Celebrating the ship's 100th anniversary, Titanic The Experience's live actors, full-scale models, and 20,000-square-foot interactive museum faithfully recreate the poignant story of one of the world's most famous ships. One-hour guided tours of the museum led by trained performers immerse visitors in the mystery and lore of the ship's tragic tale. Actors donning garb from the early 1900’s portray such iconic characters as Molly Brown and the time-traveling Gilligan, amid full-scale recreations of the Titanic's grand staircase, promenade deck, and boiler room. History buffs can also feast their eyes on an 8-foot replica of the ship as it appears on the ocean floor today. More than 200 artifacts from the ship's history are on display as well, including memorabilia from the blockbuster film Titanic and an apology letter from the glacier.
Brooke Pottery features fine ceramic crafts and a host of handmade doodads from more than 400 American artists. A glazed, tri-colored McQueeny Belt Bowl ($48) offers a fetching soup-holding alternative to cupped palms, while the Heart Coaster Set ($40) lovingly shields countertops from clammy cocktails and over-fizzed sodas. Decorate feng shui–deficient gardens with ash-wood Chi Energy Amber wind chimes ($35), or embellish tree limbs with colorful Aloha Chimes ($42). For kids, the Blues Band Harmonica ($7) provides hours of fun in the key of harmonica.
The Florida Aquarium gives families a glimpse into the mysteries and magic of the undersea world. Marine life exhibits spotlight the creatures that live in the bay or deeper underwater, even allowing kids to touch rays and sharks at the new Stingray Beach or lock eyes with sea turtles. Kids also see the sights of a 60-foot dive at the coral-reef exhibit's walk-through tunnel, whose underwater coral cave and brightly colored fish earned the aquarium a place in Parents magazine's top 10 aquariums for kids. A trip down the Wetlands Trail allows visitors to get face to face with playful otters and more circumspect Burmese pythons, while the Penguin Point opens a window into the lives of the best dressed of the flightless water birds.
With a collection sprawling across three floors, the Orange County Regional History Center divulges 12,000 years of central Florida history through permanent and limited-run exhibits. Follow Orlando’s transition from small town to Disney command center, or explore aviation marvels including a WWII B-17 bomber and Kennedy Space Center snapshots of NASA’s nighttime sun landings. In addition to unlimited admission, members receive reciprocal privileges, such as free or discounted admission at 208 museums and historic sites across the country. Additional membership perks include access to invite-only events, gift-store and program discounts, and free parking in the adjacent library garage.
Founded in 1972, Clearwater Marine Aquarium dedicates itself to preservation and educating the public on its efforts in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine life. Membership grants the pass holder free yearlong access to the aquarium's vast array of animals and activities as well as invitations to private events, a 10 percent discount in the gift shop, and the ability to send whales to their home planet. The panoply of exhibits includes Turtle Cove and the Atlantis Theater, where viewers experience the rescue, rehab and release of marine life. Thrilling dolphin presentations feature Winter the dolphin, star of the upcoming kids' film Dolphin Tale, performing titillating aeronautical feats and waxing rhapsodic to James Lipton.