas, which offer stadium seating and digital sound. The theater plays films chosen from Hollywood’s newest releases, featuring stars just plucked from the vines where they grow in the California hills. Between whispered critiques of each preview, audience members can wash down fluffy kernels of popcorn with soda from the concession stand. The theater also opens its doors for birthday parties and large private screenings for up to 300 guests.
Each year, the Cinema Verde festival celebrates environmentally conscious films and art. Visitors flock to the four-day event to watch more than 30 films on issues such as water access, waste disposal, and sustainable practices. The festival also features live music, art exhibits, and eco-tours that highlight the lush, natural environment of north central Florida.
Mary Hencher and her team of certified instructors lead Dance Trance classes that set high-energy dance moves to upbeat music. Because the classes emphasize the energy of the music, instructors don’t shout out commands; instead, they use a series of hand gestures and intuitive, easy-to-follow dance moves to guide students through the classes.