Go Explore: Central Florida

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By Kristy Tolley

There are almost limitless diversions awaiting vacationers to the Sunshine State. Polk County’s Winter Haven and Lakeland areas in Central Florida are certainly no exception. From water fun and outdoor activities to historic stops and museums, there’s lots to explore during your next visit.

Outdoor Adventures

At Safari Wilderness Ranch, you’ll get a glimpse of unique and extinct-in-the-wild species of animals from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe and the Americas. Encounter animals like Watusi cattle, water buffalo, red lechwe, scimitar-horned oryx and other large herds who live on this 260-acre reserve.

Once a functioning cattle ranch, Circle B Bar Reserve provides 1,267 acres for hiking, birding and cycling. Spend time in the Polk’s Nature Discovery Center for a hands-on look at Central Florida’s ecosystem.




Time to Play

Kids of all ages will enjoy time at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort. This 150-acre interactive theme park boasts over 50 rides, attractions, shows and restaurants. The park encompasses what was once Cypress Gardens, Florida’s first theme park and also features the original botanical gardens.

Polk County also boasts dozens of public golf courses, three of which can be found at the stunning, 16,000-acre Streamsong Resort. Situated on repurposed mining land, the resort features 228 guest rooms and suites, onsite casual and fine dining options, a grotto-style full-service spa and ample outdoor experiences.


Bok Tower Gardens


Historic Stops

Bok Tower Gardens is the ideal spot for rejuvenation and reflection. A gift from Pulitzer Prize winning writer Edward W. Bok, it has enchanted visitors for more than 80 years. Bok created the Singing Tower, reflection pool, gardens and other tranquil elements. The seasonal blooms and varied events offer guests something new each visit to this National Historic Landmark.

Soak up aviation history at the Florida Air Museum. Exhibits include flight simulators, rockets and high speed flight, the Howard Hughes aviation collection and Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh artifacts. In the spring, catch the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo at the Lakeland Regional Airport. It’s a draw for more than 200,000 pilots and aviation enthusiasts, and past fly-ins have included the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

Member Savings: AAA Members save $3 on a combo ticket to Bok Tower Gardens and estate! Visit AAA Discounts for additional savings on your Florida vacation.


(Go Magazine Sept/Oct 2019)

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